Tropical Storm Isaac

We were over on the coast during Tropical Storm (Hurricane?) Isaac, so we decided we'd take a walk on the beach when the rain subsided.  We explored all along the shore, and on our walk we found quite a few turtle egg shells, a prayer box, and the neatest seed (at least we think it might be a seed) that looks just like a fish eye.  I was particularly glad we came across the turtle shells because it gave Little Guy a chance to see and feel how they are different from chicken eggs.  We imagined the prayer box was from a shipwreck that washed ashore, which made it a bit magical for Little Guy. 

We picked up some garbage we'd found and carried it to it's rightful place.  Little Guy was outraged that there was so much garbage along the beach.  We'd recently seen the movie Bag It! about how plastic affects our planet, so Little Guy was well aware that it was harmful to our ocean life.  We decided that everytime we go for a walk on the beach we should each pick up at least one item to place in the garbage/recycle bin. 

Isaac was a great opportunity to talk with Little Guy about hurricanes. He's been very interested in the weather since we've had some pretty serious storms this summer.  

And when we returned from our walk...





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Wellness Wednesday



"The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature."

Joseph Campbell
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Following our Bliss

Our Cast of Characters

I'll start by saying that we live in an awesome, coastal, Florida town that's all about community and activity. We run a local business (feel free to check it out), and love to support other local businesses.


Hubby is very social, and loves trying new things, meeting new people, and exploring new territory.  He also has a serious love of mountain biking.  If you hear about someone doing something off the wall, it's usually him.  He's always down for a good time.




Little Guy born in '07, is such an empath.  So sensitive.  Caring for others always seems to be his main focus.  We call him our 'little diplomat' because he goes out of his way to socialize with people and always tries his best to avoid hurting others' feelings.  He's also ridiculously funny.  Not slapstick, "I'm trying to make you laugh right now" funny.  He's legitimately, naturally born funny.  Verry witty.  It's just his way.


Like Hubby, I  love adventure and exploring.  I love my family more than life, but I also love solitude, and get overwhelmed by being around too many different energies at once.  I love nature, and would gladly live in a cabin in the forest (in a state with much less humidity).  I love thrifting - one man's trash is another man's treasure - plus, it makes me feel great knowing that I've prevented something else needlessly being tossed into a landfill.  believe that this moment, right now, is all we're guaranteed, so there's no use in fretting over anything.  Sure, sometimes I need to remind myself of that, but I really try to strive for mindfulness.

Our Big Guy, born in '03, moved up north in late 2011 to live with his mom after living with us for the four previous years.  He comes to visit though, so you haven't seen the last of him.  He's Little Guy's complete opposite in every way, which sometimes works out pretty well, since they rarely ever both want the same food/toy/color/etc.  He's our engineer, who's been puzzling and making Lego creations that I'd never even imagined possible since he was a preschooler. 


The newest addition to our bunch, Baby Boy, was born in '13.  We are loving getting to know him and learning about his personality. You know when you hold your baby and he lays his head on your shoulder and snuggles in to you?  Well, I don't.  This boy always has his head up looking around.  A baby with a baby soul - he doesn't want to miss a thing!  Born unmedicated and exclusively breastfed, he was my chance to really experience motherhood for all it's tribulations along with the triumphs.


Hubby and I are all about living as holistically as possible, within reason. We don't really promote traditional medicine around our home. We try to eat as close to natural and processed-free as we can, but we absolutely aren't extremists. We don't see anything wrong with sometimes, just eating what you want. Moderation is certainly the key word. We don't want to incorporate junk into our daily lives though, and we've actually found that when we eat junky foods we feel awful. Little Guy, without fail, throws up everytime he eats too much junk.

Hubby and I love to stay active by hiking (ok trekking - we live in Florida) through the woods, running, biking, and skimboarding.  Little Guy loves our lifestyle too.  He's always been an outdoorsman.

We all try to live every moment and experience all that's around us.  Time spent together is much more precious to us than acquiring more stuff. 


 Welcome to our world. 

 
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Splashing Around


Summer in Florida is hot.  It really is.  There's so much humidity; the air is heavy, like a blanket.  Sometimes I feel like I should put my hands out in front of me to cut through it, like I'm swimming underwater.  Days like these, I'm glad we have a local splash park.  For only four dollars I can take the two boys all day if I choose.  I don't choose, because I would probably have a heat stroke, but an hour or two is perfect.  

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Black Bean Chocolate Cake

Yes, you heard that correctly.  Sugar-free and flour-free chocolate cake made using black beans.  And it's delicious.  Seriously. 

I was browsing Pinterest when I came across a pin of a scrumptious looking slice of chocolate cake made using black beans and NO SUGAR and NO FLOUR!  Now, that's something you don't see every day.  On the recipe the girl swears that it's yummy and that you can't tell it's made of black beans.  Pshh, yeah right.  I had all the ingredients (except one) so I tried out the recipe the very next day. 

Let me tell you, she was right!  It was absolutely delicious.  Does it taste like chocolate cake from a box or a bakery?  Absolutely not.  But does it taste like black beans?  Absolutely not.  I would say it's a bit more cheesecake-y in consistency, in that it's more dense than sponge-like.  Very rich, but very good. 

 I used:
black beans
eggs
honey
sea salt
vanilla extract
butter
baking powder
baking soda
cocoa powder
coconut milk
*powdered sugar (She doesn't call for this. This is the ingredient I substituted in.)

That's it!!

It's ridiculously easy.  I served it to 6 people without letting them in on a thing- naturally, and they all thought it was yummy!  So, 6 people ate this cake (including my 5 year old) and no one could believe it was made of black beans when I told them.   
Here's the cake before frosting.

The only problems I found were one:  that I didn't have the xylitol that the recipe called for to make the frosting, so I substituted regular powdered sugar, and the frosting tasted sugar free (if you know what I mean).  I know it makes no sense, being that this is the part of the cake I had to cheat on and use real sugar, but for some reason the frosting had that aspartame-y taste.  It was very fluffy and and lovely consistency, I think had I used the xylitol, or even a stevia powder, it would have tasted better. 

And two: The original recipe calls for sprinking cocoa powder all over the pan, and laying down parchment paper before pouring in the batter.  I found that the areas where I had sprinkled the cocoa powder actually caused the cake to stick to the pan.  I think next time I would just grease the pan.  I'll probably still put the parchment paper down, just in case, but I don't think I'll add the cocoa powder.

Here's my version:

1 can of black beans (15 oz)
5 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
6 tbsp cocoa powder

Preheat over to 325 degrees, and grease a 9 inch round cake pan.
Cut a round of parchment paper to place on the bottom of the pan and then grease that as well.
Toss rinsed, drained beans with 3 eggs, vanilla, and salt in a food processor and process until completely smooth/liquid. 
In a bowl, beat the butter and honey until smooth and fluffy, then beat in the last 2 eggs.
In a seperate bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. 
Pour the bean mixture into the bowl containing the butter/honey/egg mixture and mix.
Stir in the cocoa powder mixture and beat until smooth.
Pour batter into the cake pan, rap on the counter to remove air bubbles, and place in the oven for 40-45 minutes.

The cake will be done when it's firm to the touch and a bit rounded in the center. 
Tip it onto a cooling rack 10-15 min after removing from the oven.
Frost immediately before serving. 

Since I was lacking xylitol and didn't care for my powdered sugar version of the frosting, you should FOLLOW THIS LINK to the original version of the recipe for the frosting. 

Let me know if you try it, how you liked it, and any modifications you made (especially with the frosting)! 

Special thanks to Live Renewed for choosing this recipe as the featured post for the Your Green Resource Pinterest Board!

*You can find this post and other ideas at: 

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Arrrgh!! Pirate Week!

Last week was our final week of organized activities of the summer.  We are taking a few weeks for Little Guy to relax and just do whatever he wants while I organized for when school starts up again.  Since we were coming off of our Ocean and Beach theme, I thought a really fun idea would be to center everything around Pirates for the last week of scool.  Boy, was it!  Little Guy loved this theme!!
Over at 1+1+1=1, I found these great printables in the Jake and the Neverland Pirates Kindergarten pack.
I glued these characters to cardboard to make it seem more like a game.  Little Guy really enjoyed guessing which number was missing over and over again.
This coin matching activity was a perfect challenge for Little Guy.  He's been very interested in coins and thier value lately.
I printed out the 3 part cards, glued them to posterboard, and we used them to play memory!

Over the Big Moon also has some great Pirate themed printables.  That's where I found the cutting practice page pictured below.  I also used ship stickers on strips of paper for some extra cutting practice.

Sort the Planks
We used these forked picks as planks for Little Guy to match to thier corresponding numbers.  One through ten is just way too easy now, so we had to add in eleven through twenty.
 For our artsy craftsy activity, I found this cute little box for Little Guy to decorate as his own Treasure Chest.
Our favorite part of the week was our Treasure Hunt!  It was a blast! 

I created a treasure map and directions for Little Guy to find the map. 
I folded up the directions and hid them outside for Little Guy to find.
We followed the directions to the Treasure Map's hidden location.  Little Guy couldn't believe it when we found the map! He asked, "This looks old, do you think God put this here?"  It was so cute!
Little Guy then had to use the pictures on the map to figure out where in the yard the treasure might be hidden.
He was so excited to find the treasure!  Here's a look at what was inside:
Just a few items from the dollar section at Target.  Little Guy loved them!

For your Pirate reading/viewing pleasure:





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