Monday, February 27, 2012

The Lasts...

We recently got a light dusting of snow.  The girls were so excited and wanted to head outside right away.  It took us an hour to put on all of the snow gear.

Does this look a little familiar?

  Don't you think she sort-of resembles this familiar scene from "A Christmas Story?"

Oh, how I love that movie!

We had a ton of fun.  Lots of laughs, some sledding, and even a snowball fight....all this with less than 1 inch of snow.

We had a little of this......

And a whole lot of this....

It only took us about 5 hours to clean up afterwards.

These moments are fleeting.  I never know when I will see my last snowfall, have my last snowball fight, or get my last hug from my man or one of my girls.

I remember when my oldest daughter was little, she loved the book, "I'll Love You Forever", by Robert Munsch.

You might want to grab a tissue and remember.......

A mother held her new baby and very slowly rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she held him, she sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

Brings back such sweet, sweet memories.

It was part of our nightly routine to pull the book off of her bookshelf, snuggle up in her glider rocker, and read this book from cover to cover.  We read it over and over and she had every word memorized. 
While unpacking some boxes recently, I  found the tattered, torn, and well loved copy of her precious book and I thought to myself, "I wonder when was the last time we read this book together?"  At the time we were reading it, we didn't know it would be the last time.  We did our normal routine, sang the song together, and then placed it back on the bookshelf, waiting for the next time.  But there wasn't a next time.....

Just like a little over a year ago when I gave my Aunt Bev a hug goodbye and said, "See ya you!"  Only there wasn't a next time.  She's been gone for over a year now.  I miss her terribly.  I wish I could relive that last moment with her again.  I would cling to her and never let go. 

We should live our lives like everyday is our last, clinging to every moment that we have with those precious souls that have been given to us....wonderful blessings from the Lord.

“We never know when our last day on earth will be. So, love with full sincerity, believe with true faith, and hope with all of your might. Better to have lived in truth and discovered life, than to have lived half heartedly and died long before you ever ceased breathing. ”

Cristina Marrero

Now if you'll please excuse me, I've got some memories to make.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Keep it simple


It's the simple things in life that are the most important...

Farmin' in the city

We would love to live on a farm. We've dreamed about having a huge garden our whole lives, but right now, the Lord has us planted right in the middle of a subdivision. Our solution? Raised beds. They produce a very good yield (sometimes even enough to sell), have very few weeds, and the neighbors don't seem to mind, especially when we share some of the yummy goodness.

Winter beds. We are still enjoying kale.

Oh, and by the way....that little, cute, sweet potato, she's not for sale!

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Little Red Hutch

Trunk Junk

From trash to treasure....I found this small hutch lurking in a deep, dark corner of our basement. A few coats of paint, some sand paper distressing, and an ounce of creativity later....

It's been transformed and now brightens a once dark corner of our dining room.

One man's junk is another man's treasure!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Great Rocket Launch

Thursday= Our favorite day of the week. It's homeschool co-op day!!!

We have been studying Astronomy this year in science.
Today's assignment: Design, name, and launch a rocket.

Designing their rocket, the death defying,

BFF' kids have known these families for most of their whole lives!

Designing the body of the rocket....
Next they will add a nose cone and fins. They will wrap the body around a plastic film canister full of hot water, add an Alka-Seltzer tablet and RUN for their lives!!

THE BIG LAUNCH!!! (Someone...uhhhemmm...forgot to snap pictures of the completed rockets.)

3-2-1.......Blast off!!

The thrill of victory......

(We had some successful launches....)


The launch was a success!!!

Let's all celebrate!

How about a little line dance?! (BTW...I love these kids to pieces!!!)

And the agony of defeat......

(And some not so successful launches....)


But all in all, we had a BLAST (Get it? Blast...)

Well Anyway.....

Now back to work....

Well, lets take a little snack break first.

(This is our meal every Thursday. We moms have pinky promised that after our kids are grown, we will never eat another slice again!)

Homeschooling.....They really don't miss that bus at all!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Simple foods

Can I let you in on a little secret?  I am just a mediocre cook.  I have cooking envy of many of my friends, including my friend, Jan.   I long to cook with creativity and view cooking as an art form as she does at  Daily*Dishin. I wish I could make a tiramasu like her's.  (If only I had the nerve to attempt a tiramasu.)  My poor family usually has to settle for chocolate chips or a piece of fruit for dessert.  I's pathetic!

I am a simple person who has been called to a simple lifestyle.  When I cook for my family, I try to use simple, wholesome, ingredients in their original, God-given form, unchanged by chemicals and processing.  I also try to use recipes that are inexpensive and don't take a ton of time to prepare.  So, how did I go from cooking with ingredients like these:

To cooking with wholesome ingredients such as these:

It all started about four years ago.  I had gained a ton of weight, felt terrible all the time, and was seeing a doctor for reoccurring health issues.  I took a long, hard, look at what our family was consuming.  When I did the research, I found out quickly that what we were eating was not nourishing our bodies at all, but was actually harming them.  I began reading lots of books on this topic......lots.......

What I discovered, in a nutshell, is that our Maker has given us everything that we need to live a healthy, productive life, and heal ourselves through nutrition.  When we consume real foods, unadulterated by chemicals, we are giving our bodies exactly what they need to function. 

So the journey began to come up with healthy food choices that wouldn't make my family turn up their noses.  I began cooking with all natural products and making my own bread using 100% whole wheat flour.  It was a slow process, but definitely worth it for mine and my family's long-term health.

It's not always an easy journey.  At times, we still eat frozen pizzas and pop-tarts, but we're trying.  My rule of thumb is 80-20.  We try to eat healthy 80% of the time, and leave the other 20% open for splurges.  My man....well, he follows the 20-80 rule, but he's trying too...bless his little fast-food heart!

Here's a quick, easy, tried and true recipe that I make up quite often around these parts:

Mama's Southwestern Lentil and Black Bean Soup

             AKA: "Easy Weight Loss Soup"

(My kids call it: “Soup, Soup, Soup, Soup, Soup,"  because we eat so much of it!)
Printable Recipe
Introducing the stars of the show:

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic or 1 TBS minced garlic

2 cups dried lentils

2 cans black beans (Drained and rinsed) OR 2 cups cooked black beans or any beans of choice.

1-2 cans diced tomatoes with onion and garlic

2-4 cubes vegetable or chicken boullion or 2 cans vegetable or chicken broth/stock

1 TBS ground cumin

1 TBS chili powder

2 TBS Braggs Amino Acid (optional)

Kale (as much as you want in bite-sized pieces)

The Production:

Sauté the chopped onions and garlic in a small amount of olive oil in a Dutch oven or soup kettle. 

Add lentils and at least 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for @ 20 minutes.

  Stir in the remaining ingredients except for kale. Add water to reach desired consistency. Reduce heat and simmer for @ 15 more minutes.

Straight from the garden.  (Store bought canned tomatoes will do too!)

Beans were cooked in the crockpot and then frozen for convenience.  This is a mixture of black , pinto, and great northern beans.

Braggs Liquid Amino Acid is a much healthier choice than soy sauce.

Stir in kale, turn off the heat, and pop the lid on until it reaches the desired tenderness.    I like mine tender, but not too soggy.  (Can you cook kale al-dente'?)  If needed, add salt and pepper to taste.

Kale has been my best friend lately.  My body must be craving the vitamins C and B6 needed to boost immunities!

  Delicious served with brown rice and hot sauce and a little splash of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar.

I make this soup every Monday and always have it on hand. I eat it for lunch everyday and sometimes for dinner as well. I have lost @ 10 pounds in 1 month and I owe it all to healthy eating, and primarily to the consumption of this soup!'s what's for dinner.  Eat your heart out Jan!  I know it's not tiramasu, but's the best I got!