Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Heritage of Reading

I come from a long line of folks who love to read.  Many of the my Mama's family, the Waglers have libraries full of every sort of book.  Many of them probably come from auctions or the Goodwill store or are gifts and some were handed down from the generation before. My mom has a small room built especially for her books.  It is packed full to overflowing just like the library shelves in my Uncle Jesse and Uncle Titus's house and many of the other uncles and aunts too I am sure.
As a youngster I used to love the long awaited summer trips out to the far land of Iowa visiting family and living life Amish, something my sister Janice and I sincerely planned to do when we were FINALLY  8 & 10.  (Glad we got deterred from that one, that's a story for another day)   But, probably one of the biggest highlights of the trip was spending hours in Grandpa's bookstore, Brookside Books, a messy little metal building that had books stashed in every possible space.  Since my parents were shunned, their money was not accepted so we always made out like book bandits with the stash we went home with each summer visit tho I am sure us being the grandchildren they only saw once every 2 years or so made a small difference in that arrangement also.  Once Grandpa actually did let my sister pay ten cents for one of the whole sets of Janette Oke books.  Many of the books I treasure are from those days and still sit on prominent places in my bookshelf.  Some of them Grandma actually wrote our names in.  Those are the extra special ones!
I don't remember my Dad's family, the Marners being readers like mama's but Dad definitely stepped up to bat on the reading thing.  As long as I can remember Sunday afternoons were spent with us kids sprawled out all over the living room and Dad sitting there reading to us until he nodded off.  We never wanted him to quit and always begged him to continue.  I don't have any idea how many times we read the Laura Ingles' "Little House on the Prairie" series or the Mother Westwind  animal series about Jimmy Skunk and his friends or many of the other goldie oldies I have big plans to read with my own children.  Somewhere along the line we read Wilson Rawls' "Summer of the Monkeys" which is still one of my favorites today.  Mom often read to us too.  I can still hear the exact way her tones changed as she read Farmer Brown..."said Farmer Brown, Tra la, Tra le.  Today's my birthday, lucky me..."
Those are the days I long for, when books magically transported us away to Avonlea and down into the hollar with Jayberry spying for monkeys or staying warm in the cold sod house with Laura and Mary.  Technology has changed how children are raised now.  Books are often considered boring and set on shelves collecting dust.  Tvs, Ipads and cell phones have robbed us of precious moments bonding while reading stories together.  I am guilty.  How sad!
My children do have books,  many books! My hubby didn't always understand why I have the unquenchable thirst to buy every old book I see or why the children would need another book for every birthday or holiday or why one would need to fill 5 bookshelves with books of all things, but he is learning. Now he even says someday he will build me a room for my books.  I am looking forward to that.  Meanwhile I stash books everywhere in hopes that my children will get a sweet taste of the world outside our box experienced simply by picking up a book and gazing at the pages.  I am trying to be more intentional about putting aside what I am doing and reading to them when they ask.  Some days when I inwardly groan and moan about how many times I already read the same old story over and over like small children happen to prefer and all I really want to do is just move along to another subject and read something else, it's then I remember how many memories are forming in their minds and how maybe someday they will look back and remember my exact tone when I read them the Hungry Caterpillar or Green Eggs and Ham and hopefully the legacy I leave will carry on with the gift I have experienced ~ a heritage of stories, reading and a lifetime of love.  I'm telling you..It's the little things.

The other evening Abby was getting tired and was begging for her favorite story which currently is "the Hungry Caterpillar".  She finally took matters into her own hands and began "reading" by herself.  My apologies to those of you who watched this already, but hey it's too cute to not share with the world right?!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Diet & Exercise

Two of my least favorite words are DIET & EXERCISE.  Here again, it's simply a mind set boiling down to choices I make.  I can chose!  My recent upgrade in the healthier living department has produced plenty of challenges.  I adore bread, pasta and mostly heavily carb loaded meals.  They make me happy or so I thought till I started living with terrible pain in the form of Trigeminal Neuralgia and being diagnosed as basically borderline diabetic.  Not saying bread and yummy carbs made me ill ~ most likely it boils down to my lack of self control in eating balanced meals and an extreme lack of exercise tho I do run after 4 little ones all day long which I really think should count for something?! Right?
When I met Dr. Jason Bradley, my current doc who is walking me thru the process of these life style changes I had no idea what all he was going to put me thru.  Not only did he say I need to take a break from grains, he said I have to watch calories (something I have NEVER done) and exercise.  UGGGH!! He took lots of tests (including 8 whole tubes of blood) and figured out what was good for my body and what was not.  Right off the top he eliminated corn, peas, peanuts, pork and garlic, that last one just about put me over the edge - I eat (well ate) garlic in everything.  Some of the foods I will probably never eat again (the first 4 are on my severe list).  I do have a huge list of foods I can eat in abundance, most fruits, lots of veggies, beef, turkey, fish etc. and hey I can eat cocoa!  So life is good!  One of my first responses was despair at the items I couldn't eat but somewhere along the way I decided to rule the list instead of letting the list rule me.  In other words, find ways to deliciousness despite my limitations.
One of my favorite concoctions is my daily lunchtime smoothie which has high greens content and is super yummy.  I am blessed to have a Vitamix which makes the best smoothies EVER hands down!  Plus it is filling and comes in at about 100 calories more or less.
Here is the recipe:

  • 2-3  c baby spinach (depends how "green" you are ;) 
  • 1/2 c frozen whole strawberries
  • 1/2 c frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1/3 c frozen blackberries
  • 1/4 c pomegranite seeds
  • 1 c water

My trusty Vitamix and my yummy lunch!

Secondly Dr. Bradley gave me a fabulous 4 minute exercise program to follow, Tabatas.  Haven't heard of them?  I hadn't either. Basically you exercise in 20 second time segments then rest 10 seconds, doing that for a total of 8 cycles, making a grand total of 4 minutes of our precious time but having the same effect, if done correctly, as a 20-30 run!  I can do that.  There is not a lot written on line about Tabatas the way he explained them to me, but, his program is working.  I did find a fabulous timer on line that I pinned and use in my sessions. I usually do a combination of jumping jacks, running in place and half pushups and trust me, the 4 minute part is fab but I usually feel like I am going to die at the end but man is it adrenalin rush to actually realize that not only can I cross an item of my should do list but I feel great afterwards too once the heart rate slows down ;)  
 The particular timer that I use is this one : 
You can get it as an app for your phone but since my phone isn't that smart I just exercise by my computer.
On down this particular link on the right hand side is an encouraging paragraph about choosing exercise and how doing something is better then doing nothing!
Lastly Dr. Bradley introduced me to  It is a free fabulous way to track eating and exercise, charting weight loss and helping you set goals.  Check it out!  
My conclusion is that my attitude and how well I use the tools God has blessed me with will make the biggest impact on my viewpoint of my two "favorite" words.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Morning Traditions

Like I previously stated I love food.  Breakfast is one of my most anticipated meals of the day just a step ahead of dinner and supper.  I lay awake at night dreaming of what I will create in a few hours.  Sunday mornings are a favorite breakfast for us all!  With all the hectic that goes along with getting 4 little ones ready for church, figuring out lunch plans and making sure I am presentable, I decided a long time ago I needed a regular habitual breakfast to ensure the morning moves along according to schedule.  A lot of tweaking later we have a must have favorite that the kidos beg for during the week but know with the exception of special days like birthdays this will only grace our table on Sunday ~ Baked Oatmeal!  We love ours loaded with chocolate chips (yeah, probably not the healthiest but at least most of the rest of the recipe is very healthy not to mention delish! and chocolate is a bean right?! ) I actually love to sprinkle mine with any variety of fresh fruit- blueberries, strawberries, bananas.  Here is the recipe.

Mama's Baked Oatmeal
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 c oil (I prefer coconut or olive oil)
  • 1c milk (have tried pretty much every kind and it is all good!-cows, goats, almond, rice, coconut)
  • 1 c honey (I love using half maple syrup)
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 t bkg pwd
  • 1 T ground flax
  • 3  1/2 c oatmeal
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • toppings can be eaten on top or baked into
Bake at 350 for 20-30 min or until nicely browned and set.
Serve hot with cold milk and toppings

All ready to bake ~ Yum coming up!

I wish one could post smells

Now as I already stated personal health issues have put my eating habits on a different path.  I have started a program with my doctor where I am grain and dairy free at least for now.  I can not tell you how much better I already feel! But that's a story for another day.  I am learning about Paleo eating and how it isn't totally as weird/gross as I had pictured.  Yes I love grains, especially my own freshly ground wheat but for now I am a student of learning about how I can create delicious in the realm of things currently in my food plan.  I was craving waffles.  My doctor challenged me to come up with my own nut flour based ones. My first thought was CAPITAL yuck!,  that he hadn't a clue what he was talking about,  but figured it was worth a try.  After combing the internet for recipe ideas,  I took a few I thought sounded decent and put them together and wowza I actually have something great to look forward to my self!  I posted one of my versions on Facebook earlier this week. Here is my latest version--mama's new Sunday morning tradition!

My Favorite
Almond Flour Waffles
  • 1c almond meal
  • 1/2 t bkg. pwd
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 T ground flax
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 3 eggs separated
  • 1/8 - 1/4 c coconut or almond milk
Mix all ingredients together except the eggs whites.  Beat whites till stiff then add.  Add enough of the milk to make a nice consistency.  Bake in hot waffle iron making sure to grease before each one.  These seem to bake quicker then regular ones so watch them carefully making sure not to over do.

This morning I had 1/2 a banana and maple syrup from my favorite Midwestern farm, Glenna Farms on top of my yummy

Another plus is stepping on the scale for my weigh in and being able to celebrate officially losing 10 lbs!

I'm telling you...It's the little things.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

New Beginnings..Facing the Battle of the Bulge

I have to admit I have always been secretly jealous of the folks around me who can sit down and eat a box of ice cream, half a pizza or a bag of Hershey's kisses and not gain an ounce.  GRRRRR right?!
 Recently it was made extremely clear to me once again that the little choices are what keeps me in the constant battle of the bulge.  I am addicted to food! There I said it.  I love food and everything about food hence the constant battle. It has been said that there are 2 types of people, those who eat to live and those who live to eat.  I have pretty much lived in the latter group, however with crazy life events and their effects on my life in many ways,  I am realizing that the other "group" is where I really need to be and my small daily choices either empower me to go there or do the exact opposite, keeping me in constant battle.
I love to write--it soothes my soul and gives me an outlet to the thoughts that tumble their way around my brain. This blog is in fact a part of a new beginning for me.  Not only am I working on healthier life choices in many ways not just limited to food, I am working on capturing in my memory the little moments that make each day a new beginning and hopefully encouraging and motivating my family and friends to do the same.
Some days I may rant about some new recipe I tried that is yummy and mostly healthy too or you may find me jumping up and down about having met a weight loss goal (I am right at 10 lbs down in my quest of 50 down) or it may just be something one of my precious ones did or said.  I have also always been big on watching for God moments, and wow has He been working overtime for our family lately!  
For those of you who know me, you know how I tend to be wordy.  I am going to attempt to keep this short and sweet and to the point.  You are welcome to tag along at any point in time.