Saturday, August 27, 2011

How To Not Eat Tunafish, But Not Miss Out

Tuna fish is so high in mercury that consumer reports recommends that pregnant women eat NO tunafish. Here is the article. Because of this, I don't feed it to anyone in my family, even though we all love the taste and need to eat fish.

So I have found a super cool way to completely substitute tuna fish with packaged Wild Alaskan Salmon. Wild Alaskan Salmon is on the super-low mercury list and is pretty much the safest/bestest fish you can eat and serve. On its own I think the packaged salmon tatses too fishy. But I played around with it and made it taste so much like tuna fish that even my son will eat it disguised as a "tuna" melt on a bagel, and he thinks he hates salmon.

1. Put the contents of the Wild Alaskan Salmon packet  in a colander and rinse it through to get rid of the fishyness, (You can find the salmon packet in the canned meat section of the grocery store).

2. Squeeze or dab the fish meat dryish with a paper towel.

3. Put it in a bowl that you can store in the fridge when you are done, and stir in mayo (your choice amount). For A.J. I use use Helmann's canola oil-based mayo, since she can't eat soy and regular mayo is soybean oil-based. The canola oil-based mayo is displayed right with the regular mayo so you don't have to search the grocery store. You can also get some canola oil-based Spectrum brand mayo in the Greenwise section of Publix.

But for myself, I use regular Helmann's Mayo. It just tastes better.

4. While mixing in the mayo, really squoosh the salmonfish with the spoon. This makes the texture more smooth like tunafish.

5. I don't add salt, (the fish is already salty enough) but I do add a little garlic powder because I am a garlic fiend and also it is very good for you.

6. Stir in a a couple of drops of organic lemon juice or if you are really organized, fresh lemon juice.

With lots of mayo, and spread on toast (GF or regular alike) , this Wild Alaskan Salmon tastes delicious. I no longer miss eating favorite food on the planet, because I have a great alternative. The important part it that you are eating healthy fish instead of mercury-filled fish. My personal favorite is a Tunafish Salmonfish Melt on a toasted garlic bagel. Yum.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Piggy Paint Love

We love nail polish. But I don't like putting it on my girl's nails since nails are porous and nail polish has phthalates in it which are deemed carcinogens by the EPA. Here is a lovely article to scare your pants off.

But instead of worrying about the whole thing and instead of missing out on beautiful finger nails, we buy natural, chemical-free, Piggy Paint.

You can order it here. They are $9 each.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Corks and Colors Commercial - Super Cute Art Party Studio!!

This evening we filmed a commercial for Corks and Colors - paint, sip, create! It is a super cute studio where you can have a birthday party, girls night out or a fun date night. Customers create a painting and/or candles and the teacher gives step-by step instructions on how to make each piece. You can do exactly what she says or deviate and follow your own creative path!

To sign up, simply go to their website and check the calendar for what piece is being offered on what day. Then choose the date and purchase the supply fee online. Then you are good to go! It is such a cute idea. I'm thinking A.J.'s next birthday party?
We had a great time filming. Here are a few stills we took from the video footage. We can't wait to put the commercial together. Look for it next month on Cox Cable!

Check out their Facebook page.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

My 2 New Must-Haves For Easy Peasy Healthy Lunches For Back To School!

Happy Tot Organic Superfood suddenly showed up in my neighborhood Publix yesterday. This is what caught my eye:
1. Organic
2. GFCFSF  and sugar free.
3. BPA free packaging. that means that the inside is not lined with plastic that leaches estrogen-mimicking molecules into our kids food.
4. Fruit and veggies mixed together. Because of the antioxidants and because there is no "junk" in it, this is the perfect food for spectrum kids (and for "typical" kids too).

I am all about easy and this is such a time-saver for me...meaning I don't have to make my own "superfood" for the kids.  I used to buy a similar item to these Happy Tot's, but it was not listed as BPA free and it was $1.50 per snack.  That was too expensive for me. I can just swing this at $1.00 per snack.

You can find these little treasures in the baby aisle next to the baby food. And obviously they don't have to be for just "tots and tykes". I don't think the packaging looks too babyish so I don't think the kids will get teased for eating babyfood.

The lids are a bit much for most kids to deal with on their own at lunchtime, so I unscrew the lids to break the seal...then screw them back on again. After the seal is broken the screw-top lid will be easy for kids to un-tighten on their own.

Th bottom right picture is a chocolate almond milk juice box. Chocolate almond milk is a big treat for the kids, and for me too. It is delicious.  It is also a $1.00 so the kids don't get it in their lunch every day. But I like giving them chocolate milk sometimes because they feel like they are getting their sweet chocolate fix of the day. You can find this in the "Greenwise" section of Publix.

Almond milk is easily my most favorite alternative to cows milk. The kids love it too and we all have it with our cereal and drink it in a glass too. Almond milk is packed with calcium and nutrition and it tastes really, really good. These days I prefer it to cows milk and even have it in my hot tea. Rice milk is a bit thin and bland and I really don't like the taste of coconut milk (although coconut ice-cream is amazing).

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fast Lane's High-Energy Show at Bo Diddley Plaza

Jeff and Matt (of Platinum Digital Video) filmed Fast Lane's fun and funk show at Gainesville's Downtown Bo Diddley Plaza. Their show was a part of the Friday Night Summer Showcase. Check out the 2 videos below which include's Skyntyte's "Ain't Nobody" and their high-energy closing number.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Flower Girl Magic

A little girl in a princess dress with wide eyes...dropping petals... begins the fairytale magic of a wedding day. So when the doors open revealing the true princess, we cry with happiness...remembering the little girl she was, and the woman she has become.

1. B&W Picture
2. Girl in field

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My 3 Top Fave Restaurants in Gainesville

Hubby and I have been watching Gordon Ramsay's "Kitchen Nightmares" on Netflix. In every episode he drives home..."local, fresh, seasonal". This is what makes good, yummy food that people come back for.

There are 3 restaurants in Gainesville that I know about that follow this and they also happen to be my 3 faves. I would love to know if there are any others out there too.

Both Mildred's and Blue Gill are owned by Chef, Bert Gill. He gets his produce from local farmers and his animals/meat from the UF Animal Science Department. 
His menu at Blue Gill is small and seasonal and delicious. The burgers are amazing. Chef Gill calls the drinks, "sauce" and the "sauce"comes in Mason jars with ice and a straw. The food is oozing with freshness. With this and super-friendly service, Blue Gill is pretty much Gordon Ramsay's dream restaurant come true. Here is their facebook page.

Chef Gill's, Mildred's is like this too but it is more of a fancy restaurant in the evening. It is very reasonable at lunch time though and has great seasonal specials with amazing soup to boot. At lunch time I like how you just order at the register and they bring the food to your table. There is also a sweet help-yourself ice tea and water table. My favorite dish is the bruschetta. The toast toppings change often (see pic below) and are always amazing. Mildred's facebook page.

The Jones Restaurant in East Gainesville is, fresh, local and sustainable. has many organic food items on the menu too. The shiitake chicken dinner with spinach, goat cheese and garlic mashed potatoes is to die for and I constantly crave that dinner for days after eating it. Thanks to Maya Garner for giving G-ville such a delicious and healthy place to eat. Here is a link to their facebook page with more interesting info about the restaurant.

Top left: Chef, Gordon Ramsay
Top right: Chef, Bert Gill

1. The bar at Blue Gill
2. My fave dish at Mildred's, the bruschetta with soup du jour (often yummy butternut squash).
3. The specials board at The Jones, love this!
4. The snack plate at Blue Gill, which includes: Country Ham, Salami, Pimento Cheese, Deviled Eggs, Saltines, Cheddar, Cucumber and Tomato Salad
5. The amazing Chicken Shiitake from The Jones
6. A scrumptious Blue Gill Burger
7. One of Mildred's deserts 
8. Breakfast at The vegetarian sister's fave and goes every time she comes to town. I love how the eggs and fruit here are organic. I feel good about my kids eating here.
The photo's are from the restaurant's FB pages. Please see links above.

Here is a little video of Chef Gill preparing locally grown food. There is an ad first but it is short.

St. Augustine Wedding - Ken & Simona's Highlight



CEREMONY: St. Anastasia Catholic Church, St. Augustine
RECEPTION: River House, St. Augustine

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cool iPad Educational App

Today we looked at constellations on the iPad app, Star Walk, and then created our own. What's your favorite constellation?

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sneaky/Dazzling Photo Shoot Theme

I'm sure my sister who writes a popular fashion blog, appreciates the beauty of the clothes in these photos. What I enjoy is how the the photo shoot is staged to make it it look like someone in the room is sneaking top secret photos of the collection with their phone. The dazzling symmetry, light, color and texture is not lost in the pretense of amateur pics.

Valentino Fall Coture 2011
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Friday, August 5, 2011

A Tall Glass of Iced Lemonade For This Blazing Hot Weekend

Delicious Fresh Lemonade:
1. Wash 10 lemons
2. Roll the lemons on a hard surface with the palm of your hand to loosen up the juice.
3. Slice in half and squeeze them into a bowl using a manual juicer.
4. Remove any pits and if you don't like pulp, strain the pulp.
5. Boil a half-a-cup of water then stir in one-and-a-half-cup of sugar.
6. Stir sugar until it melts then remove from heat and add the lemon juice while the sugar water is still warm. Stir.
7. Add a tablespoon of lemon zest for a kick and a pinch of cinnamon if you choose.
8. Add 4 and a half cups of water to the lemon and sugar syrup. Ice it.
9. Pour and enjoy!

lemonade stand and jug
sign and pink lemonade

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Sweat It Out With ADORE

ADORE events teamed up with AXIS Training studio and together they are going to make some lucky brides look really, really good for their wedding pics. If anyone can make this fun, Amy of ADORE can. There is no better way to get to get to know your wedding planner than to go through a total body transformation with her there cheering you on! Check it out :)

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Yummy Easy Frozen Summer Snack

Sugar affects A.J.'s behavior seemingly 1000 times more than it does my other 2. And it just isn't fair to give her siblings lots of yummy ice cream while she stands by and watches. So instead we have frozen fruit and the kids LOVE it.

My favorite thing about this is just how easy this daily snack is and berries are full of antioxidants. This snack is made up of 2 bags of frozen, organic berries. There is no sugar on top, and I even manage to sprinkle in a few organic frozen peas "for color" and they eat it.

My kids do not like cooked peas. Frozen peas, however, are a different story. I have learned that they will eat pretty much anything that has "snow on it." We have to serve it right out of the freezer because A.J. tells me that she doesn't like the fruit when it is thawed because it is now "dead." Also, there is nothing messier than mushy half-thawed blueberries and don't pack them in a school lunch. This has been our after school/camp snack all summer long.

These small glass dishes in the photo are the glass containers available at Publix. They have BPA free plastic lids too and are great for refrigerating leftovers. I love that since they are thick glass, they are hard to break (OK dropped on hardwood...but not so OK on tile...done both). And I love that you can see very clearly, with a glance what leftovers are in there. I also enjoy how they look so neat and tidy all stacked up in the fridge.

You can buy organic frozen fruit at pretty much any grocery store. Here is a link to sign up for Cascadian Farm Coupons.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Satchel's Pizza

What is the farthest place from Gainesville that you've seen a Satchel's bumper sticker?

Today we went to Gainesville's famous Satchel's Pizza for a late lunch. About once a month here, we officially "cheat" with the casein part of A.J.'s GFCF diet and she has the gluten free cheese pizza. All 3 kids love it and A.J. gets to be a normal pizza-eating-kid for an afternoon. For lunch I get a slice and a salad. The salads here are famous for the generous portions of almonds, sprinkled parmasean, apple and secret recipe salad-dressing.

My hubby's family has been close with Satchel's family since they were kids growing up together in Jacksonville. Hubby remembers riding around with his older brothers in the van that is now an extra pizza room (see pic below). We love how there is a "junk museum" in the back, a children's play area inside and 2 playgrounds outside. So it is very easy to take the whole family...and the pizza is amazing to boot. This definitely is a local fave.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dreamy Dresses

1. J Crew , need I say more? 2. You will have to go to London to get this heart-wrenchingly beautiful vintage dress, but it is only £150. I discovered it on this blog and if it hasn't been snatched up yet (it was first blogged in March 2011) fly across the Atlantic and buy it here. 3. This dreamy wedding dress can be found at the amazing, amazing online botique, Claire La Faye. 4. I happened upon this romantic classic when browsing Gainesville's J&S Photography online wedding portfolio. 5. This light and lovely dress can be found on the blog of Gainesville's Footstone Photography.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Home Summer School

Up until last Friday, A.J. and my 6-year-old son had enjoyed 7 weeks of camp with swimming every day, sometimes twice a day. They played from 9am -5pm then came home filthy, happy and exhausted. After walking in the door and hanging up wet bathing suits and towels, we crammed in  bath, dinner, books and bed. Books turned into video games and I was worried their brains had turned to mush.

With 3 weeks left of summer at home, I thought the only way I could compete with summer camp and inspire the kids to learn and get ready to go back to school was to make a kind of game out of it, "Home Summer School." When I announced this plan they were intrigued. Mom was going to be, "teacher".  On Sunday I got out the huge notepad I almost sold at the garage sale but didn't, and wrote a schedule. I didn't know if it would work but my goal was to make it realistic. I was not going to get up at dawn since I stay up late editing.  Then I researched educational apps for the iPad that I had only used for work up until now. I realized with excitement that the iPad was an amazing tool for teaching. It would enable me to teach Spanish without knowing a word of it. This was going to actually work.

We had a blast today. The iPad helped with Spanish, science and multiplication tables practice and the Madlibs app was perfect for teaching parts of speech. As "teacher" I finally got the kids to learn a couple of chords on the guitar and notes on the trumpet. The little one had fun painting too and played along happily. Here are a few photos from our day.

Beautiful Things

Recently I have been looking for beauty. Here are a few things I have found. I like having small things around me that strike me as stunnin...