Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Palm Trees in Nebraska

There are no palm trees where I live.   Now, don't get me wrong, I don't particularly like palm trees, but that fact was pointed out to me a year ago when we were looking for a house at our new duty station.  A dear friend -let's call him Mr. B - was offering advice on how to pick a good home.  "Make sure there are palm trees in the yard," he said.  "That almost guarantees you that it won't snow."

His words come to mind this afternoon as we prepare our van to run an errand, twenty minutes before I need to leave.  As I scrape ice off of our seven-foot tall vehicle and shovel the other half of the driveway that my husband didn't have time to do before he left for work, I am thinking about Mr. B's sage advice.  

Then something else comes to mind.  The image of my three boys who were doing these jobs yesterday.  It is true, lands with palm trees have no snow, but there are a number of other important things they don't have either.  There is nothing to compare with my young men shoveling and scraping in the cold so that their father can get to work or their mother can pick up milk. Real, physical labour that helps our family.  Not a chore or busy work, something invented by a distracted parent just to get the energy out of the house.  Good, honest, meaningful work.

After the work, comes the play.  The boys gathered with the boys next door and they built a fort.  Brick by brick, packed in with snow.  Water poured on top, turning it to an icy fortress.  My neighbour says it will probably be there in May.  They worked so diligently on that fort.  They are so proud.  And exhausted.

So they come inside to warm up around the fire with hot drinks.  Reminiscing excitedly about the highlights of their day's adventures.  Something about the glow of the fire adds a special spirit to the storytelling.  These are times we will cherish.

If it sounds like 1950's, Norman Rockwell America, it is.  A simpler time.  We've experienced it in one other place: rural, upstate New York.  Another place with no palm trees.  Another place where anyone and everyone waves as you drive by.  We used to comment on the friendliness of people in those towns. And it is true, most people were very friendly, naturally.  But the good will and strong sense of community is born out of necessity, too.  When the wind whips through at 40 miles an hour, the temperature drops well below zero, and help can be hours - or days - away, your very survival can depend on a neighbour noticing you wave as they drive by.  Your life can depend on the community's willingness to come together and share what they have.  It is much the same here.  

So, thank you, Mr. B., for your wisdom.  You were correct.  No palm trees means lots of cold and snow.  And that is a good thing. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Roll Film!

Ever have one of those days where you think, "This is like something out of a movie!"  One crisis follows another and the only thing missing is the dramatic soundtrack in the background.  That's today, only think more Three Stooges/slapstick film.  All that's missing is the "boing!" sound effects!  Only two things on my to-do list, but they're pretty crucial.  Lesson plans and lesson plans.  Oh, and did I mention that I picked this week to start potty training Daniel?  So, when the alarm goes off at 6, I roll over - oh, wait, can't do that because my bed is filled with sleeping boys.  Oh well, back to sleep for another couple of hours.  That means, of course, what with Rob gone, taking Daniel to the bathroom every twenty minutes, and getting everyone up and dressed, breakfast was at nine or so. 

Following breakfast, more potty trips between accidents (sploosh) and cleaning up from breakfast.  This potty training is a lot easier when you have only one perfect child.  First of all, for the past 8 months, Daniel has gone to the bathroom in his diaper mostly standing up.  Now, all of a sudden, I'm asking him to go sitting down.  This means that he sits on the toilet for 10 minutes (did you know that there were so many fascinating things to distract a child in a toilet's environs?), then, when Mama gives up and sets him on his feet, he pees (sproing)!  This atmosphere of distraction is aided and abetted by having four older siblings IN THE ROOM encouraging him.  Talk about performance anxiety.  It's not a huge bathroom, people. 

My mother-in-law who is still on Christmas break has offered to help.  She has a long errand to run, she says.  Can she take Katie?  The oldest, quietest one. (bong.)  I'm starting to giggle hysterically.  Sure, why not?  Finally, I have a moment to sit and gather my - oh, there's the phone.  Twice.  One is my mother, who after hearing about my morning encourages me to write about this.  You have her to thank for this post.  :)  No lie, as soon as I lay the phone down from talking with her, there's a knock at the door.  Just a quick drop-off from a family member, but I close the door, turn around and see that Daniel has peed in his pants again (tada!).  Back to the bathroom.  At some point in the morning I get him to go while standing up ON the toilet seat.  Not perfect, but it's a start.  Now...

Snacktime.  Of course.  They just ate an hour ago, but apparently their stomach acid is burning a hole in their empty bellies.  Another potty trip (boing) and everyone's settled.  I've managed to copy down my to-do list into my planner, when there is an interpersonal crisis (crash).  Once dealt with, it's lunchtime.  Fortunately, I have a plan and it all comes together quickly (light, happy music).  A quick game of telephone at the lunch table and everyone heads off for naptime.  And here I sit, the house quiet, no one stirring - well, almost no one, and I'm still not planning lessons.  Oh well, maybe next semester.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sweet 17

17 Days left! Less than three weeks to go! This 90-Day Challenge has been a great experience. It's been exciting to see what my body can and will do if I take good care of it and expect a lot from it. I've added a couple of other things to my original list. I've already lost the ten pounds that I'd hoped, and since I still have a few more to go before my ideal weight/shape, I'm adding another five pounds. I have three weeks to go to lose three pounds, but I think that's reasonable. Also, I've joined in a "March Madness" mini contest at the gym, which includes posting videos of my workouts and I'm going to try out for the softball team. (Softball is a strength for me, but tryouts are not!)

I'll post all of my reached goals and everything in a few weeks, but until then, here's this week's menu. A little late. (That hasn't gotten any better!)

Remember, if I've just posted a main dish, we add fresh or cooked veggies or a green salad to the meal, too!
Day 1:
Breakfast - Berries and Coconut Whipped Cream, Bacon
Lunch - Tuna Salad
Dinner - Taco Salad (no chips or beans)

Day 2:
B - Broccoli Latkes
L - Sprouted Wheat "SB&J" (That's sunbutter and jam)
D - "Burritos" with Cabbage Tortillas, Quinoa Tabouleh (Reminded this week that quinoa is technically not a grain. It has some of the same anti-nutrient agents, but a good rinsing and not eating it too often are good options.)

Day 3:
B - Za'atar Omelette - substituted Greek seasoning
L - Lentil Soup
D - Corned Beef w/Cabbage, Carrots, and Potatoes, Ballemaloe Brown Bread - Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Day 4:
B - Lamb Sausage w/ Artichokes - substituted beef sausage w/Greek seasoning again
L - Hard-Boiled Eggs w/Veggies and Sliced Turkey
D - Chicken Salad

Day 5:
B - Smoothies & Bacon
L - Turkey Rollups (with Avocado, Peppers, & Asparagus inside!)
D - Chicken Curry w/Cauliflower Rice

Day 6:
B - Eggs and Veggies
L - Pick-a-Snack (kind of like Hardboiled Eggs and Veggies, to be honest)
D - Beef Back Ribs and Brussels Sprouts (a new family favourite!)

Day 7:
B - Smoothies?/Eggs?
L - Leftovers
D - Bacon Encrusted Fish and Lemon Garlic Broccoli

Let me know if you try one of these and what you think!
Happy Eating!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

More Yummy Food!

Time to post this week's menu for those who are interested:

Day 1:
Breakfast - Smoothies & Bacon
Lunch - Egg Salad & Veggies
Dinner - Taco Salad

Day 2:
B - Scrambled Eggs w/ Veggies & Turkey
L - Tuna Salad & Veggies
D - Meatza

Day 3:
B - Fried Eggs & Bacon, Grapefruit
L - Leftover Turkey & Veggies
D - Lentil Soup w/ Sausage for Church's Lenten Soup Supper

Day 4:
B - Smoothies & Bacon
L - Hard-Boiled Eggs, Cheese, Veggies
D - Asian Slaw

Day 5:
B - Gingered Apple Crumble
L - Turkey/Green Bean Rollups
D - Green Ginger Soup

Day 6:
B - Eggs or Bacon or Turkey w/ Lemon Muffins
L - ?? Sometimes inspiration just doesn't come. We'll call this Spontaneous Day!
D - Sausage & Brussels Sprouts w/Ginger and Almonds (The kids love these sprouts!)

Day 7:
B - Green Eggs
L - Leftovers
D - Burgers, Fries, Veggies & Birthday Cake for the 5 year old!! We'll keep it as clean as we can!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

45 down and 45 to go!

Halfway done with this 90-Day challenge and things are going well. My weight loss is levelling, but my strength is not, and except for a couple of spectacular failures, our family's nutrition is excellent! It has been encouraging to help others along the journey and to be cheered on by new friends. I'm looking forward to this last half and then continuing in these new habits.

Back by popular demand (okay, two people have asked), here is this week's menu. As always, make substitutions and tweak as necessary. And let me know if you want more info on something!

Day 1:
Breakfast - Smoothies & Bacon
Lunch - Fruit, Cheese, Turkey, and Veggies
Dinner - Fish Salad - layer baked whitefish, avocado, tomato, red onion, and cilantro in glass dishes/glasses, drizzle with a lime juice, cumin, olive oil dressing

Day 2:
B - Freezer Bag Omelets
L - Tuna Fish w/Lettuce
D - Nutty Peachy Salad (scroll down on linked page for recipe)

Day 3:
B - No Oat Oatmeal
L - Hard Boiled Eggs, Veggies, Fruit
D - Roast Turkey (to be used for later recipes, also), Sweet Potato Fries, Veggies

Day 4:
B - Scrambled Eggs and Carrot Raisin Muffins
L - Lentil Soup w/ Sausage
D - Fish (not sure how I'll prepare it, yet)

Day 5:
B - Smoothies & Bacon (It's our easiest breakfast, so we do it twice)
L - Grilled Cheese (on sprouted bread, but it's still a treat and not technically paleo) and Tomato Soup
D - Paleo Chili (Kathryn's request)

Day 6:
B - Sweet Potato Bacon Salad
L - Turkey Rollups w/ Veggies
D - Fish (probably baked with lemon juice and dill, pretty traditional) & yep, more veggies

Day 7:
B - Eggs w/ veggies (sensing a theme here) and Bacon
L - Leftovers
D - Turkey Tacos (lettuce leaves instead of shells), yum!

Happy Eating!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Week Four

So, with family here, weeks two and three were tough. I'm grateful to my parents for supporting us as we eat this new diet and helping us keep on track. I'm looking forward to Week Four. I've lost 7 1/2 pounds so far (may have to adjust that goal) and I'm enjoying how I look and feel after working out. I've also joined a women's Bible study during the kids AWANA club. We're looking at Elizabeth George's "Loving God With All Your Mind." It's helping to round out this fresh start and I'm grateful for the continuing renewal of my mind. My prayer for you all is that you, too, will meet God's fresh mercies every morning!

Here's what this week's menu looks like. (By the way, anyone try any of the last post's recipes?)

Day 1:
Breakfast - Crepes made from eggs (filled with sausage and veggies)
Lunch - Tuna Salad & Veggies
Dinner - Best Salad Ever

Day 2:
B - No-Oat Oatmeal
L - BLT Salad
D - Roasted Whole Chicken w/Veggies

Day 3:
B - Broccoli Frittata
L - Sunbutter and Honey Sandwiches w/Paleo Bread
D - Sweet Potato Soup w/ Sausage (it's from a book called Simply in Season; let me know if you want the recipe)

Day 4:
B - Smoothies (anyone have one they want to share?)
L - Salami Cream Cheese Rollups w/Fresh Veggies
D - Steak and Mushrooms w/MORE VEGGIES

Day 5 -
B - Gingered Apple Crumble
L - Hardboiled Eggs, Lunchmeat, Avocado, & Veggies
D - Chicken Drumsticks - not sure how I'm going to cook these, yet

Day 6:
B - Beet Smoothies and Bacon
L - Leftovers
D - Taco Salad

Day 7:
B - Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Veggies
L - Chicken Waldorf Salad (I've got the recipe for you, if you need it)
D - Sausage and Apples (Simply in Season again)

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hey Friends, it's been a while since I've blogged here. I have a motivation for the next couple of months, however. My Crossfit gym is going through a 90-Day Challenge to meet some health and fitness goals. I thought this would be a good opportunity to post here again. I'm hoping it will encourage some of my teammates and maybe inspire some of the rest of you!

So here goes. My goals are as follows:
Do a real pullup - no jumping.
200 lb Deadlift (currently at 155)
See my benchmark WOD's (Workouts of the Day) improve by 25%.
Lose 10lbs.
Stick to Paleo/Maker's Diet for 75% of all meals.

For those of you who are interested, Rob and I think that eating a Paleo diet is about the most awesome thing in the world (except for God's love for us of course!) and, with a few exceptions, we're trying to follow it pretty strictly. If you click the link on the word "Paleo" above you can read about it at the blog of the leading expert in this diet. I'm also including my meal plans for the week here so that my fellow teammates can use them if they want. We've used a lot of recipes from www.paleoplan.com this week, but we use other resources, too. The main exception that our family follows is that we don't completely cut out dairy products. We're certainly using less and we drink raw milk. (Most people with milk allergies can drink raw milk.) Oh, and we don't eat pork (yay turkey bacon!) or shellfish, or any processed sugar, so there are actually more options than you'll see here. So, if some of the recipes have stuff that you're not using, just modify it! Happy Eating!

To any dinners that only have a main dish listed, we add fresh or frozen veggies.

Day 1:
Breakfast - Bacon & Egg Muffins (www.paleoplan.com/recipes/)
Lunch - Egg Drop Soup (www.paleoplan.com/recipes/)
Dinner - "Cream" of Mushroom Soup (www.paleoplan.com/recipes/)
Baked Fish
Day 2:
B - No-Oat Oatmeal (www.paleoplan.com/recipes/)
L - Salad Nicoise (w/sweet potatoes)
D - Chicken Satay w/ "Peanut" Sauce (www.paleoplan.com/recipes/)

Day 3:
B - Crepes (from sprouted flour; yes this is a cheat meal) w/sausage, eggs, or berries
L - Chicken Waldorf Salad (www.paleoplan.com/recipes/)
D - Almond Crusted Fish (www.paleoplan.com/recipes/)

Day 4:
B - Veggies and Eggies (Eggs with onions and spinach and bacon!) (www.paleoplan.com/recipes/)
L - Sprouted Bread AB&J (That's almond butter and Jelly) w/Crudites
D - Bunless burgers

Day 5:
B - Sausage Stir Fry (www.paleoplan.com/recipes/)
L - Hard-Boiled Eggs, Veggies w/Hummus, Lunch Meat
D - Meatza (Pizza with the crust made from ground beef)

Day 6:
B - Smoothies and Bacon (Smoothies consist of frozen fruit, a green leafy, coconut milk or almonds, and anything else we want to throw in!)
L - Roast beef/Turkey-wrapped avocado slices with lettuce and fruit
D - Taco Salad (no chips or beans, but everything else!)

Day 7:
B - Carrot Banana Muffins (www.paleoplan.com/recipes/)
L - Tuna Salad w/ Lettuce and Fruit
D - Meatballs and Salad

I'm making a lemon custard one day, too... :)

Let me know if you try any of these and what you think!


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