"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." A.A. Milne

Saturday, April 7, 2012

April and My Refreshed Spirit

This spring the weather has been amazing. We have ranged from the cool, earthy beauty of early spring to a sneak peak of early summer and back again. These are our irises. They are very, very old. The lady we bought our home from was an avid gardener before she become too aged to pursue her passion. These were her flowers and she loved them. Two falls past we cut, transplanted, and cleaned them up. Last year they lay fallow but this year they are bursting forth with beauty and growth. I am sure there are a multitude of lessons within that little scenario. I know my readers are smart so we will do a drawn your own as it pertains to you kind of thing.

This time of year brings such joy and revitalization to my spirit. I do not care for winter. I am working hard to honor and appreciate that cold, barren time, um I mean that quiet time of resting and reflection, but spring brings life back to my heart and urges me to dance everywhere I go. I love it.

I have been doing the traditional spring purge and clean. It has been bigger this year because we have decided to be done having children and harder with the appearance of early summer weather here and there. We have already been playing (or if you are Hannah swimming) in several creeks this year. All of our fun in the sun cuts into our cleaning time but I seriously do not care. My babies will only be with me like this for a short time and that dirt simply refuses to leave for good. It will wait.

This month we are doing some super cool learning things. We have taken and are taking additional classes at the Shaw Nature Preserve. They are top notch. The next one will be for the whole family. I am really looking forward to it. It has also provided us with some magical, almost fairy land type settings for picnics. Talk about a beautiful experience. The kids and I both have art classes lined up. I am extremely excited to take a beginning watercolor class. I think I danced out of the library when I found it.

That leads into the crafty crafts. I want to turn our home into a warm, snuggly eclectic cottage. I want most of the decorations to be done by me or the family. Today I bought some gorgeous, brightly colored yarn to create an afghan for the living room. I am dying to do this super cool decoupage project but I may have to send the children on a long vacation. We are all going to make decorative stepping stones for the garden.

Then there is the whole-food craziness. I have been seriously cooking some amazing grub in my house. I have been playing with fresh ginger, seed crackers, brown rice syrup, and all kinds of yum. I am looking forward to making homemade foccacia with rosemary grown in my garden.

So it would seem we are all nesty nestiness and comfy home living. This spring and summer will be a time of gardening flowers, herbs, fruits, and veggies, learning new ways to express our artistic natures, and eating yummy food with added benefit of truly nourishing our bodies. It will be a time to play, mess, laugh, love, and grow. We will learn new things and discover more about ourselves and each others.

And that sounds amazingly perfect in all of its beautiful, inherent, and inevitable imperfection.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pigtails and Learning to Be a Man

These are my gorgeous babies. See my beautiful little man? See his pigtails? He wants to be just like the big sister he adores so almost every day, he is sporting pig tails. I love it. Most people we run into think it is adorable and sweet. And then there are the others.

There are some people who think we are being horrible parents by letting him out like this. Or more to the point, I am a horrible mother because they just know my husband would have a fit. I tell them his father happily takes him out with pig tails and sometimes, a tutu. My husband is a 6'2 220lb serious athlete. Strange enough, no one ever says anything to him about it. Hmmmmm

Anyway, the reason for this post is because not very long ago a woman put some rather nasty thoughts into words. She asked me what his father was teaching him about being a man if he was willing to let him go out all gender confused??? (Seriously, her words not mine.) I told her he was teaching him that dads shouldn't be jerks about such minor things. Funny, she didn't like that answer.

But the whole hot mess of a conversation made me think more deeply about it. What is my husband teaching our son about being a man? These are a few things I have come up with so far:

He is teaching his son that a real man is strong enough to be gentle, loving, and kind to his wife and children and everyone else he meets.

A real man bases his thoughts, words, and actions on a deep sense of integrity, love, duty, and ethics, not on the reactionary responses of other people.

A real man is loyal and devoted to his family.

He is showing him each and every day that a real man cares more about the deep down relationships in his life and being authentic rather than the superficial facade others cling to for an aura of pseudo respectibility.

He is teaching him to be kind of man we hope our daughter will someday marry. You see, my husband is teaching our daughter what a real man is too.

I am beyond blessed and proud to be married to my husband. He truly is the best of men. I could not ask for a better partner nor best friend. My children could not have a better father. I have never met a man more ethical and right minded. I have never known a man who loves deeper or more complete.

Each day my son Logan wears his pig tails happily and has to priviledge to once again see a real man in action. So, that is my answer to what his daddy teaches him.

The Day I Became Queen of Healthy Cooking

Okay, so I probably should not get my tiara out of the shop just yet but I am thrilled with the following recipes. Lately I have taken us to a whole new level of healthy eating. We have went from "hey, they eat pretty dang healthy" to "you know, that crazy hippy granola family". I would like to throw in here that my children do not eat all of this. Each one of them eat certain healthy things but neither is vegetarian like momma and there are definately some kid foods still in their diet. I have found healthier chicken nuggets and fish sticks but I promise, they are still in my freezer. I don't think John eats quite the healthy away from me either. Just want to keep it real for everyone.

Here are some of the recipes I have been loving and telling people about. No, I do not have pictures as I am lucky to have have this post. (Hee hee)

The first is my new favorite snack, lunch, whatever. Seed crackers and white bean hummus. The crackers are from the blog Oh She Glows with my personal tweaks. Nope, don't know how to link but it is popular so google it.

1/2 Cup of Chia
1/2 Ground Flax Seed (if you have whole just pop it in the blender)
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Seeds
1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds
1 teas. garlic powder (or fresh)
1 teas. Onion powder (or fresh)
1 teas. sea salt
1 cup of water.

Preheat over to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Toss everything into a bowl and stir. Don't freak out that it is too watery (um, like I did) because the chia has amazing super powers and it thickens. Stir it up until it is paste like. pour it on the lined baking sheet and press it out until it is about 1/4 inch. Do this however you like but seriously, I found my hands did it the best.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Take out. Use a pizza cutter (or whatever) to cut into crackers. Flip over and bake into the oven it goes for 30 more minutes. Let it cool completely on the baking sheet and then into airtight storage it goes.

Then use these aweseome morsels with this:

White Cannelini Bean Hummus

Can of Cannelini Beans drained and well rinsed
2 teaspoons garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1/4 cup of tahini
juice of one lemon ( please use fresh, makes all the difference)

Throw into your food processor and do like Devo says and "Whip it Good!" Now, you are going to add between 1/4 to 1/2 cup of olive oil to the mix while it blends. The amount depends on how creamy you like it. Stop and check.

Eat and enjoy!!

More?? You want more recipes??? Okay.

So we love Cliff bars. We workout alot and they are great for eating and not making you sick while you run. Such a plus. However, I have caught my child feeding these little organic nuggets of gold to my dogs. So uncool. But it did make me realize they may be too expensive so find another option.

Here is my attempt. They have come out like bars of crack in their nummy goodness. Seriously, I may hide them from everyone else. Hey, I am the one who made them, right???

1 and 1/4 cup of brown rice cereal ( I like Erwhon)
1 cup quick oats
2 tablespoons flax meal
1/4 cup dried cherries diced fine
1/2 cup of walnuts
1/4 cup (okay, make it heaping) of dark chocolate diced fine
1/2 cup of brown rice syrup
3/4 cup of peanut butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Combine everything excpet the last 3 ingredients. On the stove, heat the peanut butter and brown rice syrup until it is well blended. Then stir in the vanilla. Pour this mixture of the rest of the stuff. Use a spoon at first but then you are going to have to get those hands in there. Mix it all up until it is well coated. Pour into a 8x8 pan than has been sprayed with non stick spray. Use a piece of wax paper to really, really tamp it down. Cool on a wire rack and then toss into the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Cut into squares, wrap in saran warp, and store in the fridge.

**I am pretty sure they may be extremely addictive.

You can play with the nuts, fruite, what have you. You should know by now I take recipes to be suggestions at best.

Okay, my last one. My no processed sugar pumpkin bread. My two year old asks for this almost daily.

Pumpkin Bread

1 and 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1teas baking soda
1 cup pumpkin puree (seriously, fresh is the way to go here)
1/2 cup oliver oil
2 eggs beaten
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of allspice
1 teaspoin of cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat to 325.

Dump flour, salt, baking, soda, and spices in the bowel. You can sift if you want but I just mix it well with a fork. Yep, easy way that is me. What can I say? I don't have dishwasher so the less dishes the better.

Mix the pumpkin, eggs, oil, honey, and brown rice syrup together. Combine with dry ingredients. Stir in the nuts

Pour into a greased bread pan. Bake for anywhere from 40-60 mintues. You have to watch this. Honey burns so you need to get it where a wooden skewer comes out clean but the bread isn't burnt.

Eat and enjoy!!

Okay, there you go. You may not know this but I RARELY share recipes. It isn't because I hold onto them like a closely guarded secret. Nope, I just despise writing them out and since I experiment alot, I don't always know what I put in them. I kept track this time, just for you. Also, thes are really great, yummy, and healthy recipes. I want to share them. Helping people be healthy and live the best life they can is a passion of mine. It was worth the aggravation. (hee hee)