Friday, October 24, 2014

Freezing the Storehouse: Marinated Chicken Breasts

There are few things easier than marinating chicken.  Bag/bowl, chicken, flavor. Let sit.

Easy.

The trickiest part of it is deciding which flavor you'll use!  Here are two of my favorite flavors that you can do on a storehouse budget, Honey Mustard and Citrus Chicken.

Honey Mustard Chicken

1 3-lb bag chicken breasts, still frozen
1/3 cup honey
3 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 cup white vinegar

Mix the liquids together until smooth, then add to chicken in a bowl.  Let marinate, covered and refrigerated, 12-24 hours.  Cook as desired, grill/broil/pan fry.

To freeze, transfer frozen chicken to gallon size freezer bag and add liquids.  Put back in freezer until you're ready to cook them up, then proceed as previously instructed.

Also, you can freeze the chicken after it has been cooked.  You can freeze whole breasts, or cut up into strips or cubes to be used for various other recipes.
 
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Citrus Chicken

1 cup vinegar
2/3 cup fruit drink mix
1 3-lb bag chicken breasts, still frozen

Mix the liquids together until smooth, then add to chicken in a bowl.  Let marinate, covered and refrigerated, 12-24 hours.  Cook as desired, grill/broil/pan fry.

To freeze, transfer frozen chicken to gallon size freezer bag and add liquids.  Put back in freezer until you're ready to cook them up, then proceed as previously instructed.

Also, you can freeze the chicken after it has been cooked.  You can freeze whole breasts, or cut up into strips or cubes to be used for various other recipes.

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These are both great by themselves alongside some rice and veggies.  Or you can add a sauce, like my Warm Peach Puree!

Warm Peach Purée

2 28 oz cans peaches
2-4 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp butter
Optional: nutmeg, clove, about 1/4 tsp each

Blend peaches in blender until smooth; add cinnamon and other spices, if desired.  Transfer to medium saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Add sugar and butter. Stir until butter melts, then simmer until good and hot.  Spoon over chicken and rice or ice cream! Yum...

Bon appetit!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Freezing the Storehouse: Roasted Tomato Soup

It's getting chilly here in Utah as autumn falls into town. (Falls, get it? Huh? No? Oh well...)

And there's nothing better than a nice hot soup on a chilly day.

Mother Nature is funny though.  The day you decide to make a soup, she decides she wants to warm things up a little.

Now what?

Or you're used to the warm, so you have a meal planned on that, and you wake up to frost on the trees.

Ah, women. (I can say that, I am one.)

Your freezer can help you!  Freeze that soup you made for later, and pull it out when Mother Nature pulls a cold, fast one on you.

Here's a soup you can have prepped and frozen, ready for that unexpected chill. Or have it ready for a day in a series of cold days that you don't feel like putting in the extra work. :)

Roasted Tomato Soup

5 lbs fresh tomatoes
2-3 onions
1 can evaporated milk
Water
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut up tomatoes into quarters, and peel onions and cut of ends, then cut in quarters.  Place on foil lined baking sheet and broil on hi 30-45 minutes until tomatoes and onions are black on the surface and tender inside.  Allow to cool.  In blender or processor, add some tomatoes and an onion quarter or two and blend until smooth, adding just enough water to encourage blending.  Repeat in batches until all tomatoes and onions have been blended.

To freeze, pour blended mixture into gallon size freezer bag.  Lay flat to freeze, then you can move it to the vertical position for long term storage as necessary.

To heat and serve, thaw in a bowl in the fridge overnight and put it in the crockpot in the morning, on low for 6 hours or so.  Or let it thaw all day, and just heat it on the stove to a boil, bring it down to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes.  After it's all hot and cooked, remove from heat and stir in the milk, then season to taste.  Can be served with cheese or sour cream, or whatever fresh herbs you might have from your garden or dried herbs from your spice cupboard, like basil or oregano.  If you have some, add some bulbs of garlic to the roasting pan... Yum!

It's actually quite filling, but you could serve biscuits, crackers, or crispy quesadillas with this too.

Dairy free people: Skip the milk altogether; it's still good!  Or you can add some non-sweetened, plain flavored almond milk if you have it on hand.

Bon appetit!

What's your favorite soup?  Have you ever tried to freeze it?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Freezing the Storehouse: Freezing Vegetables

The Storehouse has a great selection of veggies most of the time.  But a lot of people don't know what to do with all of it, or how to use it before it goes bad.

Did you know you can freeze your own vegetables?  And it's a lot easier than you may have been led to believe.

The standard practice used to be blanching the vegetables before freezing.  It's supposed to help retain nutrients and color.  But it's not necessary!  Your vegetables will taste the same whether you do it or not, and you'll use a lot less time if you skip that step.

What can you freeze?  Almost any vegetable can be frozen!  Some from the Storehouse that I've frozen are zucchini, green peppers, onions, celery, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.  I've heard you can also freeze cabbage, but I tend to turn my extra cabbage into sauerkraut (link to be added later), so I don't do a lot of that. 

Freezing is especially important for the vegetables that tend to go bad faster, like zucchini and green peppers.  One thing is they won't taste very good uncooked; it's best to use frozen vegetables in soups, stews, and stir-fries. 

To freeze the vegetables, simply chop or slice or shred your chosen vegetable into the shape you'll want to use it in eventually, and stick it in a freezer bag of appropriate size.  So easy! And less waste. Win!

What vegetables are available at your local Storehouse?  Have you frozen your vegetables before?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Recipe: Homemade Chili Hot Beans

I didn't cook a lot growing up.  My dad pretty much owned the kitchen as far as cooking went.  I was only allowed in to clean up after him. ;)

But of the few things I cooked for myself, none have quite the power of Chili Hot Beans.

It was quite challenging.  Open the can of chili hot beans, add shredded cheese, cover and nuke for a couple minutes.  Occasionally I would add peanuts or crushed red pepper. Yum.

It was cheap, it was filling, it was delicious, and it was at least mildly nutritious.

Ah, the memories.

Fast forward *ahem* several years.  I'm more aware of the dangers of cans, canned tomato products, and mystery ingredients hiding in my food that through some loophole doesn't have to be listed on the label.  Some of those things can have a real deleterious effect on various members of my family.  But oh, how I missed the taste of those beans...  They became a splurge instead of a staple.

Then one day, I thought, Would it be so hard to make chili beans?  So I looked at a can just for the ingredients.  Seemed pretty simple.  So I bought the ingredients I needed and went home to experiment.

And I succeeded!  With very little tweaking, I managed to come up with chili beans that tasted just like the canned stuff I so admired... Only better!  And healthier to boot.

Now, there are various ways to adjust this to make it healthier or more convenient.  But making it at home will always be better than buying canned as far as taste goes, just because it's fresh. So come on, let's get cookin'!


Arienne's Homemade Chili Hot Beans

Yields 3-4 cups, serves up to 8 people (depending on size of people, meal, and servings!)

3-4 cups cooked pinto beans *See this post on beans
4 cups homemade tomato sauce (or about 2 15 oz cans)
2-4 Tbsp chili powder (McCormick is guaranteed gluten-free, and delicious too)
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt to taste
Water (optional, if you want the sauce to be thinner)

Put all of your ingredients in a large pot (or double the recipe and put it in a large crockpot set to low for a few hours).  Bring to a simmer, cover, turn to low, and prep the rest of your dinner, allowing about 30-60 minutes for the flavors to blend.  Serve it up and watch your clan devour it!

We like to have these with cheese and sour cream, kind of like a meatless chili.  We have also served it over rice, on tortillas, or with BBQ and cornbread.

My notes: It's possible to make this on a Storehouse Budget.  If you have a little money to spare, I just discovered that 5th Season spices are actually just old McCormick spices, and they cost a fraction of the original!  Now old means that the flavor isn't as strong, so you'll need to use more to make up the flavor difference. But that's what tasting is for!

This recipe can also be frozen! Just cook as directed, and allow to cool.  Put in freezer safe bags or containers, and you're set! 

What ways do you like to eat chili beans?  What food sparks your childhood memories you wish you could reinvent in a healthier way?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Recipe: Tuna Quesadillas

Last night was one of those nights that I didn't feel like putting a lot of effort into making dinner, but I didn't have any freezer meals handy.  So I made this instead, and let me tell you, it was a hit!  The kids are talking about having it for lunch tomorrow, and they could totally make this on their own.

Storehouse peeps:  I confess I use tortillas in this recipe, and corn ones to be gluten-free.  A package of 200 only costs about $3, and to me, it is very much worth it.  It adds SO much to my recipe basics.  Dive in those couches for change, and go get some! You won't be sorry.

Tuna Quesadillas (GF)

4 cans of tuna, drained as well as possible
2-4 Tbsp sour cream (or salad dressing/mayo if that's your thing)
Salt and pepper
Opt. spices: Garlic powder, chili powder
Cheddar cheese slices
GF corn tortillas
Sour cream
Shredded lettuce

Start by mixing the drained tuna and a bit of sour cream together in a medium bowl.  You're looking for a relatively dry mixture, just enough sour cream to hold the tuna together.  Add whatever spices you might like.

Heat a skillet or frying pan over medium heat.  No need to add any grease if you use non-stick or cast iron.  Use your own experience to determine the necessity of fat with other pans.  When the pan is good and hot, add a tortilla, a couple slices cheese, and cover with some of the tuna mixture.  Let cook until the tortilla shrinks a bit, browns, and becomes crispy.  Add another tortilla on top and carefully flip over.  Cook until that side looks as yummy as the first.  Remove from pan, get another one started, then use a knife or pizza cutter to cut quesadilla into quarters.  Serve immediately with sour cream and shredded lettuce on the side (or on top!).

Bon appetit!

Have you put anything unconventional in your quesadillas? Did it turn out well?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Recipe: Beans

Beans, beans, the musical fruit,
The more you eat, the more...

Nutritionally balanced you are.

Ahem.

But seriously, which one of us grown ups remember that little ditty and wish it weren't quite so true?  What if we could change that so much that the new rhyme became "the more you woot"? (Or whatever similar rhyme you like.)

I'm here to tell you, it is possible!

Why do beans make us... do that awful stinky stuff? Why are they such a problem?  I can tell you, they didn't used to be.  It used to be common practice to soak beans for long periods of time before cooking them. No, not just overnight, and certainly not a couple hours after bringing to a boil!  Beans were soaked for DAYS.  And that's what I do, and what I'm going to recommend to you.

I was inspired in my method by the book, Nourishing Traditions, but I'll make a few notes and tips for you as I've discovered them.  Here is the recipe straight from the book, followed by my own comments.


Basic Pinto Beans


NT Page 496


Ingredients:


  • 2 cups black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, white beans or black-eyed peas
  • warm filtered water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed (optional)
  • sea salt and pepper

Preparation:

Cover beans with warm water. Stir in baking soda and leave in a warm place for 12-24 hours, depending on the size of the bean. Drain, rinse, place in a large pot and add water to cover beans. Bring to a boil and skim off foam. Reduce heat and add optional garlic. Simmer, covered, for 4-8 hours. Check occasionally and add more water as necessary. Season to taste after beans are soft.

My notes:  I also add a healthy tablespoonful of salt to the soaking water.  It adds a lot of flavor to the final product, and as long as you rinse the beans well prior to cooking, it won't affect the cooking time or ability of the beans.  

To reduce the undesired effects of the beans, I've found that waiting 2-3 days (until the beans are fairly bubbly and almost start to smell bad) and skimming off the foam as you bring the beans to a boil helps A LOT.  

Also, you could conceivably cook the beans in the slow cooker, if that works better for you.  Make sure you have room for plenty of water for the beans to soak up and expand in without burning anything.  You'll likely have to experiment a little with your own slow cooker, as they each tend to be different.  

One more note, you can freeze these beauties.  I can fit about two cans worth comfortably in a quart size freezer bag, which is just right for most meals for my family.  So make a lot!

I swear, cook beans this way, and both the taste and the "after-party" (or lack thereof) will change your life forever.  And your friends and family will thank you. 

Freezing the Storehouse: Sausage

Ahh, good morning!

Wait.  What is that smell? It is savory and sweet and strong and... Wonderful.

Oh yes, that's sausage!

Such a classic breakfast food, packed full of the protein and fat I need to start my day. (I get sick if I only eat carbs... No pancake stacks for me. Sigh.)

But sausage is not just for breakfast food anymore!  You can use it any time of day (or night)!

Imagine with me for a moment.  I've convinced you that sausage will be the PERFECT addition to your morning routine, or lunch, or dinner.  You walk over to your fridge, open the freezer and find... a rock solid tube of delicious sausage.  You calculate in your head how long it will take to thaw in various ways, give up, and go back to your usual or worse! don't eat anything at all.

How can we avoid such a catastrophe?

Precooking!

There are two ways to do this.  Patties and crumbles.

Sausage Patties

Take one partially thawed tube of sausage and cut off the plastic wrapper.  On plate or cutting board, with a sharp, serrated knife, cut tube into 1/2" slices.  Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, and cook until cooked through.  Lay in single layer on foil on a cookie sheet in freezer.  When frozen, place patties in freezer bag.  To reheat, either pop them on a plate in the micro for 30-60 sec or steam them on the stovetop.  To steam, heat that skillet over medium-high heat, add your sausage and 2 Tbsp water, cover, and step away for 5 minutes or so. Flip to brown on the other side, plate, and enjoy.

Sausage Crumbles

I have found that you get more sausage out of the wrapper if it's partially frozen when you take it out than if you wait until it is totally thawed.  So remove from wrapper when partially frozen, then complete thawing in a bowl in the fridge.  Once thawed, add to skillet on medium heat and start choppin'.  Now, you're looking for tiny crumbles, so you really need to stick with it and chop away while it's raw and cooking or you'll get huge chunks that are harder to separate.  I like to use a certain tool from a certain cooking tools company.  Then drain the fat (save it! It's great to cook with instead of oils and margarine), put the meat in a freezer bag, and freeze as flat as possible.  Then, whenever you need some just break some off and heat it up!

And here's a recipe that uses those crumbles!

Sausage and Pepper Sauce
Serves 4-5

1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 quart size bag frozen peppers
1 cup frozen sausage crumbles
Cooked rice

Optional: (Choose 1)
Sour cream
Cheese
Cottage cheese

Put sauce, peppers, and sausage in large skillet on medium heat.  Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer 15-20 minutes until everything is thawed. Serve over hot rice with whichever accompaniments you choose. Bon appetit!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Being Crafty: Patching Kids' Jeans

I don't know about your kids, but my kids seem to constantly be making holes in their jeans.

Everywhere.

Knees. Rear end. Pockets. Crotch. Yikes!

The mending pile turned into a mountain this weekend, and I happened to have a spurt of energy, so I set to patching.  Then I realized I was running out of patches.

Oops.

So I thought, well maybe some of the kids would be okay with different colors. So I went around and asked if they wanted patches that blended or if they would like cool designs. 

Only one child chose the blending. Yay!

I started out pretty tame.

 
But Kael was pleased, so I continued. 

The other leg of the same pants ended up like this:



I made the patch to fit the hole, and thought it looked like the bottom of a boat. Voila!

Kael loved that too.  Feeling confident and inspired, I moved on to the next pair of pants, whose legs looked like so:




 Kael loved them both, but loved the face so much he hugged it.  Victory.

On to the next!

Tristan's pants turned out like this:






Tristan was well pleased.  Triumph! Now for the piece de resistance...

Katie's pants from her mom's house were gifted with these lovely patches:





I now have to secure all the patches, as they are iron-on patches, but I secured Katie's before she had to leave.  I used silver thread on the cloud and sun, which makes them seem to shine!  And a lovely blue on the hearts.  I think they turned out just adorably, and I hope they all want cute patches from here on out!!!

What do you think?  Too cute or too much?







 


Monday, October 13, 2014

Surviving in the Storehouse Gluten-Free

It is a wonderful blessing to be part of a church that provides for its members in times of need.  We are currently participating in the food portion of that program.

Let me tell you, it's not easy being gluten-free on the program, though.

First, a large portion of the foods provided are filled with gluten on purpose. Obviously those need to be avoided.  But there's also an issue with cross-contamination.  Things you wouldn't think would have a problem, do.  As a family, we've reacted to all the canned meats except the tuna, the peanut butter, the new canned beans, and all the canned meats except the tuna.  I'm even starting to question the rice. Yikes.  It's quite limiting.

So how do we do it?  First, there are different levels of poverty associated with this idea.  If you really can't afford a SINGLE thing other than what can be provided at the storehouse, just be careful.  Pay attention to reactions in yourself and family members after consuming certain items.  If there's a reaction, figure out what it is to by elimination ASAP, then stop getting that item.  You'll survive by getting more of other stuff next time.

Second, use what you already have!  Few of us go to the storehouse with completely bare cupboards.  Use the spices you have to "spice" things up (pun intended!).  Use your flours to have a special treat now and then.  Use what you have from your garden to add variety.  Use previously purchased canned and dry goods to add more variety.  It'll help immensely.

Third, if you have a few dollars to spare, I recommend getting yourself some gluten-free corn tortillas.  I'll be posting several recipes that use tortillas, and they really help break the monotony!  If you have the time but not the money for pre-made corn tortillas, buy a GF corn tortilla mix and make your own!  They are SO yummy fresh, and you can make a ton and freeze the extras.  To make the process easier, see if any of your friends own a tortilla press they would let you borrow.  (If it's been used for flour tortillas, proceed with caution!  Either sterilize REALLY well, or just use plastic wrap and a rolling pin like I do.)

There you go! Some tips to help you be gluten-free at the storehouse.

Blessings and good eating!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Freezing the Storehouse

I am blessed to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  As a faithful member of this church, I am entitled to certain blessings and privileges that come from the church.  One of those is access to food from the Bishop's Storehouse when we are in difficult financial times.  I've been the recipient of this blessing several times throughout my adult life, married, divorced, and re-married.  I am truly grateful that we are able to satisfy our family's appetites with this food while we get everything back to a good place in our lives.

It isn't without its challenges, however.  The top two that concern me right now are lack of variety in selection and the fact that most of it is stuff you have to prepare from scratch, especially if, like me, you have to cook to the demands of a food allergy or two.

With this latest pregnancy (due in April 2015), I have had significantly less energy and desire to do much of anything, much less prepare a meal from scratch 3 times a day.  I've also had trouble feeling a desire to eat, as eating the wrong thing, or too much, or too little, or sometimes even thinking about food nauseates me.  Who wants to cook when the thought of said food makes one feel ill?  It's definitely a challenge.  There are usually only about 2 hours a day when I feel good enough to do anything but lay around sleeping, reading, or checking my email.  I managed to teach my 10, 9, and 7 year old some basic food items they can make for themselves for breakfast and lunch, but dinner was still a challenge.

I thought to myself, I'm SO bored with this routine, but what can I do? And how can I make this easier on myself? How about freezer meals?  But my ingredients are so limited... Has anyone else tried to do freezer meals on a Bishop's Storehouse "budget"? Quick research: Answer, no!

Well, then, it's time someone stepped up.

So here I am.

I'm setting out to create meals and other shortcuts that utilize your freezer for more than just storing the meat and ice cream you get from the storehouse.  I've created and tested several successful recipes, and I'm excited to share them with you!  You can, like me, make the most of the hours or day that you feel okay and have the time and make dinner easier for yourself, or for someone else to take over (like those older kids! or a culinarily-challenged hubby).

I will list here some of the things I've come up with.  There are two categories for the freezer, pre-prepped ingredients and pre-prepped meals.  I also have some recipes that will hopefully shake up your meals and add variety to your edible life.  I'll link to the posts as soon as they're posted, and I'll keep adding links as I come up with more recipes.  I hope these can help you as much as they've helped me.

Also, y'all should know that my dietary restrictions and preferences bias a lot of my cooking.  Sometimes I'll offer alternatives for ingredients you may be lucky/crazy enough to have and use for food.  (No judgment here; we're all different.)  Sometimes I won't bother.  Feel free to substitute as you may desire, or if you're stumped, comment or email me.  I'm an expert at substitutions.

For the record, we are gluten-free, abstain from vegetable oils, and every other weekend or so I have to also be dairy-free for my step kids.  Check out this post for my tips on how to survive gluten-free at the storehouse.

So here you go!

Ingredients

Frozen vegetables
Frozen vegetable purees
Marinated chicken breasts (plus bonus sauce recipe!)
Sausage patties and crumbles (plus bonus recipe!)
Ground beef crumbles
Pinto beans


Meals
Roasted Tomato Soup @
Taquitos*@
Cabbage Rolls @
Arienne's Homemade Chili Hot Beans *@
Crock Chili @

Flair and Variety

Coleslaw @
Potato Salad @
Broccoli Salad @
Tuna Quesadillas *

Key:
* Needs extra ingredients from what you can get in the Storehouse
@ Dairy-free (or dairy-free options)
 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Learning to Let Go

When our babies are born, they are completely helpless.  They can do nothing for themselves except cry and mess their diaper and maybe open their eyes. Basic, instinctual stuff.






You think to yourself, Whoa. I am in charge of this little body. I have to take care of it, nurture, guide... Whoa.

But babies don't stay little.  They grow.  Soon they can smile, hold themselves up, move themselves around, maybe even say a few things.  You think, They're getting so big, but they're still so helpless.  I still need to do a lot for them.

They keep on growing.  Soon enough, they're dressing themselves, feeding themselves, cleaning up after themselves (with some... ahem... prompting), and they voice their opinions clearly and distinctly and loudly and often.  They're not so helpless anymore, and your new job as a parent is to... let them grow, let them choose, let them feel consequences.

That. Is. So. Hard. To. Do.

It is indescribably difficult to watch them, LET them, make really stupid choices that you know you've taught them better than to choose.  Even harder is letting them feel the consequences of those actions without mitigation.

I'm having a hard time letting go.

It's easier to let the "good" children go.  You know, the kids who 99% of the time listen to you, do the smart thing, the right thing. And when they make a wrong choice, it's on something really small and almost unimportant.

It takes herculean effort to let your problem strong-willed child do the same.  You know, the one who has a mind all their own, takes things apart just to see the parts and leaves you with a destroyed whatever and no way of fixing it, or the one who goes around the block without telling you.  This is the one that makes you wonder if you'll turn prematurely gray or if you'll get a call from the police about this child one day.

Are you serious? Let this child make those big, stupid mistakes??

Somewhere along the way, I forgot that these little people are just that... little people, with hopes and dreams all their own, with wills and spirits all their own.  They're not mine to control; they're mine to guide.  When children are little, it's easy to develop the illusion of control, but really, they're going to choose what they want, do what they want, and think what they want.  You can't actually control another person, and the illusion bursts rather violently for these independent little buggers as soon as they figure out the truth.

You can probably guess that specific children and specific events have led me down this path.  I won't go into specifics because it is their life, not mine to share.  But I have struggled for months with this seemingly fine line between guidance and control called discipline.  I'll admit it hasn't all been for the good of my kids... I want to look like a good mother.  Ironically, the more I tried to look like a good mother by controlling my kids, the less successful I was, and the less I felt like a good mother.  I became angrier and more frustrated, and took it out on my kids. (I am ashamed.)

Then I found this book at the library:




I read it voraciously the first time.  It resonated with me, but I didn't initially feel able to apply it to my life.

I read it again.

And again.

Then I had to give it back to the library...

I mentioned it to my mother during one of our Skype sessions, and she said, "Oh! I think I have that one!"

She did. No wonder it seemed familiar.  I've spent many hours perusing my parents' extensive library.

She bought me my own copy.  I gushed and thanked her profusely.  And I thank her daily when I open it up to consult about a problem.

Dr. Latham (who coincidentally calls the city I'm living in right now home) has taught me so much about how to be a Christlike parent.  I've learned things like how to keep my cool (and why it's important), specific phrases to say in certain types of situations so I don't get embroiled in an argument, and most importantly, how to let my children make their own choices, and simply learn from the consequences.

Easier said than done, let me tell you.

But I have already seen the fruits of this exercise, not only in the lives of my strong-willed and independent children, but in all of them.

I continue to struggle with my need to be in control, but it gets a little easier every day.

It gets easier because I'm learning that I'm not just letting go.  I'm letting them go to God, He who knew them before they were mine, He who knows how best to guide them, what is best for them to hear.  They're not being left alone; I'm allowing God to show Himself in their lives.



That feels pretty good.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

It's Only One Night... Right?

Once a year, our nation celebrates its independence from Britain with days off from work, picnics and barbecues, red-white-and-blue themed EVERYTHING, and of course, FIREWORKS.






Oh, the magic and wonder of fireworks!  Bright bursts of color and sound bigger than life above our heads, and all the mini versions on the ground i.e. sparklers, poppers, etc.  How do they work? What makes the colors? Why are they so loud?

No really. WHY??

As a mother, I must confess, July 4th is quite possibly my least favorite holiday.  Personally, I love the fireworks. 

What I do not love is when they wake up my baby who is not yet fully capable of going back to sleep.  Or when they wake my preschooler who has a hard enough time going to sleep in the first place, and whom I just got to fall asleep by laying next to her.  Or when it keeps my school age kids up instead of sleeping like they so desperately need in order to not be grumpy all the next day.

Hold on there, mom, you may say.  It's only one night of the year. Chill out!

Oh yes, you're right.  It's only one night of the year.

Except it's not.

As I type this, I'm listening to a fireworks show at my neighbor's house.  Today is not the 4th of July.   It's the 2nd.

And this is not the first night there have been fireworks.  It's the third.

And there are two more days until the big day.

Oy. To. The. Vey.

To add to my joy and rejoicing, I live in Utah, where not only is July 4th celebrated with fireworks, but so is pioneer day, July 24th!  So of course, fireworks are on sale ALL MONTH!  And fireworks are set off ALL MONTH LONG!  Almost every night for an entire month?  What rapture is mine!







Fireworks are fun. Yes.  I'm likely being an old fuddy duddy feeling this way.  Just call me the Scrooge of Independence Day.

I can't be alone, can I?  Comment below about your feelings on this part of the celebrations.  Too many fireworks? Agree or Disagree?


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Family Pics

This year we had our good friend Anne Toller take our family pictures.  I think she did a wonderful job! Here you go!

























Great stuff, huh?

Blessings!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Why I Will Not Be Vaccinating Agasinst the Flu... Ever.

I'm not going to pontificate against the flu vaccine here. For over 5 years, I have steadfastly refused this vaccine without any doubts simply based on my motherly intuition.  Now I have found a well-researched article explaining how my decision is now backed by science. Please read it and be informed about your own decision, whether you decide to vaccinate or not.

And please, let's all stop the judgment conga line about each other's decision.

You know what's best for your family.

I know what's best for mine.

What Science Says About Getting the Flu Shot

Blessings.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tristan's Birthday!

This last Thursday, Tristan turned 6!  We just had the basic party, you know, favorite dinner (pizza and mac & cheese), cake (white with yellow frosting and red sprinkles), and presents, but fun was had by all.

Tristan received a VERY LARGE tote full of legos from Granmama and Grandpa Johansen.  Then he received from us a beanbag chair, a flashlight, and 151 marbles, including some big shooters.  He was well satisfied.