Sunday, March 31, 2013

He Is Risen!

"Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave...

Oh, death, where is your sting?
Oh, hell, where is your victory?
Oh, Church, come stand in the light
Our God is not dead, He's alive
He's ALIVE!"

Happy Easter, from our family to yours! 

I pray that you have a very blessed day!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Becoming Crunchy: Part 1 {Food}

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It all started shortly after Jax was born. After my horrible delivery with him, I was determined to do things differently next time. I was determined to have a VBAC (which I did!), and so I started researching natural birthing. Around the same time, we also started to slowly change the way we ate. Ryan and I watched documentaries like The Business of Being Born, and Food, Inc. Over the 3 years that followed, things started to shift, little by little, to a more natural way of living AKA "crunchy". 

The biggest difference came about 6 months ago when I discovered a website called 100 Days of Real Food. The website started as a blog documenting one family's journey of completely eliminating processed food for 100 days. It has since turned into a lifestyle for them and has grown to have thousands of followers who are choosing to do the same thing. I began following the page on Facebook and started learning more and more about how much junk is added into our food supply, and how many myths there are about our food in general. Both things that are grown (plants, veggies, meats, etc) and things that come in boxes and bags at the grocery store. I started to realize that a lot of the stuff we were eating (and feeding Jax!) were full of artificial ingredients, flavors, and colors. 

We decided to try a 30-day challenge of eliminating processed food. We had already been eating a lot of organic foods and fresh fruits and veggies, but we were still doing things like giving Jax a Pop-Tart every morning as a snack before his real breakfast. So we threw away all the junk, switched out Jax's Pop-Tart for a piece of fruit or cheese, and started making recipes from only real, unprocessed food. I made a few things from scratch instead of having the store bought, processed version. Things like strawberry syrup, chocolate syrup, granola, and cheese crackers (recipes below). Some of the food was easy to transition to and some of it was much harder. After the 30 days were over, we decided that we wanted to make it a lifestyle change for our family. We couldn't see ourselves going back to eating all the food that we had learned was so bad for our bodies. 

Since then, we have been following these basic "rules"...

*We eat organic fruits and veggies, bought locally when possible.

*We eat local, free range eggs.

*We eat (mostly) organic dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and milk

*We only eat 100% whole grains (bread, pasta, tortillas etc). And I make most of them from scratch.

*We don't buy or eat anything that has ingredients that we can't pronounce & wouldn't cook with at home.

*When we do buy something pre-made from the store, it has to have 5 ingredients or less. And they have to follow the previous rule.

*We use all natural sweeteners, such as honey or maple syrup. Sugar is used in moderation, and when it is used, it is real sugar, not Truvia, Splenda, Equal, etc.

*We buy things plain/unflavored, like yogurt or milk, and flavor it ourselves. 

For a further explanation of the "rules" and more information about how to successfully eat real food, go HERE.

We don't follow the rules 100% of the time. We still go out to eat at restaurants that we know have processed food, we still let Jax have birthday cake at parties, and I still go through the Starbucks drive through when I'm craving some yummy coffee. But most of the time, I add some cocoa powder, organic half and half, and maple syrup to my Keurig-brewed coffee and it's equally delicious. 

It may seem crazy or a bit over-the-top to some people, but it is what we feel is right for our family. I'm no expert, but I would love to answer any questions you may have. 
Stay tuned for Part 2 {Cleaning Supplies and Toiletries}, and Part 3 {Budgeting}.


-Recipes mentioned above-

Berry Syrup
2 cups organic berries (fresh or frozen, thawed)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water

Combine in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender or in a stand blender. Pass through a fine sieve, let cool, then pour into a squeeze bottle and store in the fridge. 

I mix this into plain yogurt or milk, or use it as a topping for waffles and pancakes.

Chocolate Syrup
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup water
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

Combine everything but vanilla into a small saucepan over medium hight heat. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let cool, then pour into a squeeze bottle and store in the fridge. 

I use this to make chocolate milk or hot chocolate.

 1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup steel cut oats
1/2 cup raw slivered almonds, chopped
1/2 cup cashews, chopped
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 250*. Cover a small rectangular baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Mix oats, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl and set aside.

Heat butter and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. turn off heat then stir in vanilla and salt. 

Pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet, using a spatula to spread it out evenly.

Bake for 75 minutes then let cool to room temperature. It will harden as it cools. Break into large chunks to eat as granola bars or into smaller pieces to eat as granola. Store in an airtight container. 

I eat the larger pieces as a snack. I eat the smaller pieces with milk and cut up banana, or as a topping for yogurt with berry syrup. 

Cheese Crackers
8 oz cheddar (or other mild cheese), shredded
4 tbsp butter, cut into cubes
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp salt
Up to 3 tbsp cold water

Pulse everything (except water) in food processor until it resembles course sand. Pulse in water 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove dough, wrap in plastic and chill for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350. Roll out dough and cut into desired shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, or until crispy

Monday, March 25, 2013


It's been awhile since I have posted some recent iPhone/Instagram pictures. As always, you can find me on Instagram as jennahansen. 

I'm super excited because I finally got a new Macbook! My old one was... well, old. So we decided to sell it to Best Buy and get a gift card. We've slowly been selling our old Apple products and we got about half the amount to buy a new computer, so Ryan went and got me one a few days ago! I've been blogging from my phone or iPad for the last few months so I'm happy to have a real keyboard again. Not to mention the ability to organize my pictures. 

Speaking of pictures... these go all the way back to when we got our keys to the house 3 weeks ago. 

This was our last date with our park friends in Brentwood. Kayden and Carter are twins (you wouldn't know it, huh?) who were born just 8 days after Jax. These three were pretty inseparable... We sure do miss them!

Our beautiful new home!

Moving day with my girl

Lexi's skinnies and (knock-off) sparkly TOMS. Love!!

I love to cook, and I make home-cooked (real food, from scratch) meals about 90% of the time. This was baked chicken parmesan, roasted broccoli, and whole wheat noodles with browned butter and parmesan cheese. It was all sooo yummy!

I re-did Lexi's name letters from her previous nursery. We are keeping things similar, but just updating them a little. Because our previous house was a rental, I never really got to do her nursery how I wanted. So I've been really looking forward to actually painting and designing things for her sweet room. I LOVE how these turned out. 

Don't let this picture fool ya'... she isn't mobile, or able to stand for very long, or pull herself up, or anything of the sort. And I ain't complaining!

We got this from Jax's Sunday School class last week. At least the kid is humble.... ha!

We finally got bedding for BOTH bunks! We are sticking with Jax's red and yellow guitar theme (since it can grow with him) and adding some blue, and the walls will be gray. I can't wait to get it painted and hang his cute guitar decor!

These two melt my heart. Jax can make Lexi belly laugh like nobody else can. It's music to my ears. 

Jax started swimming lessons last week. He has one-on-one lessons until he masters a few more skills, then he moves up the four-on-one class with kids his age. Isn't he just the cutest?!

And finally, this little girl was playing peek-a-boo with the shower curtain and was cracking herself up. I mean, seriously, she was laughing so hard and kept giving me the cheesiest grins. I should have recorded it. 

Happy Monday, friends!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

To the Mommies

Sometimes being a mommy to little kids is hard. Okay, A LOT of the time being a mommy to little kids is hard. There are tons of happy, funny, joyful moments when the kids are playing together and making each other laugh and smile. But intermixed with those are hard times with fighting and crying and whining. Ohhhh, the whining. Add on some sleep deprivation and a chore list a mile long, and you can find yourself quite overwhelmed. But ya know what? You're not alone. Honestly, us Mommies (and Daddies) have to stick together and encourage one another. I've run across a few blog posts recently that do just that, so I thought I would share. Enjoy!


Thursday, March 14, 2013


I'm so bummed that Google reader is going away! That's how I read all my blogs! From what I've heard, most people are switching to BlogLovin, so I'll be doing the same. Click the picture below to follow me over there. I'm still figuring it all out, so please let me know if it doesn't work for you. You can also enter your email on the right to get my posts delivered directly to your inbox, if that is easier for you! And PLEASE comment with your blog address or how to find you on BlogLovin so I can make sure to follow you too!

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

8 months old!

I am so behind on blogging, but this move has me all out of sorts! We are finally feeling settled in our new house. Everything went smoothly with closing on the house and moving in. Things are mostly unpacked, now we are just trying to organize closets and drawers, and start decorating! I can't wait to make this beautiful house into a home. 

While all this craziness was happening, my Lexi girl turned 8 months old! 

She is at a really fun age, but her mean teeth are getting in the way of it. She has major mood swings. Sometimes she is the happiest, sweetest baby... then other times she clings to me, refuses to let me out of her sight, and fusses non stop. However, I am loving that she is entertained by sitting in the playroom playing with toys and watching her brother play. The TV also works as a good distraction if I really need her to be content for a few minutes without me :)

I would give some stats from this past month, but I'm pretty sure nothing has changed between 7 and 8 months! She still wears size 3 diapers, 6 month clothes, isn't mobile, likes food, and is teething. The only changes are that she has her two bottom teeth, and one top is almost through. The other 3 surrounding top ones are soooo close. I can't wait for them to come through so that she can stop being so snotty and drooly! Overall, she is such a joy, even through the teething, and I cannot believe we are rounding in on her birthday! It'll be here before we know it!

Happy 8 months, beautiful girl!