Getting Fit with Arc from Amazfit

Last month we all made our resolutions. For most people it was to lose weight, become more fit, or be active. For me it was to be as healthy as I could be. I’d love to lose some weight but it’s more about being healthy. So I pulled out my last fitness tracker and it doesn’t work. I think I’ve tried them all over the years. The problem with the wrist ones is they tend to be bulky and hurt my wrist. The ones that clip I have a hard time finding the right spot to actually get an accurate reading. I was looking for a new tracker when I found the Arc. I was offered a sample in order to write about getting fit with Arc from Amazfit. All opinions are my own though.

So the first thing I had to note was that the Arc was definitely different in size. Its much smaller in width so it doesn’t hurt my wrist. You see I’m an avid knitter and typer so I use my wrists A LOT! Other bands are too wide and dig into my joint. The Arc is smaller and fits better.

I love the smooth sleek look of the Arc too. Doesn’t it look great? It has a readable face so you tap the screen to wake it up. It goes through multiple options including time, steps, calories and there is a heart rate built in. If you have it synced with your phone, it will even vibrate to let you know when you get a call or text!

So how does it do with stats?
Within the app, you can see in one shot everything from your heart rate, steps taken and when you were most active. There is also sleep tracking so you can see how well you slept, from awake time to deep sleep. I love this feature as it means I’m able to know if I’m getting enough sleep. This is by far the most comfortable tracker I’ve used for sleep tracking too!

You can get your Amazfit Arc Activity, Heart Rate & Sleep Tracker at Amazon!

Making Your Own Pumpkin Puree!

It's (officially!) pumpkin season!

It’s (officially!) pumpkin season!

Though pumpkin spice madness has been going on for over a month even with the summer heat wave still in effect, I wanted to make sure I waited until it was officially fall before I started spicing it up on here!

Landon grew his own pumpkins this year and due to the crazy weather, many of them are ready already. While I’m ready to eat pumpkin, I’m not quite ready to carve a Jack-O-Lantern, so I figured I’d take some of our mid-size pumpkins and try to do my own puree.

Honestly, I’ve never investigated how to turn a pumpkin into anything edible. I remember my husband’s co-workers sent him home with a pumpkin for me to turn into a pie, and I remember being so mad he volunteered me!

However it was pretty easy and now I already have a stash for when that pumpkin craving hits me… weekly.

We planted a few pumpkin varieties, one of which was “Sweet Sugar Pie,” a smaller size pumpkin. To make your own puree, a pumpkin about the size of your toddler’s head works best, even if it falls in that 90th percentile. Both the ease of cooking and the taste are better. Anything labeled “Sugar” or “Pie” is also sure to be the right size and taste.

You’ll want to chop off your pumpkin stem as close to the top as you can, not as you would do to carve a Jack-O-Lantern. Next, cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the pumpkin guts. Tiny helpers are great for this part! We set ours aside to make seeds with but alas, this time they went to the chickens in a spell of pregnancy exhaustion.

Landon was happy to get the pumpkin guts out for me!

Landon was happy to get the pumpkin guts out for me!

You’ll roast your pumpkin pieces face down in the oven set to 350 degrees for about an hour. I lined an older baking sheet with parchment paper to make clean up easy. When I could stab my pumpkins with a fork, I knew they were ready.

Ready to bake!

Ready to bake!

I let them cool, then scooped out the flesh from the skins and threw in a food processor.

Wait for them to cool before trying to scoop!

Wait for them to cool before trying to scoop!

I bagged it up in freezer bags in useable sizes. Many recipes like pancakes or brownies only call for about a cup of puree, so I did some smaller bags and then some whoppers for when I get rolling with making pumpkin rolls!

My kitchen smelled so good- better than any pumpkin pie candle on the market- that I actually got inspired to make some pumpkin pancakes! I’ll share the recipe soon, but just thinking about them makes me want to make them all over again!

Mmm Pumpkin Pancakes!

Mmm Pumpkin Pancakes!

 

the Habit Burger Grill

I was recently invited to bring the kids to a special event at the Habit Burger Grill in Rockville. We received a meal and information about the Habit Burger Grill brand in order to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.

As a mom it can be hard to find food places that are quick for when we’re running, tastes great and offers options that are actually safe for our family. You see the main big brands are just out for us. They don’t have anything gluten free or those items they do have are at a high risk of cross contamination. I was excited to see that the Habit Burger Grill not only has options for us but they have great tasty options. Thank you to them for having us for lunch and allowing me to try some different types of burgers. 

Habit Burger Grill

The Habit Burger Grill is a great idea of simple food, fresh and approachable. They currently sell 80-90% burgers but also have other options. They find that the burger sales go down when its a family that comes in. They have great kid options including chicken nuggets and grilled cheese sandwiches. They started in California back in 1969 and have grown to 155 locations worldwide. But the big thing for me is they are more conscious of  food allergies. While peanut oil is a great tasting oil for frying its also a high allergen oil. Soy oil is a great alternative that while still an allergen for some it’s not as prevalent as peanuts.

For our family the big allergy is gluten of course. So it was great to see that the chefs were quick to let us know what was safe and how they could make our burgers or sandwiches safe for us. So how is the food? What’s it all look like?

Habit Burger Grill

Mushroom Charburger

Habit Burger Grill

Chicken Club

Habit Burger Grill

Tempura Green Beans

Habit Burger Grill

Gluten Free lettuce wrapped burgers and Sweet Potato fries

Habit Burger Grill

Sirloin Steak Sandwhich

Habit Burger Grill

Sides

Habit Burger Grill

Salad options

Habit Burger Grill

Sundae

Sampling the food

A sampling of food arrived at our table for all of us to taste test. We received the double char burger, the teriyaki char, bbq bacon char, and mushroom char burgers. There was also a chicken club, sirloin steak and veggie burger. For salad options we had a grilled chicken salad and a garden salad. Sides included onion rings, tempura green beans, sweet potato fries and french fries.

Now we were there with other bloggers so they ate the items that weren’t gluten friendly and share their thoughts too. Resoundingly the answer was the food was fresh, hot and delicious.

Our Take on the Habit Burger Grill Food

I have to say I had the double char burger and it was one of the best burgers I have ever had. It was juicy but not greasy. It was loaded with flavor and tasted just fantastic. It not only had cheese and was lettuce wrapped but it also had chopped grilled onions that were just outstanding. Rae stole the mushroom burger for herself and ate every last mushroom first than dug into the burger itself. I love that they have options for all of us as a family. They even have dessert options including a delicious sundae and milkshakes. The best part is that everything was more than affordable.

As for ambience, when you walk into a Habit Burger Grill they live up to the idea of being approachable. The light fixtures are specifically designed to make the room bright but not be ugly.

Habit Burger Grill decor

The paintings on the wall are meant to bring you back to the Habit Burger Grill roots with paintings of California.

Habit Burger GrillThey have beautifully upholstered booths for seating as well as tables and chairs. It was easy for us to manipulate a few tables to have a larger space for us bloggers and our families but not be in the way of other customers. 

Connect with Habit Burger Grill on Facebook|Twitter|Online|Instagram and never miss an update!

Summer Cleaning with Mean Green

I am a Mean Green Cleaner Ambassador. I will be bringing you posts over the next year to showcase their products. All opinions are my own. This month we get to discuss summer cleaning with Mean Green Antibacterial Cleaner.

I had the best shock of all last week. Rae had been complaining of an itchy scalp since school stopped. I had looked at her head, saw some dry scalp but nothing to be overly concerned about. I mean the kids have food allergies and therefore have eczema. Its not a huge ordeal but every now and then we get a break out and it means itchies. We were in the middle of Kmart and getting ready to go get some stuff to put some pink streaks in her hair when she again complained of itchy scalp. This time with the bright lights I saw them. Tiny little eggs, tiny little nits and lice. OH I was freaked out to say the least. We rushed home and shampooed our hair, all 3 of us. Then started the cleaning. The bed linens, the mattresses, the stuffed animals, all of it cleaned.

summer cleaning with mean green antibacterial cleaner

Then since I had the house in disarray already I knew it was time to just go ahead and do a second round of spring summer cleaning with Mean Green. I chose to do our summer cleaning with Mean Green Antibacterial cleaner. It was a good time to have the kids help. We cleaned the kitchen, the cabinets, the fridge, the bathroom tubs, the toilets even the washing machines. The best part is with the Mean Green Antibacterial Cleaner I really felt the house was in much better shape than when we started. We also cleaned the floors where we have the litter pans. I hate that part of the floor as we have little bits of litter constantly laying around and I hate thinking about the germs that come with it. Things like e. Coli, salmonella, staph, strep. But the Mean Green Antibacterial Cleaner actually helps with that.

This product kills the following bacteria and viruses in 10 minutes: Salmonella enterica, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Avian Influenza A Virus (H5N1), Herpes Simplex Type 1 Virus, Herpes Simplex Type 2 Virus, Influenza A (H1N1) Virus.

Tip for Cleaning

Make sure you make a list of where all you want to clean. We have a wipe wall in our kitchen. We right every surface we want to clean and as someone cleans it we erase it. It makes it easy to remember what needs to be checked, what has to be cleaned still and lets face it as busy moms we don’t always get to clean all the surfaces in one shot. I use the list over a few days to get the house cleaned up.

BellaBeat Leaf: A New Fitness Tracker

I was sent a BellaBeat Leaf to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own.

As a woman, I often get told that I need to lose weight or work out more or get more steps in. But there are few companies that look at a woman with a difference than men and there is a difference when either gender is trying to do any of the above. For me I need to focus more on being active. I need a reminder to stop blogging and move a little bit. I have used other fitness trackers in the past but so far I have not found a tracker that will prompt me to move. I had seen ads for the BellaBeat Leaf on Facebook and was curious. I was excited to learn more about how it is more than just a fitness tracker.

I have a hard time with trackers that can only be worn on the wrist. I work in the public schools and I just can’t wear them. My hands are constantly in water or other things. So I liked that the BellaBeat Leaf can be worn on a bracelet, as a necklace, on my waistband or even my shirt.

What a great mail day! Got my @bellabeat today and already set up. #ad

A photo posted by Holly Zegalia (@ilikeitfrantic) on

I really love the simplicity and beauty of the Leaf. It’s not a typical look and I love that. It is a noticeable design though and I was asked this morning at Starbucks how I liked my Leaf. So I told her to come check out this post but that so far I’m loving it.

So there are a few things that I think the Leaf does better than any other tracker I’ve tried before and the first one is sleep mode. Every other tracker has hurt me while I slept. The Leaf suggests using it on your night shirt and it’s been super comfy there even with me sleeping on my stomach. The other big difference is that the Leaf will help you track your menstrual cycles and even tell you when you are the most fertile. While we are definitely not looking at pregnancy ever again, it is nice to know when that time is coming. It helps me prepare for the PMS symptoms.

So how is the Leaf working other than the sleep mode?

bellabeat leafThis was from the other day. Now I will say that I think with every tracker you will have some discrepancy when you wear it in a different place. This day I wore it on my waistband and I think that was a bad place for me. It read that I did almost the same amount of steps working in the cafeteria as I did walking the kids home from the bus stop. But the next day I tested it again and wore it clipped to my shirt. OH Man did those steps suddenly jump!

Are you looking for a tracker that is more than a tracker and a better fit for a woman? I would highly suggest the BellaBeat Leaf.

Connect with BellaBeat on Facebook|Twitter|Online|Pinterest and never miss an update!

Refreshing Salads for Picnics

With Charlie taking up karting, we’ll be spending a lot of time together as a family at the track. The only bad part is that there really aren’t any restaurants near by that we can run and grab a meal from. There is a great little BBQ place that will have a food truck at the track but I’m not sure if the food will be safe for us so we’re going to be coming up with some different meals that we can take with us. Since Rachael and I love different kinds of salads I though this weekend we’d have a salad but it meant finding one that both of us would love and I didn’t want just mixed greens with a little chicken. I wanted something different. So I started searching. Look at these delicious refreshing salads for picnics that I found.

Refreshing Salads for Picnics

  1. Of course I had to chose our Parisian Mumbai Salad as the first on our list. I love this salad and because of the different ingredients it’s not an every day type of salad. 
  2. Our friends over at Simply Whisked have a delicious Mediterranean Chickpea Salad that is light but filling. 
  3. If you love California Pizza Kitchen’s Waldorf Salad you should try the Waldorf Salad from I heart Eating. Simply delicious!
  4. Salad doesn’t always have to include lettuce and this Corn and Chickpea Salad from Simply Whisked is delicious evidence of that.
  5. I love recipes that are quick and easy and I always turn to As Easy As Apple Pie for those type of recipes and the Chopped Asian Salad with Peanut Dressing is proof that it can be easy to have delicious salads.
  6. For packing our salads I love the idea of these Mason Jar Salads from Must Have Mom. I can make a ton of these not just for the track and picnics but for lunch for the kids.
  7. For a delicious and protein packed salad I love this Greek Quinoa Salad with Chicken from Delicious Meets Healthy.
  8. I love to make use of fresh produce as much as possible and the kids love eating fruit so why not combine them to get this Peach and Raspberry Chicken Salad from Love Bakes Good Cakes.
  9. Flour on My Face has a great recipe to use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store to make Rotisserie Chicken Salad.
  10. Spice it up, leave out the lettuce and add in pasta for a completely different taste in this Jalapeno Ranch Pasta Salad from Simply Stacie.

What are your favorite Refreshing Salads for Picnics?

Favorite Flavors of Ireland

I was sent a copy of the book Favorite Flavors of Ireland and a coupon for KerryGold to facilitate my review. My opinion is my own.

With today being Saint Patrick’s Day, it is only fitting that I bring you something filled with love of the Irish. The book Favorite Flavors of Ireland is a collection of recipes that will bring you back to the rolling green hills of Ireland. Best of all the book is split into seasons so you will find recipes that are specifically created for using fresh produce and meats that are available for that season. We looked through all of the recipes and chose one to test out for us. I’ve made some of the recipes before using my family methods but it was interesting to see the differences in the more traditional Irish flavors. I wanted to make the Irish Whiskey Cream Cheese Cake but as the Irish Whiskey isn’t gluten free I figured the only one that would be eating it would be Steve and I didn’t want that. We chose to go with the classic Shepherd’s Pie recipe. I’ve made Shepherd’s Pie a thousand times over the last 20 years. It’s an easy but filling meal. I usually make it in a huge 13 x 9 inch pan so that we have some for leftovers. I started by purchasing all of the ingredients and then set about making the dinner.

[yumprint-recipe id=’32’]
Check out our process with these photos:


I will say this recipe was different from our usual recipe. It had some different tastes including our usual recipe includes tomatoes. BUT it was delicious. The entire container was eaten and there were no leftovers for our family.

You can purchase Favorite Flavors of Ireland Cookbook from Amazon or other stores nationwide.

Let’s Move at the White House

If you follow us on twitter or instagram or facebook (And if not go do it now!), you saw that yesterday I got to be a part of a group to learn about Let’s Move at the White House. Yes you read that right, I got to go to the White House yesterday. There was so much to see and do but most importantly was getting to listen to the First Lady speak to us with such passion about the Let’s Move Initiative. You see several years ago, Mrs. Obama was at a pediatrician appointment and well read how she phrased it:

Our doctor got this look of concern on his face. And he asked me, “What are you all eating at home?” And right then and there, I remember, in his — the exam room, my heart sank. The thought that I was maybe doing something that wasn’t good for my kids was devastating.

And maybe some of you can relate, but as an overachiever, I was like, “Wait, what do you mean, I’m not getting an A in motherhood? Is this like a B-? A C+? What are you telling me?” (Laughter.) But it really threw me. And that was my lightbulb moment — when I realized that we needed to make some real changes in our family routine.

Can you imagine sitting in a room and realizing you’re having the same conversations with your pediatrician as the First Lady? Yeah me either until yesterday. Then we learned that after she became First Lady there were decisions to be made. What was Mrs. Obama going to stand for? What was going to be her cause? And it hit her that healthy citizens was her passion. With that 6 years ago she started the Let’s Move initiative. In 6 years the Let’s Move program has helped nearly 80 million people to live in a Let’s Move! City, Town or County. 

While I had heard about the program before yesterday, I didn’t quite know all it entailed. Our elementary school is a Let’s Move school. Our kids are encouraged to get 60 minutes of exercise. In order to try and get them started on a good foot for the day, our teachers take breaks throughout the day. They have a video they dance to, they shake their bodies to get their wiggles out, they do jumping jacks, they walk in place. So I had good knowledge of that portion of the program but how about the Let’s Move! Outside program? The Let’s Move! Salad Bars to Schools? Let’s Move! Childcare? Have you heard of any of these?

The Let’s Move! Outside program is affecting our family. It is a program to get kids outside and into parks. When your child reaches 4th grade they get a special pass (Download it at Every Kid In A Park) that allows the entire car load to get into the National Park for free. Can you imagine seeing Yellowstone for free?

Let’s Move! Salad Bars to schools is a program to do just what it says, move salad bars into the schools for kids to use. I’m hoping our schools will follow suit. I know Rae would be happy to be able to fix her own little salad each day and it would be a much healthier option than some of the ones she takes from home.

I think the program that garnered my attention the most was the farm to school program. This is a program where schools use local farms to give the kids choices for produce. The best part is the USDA has grant money available for schools to start these programs. It has been found that the kids are more apt to choose produce they have seen grown locally and eat more of it. The program also has technical assistance for issues like food safety and finding the farms that they can work with.

So pictures? Did you want to see pictures from the White House? Check them all here:

Vitamins Made Easy with Nature Made

“This post was sponsored by Nature Made® as a part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.”

There are so many ways to improve our health and each of us has different needs. We’ve found in our house that I am extremely deficient in Vitamin D. This is a huge problem as I’m getting older and as you age your bone health becomes more and more important. Vitamin D also supports your teeth, muscles and immune health! I know I don’t eat enough of the vitamin D rich foods so I’ve been taking a high dosage for a few months now and finally feeling a little better. Of course my dosage was prescribed by doctor and everyone should be asking their doctors what’s the best choices for them. Some hints about vitamin D from Nature Made:

When you take vitamin D from Nature Made, you can rest assured that you’re getting quality vitamins from the #1
Pharmacist Recommended Letter Vitamin Brand.*
Vitamin D is synthesized by the skin when we’re exposed to sunlight during certain times of the day and year, and can
also be found in a limited number of natural and fortified foods sources. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium,
and vitamin D supports bone, teeth, muscle and immune health.†
Vitamin D 3 found in Nature Made vitamin D supplements is the body’s preferred form of vitamin D. Vitamin D

3 is more effective than vitamin D 2 at raising and maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D in the body.†

† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease

Steve’s doctor has him on a ton of supplemental vitamins including Fish Oil and CoQ10. These are both used for heart health. We’ve recently been looking over the Nature Made site to learn more about becoming healthier. They have the Nature Made 30 Day Healthy Habit Builder. This is a great resource for learning about vitamins and supplements that can help you and in just 30 days you can get into healthier habits.

The best thing about Nature Made is the ability to find it easily at Wal-Mart. I got there for my weekly shopping trips. We grab all of our stuff at one time and I don’t have to worry about thinking about different stores for different needs. On a recent trip, we grabbed the items I needed for my secret sister Easter gift:

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I grabbed some things for a baby shower present:

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I remembered the cat food:

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And on our way out headed through the vitamin section to grab the Vitamin D for me and Fish oil for Steve:

 
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Nature Made is the nation’s #1 best-selling brand for quality vitamins, minerals and supplements* to help support nutritional gaps

*Based in part on data reported by Nielsen through its Scantrack Service for the Vitamins Category for 52-week period ending 1/02/2016, for the xAOC Market. Copyright © 2016 Nielsen.Nature Made is the #1 Pharmacist recommended supplement brand in 9 categories**

**Based on US News & World Report – Pharmacy Times Survey, Nature Made is the #1 Pharmacist Recommended Brand in Nine Categories – Letter Vitamins, Omega-3/Fish Oil, Coenzyme Q10, Flax Seed Oil, Herbal Supplements, Cholesterol Management-Natural, Garlic, Diabetic Multivitamins and Mood Health Supplements

 

  • 30-Day Healthy Habit Builder Program
    • Go to NatureMade.com/Challenge and join the Nature Made® Healthy Habit Builder program at NatureMade.com/Challenge, where you can get motivation and tips around your specific health goals. In addition, you’ll be automatically entered to win a grand prize of $5,000*.(*For full rules and regulations visit NatureMade.com/Challenge)
  • *NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES (D.C) 18 YEARS AND OLDER.VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Enter by 3/31/16. Internet access required. 1 Grand Registration Prize (actual value $5,000) and 30 Challenge Prizes (each actual value $250) available to be won. For Official Rules, prize descriptions and odds disclosure, visit HealthyHabitBuilder.com. Sponsor: Pharmavite LLC, 8510 Balboa Blvd. Suite 100, Northridge, CA 91325.The sponsor of this sweepstakes is Nature Made. WebMD is not related to or responsible for the sweepstakes.

 

I-C will randomly select 20 winners from all program entries and will handle fulfillment of the winning prizes.

Nature Made Wellness 4

Growing Up in the Garden

They grow so fast...

They grow so fast…

It’s spring at last! Well, it feels like it today anyway even if it’s unofficial per the calendar. However, it is at least time to think about spring and get to growing.

I have had my little garden for 6 years now- once as an engaged girl, one as a newlywed, one pregnant, one with a newborn, one with a one year old, and this garden shall be the garden of hopefully not so terrible twos!

It’s funny to think about how the garden is evolving with our little family. When Landon was a newborn it seemed like every time I got my hands dirty he would cry from his stroller that he was hungry or you know, just missed me. I had him covered in a little sunhat hoping the sun wouldn’t hit my sweet little one. Well, sweet until he would spit out the purees I so lovingly made him with my veggies (I would later find out he preferred chocolate chip cookies to sweet potatoes).

The next year at 13 months, Landon would run around with a shovel, wearing only his cloth diaper (on a good day- otherwise- nude!) and pull up plants I just put in right behind me! When the seeds and plants produced, he loved picking pepper after pepper and insisted that he had to haul all the veggies back himself. Quite the feat when the butternut squash started coming in! When the garden got unruly, we’d have to dangle him by his feet to reach down them.

Our family rarely eats indoors in the summer- we’re all dirty in various states of dress eating our garden veggies, meat from the grill, and a side of cold beer on our picnic table. If we have company, I get out my formal picnic table tablecloth, but that’s as fancy as it gets. Which is one of my very favorite things.

This year Landon will be TWO. He’s so into helping me with everything around the house so I knew he would be excited about getting our seeds ready to put in our greenhouse/mudroom. I tried to do some of the pre-work while he was terrorizing the dog with his singing fish, decked out in Mardi Gras beads and a leprechaun hat, but as soon he saw momma playing in dirt and he was all about it.

And I am pretty excited too to have a little garden helper this year. We have been checking out books at the library like “The Carrot Seed” by Ruth Krauss which features illustrator Crockett Johnson from “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” and “Counting in the Garden” by Kim Parker. There are tons seed growing children’s books at the library and they might even have a special section if your library is as awesome as ours. We lean on books before new things so Landon might have a clue about what’s going on, not just mom burying things in the yard again.

Planting gardens is a great activity for all ages- tiny to large, it’s a really rewarding experience. If you are blessed to have a garden spot, let the kids pick out seeds based on what they like to eat. Be sure to add some fast growers in there to keep interest like lettuce and radishes, and some easy producers like squash and cucumbers. Flowers such as Zinnias and Sunflowers are kid-friendly as well.

If you don’t have a garden plot, experience the magic on your windowsill. Plants with shallow roots won’t need a very large container and are easy to care for. Many communities also have neighborhood gardens- find one near you at https://communitygarden.org or see if your church or library has one.

Depending on the age of your child, they can do all sorts of garden chores. From Landon’s age of digging holes and picking veggies, to being able to water and plant the seeds, and older ones may even enjoy hustling relatives for money selling their veggie goods or creating a meal using vegetables they find.

I find great pride in the fact that Landon knows where his foods come from- he will never think there is a potato tree or that apples grow underground. He will know that milk comes from cows, and occasionally you have to eat your pet pig.