Two More Healthier Habits

posted by Andrea | 01/9/2017

I’ve had this post “brewing” for several months now, but I decided to wait until the beginning of the new year since not many people want to read about healthier habits right before the holiday season 🙂

I suspect many of you will be focusing on your own healthier habits over the next few months, so I figured it was perfect timing to share TWO more healthier habits I hope to follow through on this year.

As you might know already, I’m not a huge health nut.

I don’t do fad diets (or really any diets), I don’t count calories, I don’t stress about eating organic, I willingly eat some processed foods (and feed it to my family), and I rarely exercise outside of normal daily movement.

HOWEVER, over the past 5+ years, I’ve made a conscious effort to SLOWLY incorporate several healthier habits into my (and my family’s) daily routine. I’m sharing my healthier habits from past years later in this post, but first…

My 2017 Healthier Habits:

Being ever-faithful to my “all things in moderation” approach to healthier living, I have 2 pretty simple healthier habits I hope to incorporate into my daily routine this year.

1. Start flossing.

I never floss… EVER!

Dave, on the other hand, has always faithfully flossed twice a day (you think it would rub off on me after 10+ years).

Although I currently have no dental issues, I know flossing is important — and I think (hope) 2017 will be the year I finally start flossing on a daily basis.

My goal is once per day — I think I can do that!

2. Use maple syrup instead of Mrs. Butterworth

I’ve been thinking about making the switch to real maple syrup for a long time already (probably close to 2 years) but I’ve never done anything about it since I personally prefer the taste of the “corn syrup syrups” over real maple syrup.

Plus, it’s SO EXPENSIVE!

However, considering the fact that I make pancakes or waffles almost every single morning, I figure my kids have already consumed gallons of corn syrup in their short lives… not exactly ideal.

I know there will lots of push back from everyone when I make the switch (I’m waiting until we use up the last of our gigantic jug of Mrs. Butterworth) but I’ve already been coming up with ways to win them over when they whine for their old favorite syrup!

NOTE: After reading through this post, Dave requested that I consult him before making any future healthier habits as he is NOT in favor of maple syrup 🙂

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Are you feeling motivated yet?

If so, here’s a look at my past healthier habits:

2016 = Eat less processed meats.

I started out really strong with this new habit. I was making beef roasts, turkeys, chickens, hams, and steaks on a regular basis — and then using that meat for lunches, soups, casseroles, and leftovers. Delicious!

Then summer hit and we broke out the salami and summer sausage with cheese and crackers (my kids FAVORITE!) I tried to get back on track when school started, but then it was just so easy to buy deli meat for Dave’s lunch — and the kids were still begging for summer sausage.

So, I’m still making beef roasts, turkeys, chickens, hams, and steaks for dinner (and eating these for my own lunches) but I’m also buying Dave his beloved deli meat and letting my kids eat summer sausage. At least for now!

Here’s the link to the amazing steak dry rub pictured below.

2015 = Eat better quality breads and healthier fats

We are still rocking this habit 2 years later. We eat much higher quality, more nutritious bread, and I’ve even started making some bread and rolls from scratch again (although I have no intentions of doing this exclusively).

We’re using high quality olive oil on a regular basis, I keep telling myself that hummus tastes just as good on raw vegetables as ranch, and the kids will eat avocados… as long as they are “disguised” as guacamole!

No one in our family can get on board with “natural peanut butter” though, so we’re sticking with Jif on that one 🙂

2014 = Eat less processed cheeses and full fat dairy. (Sorry, no link for this one)

I come from a long line of skim milk, low-fat yogurt, margarine, Kraft Singles, and Velveeta cheese lovers… and while my kids and I will still eat any of those items, I decided that it was time for some healthier, more nutritious substitutes in our fridge.

My grocery cart is literally 50% dairy products almost every single week, so switching to higher quality cheese and full-fat dairy was a HUGE blow to my grocery budget. But considering how much cheese, yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese, butter, and milk our family consumes on a weekly basis, I have a feeling the extra cost is worth it.

As an example: I buy SIX 32 0z. tubs of yogurt every week (plus several individual cups of yogurt for Dave’s lunches). I stock up on block cheese when it goes on sale, but I estimate our family eats at least 3-4 pounds of cheese every week. We go through 3+ gallons of milk every week, 2 pounds of sour cream, 2 pounds of cottage cheese, and at least a pound of butter — more if I’m doing a lot of baking.

I still let my kids have gogurts as a snack, I still use already shredded cheese for my casseroles, and I don’t stress about buying “full fat” if I can’t find it on my once-weekly grocery trip; but for the most part, we’ve stuck to eating much better cheeses and full-fat dairy for the past 3 years.

I honestly can’t say I’ve noticed any health difference in my own life, so I guess it’s just psychological that I KNOW we’re eating higher quality!

2013 = Swap butter for margarine.

I’ve known that margarine is not a healthy or nutritious food for years — but the cost of butter over margarine swayed me every time.

Since 2013, I have swapped butter for margarine about 97% of the time. There are still one or 2 baking recipes that turn out so much better with margarine versus butter, so I reserve the right to keep some margarine in my freezer 🙂

I also still keep Crisco in my pantry because I make this amazing M&M cookie recipe that uses straight Crisco… and butter just doesn’t cut it!

Here’s a really quick tip to soften cold butter without melting it… and here’s how the kids and I made our own butter!

This was also the year I started walking a lot more — at the time, I just walked with Nora, but now I regularly take all 3 kids on daily walks to run errands around our small town.

2012 = Drink more water

I’ve been a big water drinker ever since college, but I kicked it up a notch in 2012, and have been drinking tons of water ever since.

When Nora was born in November of 2o11, I almost instantly began to feel thirsty ALLLLLL the time. My lips were chapped, my skin was dry, and I knew it was more than the cold winter chapped skin.

I quickly learned that nursing a baby ’round the clock requires lots more water consumption — and since then, I’ve been pretty conscious about how much water I drink each day.

My goal is to drink two 24-oz. water bottles (this is the water bottle I’ve used for years) and I can usually tell pretty quickly if I’m falling behind. I’ll start feeling very thirsty, sometimes I’ll get a headache, and I even start feeling lethargic — all just because I’m not getting enough water. If I go more than a couple days without as much water, I can even start to see a difference in my skin!

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I hope you see that even though I’ve been quite intentional about adding several healthier habits into my life, I have done it VERY SLOWLY (over the course of many years.)

I’ve made one or two SMALL changes at a time, and I didn’t add more changes or more goals until the previous changes had become true habits for me (to the point where I didn’t need to think about them anymore).

This slow-but-sure method basically eliminated any sort of overwhelming feeling I so often hear from others who try to completely overhaul their diet or their health journey in one huge New Year’s Resolution.

Also, with each of these new healthier habits, I leave some wiggle room. There are always exceptions to every “rule” — we eat summer sausage, Mrs. Butterworth, Jiffy peanut butter, processed cheese, and gogurts on occasion, and we are still alive.

FOOD is not a battle I’m willing to fight, or a hill I’m willing to die on.

I will do my best to give my family healthier, more nutritious options and model a healthier lifestyle for them, but I won’t drive myself crazy if I can’t find full-fat yogurt at the grocery store or my kids eat Mrs. Butterworth syrup with a spoon (hypothetically, of course!)

If you’re on a quest for a healthier, more nutritious diet, I’d highly encourage you to start small. Make one or two small changes this year… and do your best to stick with them until they become a habit. Then, and only then, consider adding one or two more small changes.

Over time, it WILL make a difference… and in a couple years, you might just be amazed how far you’ve come!

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69 comments

  1. Lara

    01/10/2017

    I am so glad to hear you are switching to real maple syrup!! It is so much better though I will agree it takes some getting used to. But honestly, it comes from a tree!! How cool is that. Maybe take your kids to a “sugarbush” tour in March-ish. (They do one at Blanford). It’s really fun, great for kids. I went a few years back and they show you how maple syrup is made. When you consider what is required to make maple syrup (time, energy, etc), you’ll be asking yourself, “why is it so cheap!”

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, I’ve thought about looking into Blanford Nature Center — we’ll see if we make time to drive out there!

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  2. Lisa Rindal

    01/10/2017

    Have you tried making your own syrup? I love real maple syrup too but when I am feeling too cheap to buy it I just make a simple syrup with 2 parts sugar (I like brown sugar) and 1 part water with a splash of vanilla and pinch of salt. Just bring it all to a simmer for a couple minutes or you can heat it In the microwave. Store extra at room temp in a mason jar. It is not as good as the real maple syrup but it is still pretty darn good and surely it is healthier than the store-bought stuff made with high fructose corn syrup

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  3. Debbie

    01/10/2017

    I think I just found the maple syrup and banana sauce recipe. Give this one a try.
    http://allrecipes.com/recipe/199893/maple-syrup-and-banana-sauce/

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow — that sounds amazing! Thanks!

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  4. Debbie

    01/10/2017

    I floss every evening, unlike my husband who would floss every now and then. I have more time in the evening so flossing is quick and easy. We switched to maple syrup and we’ve not turned back. My husband didn’t like the switch initially but now he gobbles his pancakes without any problem with maple syrup. Maybe one way to win your family over is to mix fruit with the syrup. My mom used to make pancake topping by mixing maple syrup, butter and cut up bananas in a sauce pan. She cooked it down until it was thick and the bananas softened. I wish I can give the exact measurements of the ingredients but she never measured. Anyway, it was so delicious! Maple syrup is the bomb!

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  5. JJ

    01/10/2017

    You are one of my favorite bloggers ever! And your note about Dave is hilarious. I could see my husband saying the same thing!!! It’s neat to see that slow and steady gets you farther in thwhich long-term race of life. This year we *just* started doing 50/50 ground beef/ground turkey for all of my ground beef recipes. We will see if we stick it out.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks 🙂
    And good luck with the 50/50 ground beef/turkey!

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  6. Kristen

    01/10/2017

    Have you ever tried substituting plain Greek yogurt for sour cream? I don’t even buy sour cream anymore, I just use Greek yogurt and I haven’t noticed a difference! I just made your chicken enchiladas this weekend and used yogurt instead of sour cream, actually 😉

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yup — definitely. However, sour cream is much less expensive than greek yogurt, so I only do this if I run out of sour cream (which doesn’t happen very often!)

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  7. Jade

    01/09/2017

    Yay! I’m glad I’m not the only non-flosser. (And my hubby was – unfortunately – my bad habit rubbed off on him!) Several years ago, flossing every night was my resolution and I did it. (Even when it meant climbing out of bed because I forgot!) It took over 30 days to become a habit – but it did become a habit. Sadly, on NYE that year, I decided to skip and now I’m back to trying again. LOL

    Also – not sure if they still do it – but when I lived in Michigan, The Cranbrook Institute of Science used to have maple sugaring tours to teach you how to tap trees and about the syrup process. I’m not sure where you live in Michigan – but Cranbrook is in Bloomfield Hills.

    Happy New Year!

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  8. Cathy Howell

    01/09/2017

    I have made this recipe for 34 years and all my children say I have ruined them because they can’t buy syrup anymore. I will add the vanilla syrup recipe too YUM!!
    Maple
    1 1/2 cups brown sugar(packed)
    3/4 cup water
    1 Tablespoon butter
    Dash of salt
    1/2 tsp maple flavoring
    Mix the brown sugar, water, salt and butter in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add in flavoring. Simple. Enjoy

    Vanilla Syrup
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    1 cup butter
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp vanilla (add last)
    Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. As it warms, wash sides down with wet brush to get sugar off the wall of the pan. Watch it carefully as it rises, once it boils, boil 1 minute. Take off heat and add 1 tsp vanilla. Enjoy!!

    Not the healthiest of recipes but you said it “Moderation in all things” . A little piece of Heaven. I have 5 kids 5 spouses and 10 grandchildren so that is 22 of us and they all need mommas’ syrup when we do family outings.

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  9. Karen

    01/09/2017

    Andrea ~ I am so with you guys on maple syrup…….I don’t like the taste at all. My youngest eats pancakes a lot and I don’t worry ~ I just make sure the brand I use doesn’t have HFC in it. It’s really the worst thing she eats for the most part and I don’t put much on her pancakes at all. Yes, flossing is a good thing!! I learned that lesson the hard way after not listening to my husband either……. 😉

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  10. Rachel

    01/09/2017

    This cracks me up because I was an “only real syrup all the time” kind of gal growing up. It horrified me when I got married that my husband not only didn’t care what kind of syrup he had but that he actually preferred the fake stuff! Slowly, over time, I won him over to my side and now, 10 years later, he literally can’t touch the fake stuff anymore. Hopefully your husband will come around–the consistency is a bit hard to get used to if you’re used to thick stuff, but the flavor (and health benefits) is well worth it.

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  11. Elizabeth

    01/09/2017

    I grew up on real maple syrup, in an area where it is made and each year a trip to the syrup hut was a big exciting thing. 40 years later I moved to the south where I ran into the corn syrup maple-flavored syrup. Leaving aside the flavor (which is the real reason for eating it anyway), the texture is what gets me. It just feels like slime when I taste it. If you are trying to get away from corn syrup (an excellent goal after reading lots of scary stuff online) and the family really doesn’t like maple syrup, you could make your own fruit syrups using fresh or frozen fruit and sugar.

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  12. Chris K from Wisconsin

    01/09/2017

    I was doubtful about maple syrup, also, but we buy it from Costco…it is organic, and much cheaper than the brands at the grocery store. Keep your Mrs. Butterworth bottle and mix it w/ the maple syrup. Honestly, if you do this for a few weeks, I bet no one will know the difference ~ especially the kids. It is great to use in baking, too. I’m glad you changed to full fat dairy, too. So many “things” put INTO the products to make them “lite”. It makes me laugh when people who are into totally organic everything then add “LITE” dairy products to the recipe. Negating the whole intent!!!! All we can do is try ~ one day at a time!!!! (I totally agree with you on peanut butter).

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  13. Kim

    01/09/2017

    Have you ever tried agave syrup as a healthier alternative? I like it so much more than maple syrup. It has a more neutral sweet taste like artificial pancake syrups have. It’s low glycemic and the price point is better than maple syrup too!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    no, I haven’t. But I did think about it. I might have to give it a try 🙂

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    Karen Reply:

    Don’t use agave ~ it’s not healthy at all…..sorry!
    http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/agave-nectar-latest-health-food-scam/

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  14. Carol Triebel

    01/09/2017

    I’ve always made my own maple syrup and you might want to try this as well. Boil one cup water and add two cups sugar. Bring back to a boil and add maple flavoring. It’s better with real maple flavoring rather than imitation. Simmer for a bit–not too much or you’ll have candy and your teeth will stick together. My mom always did this and we were spoiled by warm syrup all the time! Enjoy your blog and my children are in their 40’s!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Carol! A few others have mentioned making my own too — definitely a viable option!

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    Alison Reply:

    I use this recipe but I reduce the sugar to 1 cup otherwise it crystallizes too fast in the fridge ( I don’t want to make a fresh batch every day). It’s thin, but tastes good. We use real maple syrup as a treat and I also can berry syrups in the summer to change things up. My kids prefer the real stuff – go figure!

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  15. Linda

    01/09/2017

    You could save a ton of money by making your own yogurt. I use my Instant Pot to make mine but yogurt can even be made overnight in a low oven (though I’ve never tried this method). It really doesn’t take much time to make your own and you can control the add-ins yourself (probably with a lot less sugar).

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I know… I actually used to make my own using the slow cooker overnight… I really have no excuse not to do it again, it just seems like too much work now (I know how pathetic that sounds coming from me, but it’s true!)

    I think the main thing stopping me is that I have to go to a different grocery store to buy the “special” milk I need for the yogurt. I’ve essentially stopped “shopping around” and only go to 1 grocery store every week. It just feels like too much hassle to drive to a separate store just for the milk to make yogurt I could simply buy at the first grocery store. Someday… I will get back to making my own!

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  16. Emily

    01/09/2017

    I have always loved your approach to health changes. Simple and easy and definitely more likely to stay with it. Our family loves real maple syrup! We even tapped our own trees a couple years ago and made our own. It was an involved process but super fun and great for us to learn about. I second everyone who says buy it at Sam’s or Costco. Or buy it in bulk from someone local (we get it from the same farm we get our milk from) around late March/early April after tapping season is complete. And I’m with you on the flossing…never a habit I’ve been able to keep up with. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Emily!
    Nora LOVES the idea of tapping trees to make syrup (we read about it the Little House books). It would be fun to visit a syrup “farm” — I might have to look into that this year!

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  17. Kirsten

    01/09/2017

    Have you tried the Adams No- Stir chunky peanut butter? Still healthy and natural but same taste and texture as skippy or Jiff. I made the switch a few years ago and my picky, PB loving daughters didn’t even notice.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    nope — never heard of it. I’m off to check it out now though. Thanks!

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  18. Kalyn Brooke

    01/09/2017

    I’m a non-flosser too! I don’t really have a problem with cavities {only 1 in my 29 years}, but I still *know* it’s something I should probably do.

    I also agree with you about those cookies. I love using real butter when I can, but those cookies are too good to pass up. I don’t think there will be huge consequences if I make them every once in a while! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, thanks for the fabulous cookie recipe. It’s a favorite around here!

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  19. Katie

    01/09/2017

    As someone who grew up on real maple syrup, I can’t ever get pancakes out to eat unless we’re out somewhere that offers the real stuff – I just can’t do the fake stuff! Once you get used to it, you’ll never look back!

    Costco has much better prices than buying at Meijer. There are never coupons for it. In the late winter look for it at your local farmer’s market as well and stock up – it only needs to be refrigerated after you open it.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I was just wondering if I could “stock up” on Maple Syrup if I ever find a deal — glad to know I can. Thanks!

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  20. Angela

    01/09/2017

    Gah…flossing. I’m with you. : ) After being embarrassed by being scolded by my dental hygenist, I’ve been making more of an effort though. I buy the little “flossers” and keep them in a pretty cup on my vanity, so they’re right there in sight and easy to grab. Not that taking floss out of the regular package is difficult, but for me the flossers have been handy and have helped me to do it more. Still not daily, but I figure even a couple times a week is better than nothing!

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  21. Christy

    01/09/2017

    Maybe try mixing some maple syrup with mrs butterworths to ease the transition to only maple syrup. I’ve had the same issue at my house. Right now I have them on Log Cabin all natural table syrup from meijer. Slowly getting them used to real maple syrup It’s not easy. Good luck!!

    [Reply]

  22. Marcia

    01/09/2017

    I am confused as to why you switched to whole fat dairy products. Everything I have read tells me that low fat dairy is much healthier. Could you please explain? Thanks.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    If you look at the labels, low fat dairy usually has A LOT more sugar and “other” ingredients in it as “fillers”. Full fat is actually quite a bit more nutritious in terms of real ingredients.

    For example, full fat sour cream is literally just “cultured cream” where reduced fat has a long list of ingredients that are definitely not real food. Same with plain yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese, etc.

    Granted, I’m not an expert, but you can literally find thousands of articles on this if you Google it 🙂

    [Reply]

    Celeste Capone Reply:

    Here in Central New York, I only eat clean & have no problem finding low-/no-fat dairy (1%milk, 1% lactose free milk, fat free Greek yogurt, low-fat cream cheese). No junk added! Only my butter & cheeses are regular fat. I’m able to get whatever I want from Wegmans, WalMart, Target, and Costco.

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  23. Morgan

    01/09/2017

    No! Dave! Maple syrup is SO MUCH BETTER than the sugar water! Seriously, once you get used to it, you won’t want to go back 😀

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  24. Brenda

    01/09/2017

    When I switched to maple Syrup, my kids liked it better. Also, I kept some of it in the fridge in a small mason jar. Then when we needed it, I just microwaved the small jar of it. Then we used a gravy ladle to “pour” it on. the kids liked ladling their own syrup. It might help with Nora to tell her that it is healthier. They talk a lot in school about healthy food choices. Or you can pour the good stuff into the Mrs. Butterworth’s bottle. It might take them a while to figure it out.

    [Reply]

  25. Sarah

    01/09/2017

    I love maple syrup! I put some in my coffee and oatmeal everyday. We are living abroad in Belgium for a year and a half and maple syrup was something I didn’t want to go without. We couldn’t air crate our supply over so we packed 6 quarts in each luggage that went under the plane when we initially moved over. My parents bring more this month when they visit. We are from Wisconsin and buy direct from the family who makes it from their own trees! We have helped tap the trees and have actually seen the entire process! I bet in Michigan you could find a local supplier and possibly visit and see the process if you wanted. It will likely be cheaper in cost and great quality. We pay $12 a quart, which is a really good deal! I even bake with maple syrup to replace white sugar. Maple-pumpkin muffins, maple-banana muffins, peanut butter maple syrup cookies… As you can see, I love maple syrup!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    WOW — that is intense! And yes, you’re right — we should totally try to find a local tree farm and go watch the process (I know there are many in our area). We read all about it in the Little House books, and there is a Curious George show about it too. That might be a fun “field trip” in a couple months!

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  26. Mary Swanson

    01/09/2017

    Andrea, I totally disliked flossing and never did it until about 20 years ago (I am 63). Then I found dental floss picks, which have a toothpick end connected to a floss end with about half an inch of floss attached. Game changer, I guarantee it! I get the ones that are designed for back teeth, but I find they work easiest for all teeth.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes Mary — I already have the picks 🙂 Dave says that’s cheating, but I say it’s better than nothing!

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    Carrie Willard Reply:

    Not cheating! And for some of us who have a smaller mouth/jaw, it’s easier to fit the flossers into our mouths. I have a terrible time flossing or brushing when I’m pregnant because it would trigger horrible gagging for me. Flossers are much easier.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh my word yes! brushing and/or flossing while pregnant is horrible for me too!

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  27. lauri

    01/09/2017

    When I first made the switch to real maple syrup, I didn’t realize that unlike the processed stuff it needed to be refrigerated after opening. Fortunately, at that same time a food blogger mentioned it, and when I went to check my bottle it did say refrigerate after opening, but in really tiny print that I wouldn’t have otherwise noticed. Just thought I’d pass along the info to read your bottle when you first buy it!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    good to know — thanks Lauri! I did not know that either 🙂

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  28. Brooke Shindler

    01/09/2017

    I made the switch to real maple syrup a few years ago, and I’ve never looked back. It may be more pricey, but I find I use a LOT less on my pancakes and waffels, so it lasts much longer.

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  29. Rhonda

    01/09/2017

    I feel for you in the switch to maple syrup. We tried that and just couldn’t deal with the strong flavor. I stumbled upon this recipe and while it still has Karo syrup in it I feel it is a bit better than what I was buying at town and it is absolutely delicious. And I love the fact it is easy to make. The only downside is that it must be stored in the fridge and after heating needs a gentle shake. I either warm slowly in microwave or place my bottle in hot water while I am preparing breakfast.

    Maple Butter Syrup
    1/2 c butter
    2 c brown sugar
    1/2 c hot water
    1/2 c white Karo syrup
    1/2 c milk or cream
    1 tsp maple flavoring
    Place first 4 ingredients in microwavable bowl. Cook on High 2 minutes. Remove, stir and cook on High 1 minute more until butter is melted and sugar dissolved. Blend thoroughly. (hint. I love my stick blender for this step) Do not let mixture boil! Syrup will be slightly thick. Add, while blending, the milk and maple flavoring.
    Some say with this syrup you don’t need to butter your pancakes but… sigh… I still love my melted butter puddles on top of my hot pancake 😉
    You may not be interested but some mix this and maple syrup half and half.

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  30. wilma

    01/09/2017

    if you want to feel better about the deli, you could buy the “free from” type deli meats–they don’t have nitrogen and other less healthy preservative type stuff in it.

    also, you could maybe try mixing the maple syrup w/ the corn syrup for a bit to try to ease the family over? it is so funny, because I’m from Canada and maple syrup is practically a national food item over here 🙂

    good luck, I love the “most of the time” and “good enough” philosophies myself, too!

    [Reply]

  31. Rhonda

    01/09/2017

    You have the key to changing habits – be specific, and start small! Most people make “resolutions” that are much to vague or overwhelming. I take back my recommendation to read the habits book by Gretchin Rubin – you don’t need it (although you might still enjoy it 🙂

    Also a note about the Amazon Fire Tablets I mentioned to you, if you ever get one – last week I learned how to checkout ebooks and audiobooks from our library using them – very easy process. The library systems across the country use an app called OverDrive. On those cold days when it’s hard to drag the kids out to the library, it’s a nice alternative to be able to download new books.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha!!
    I actually already DO download lots of ebooks from our library. I can also get them from Overdrive and from Hoopla for free using my library card!
    Anyway, funny story — I just finished my last ebook last night and the next one I’m starting on is the Gretchin Rubin one 🙂 We’ll see — maybe I’ll just skim it 🙂

    [Reply]

    Rhonda Reply:

    I like having a physical book to read, but I actually enjoy the ebook a lot more than I thought. I can see the advantages to reading this way.

    I liked Gretchen’s “The Happiness Project” a little more than her “Habits” book. There’s also a “Happier at Home” one that I started. It’s a lot of the same content as the other two. Let us know what you think 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    I also ordered the audio version of the Happier at Home book from our library. However, I don’t know how I’m going to listen to it because the only DVD/CD player we have is with our TV and I’m sure the rest of the house doesn’t want to listen to it all day long 🙂 I might just have to get the book for that one too.

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  32. Kim

    01/09/2017

    I use Log Cabin, I buy it at Costco as it’s WAY cheaper there. It does not have high fructose corn syrup.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Good to know — I will definitely check this out! Thanks kim!

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  33. Kim

    01/09/2017

    I buy Log Cabin at Costco as it’s WAY cheaper and doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup.

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  34. Heidi

    01/09/2017

    Yay for making the switch to real maple syrup! My husband wasn’t on board when I did it years ago, but he quickly got used to it and hasn’t complained since. Now the fake stuff makes me gag! I use maple syrup as a sweetener in so many things in place of white sugar…muffins, hot chocolate, desserts, the possibilities are endless. You might be able to get it cheaper at Costco or Aldi too! 🙂

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  35. Melissa

    01/09/2017

    My husband’s family makes their own maple syrup on the spring. He HATES “fake syrup”. He also can’t buy other really syrup lol. Has to be the stuff they make.

    Since I’m T1 Diabetic, I stick with sugar free syrup. I so wish I could have real maple syrup but it’s not worth the extra carb.

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  36. Michele M.

    01/09/2017

    When I started using maple syrup, I didn’t like the flavor very well on pancakes. I mixed it half and half with melted butter. I love the way it tastes and it helps make it go further. Sam’s club has a good price and I’ve also ordered it from jet.com for a pretty good price.

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    Michele M. Reply:

    Something else I thought of. Grade B syrup has the best flavor. Sometimes they call it Grade A dark amber. I do not like the flavor of regular Grade A at all.

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  37. Jamie

    01/09/2017

    We made the switch to real maple syrup a couple years ago. At first my kids and husband did not like it. After a couple times of trying it, they did start liking it. And now, of course, they love it. It will take time but it is definitely worth it. We buy the organic syrup from Costco…MUCH cheaper than at our grocery stores down here.

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  38. Pamela

    01/09/2017

    How about mixing the syrups? Start with 3/4 cup of Mrs. Butterworth’s and 1/4 cup of the real stuff, a few weeks later half-and-half, a few weeks later 3/4 of the good stuff and 1/4 of Mrs. Butterworth’s, etc.…

    I floss every other day. My dentist always laughs at me. But I just can’t do it every day!

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    Andrea Reply:

    This was my thought process too — it’s how I got myself to eat plain yogurt again 🙂

    Also, I laughed out loud when I read your flossed every day! I told Dave I wanted to start by simply flossing once a week, and he said that would be pointless. So I’m sucking it up and doing it daily (for now!)

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  39. Deb

    01/09/2017

    Maple syrup is one of those items, like yeast, that is significantly cheaper at Sam’s or Costco. $9.98 for 32 oz. at Sam’s.

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    Andrea Reply:

    That is a good deal — thanks for letting me know Deb! Our grocery store sells the 32 oz. jugs for $15 – $17, so that’s a good savings!

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  40. Katie

    01/09/2017

    Love this! Especially as a Vermont maple syrup producer!

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