The Half-Crunchy Mama

Trying to live a natural life with balance

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Musings from a perfect Sunday

Yesterday was one of those days. The ones where I’m really treasuring moments with my Sugar Bee. It’s partially to blame on PMS; not only the fact that by itself I get a little sappier than usual, but that with the arrival of these emotional days comes the realization and acceptance that yes, my cycle is coming again. Not that I really thought anything was going to change this month, but you never know. God works in mysterious ways, and He knows that I am trying my hardest to leave this all in His hands. I succeed most of the time. At least I think so. He’s probably tired of hearing from me, but it is what it is.

This graphic that I posted on my Facebook page has to do with the rest of it. I scheduled this post on Saturday to come through yesterday morning. I didn’t know what my day would be like. Hey, I’m not a fortune teller or else I’d be hella rich right now. I had no idea how much this was going to speak to me as my day wore on. And it spoke loudly.


Every other month or so, The Russian has to work second shift at his job on Saturday and Sunday. This was his weekend. Of course I let him sleep in as I do most Sundays, he is also working very hard right now; working full time by day and going to college full time at night. He’s way short on sleep, so I let him sleep until 10 yesterday morning. (For the record, I can count on one hand how many times I have slept until 10 in the morning since Sugar Bee came along. The answer is ONE.) Yesterday, I really didn’t mind letting him sleep in.

All week long, I feel like I’m dragging this kid from one place to another; school, the store, Gigi’s or the nursery so that I can exercise, gymnastics, doctor appointments. We never stop moving. On Friday mornings we tend to laze about a bit since her gym class this school year doesn’t start until 11. Then along comes a Sunday like this. If The Russian isn’t working, it’s usually, “Where are we going to go today? What park should we go explore? Are we going to brunch? What is the plan for today?” I get it. He doesn’t see her (us) at all these days, so when Sundays come, he’s excited to do something. And that’s very sweet. What he doesn’t understand is that I’ve been running all week doing all of the millions of things that I do on a daily and weekly basis, including my actual job, and sometimes I might just need a little nothing time. To be honest, I’m actually not very good at nothing time, but I’ve learned how to force myself into it after having a kid. It might be that it comes along so rarely now that I’ve learned to appreciate it. A lot. And I’m appreciating it for Sugar Bee. This is what the first two-and-a-half hours of our morning was like yesterday.


I could not have asked for more. I was so relaxed, with nothing to do (aside form the tons of things that I could have done around the house that I was purposely ignoring) that I had drank the entire pot of coffee before I told her to go wake up her papa. We hung around, sitting on the couch, watching some TV, chatting off and on, and just snuggling. Doing nothing. It was so lovely and peaceful. My cup runneth over. Perfect Sunday morning.

After The Russian left for work, I figured I had better get Sugar Bee and I dressed so we could leave the house and go do something outside for a little while. I knew there was something going on at the the square, so I looked online and saw that it was the 20140928_135800Whole Hawg Happenin BBQ and Music Fest. Perfect! Lunch, music, and fresh air, just what we needed before nap time came. So off we went. We had a great time eating and listening to music, and our good friends came to meet us a little while later. My friend managed to get a few pictures of Sugar Bee and I, pictures that actually aren’t selfies/usies for once.  After getting a taste of her first snow cone (I shudder to think about the sugar and food coloring, but hey, we all survived eating that crap, right?), it was soon time to leave…and way past the start of her nap time. As usual, I rocked her to sleep, but this was one of those times when I thought my chest was going to explode out of love. Her little arms wrapped around my enormous-feeling rib cage took my breath away. I had no work to rush back to, no conference call coming up to distract me from this moment. What a perfect day we were having.

While she napped, I worked on a recipe post (that will now get published after this one), enjoying some quiet time to focus on my work here. I am finding such joy and inner happiness when I can actually get a new post out. I wish I had more time and hope that one day I will. I have so much to talk about and to share, and even more recipes! When she woke up, I wasn’t ready to finish working. A long time ago, I committed to making Sundays the day I don’t turn on my computer. I was always successful with it until I started this blog and my Facebook page. 🙂 I am still pretty good about sticking to it most Sundays, but I’ve decided that this makes me happy and if she’s sleeping anyway, what difference does it make? So I offered her a choice of two of her favorite (monitored) activities, painting or dough, and set her up in the kitchen to play with her “play dough.” I need to take a half-crunchy minute here and share that there is this great company, eco-kids, that makes awesome products. Their eco-dough is made with all natural ingredients and essential oils, and is gluten free. Did you know that regular old Play-Doh is not safe for kids allergic to wheat? And it can make your pets really sick. I have a lab that is under two years old, so that was also a driving factor in buying their product. Made in the USA, too!


photo by Shannen Yauger Photography

Back to the story. So after dinner, it was business as usual. Bath, milk-couch, stories, and then bedtime snuggling. And that’s when the day and feelings all hit at once. When we have real quality time together, just the Bee and I, things can really be so amazing. She really is a part of me, taken from my body. The connection we have is almost like an electrical current sometimes. The Russian likes to make jokes about how when she was a baby, she always knew when I got home or even just walked by her room because she would start stirring in her bed and often wake up. This still happens at three years old. I have been starting to think that it’s not necessarily that she’s acting up when I’m in a mood, but rather she is feeling my emotions and is my mirror. She doesn’t know what to do when I’m not myself….whoever that is. When I am feeling really awful, just holding her in my arms or giving/getting a good squeeze from her takes it all away and actually makes me feel better. It’s incredible, really. She is my only. And I am hers. As I rocked her, thinking about the saying that I had posted above, I could feel the tears start to sting my eyes. The next thing I knew, she moved her arms from around my ribs up to my neck. The tears silently fell as we rocked in the dark. She squeezed my neck and I wanted to sob for a moment, amazed that this little person knew exactly what I needed at that point in time. And then she took all the distractions from my thoughts, about the passage of time, my worries below, my yearning for another chance to do this all over again. She alone quieted me and my spirit. My angel.

I work from home. When she’s not at school, she’s with me almost every other minute of the day. We have a strong bond, and I love it. But it also worries me. Yes, I would love to have a gaggle of children, but I’m already of advanced maternal age, so as I said earlier, it’s in God’s hands now. Yet I want to give her a sibling. For so many reasons, none of which I think my husband understands. He may not ever and he may not even be able to.

The Russian is an only child. He was also the only grandchild on his mother’s side, and they helped raise him. His aunt did not have children of her own, and she loves and cares for him as if he were hers. She’s the reason and way that he came to America, and her love for him is something fierce. But as you can imagine, he might have been a little spoiled (and still kind of is). I have found through my life that a lot of onlies have some qualities that those of us with siblings don’t have, and vice versa. I’m not comparing only children to those with siblings to be negative, rather I’m just stating my observations and opinions based on my own personal experiences of my close to 40 years on this revolving orb.

Growing up with a brother or sister, you are rather strictly encouraged to do things like share and apologize. Now sharing is something that can be worked on through things like school, and I can go either way with this one, really. I mean, how often are we expected as adults to share our stuff with another person? The apology part is one that has been an issue with The Russian and I. My thoughts are that without a sibling in your life, you don’t get as many opportunities to understand that an apology isn’t only about being sorry for something that you did. You can (should) be sorry that something you did or said made someone sad and that warrants an apology, regardless of whether or not you are sorry for the actual act. It’s called empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. We are usually forced to say that we are sorry to our siblings, if for any reason but to appease our parents, but we are still learning valuable lessons that will transfer over to all of our future relationships, romantic or platonic, such as honesty, communication, humility, and owning up to doing something wrong. In my opinion, the most important thing that apologizing teaches us is forgiveness, not only forgiveness of others, but of ourselves.22432_437215065701_3235817_n

I want Sugar Bee to learn this piece. I am trying my best to model this for her and many other things that I deem important for her social development; the areas of social development that are often facilitated by having a sibling. (Read this article to get more insight into my thoughts.) She’s doing very well in the apology department and I’m not ashamed to take credit for that one on my own. I have apologized to my kid for more than my share of less-than-fabulous-mom moments. I talk things through with her when I apologize and it really looks like I’m getting through to her. She even tells me why she’s sorry when she apologizes, so I think this one’s a win. For now.

Aside from these few social aspects that I’m touching upon (I could babble about my observations on this topic), there are two other huge things that make her being an only a struggle for me to accept sometimes. Of course from a financial perspective, one child is great. Especially in a world when both parents often have to work and are not necessarily doing it because they want to. Hell, I would love to be doing this full time, be freed up to do all sorts of things with my kid, coming up with new recipes, and a ton of other things, but this is where my life is, and it is what it is. And it suits me right now. Add a second child in to an already overachieving life that doesn’t get much help from the other half because he has no time or energy, and people would probably think I had lost my mind if I came out and said I was knocked up. But I would love it and make it work, because I always make it work.

So one of these fears of mine is that she ends up spoiled. Like badly spoiled. A little here and there is fine, but I know me and how I am. I know that I am a tough mom and I have expectations, sucks for her for having a mom that used to teach preschoolers, but I can’t control how crazy in love I am with this little blond creature that IS the center of my universe, no matter how much I try and hide that fact from her. She is feisty and strong, independent and smart, and she’s going to give me a run for my money every day for the rest of my life. I have to give her lots of attention. This is the only way that I can teach her to channel all of her outstanding qualities, to focus them to work in her favor, and help her to develop into the strong woman that I know she will be. It’s all about balance, but I still worry. I only want the best for her, and that includes not being a spoiled brat.

Then there is my biggest worry for her – being alone when The Russian and I are sick, dying, or dead, when one of us is gone and the other isn’t capable of much. Yes, I’m being melodramatic and this is hopefully far, far away from now, but it’s a real thought. We are guaranteed nothing in life and we never know when we will leave. When both of my grandmothers passed away (a week apart), I watched as each of my parents turned to their siblings. They had someone else to lean on, to fully understand what they were going through, to mourn with. As much as my relationship with my own sister has been hot and cold through the years, I know we will have each other when the day comes with each of our parents.

I don’t want Sugar Bee to be alone. She won’t have me to lean on. I won’t be able to help her or give her advice. My own mortality won’t allow that. A friend and I talked one day about this very subject as her parents are aging and it’s all on her. I don’t want my sweet girl to have to make decisions about our care by herself and to have all the responsibility on her shoulders. I want her to have someone to share the burden. The Russian’s aunt approached me about having another child and is aware that I’m all for it, and have been since Sugar Bee was about one. She also agrees on my thoughts about a sibling, especially for when we are old. The death of each of her parents was rough for her as they were still in Russia and she was here. She told me that she didn’t know how she could have gotten through everything without her sister. When I explained that this was one of the main reasons I think it would be great for Sugar Bee to have a sibling, she understood even more. One can dream.

10612781_10154599168145702_6446323892731177138_nShe is growing so fast and no one can slow it down. As fast as she grows, I’m aging even faster. She will be off to kindergarten before I know it, and then I will blink and she will be graduating high school. How much longer will I get to have Sunday mornings like this, hanging out on the couch together? It won’t be long before she wants to go to the BBQ fest with her friends and not hang out with her mama. It’s life and change happens. I just worry I will hang onto her too tightly if she remains my only. I know I will struggle with letting go as she gets older and doesn’t need me as much, yet I hope to hide it from her as best I can. But I know she will know. She will feel it. She is the best thing that I have ever done in life. I just want to give her everything she will ever need. My only.


Cinnamon and Spice Sweet Potato Chips

I have two very good friends of mine that have embarked on their own healing journey after (finally) listening to me and going to my naturopath.  I have some stubborn friends…that I love to death..and their stubbornness is working in their favor. My voodoo doc is really so incredible and I’m beyond thankful for all she has done for me and my family, and now I have been witnessing theCinnamon and Spice Sweet Potato Chips | The Half-Crunchy Mama transformation within these two fantastic and important women in my life.

Their journeys are very different from mine, yet I have tried to give them all the support that I can. My journey was difficult for very different reasons and I didn’t have anyone aside from The Russian (who thought I was even crazier for a bit) and my mom who was all the way back in New York to lean on for support and understanding. I hope that I have helped raise these women up to meet their challenges as they are both very dear to my heart. For some, the natural path can be extremely difficult to walk. Especially when there are serious things to deal with.

Even though I have dietary things to follow (and I’ve been slacking lately and feel like crap), nothing compares to what these two have been dealing with. Interestingly enough, they are ridiculously similar in the way they need to eat, probably for the rest of their lives. I’m used to eating and making strange things for meals and snacks, so I always look forward to getting together with either of their families because with all of our dietary restrictions, we all eat the same way and there are no stupid questions asked like, “What are you eating these days?” or “Why can’t you eat (insert whatever)?” when trying to plan the menu and who is bringing what. No embarrassment, no feelings of needing to explain ourselves, just feelings of acceptance and a level of comfort that puts us all at ease.

So the reason for my post. These two can’t eat much these days. One of them is a lot farther along in her healing and has started adding some foods back in, but there are lots of things that will probably never re-enter her diet. And for my other friend…what a trooper she is trying to be. She keeps testing the limits of her “new” body, but finds out rather quickly that she needs to cut the crap out and find other ways to fulfill her cravings. This is where I come in. Or at least I’m hoping to.

Cinnamon and Spice Sweet Potato Chips | The Half-Crunchy Mama

This past May, my gym had a contest going called “The Biggest Mover.” It was to see who attended the most classes for a month or something, I really don’t remember the rules, but all you had to do was have your instructor initial a paper and then you drop it in a box on the way out. Sure, why not? The first week (I think it ran for 6 weeks), I won that week’s prize. I think that was a random drawing, but I won a nifty gym bag that I have been using since.

I ended up winning the whole damn thing and my prize was the basket in this picture. I was actually pretty excited about it. The loot was 4 cans of coconut water (I don’t like plain ones, but whatever), a bag of goji berries, a bag of golden berries, a bag of shelled hemp seeds, a bag of chia seeds, and a great little cookbook. I have been playing around with the recipes when I have time, and have been hopeful to give my friend some snacking ideas. This one was a big hit with my other friend’s family, and mine.

So I thought she could eat sweet potatoes, but as I was writing this, she tells me she’s going to try and pull them. WTH? I’m putting this out there for her and all my Paleo folks as they are allowed sweets, as I like to call them. I literally told her in our Facebook message, “Maybe with the spices and chia seeds, you can handle them as those additions should handle the inflammation that it casuses. Just my uneducated-i’m-not-a-doctor-but-know-some-things opinion.” Then she reminded me that she can’t do ANY seeds. BULLSH#T! So of course she will leave them out, as will any of you that need to follow the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol for anyone that doesn’t know what that means) diet. Regardless of her leaving them out, at least she can quickly and easily make a potato chip that will satisfy both the need for sweet and salty, with a crunch!

There are a few other recipes from this book that I will be sharing as I work through the book and tweak ones as I see fit. One in particular has been a BIG hit with my other friend’s family and my own, and another I have fixed up a little to be easier to work with and enjoy. Stay tuned for more tasty recipes that can be traced back to this book.

Why chia seeds? Rich in fiber, omega-3s, antioxidants, and amino acids, and almost all the carbs in them count as fiber.

A 1 ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains:

  • Fiber: 11 grams.
  • Protein: 4 grams.
  • Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s).
  • Calcium: 18% of the RDA.
  • Manganese: 30% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
  • Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.
  • They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.

Chia can aid in weight loss as they can help reduce food cravings by preventing some of the food that you eat from getting absorbed into your system. This blockage of calorie absorption makes them a great diet helper. They can help you feel fuller faster because they absorb 10 times their weight in water, forming a bulky gel. They are often used as hydration for athletes because the “chia gel” can hydrate the body. They may reduce your blood pressure as evidence has suggested that they can reduce blood pressure. They are rich in Omega-3s, and are the richest plant source of Omega-3 (the vital fats that protect against inflammation—such as arthritis—and heart disease). In fact, they contain more Omega-3 than salmon! They can also be beneficial for diabetics because chia seeds slow down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrates into simple sugars, and studies indicate they can control blood sugar, leading scientists to believe chia seeds may have great benefits for diabetics. And they are easier to digest than flax seeds, and don’t need to be ground up. Give them a try! Add them to yogurt, smoothies, baked goods, anything that you can think of. They are annoying and a pain to clean up (not to mention they can hang out in your teeth – pet peeve!), but they are worth it!

Cinnamon and Spice Sweet Potato Chips

This is a great sweet and slightly salty, crunchy treat to replace store-bought potato chips. I go a little overboard on the spice quantities because we like flavor in this house. Figure out how spicy you want to make them. These are cheap, fast, and easy to make, and barely make it through the day in our house!

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 lb)
  • 3 Tbsp EVOO
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Few pinches of sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 300ºF.
  2. Peel the potatoes and slice into paper-thin disks, or however thin you can get them. A mandoline would probably be best for this. (I had success using the flat blade from my spiralizer after using a hand-held mandoline slicer last time that made the chips a little too thick and chewy.)
  3. In a large bowl, coat the potato disks with the EVOO and chia seeds. In a small bowl, combine all the spices.
  4. Spread the chips out in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet(s) and sprinkle the seasoning over them, and then sprinkle with salt.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until crisp, flipping about halfway through. (I seem to end up baking between 30-35 minutes, so the time depends on your oven and how thick they end up being.)
  6. Store in an airtight container, if you don’t eat them all before nightfall. Enjoy!

Cinnamon and Spice Sweet Potato Chips | The Half-Crunchy Mama


Why I’m not going to tell you that essential oils fix everything

Don’t get me wrong, oily friends. I am definitely in love, borderline obsessed, with some of the magic that these little oils have delivered for me and those in my life over the past several months. Essential oils can be very beneficial to us, but I just don’t think that they are a cure. Yes, I have read some testimonials and seen actual proof of healing, but I believe that those cures are the exception. Some of the wonderful benefits that I believe in include ridding the home of toxic chemicals for cleaning and freshening the air, boosting the immune system, providing natural pain relief, and easing a variety of symptoms from anxiety to insomnia, digestive issues and allergies to migraines, acne, and insect bites. The list is actually endless and if you ask me about what oils you can try to help aid with something that you struggle with, I’m positive that I can come up with a few ideas to try. Naturally.

Did you notice the words that I chose to use above? Easing a variety of symptoms. This is my point. It’s one that I could receive quite a bit of flack over from serious oilers, but I have to get this out of my brain. It’s actually making me feel a little crazy (there’s an oil for that) and I really want to tell everyone that the oils seriously CAN help and to give them a try, but don’t ignore me because you are judging and think this is some silly fad that only crazy hippies are a part of. Remember, I’m only half crunchy. This means that I don’t believe everything, especially anything that gets hyped up. I’m educated and consider myself to be a fairly intelligent woman. I don’t believe in miracle cures and I certainly trust that there is a time and a place for medications in our lives. Just not to the extent that we medicate ourselves in this country.

Here are my two cents on the subject of oils. In terms of our health, they help ease the symptoms that we experience. This equates them to medications in my book. Medications mask the symptoms, providing relief. They don’t fix problems, but they allow us to live comfortably or with the appearance of a healthier existence, think blood pressure medication, insulin, and other things that help people stay alive. Does going on insulin (not applicable to childhood diagnosis) or blood pressure medication “fix” the sugar or pressure regulation in your body? Or would diet, exercise, and addressing the why actually fix it? I’m speaking in general terms here, but I think you get my point.

The only way I am able to think about getting and maintaining a healthy body is following the way that I got here. After many failures with conventional Western medicine, I turned to functional medicine (my voodoo) and naturopathy. On my journey, I learned that we should only use whole food supplements to fuel and try to correct things that are missing from or are misfiring within our bodies. Whole food supplements are not the dead garbage that most of the population buys in the vitamin stores, but actual supplements that are made from food, herbs, and depending on the use, desiccated animal organs. Functional medicine gets to the root cause of the symptoms that we experience and can actually help correct, even retrain what is malfunctioning. I may have the same symptoms as my best friend, but our bodies are experiencing them because of completely different reasons. The supplements that we each would need to address and correct the issues will probably be very different. Individual treatment. I’m not going to say that this cures everything as that is way too strong of a word, but it comes as close as possible. And yes, some things have pretty much been eliminated from people’s lives or thrown into remission, including mine, but other things can be managed with supplements. I could babble on and on about this topic, but will save that for another time.

Aside from engaging in functional medicine, which included whole food supplements and homeopathics, NAET (allergy treatments), and BRT (body restoration technique) treatments, the deeper change had to do with my lifestyle – diet, exercise, drinking, smoking, the environment, and stress. We are a whole unit, a body, so why don’t we ever look at the bigger picture? Deep down, we can trace almost everything back to diet and exercise. (The environment has been playing a much larger role in our lives for the past few decades, but I will save that for another post.) I had already learned what foods work and don’t work in my body in the years before I started learning about naturopathy, but I didn’t necessarily know how or why my body reacted the ways that it did. I digress. Let’s get back to the oils.

Can oils help? I say yes. Emphatically! Things I have personally experienced and witnessed:

  • Deeper, more restful sleepHalf-Crunchy Mama
  • Little to no snoring (the Russian)
  • Relief from aches and pains (muscular)
  • Back pain relief
  • Anxiety gone
  • Calming atmosphere for the entire family
  • Less bloating
  • Increased digestive health
  • Clearer, healthier skin
  • Healthier hair
  • Insect bites disappear
  • Stronger immune system
  • Nicotine craving support
  • Increased energy and adrenal support
  • Allergies
  • Fighting colds and coughs
  • Safe and healthy cleaning in the house
  • Safe and healthy air purification and odor elimination
  • Hangover relief
  • Arthritis in pets

There are more, but that’s what I’ll share for now.

Do I ingest them? A few I do. I have found great results with bloating, cravings, and weight loss adding a few drops of grapefruit, lemon, and peppermint to my water. (I would only recommend ingesting Young Living oils as they are the purest available.) Those are the only ones that I personally have ingested, but I know a few people that have had amazing success with improving their gut health by ingesting others, like DiGize.

What do I love? I am obsessed with Joy. I huff this sh*t all day long. Okay, I’m not that bad, but some days it feels like it. It makes me happy and has really evened out my hormones…or at least it feels that way. The other one that I love is called Tranquil. I’ve been using it at night and I haven’t slept this good in a very long time.

Am I careful what I use with Sugar Bee? Of course I am, not only because of her age, but because she is so sensitive to everything around her. I almost always dilute them and only apply them to her feet as her skin is extremely sensitive. She loves them and has responded really well (future post). She will ask for her lavender for any bug bites and that is the only one that I don’t dilute. The huge, swollen bumps disappear before our eyes. I can’t debunk actual proof, as hard as I may want to. I was skeptical at first, even though my voodoo doc was helping guide me. It took a little time for me to get comfortable with them, and now here I am, spouting about what they can do.

Does the Russian use them? You bet he does. He has learned that all the crazy, crunchy crap that I do really does produce results. Lasting results. The proof is in the pudding as they say. Actually, I never knew anyone to actually say that outside of using it for a case like this, but whatever. Through the years, he has seen the dynamic changes in my body and how it operates, and this is no different. The results that he has personally had with some skin issues and his snoring alone has made him a supporter of this oil craze…that has been going on for decades in the real crunchy world. Other countries around the world have used essential oils to aid in treatments throughout history, and still do. Oils have been used for centuries, but to our society it just looks like another fad. It shouldn’t be this way.

Am I going to tell you to throw out all your medications, never go to a doctor, and only try to fix things with oils? Hell no. My daughter has a life-threatening allergy to pineapple. We actually have Benadryl in the house for the first time ever, but we MUST have it in the house, along with her Epi-pen. We are aiding the natural treatment of her other allergies using the oils and have been very pleased so far. Anything that can help!

If we can get away from all the pain medications that we take that make it even harder for our bodies to operate the way they are supposed to, I’m all for it. PanAway has helped me incredibly with my back issues and Deep relief is awesome for muscular things, including headaches and muscle aches from my workouts. This doesn’t mean that I’m never going to go to my back doctor again, but if I can save a little time and money without doing harm, finding relief when I need it, I’m game. I personally don’t take anything (unless I can’t move), but in general, we make our livers work so hard already without adding Tylenol, Advil, or whatever that has to get filtered through this important organ that we should jump at a form of natural relief. When you add in allergy medications, hormone replacements, anxiety and antidepressant medications, ADD/ADHD treatments…the list is endless…our livers get full of junk that make it weak, thus weakening many other systems in our bodies. We can look for other ways to support our bodies and help ourselves.

Will the oils help? Most likely. Will they fix the root cause? I don’t think they will. Some things they do and it’s obvious, like with Sugar Bee’s mosquito bites disappearing after applying lavender, a pimple clearing up with melrose or purification, warts and body tags leaving the body using Thieves and Frankincense. Most importantly, they can ease the symptoms of other aliments while you figure out the cause and find a way to naturally heal and help your body to thrive.

If we can get away from the barrage of harsh and toxic chemicals in our homes, stressing our respiratory systems, our brains, and our organs, then let’s do it. Bug sprays, household cleaners, scented candles, plug-in air fresheners, and so many other things that we don’t even realize are exposing us to chemicals on a daily basis, disrupting our endocrine and neurological systems.

I have had issues with household cleaners for years. It took me so long to realize why I would feel sick for several days after cleaning the house…weeks if I cleaned the oven. Thieves cleaner has been a gift from heaven for cleaning the floors, the kitchen, and my oven. I had to stop using the plug-in air freshener things when Sugar Bee came along. Her little body couldn’t handle them and what an improvement when we removed them from the house (not to mention the carpet in her room). We almost never use scented candles, despite how much I love the smells. Now that I have diffusers in the house, I don’t have a need for them. I can make my own scents to fill the house and they will have an added benefit (or 3 or 4 depending on what I’m diffusing) for us all. Even the pup! Peace and calming has been diffused every evening and now the witching hour in our house is all but gone. Bonus!

I would think that this society of instant gratification would love the oils right away because of how fast they work. I’m not exaggerating at all. I get relief in minutes, whether it’s emotional, physical, or physiological in nature. I have shared some of my experiences this far on my Facebook page and in one of my first posts the I have linked in a few places already, Snoring? Backache? Hangover? Allergies? Bug bites? My oil solutions (Part 1). Essential oils have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier as they are made up of such tiny molecules. Relief comes fast. We love them.

Give them a try. What have you got to lose?

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Creamy Veggie Tagliatelle (yes, it’s gluten free!)

How I came up with this recipe is twofold. It was partially due to what I was craving and knew I had in the house, and the rest was inspired by a recipe used for the photo on this box of pasta. I had found myself scoping out the egg pastas as I was craving some egg noodles, hoping to find some gluten-free ones so that Sugar Bee would be able to eat whatever I ended up making. All of the ones at the particular store I was at contained wheat. This was my very first time trying this brand (whether egg or plain pasta) and the success from this meal was the reason I ended up using this brand for my Eggplant Ragout one night. My thoughts that I shared in that post about choosing the spaghetti are identical to when I first picked this box up. In fact, I’m pretty sure that this was my first experience with Jovial pasta, but egg pasta IS different from regular (as regular as GF can be), so I think those thoughts are still valid here. I took one look at the box and between the “100% organic” and “Product of Italy” on the label, I was sold. Italians know what they are doing with pasta, glutened or not.

Creamy Veggie Tagliatelle - The Half-Crunchy Mama

Upon further inspection of the recipe on the box, I realized I had most of the ingredients at home and I could make a dish like this with minimal investment during this trip to the store. I was getting close to payday, so of course I was short on funds and looking to maximize my spending. This was so cheap, fast, and easy…just how I like my weeknight meals to be.

I took a large zucchini and julienned it, giving me about 3 cups of shredded zucchini. Then I sliced a sweet onion into pieces that mimicked the shreds. That was the extent of my prep work.

I melted 3 tablespoons of Kerrygold butter in a pan over medium heat. I threw in the onion and about 2 teaspoons of minced garlic from a jar, and sauteed for about 2 minutes. I threw in the zucchini shreds and about a cup and a half of  matchstick organic carrots from a bag (no prep!), tossing everything in the butter to coat. After adding some sea salt and fresh ground pepper, I let this all cook for about three minutes until the veggies started to soften a little, but kept their bright colors. I removed the veggie mixture from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving behind any leftover butter drippings.

Creamy Veggie Tagliatelle - The Half-Crunchy Mama

 I cooked the pasta according to the directions on the box and then returned the saute pan to the stove over low heat. I added 3/4 cup of regular whipping cream and a cup and a half of grated Parmesan-Pecorino cheese, stirring until the cheese had melted. I then returned the veggies to the pan, tossing to coat them well in the creamy cheese sauce.

After cooking and draining the pasta, I returned the noodles to the pot and poured the creamy veggie sauce over them, combining well to plate a perfect summer pasta dish.

Creamy Veggie Tagliatelle - The Half-Crunchy Mama

 The absolute best part? This dish reheated PERFECTLY, unlike a typical Alfredo or cream sauce that you would make for a pasta dish. Bonus!

Creamy Veggie Tagliatelle - The Half-Crunchy Mama


Creamy Veggie Tagliatelle

A jazzed-up version of a recipe on a box of pasta, with extra cheese, added garlic, and lighter cream. I would think you could serve this over spaghetti squash, too, in case you are living completely grain free.

  • 3 Tbsp butter or ghee
  • 1 onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic (I used jarred)
  • 1 large zucchini, julienned (about 3 cups)
  • 1.5 cups matchstick carrots (bagged is perfect)
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream (heavy cream not necessary)
  • 1.5 cups grated Parmesan-Pecorino cheese
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  1. Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, cooking for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the zucchini, carrots, salt, and pepper, and toss well to combine and coat in butter. Cook for 3 minutes. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Cook the GF tagliatelle according to package directions. When finished, drain and return to pot.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, return the saute pan to stove over low heat. Add the cream and grated cheese. Heat until the cheese is melted. Return the veggie mixture to the pan and toss to coat in the sauce, heating until warmed through.
  5. Pour creamy veggie sauce over the cooked pasta and stir to combine well. Serve and enjoy! (Even leftover!)