Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gratitude : 30

November 30 - Habit

November 30:

November has been beautiful this year, I have fully enjoyed it.  But, to celebrate the start of December we went out for a drive after dinner to see the neighborhood Christmas lights (already!).

Thank you for a beautifully inspiring month, Habit.  


This month's gratitude posts wouldn't be complete without expressing my thankfulness for my family.  Those five people in the photo above mean everything to me.  They complete me, my soul, my heart, my life.
I am ever so grateful that I was blessed with each one of them.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gratitude : 29

November 29 - Habit

November 29:

Things crossed off today's list:  bill paying, internet shopping, list making, and eating the last piece of pumpkin pie.

also here.

On a side note, I'm so glad that pie is finally gone.  It's just too tempting to have in the house {it is my favorite} and has completely shaken up my health-food-only way of eating in recent months.  Tomorrow is a new day.  It makes me thankful that all the Thanksgiving food is now in the past.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gratitude : 28 and Last week in details

November 28 - Habit

November 28:

I was feeling certain today would be totally unproductive, but I'm thankful that it turned out to be the complete opposite.


Last week in details:
  • We intended on doing our school work for a couple of days this week, but....
  • On Monday I had a house full of little ones, my four plus three more (two cousins and a neighbor) made for lots of running and laughing and playing.
  • That made me decide that sometimes the most important thing for kids to do is to just be kids...doing all the things that they do best. 
  • Tuesday was filled with the usual guitar lessons and the first appointment for the boys as they get braces.  Spacers were put in and a little discomfort was had.  Taco soup was on the menu that day.
  • Wednesday was filled with prepping some Thanksgiving day dishes here and also with going to my Mom's house so we could help her with her preparations for the big family Thanksgiving gathering there.

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  • I loved seeing the kids dive in and help her with making their own pie crusts, pie fillings, and toppings.
  • I loved watching her in the kitchen with them, letting them basically have free rein over it all, the chopping of veggies, the putting together of the recipes, the rolling of the dough, the fillings, the meringue toppings, and even the clean up, which Claire especially likes.  She loves to pull her stool up to the sink and do the washing.
  • Pine straw was raked and put around the house. Everything looks so good when fresh straw is in place.
  • Finally, I was back in my kitchen doing more prep work and making pumpkin pies.  One regular pumpkin pie and one sweetened with agave.  It was delicious!
  • Thanksgiving day started early with the turkey being first in the oven. Dressing and apple pies were next in line.
  • We went to my parents' house to have our official Thanksgiving day dinner although I made our own dinner to have here at our house, too.
  • There were lots of family and friends gathered, some who live out of state (and I wish they lived next door), some who are friends that feel more like family, and of course, those that are near and dear every day of the year.  It really was such a blessed day...we are so fortunate.
  • The day extended into night and all things were finally cleaned up.  I think that is an important part of the whole celebratory process...the coming together to clean up and put things away.  It is just as important as the coming together to prepare and share the meal.  

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  • The day after Thanksgiving was a good one, too.  We had a cousin stay the night of Thanksgiving and was here with us to begin our Christmas decorating.
  • The tree was put up, lights were strung, cinnamon ornaments smelled delicious, holiday music was played, and plenty of leftovers were eaten.  Oh, and pie, too.   
  • Friday night our cousin stayed again with requests to stay even another night.  I said that he definitely could.  ♥
  • Saturday was warm...too warm, really.  It felt like early September rather than late November.  The kids played football half the day anyway, while looking forward to the cool front to make its way through that night, hopefully bringing much cooler weather with it for the start of next week.
  • Sunday was filled with more playing children, running here and there while I baked them chocolate chip cookies.
  • The little cousin finally made his way back home. They were all a little sad to see the long weekend come to an end although they were all completely worn out from all the playing.
  • The night ended peacefully and just a bit early, just the way I wanted.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gratitude : 27

November 27 - Habit

They played and laughed for four days straight, when it was over we were all looking for solitude.


Everything seemed to drop, especially the energy level.  We all pulled back into our quiet spots for just a bit before continuing on with the evening.  That tired-down-to-the-bone feeling seems to be creeping in.  I think an early bedtime sounds like the perfect cure-all.

Tonight I am so very grateful for peace.and.quiet.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gratitude : 26

November 26 - Habit

November 26:

All the doing and the going and the cooking and the cleaning and the keeping up with kids and the decorating and the noise is finally catching up with me.  I'm sure that tonight I'm going to enjoy the downtime I'm determined to take.  I'm grateful for the moments of peace I can get when my husband is home.


also here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Gratitude : 25

November 25 - Habit 

November 25:

It has begun...the cinnamon ornaments, the twinkle lights, the holiday music, the smell of Fraser fir,
and the excitement of happy kids.  


also here.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gratitude : 24

Apple Pie Morning

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On this day of thanks I have so much to be grateful for.  Like watching all four kids get their hands into the process of making dinner, watching my mom pass on such beautiful traditions and memories to my children, the same as she did with me.


Favorite parts of the day were the early morning apple pie making with Emma, the smell of baked turkey and cornbread dressing, the large but intimate gathering of family and friends, a beautiful blessing before we ate, a plentiful bounty of food so that not one person was hungry, sweet treats of nearly every kind, long conversations and little jokes, games and laughter.  So much goodness.

Before the blessing was said, we were reminded of this Thanksgiving prayer that really puts things into perspective:

Oh, Heavenly Father, We thank Thee for food and remember the hungry.
We thank Thee for health and remember the sick.
We thank Thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.
May these remembrances stir us to service, That Thy gifts to us may be used for others.
                        from Dear Abby   

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gratitude : 23

November 23 - Habit

November 23:

Today Gratitude fills the air.  Christmas music on the radio, little ones helping to chop veggies for tomorrow's meal, the house smells like sauteed onions, celery, and bell pepper, the oven is warm with crispy cornbread inside, the turkey is finishing its thaw, cranberries are waiting to be made into sauce, turnips are waiting to be cleaned, and pies are being planned.

Along with all of this, of course, is the messy kitchen, the onion peelings on the floor, cornbread crumbs that will find their way into the dog's mouth, little sticky fingers sampling all the sweet treats, the piles of stuff scattered on the table, the occasional feeling of not being able to do it all.  But, one thing is for sure, I wouldn't change a single thing.  All these things add up to the most perfect and blessed attitude of gratitude.  My heart runneth over.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gratitude : 22

November 22 - Habit

November 22:

A long hectic day is done.  Peace, quiet, and a few inspiring words are the gifts this evening has to offer.

also here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gratitude : 21

November 21 - Habit

November 21:

In the kitchen making dinner, washing the day's dishes, my mind already making tomorrow's plans and putting a few on paper; then I caught my reflection in the early-dark windows & was reminded to stop and take a breath.  I'm so thankful for mindfulness returning me to the present moment.

Last week in details

bread baking
  • To start the week off I had to make a quick appointment with my dentist to have a  painful tooth checked. The tooth was cracked and the only treatment that might work is a $900 crown. Oy...I'm thinking extraction may be the better route.
  • We took a trip to the library to pick up some books for me and some for the kids.  Isaac is super interested in all things animal/zoo/wildlife right now, so we chose a good selection to get him started.
  • I read Lift by Kelly Corrigan on Tuesday was beautiful.
  • I bought myself a new pair of shoes.  Grey and pink.  They're happy shoes.
  • We had our usual guitar lessons on Tuesday, the instructor only had praise for the boys.  They're doing so well.
  • The girls had a yearly checkup on Wednesday. Claire was due for her immunizations and she was a little nervous.  When she stepped up to the eye chart, her little mind went blank and she couldn't remember her alphabet.  (All she could do was whisper to me that she was nervous and she was scared that she had forgotten.)  She did the symbol chart instead.  Poor thing.  
  • She was a trooper with her shots though.  She did so well.  (That's the part where this mama was nervous.)  All was made well with a treat from the doctor's treasure chest and lunch out together.
  • We had breakfast for dinner on Wednesday night and it was delicious.  I forget how easy that meal is in the evening.
  • I began reading This Beautiful Life on Wednesday evening and finished it Saturday.  It was a quick read, not really something that I normally pick, but a very interesting story nonetheless.
  • The girls put on a dance party for us in the living room on Thursday night.
  • The knitting needles and yarn were finally brought out and I began practicing a little before I formally begin a project.
  • Bread was baked.
  • An apple pie was made (and ice cream was scooped on top)

apple pie

  • Photos were framed and hung.
  • We spent time visiting my parents-in-law, relaxing on their deck while the kids played.
  • The boys got another haircut
  • We went bird shopping and then made a date to see more birds.  Isaac wants a cockatiel for Christmas, so we're looking.  :)

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  • Cancel that last entry....we bought the bird on Sunday afternoon.  And he is a handsome little guy. Early Christmas presents are great, right?  :)
  • The girls spent some time with their cousins and they all stayed the night at my parents' on Sunday.
  • While they were away, I began another book, This Life is in Your Hands.  I think this one will be pretty deep, reaching into places I'm not sure I want to go, but the whole story really caught my attention and I can't help but read it.

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  • As for a name for our new feathered friend....Isaac was initially thinking Rio,but also mentioned Leo (which I think is adorable) and also Tiki and Zazu.  I think he's really liking Zazu right now, but he's still in the deciding mode it seems. We'll have to wait and see.  :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gratitude : 20

November 20 -  Habit

November 20:

Some days are full of surprises and this one is definitely a day like that, but in the best kind of way.

Think of feathers and cages and seeds and little chirps.  Yes.  One of us got a Christmas wish just a bit early.  :)  (Pictures to come soon.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gratitude : 19

November 19 - Habit

November 19:

There are days days when I question myself, but then there are days like today when I know I've made the perfect choice.  I couldn't be happier to be a stay at home mom, homeschooling my kids, and enjoying them every minute of every day.  I'm so grateful for being able to be here with them.

also here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gratitude : 18

November 18 - Habit

November 18:

The quiet moments in the early morning make the day ahead so much better.  I'm thankful for each of those mornings and especially the ones that I get to share with my husband before he leaves for work.


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I couldn't stop at just one shot.  I was sitting across the table from my husband this morning, we were talking quietly to ourselves so that we wouldn't wake the kids who decided to camp out in the living room floor last night.

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I was sitting there, watching the steam swirl up and out of the coffee cups and reached for my camera.  Simple things like this really are so beautiful.  We miss so many of these kinds of things in our daily rush.

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These are the moments I like stop, take a breath, and notice completely what is going on around me.  This morning we heard our own quiet chatter, the heavy, sleeping breaths of four happy kids, the dog stretching in his crate, the sipping of hot coffee.  We saw the sun shining brilliantly through the east-facing windows, we felt the coolness of the house after a long autumn night, we eventually reached for the heater, we made plans for the day, we made breakfast, our day was off to a beautiful start.

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And, as starting off on the right foot would have it, our day ended as well as it began.  A full day of family, of love, of togetherness.  For these things, I am most grateful.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gratitude : 17

November 17 - Habit

November 17:

Beautiful gifts from an online a friend.  It's incredible how touching and real this online community can be.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gratitude : 16

Nov. 16

She was nervous, I was wishing I could take her place, but it all ended well.  And, she got an awesome prize from the treasure chest.

November 16 - Habit

November 16:

I'm so thankful for healthy children, for brave little souls, for being able to take them to the doctor I trust, for little treasure chests that make all the boo boos better.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gratitude : 15

November 15 - Habit

November 15:

Dentist. Shoes. Health Hut. Library. Guitar lessons. Pet store.  An easy dinner. I'm thankful for a few new books to relax with tonight.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gratitude : 14

November 14 - Habit

November 14 :

Some days it feels like I'm just going through the motions.  Today is one of those days.  I'm thankful for knowing the ebb and flow of my moods and staying in control.

Last Week in Details


  • The girls danced in dark bedrooms while the boys helped with the lighting...a colander and a flashlight.
  • Bibles were read and heartfelt questions were being asked by my boys.   
  • Old hurts (from two past miscarriages) have resurfaced and the losses feel like they're hitting even harder than they did originally.  I wish I would have allowed myself to express more of my feelings at the time, many years ago, when all I wanted to do was be strong.
  • My heart has felt full to overflowing lately, spilling tears when I least expect it.
  • New science and history books were ordered.
  • Photos were taken, in the soul first, then on camera.
  • Christmas music in the style of Andrea Bocelli has begun playing on my Pandora station.  Yes, I couldn't wait.
  • Thanks to my husband and his great ideas, my laundry situation has been made worlds easier although it required a good bit of manual labor from all six of us.


  • The girls finally have a complete fall and winter wardrobe with matching scarves and sparkly vests and furry boots.
  • The boys still need new shoes.
  • The boys are doing so well with their guitar lessons and have begun playing Christmas music.  I'm loving What Child Is This.
  • Items have been gathered for another Goodwill donation.
  • My girls are having a surge of desire to make things by hand.  I'm sure this will make Christmas awesome this year.
  • A night spent with a neighbor friend made the girls super happy.
  • Soups were on the menu more than not.
  • I loved it when Claire and I wrapped ourselves up in my bed early the other night and we talked...about everything.  She's growing up so much and she's so incredibly sweet and most of all she's still my baby.
  • Claire lost her other front tooth this week, that means she's in need of two, just in time for Christmas, right?
  • Emma is doing about a thousand cartwheels a day and insisting that I watch at least half.  She's a little obsessed with them right now.  :)
  • A neighbor's birthday was the perfect time to get us all together for dinner, a little bonfire, and of course dessert.
  • I acquired a new-to-me baker's rack over the weekend and it looks so great in its new location. I'm excited to have it!
  • One of my teeth has begun to be a tad too sensitive over the weekend, so I'm thinking that a call into my dentist is necessary.


The photos in this post are film, Kodak Portra 400NC.  

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gratitude : 13

November 13 - Habit

November 13:

Scrawled out in my best teenage hand, I am so thankful to find this little collection tucked away in my hope chest from many years ago.


I was certain that these little poems and writings had met the same fate as many other journals and writings of mine had met over the early years of my life.  I had a thing for destroying most every page I'd write out of worry for what someone would think of me.  How I wish I'd have kept them all.  I'm so glad that, somehow, I held onto these...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gratitude : 12

November 12 - Habit

November 12 :

Today was a good day, ending with a clean house, finished laundry, potato soup, Saturday night football, and cake.

A post about food...and a salad idea

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Salad made with kale is delicious as I have found out.  I had never thought of it until I saw it here, but knew that since I love kale, I had to try it.

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You basically want to thinly slice the kale and rinse it. You may even want to massage it a bit and then let it rest a while as some say that process causes any bitterness to work its way out.  {I never found it bitter, so it goes straight from being chopped to my bowl.}

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I love onions and mushrooms and put them in almost everything I eat.  I sometimes even eat them all by themselves, sauteed as a main dish for lunch.  Since I've given up 99% of my meat intake over the last several months, mushrooms are even more important to me as an addition to my food since they have a great meaty texture and quality.

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I lightly sautee them in olive oil, but sometimes I cook the mushrooms alone over a higher heat until they crisp up and they are really delicious that way!  While my mushrooms and onions are cooking, I dress my kale with just the tiniest drizzle of olive oil (since there will be oil on the veggies) a healthy sprinkling of balsamic vinegar and some sea salt and black pepper.

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As the veggies come to a finish, I put a nice little serving of Parmesan shreds right in the middle of the salad then quickly transfer the hot veggies on top.

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I always give it a minute to warm the salad up and hopefully slightly melt the Parmesan before digging in.  I almost always have a slice of toasted Genesis 1:29 Bread with a pat of butter along with my salad.  If you haven't tried this bread yet, you're definitely in for a real treat.  It's delicious and is one daily luxury for me that I can't imagine doing without since I don't have any processed carbs like sugar or flour or white know that drill, I'm sure.  It is made entirely of sprouted whole grains and nutritious seeds with absolutely no sugars or white flour.  {The same company even makes sprouted grain cereals that I love and eat almost every day.  It is super filling and a little goes a long way.}

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I eat a salad like this most days for lunch.  The salad itself is so satisfying and doesn't leave you feeling hungry just an hour or so later like regular lettuce can. This salad sticks around all day and I love it for that. Lately my kale obsession has had to turn into a Romaine lettuce obsession since my garden is full of it!  I really need to find a few hands to share it all with.  I'm afraid I can't eat that much of it!


On other food-related issues,  I've finally reached the twenty-five pound mark with my weight loss.  These last five pounds since my last weight loss update were super-hard to come by!  I came to a complete weight loss stand-still for a week, then needed a little medical procedure done last week, which I'm certain made me retain about four extra pounds for a few days.  Finally over the last three days, my weight has leveled, then begun to go down again. That is a relief to me since I was sure that something terrible was going on or that there was some mean joke being played out at my expense....especially with my painful avoidance of all the Halloween junk food lying around the house!  When I see those numbers go down, I know that I'm finally on the right track to being the me I want to be.

I'm still waiting on a foot injury to completely heal so that I can get back to some fitness walking and aerobics, so I am at a point where stretching and yoga is the only option.  I've never tried yoga before, but am very curious about the weight-loss yoga program from my cable provider. It sounds promising and I intend on giving it a try this weekend.

In other weight loss related issues that will make this post completely authentic, a truth about it all needs to be said.  It is hard.  Some days are easy enough to make me wonder what the problem ever was to begin with.  Many days are so hard that all I want to do is go and hide myself in a room, under a blanket, and wait for the next day to arrive.  It has become such a mental and heartfelt struggle within myself.  When I first started this journey to true health, not just weight loss, and letting go of so many of the things that had become habit to me, I knew there would be hard days.  When the days are hard, I have to constantly remind myself why I'm doing this, I have to remind myself of my current reality and how I am not happy with it, I have to remind myself that I must take care of me.  No matter what it takes, I have to put the same emphasis on my own health that I put on health of my children and husband.

I was thinking about all this last night as I was folding the laundry and thought of just how easy it is to put myself last.  In all things.  I'll take the leftovers that no one else wants, I'll use the wet towel so others can have a dry one, I'll grab an extra blanket when my hubby wants to hog-up the one on the bed during the middle of the night, I'll let the kids split the last grapefruit even though I've been waiting patiently to have it for the next morning's breakfast,  I'm sure you know exactly the day-to-day things I'm referring to here, but sacrificing my health is something else entirely and something that for my own good and that of my family, I absolutely cannot continue to do.  My health and the things I eat are equally as important as that of my family.  How can I continue to be the nurturer in my family when I can't even nurture myself?

Those are the thoughts that propelled me to make these changes over the past 10 weeks, however hard they are right now.  The actions of my past are the ones which I'm desperate to avoid slipping into again and I know that they are what has put me in this position. Reminders of these things, hard as those reminders are, are exactly what will keep me on track.  They are exactly what make me human, and what make this post feel authentic to me.  These struggles that come with change are very real and need to be stated just as well as the victories along the way.  They are an important part of the growth process.  They also have a way, when confessed, of making adjustments to negative attitudes that can so easily creep up on me when my focus is off.  Getting all this off my mind truly feels like a big exhalation of pressure and expectation and burden.  It feels great to just say it.

Now I can continue on with the rest of my day and eat well and take care of myself with a clear mind and an even clearer focus.  This day will be a good one...I can feel it.

Happy weekend, friends.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Gratitude : 11

November 11 - Habit

November 11:

Some of the most loved memories from my childhood are of sleeping in the floor of my parents' room.  I hope they have the same fond memories when they grow up.

Also here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gratitude : 10

November 10 - Habit

November 10:

She's crafting all by herself...making a stuffed bear.  That makes me happy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gratitude : 9

November 9 - Habit

November 9:

I'm not normally a rainy-weather girl, but today I'm most thankful for these showers.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gratitude : 8

November 8 - Habit

November 8:

Today we ditched the formal school work for a little lesson in domestic engineering.  Some days require that and I'm so grateful for the privilege of these types of lessons being an option. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Gratitude : 7

November 7 - Habit

November 7:

Dinner together after a long day apart is exactly what I'm looking forward to.

also here.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gratitude : 6

November 6 - Habit

November 6:

Today's to-do list was long, but the things marked off are few.  On second thought, today really should have been a day of rest.

I'm thankful for the down-time today, even though it means that the pantry is still a jumbled mess and the kitchen still needs vacuuming.  There is a time for everything...

Also here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gratitude : 5

November 5 - Habit

November 5:

Although gratitude fills my heart and thoughts, today i had to remind myself of my goals.  Some days it's hard.