Friday, December 30, 2011

beef - it's what's for dinner

It's something we've talked about
off and on
for several years now.
We finally decided to do something about it.

Lana started looking for grass fed beef a few weeks ago.
When you cut out grains,
you tend to think a little more seriously
about what you eat 

I took her research and ran with it
and ended up getting contact info for a group in F'ville
that raises cows the way I would want to,
if I were ever going to raise a cow.....

All that to say - we have a half of a cow in our freezer!
More accurately, 3/4 of a half a cow,
since we split it with Luke and Lana.

By my calculations,
we've got 56 meals worth of beef (2 -3 lbs)
averaging $12.88 / per meal 
for our family of 5 big eaters, and 3 little ones.
We're pretty stinkin' excited!
I hope we like grass-grown beef....

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

new towels

Remember last week - when I said I'd ordered fabric
for a little project?

It's a happy fabric - maybe you've heard of it?

 We got rid of the dishwasher a few weeks ago;
it's always leaked, but the leaking had gotten worse
and I didn't want my pretty new floor getting messed up.

 And besides, 
we practically washed the dishes before loading them anyways...

 I figured If I was going to have towels on my counter all the time,
they ought to be pretty.

 At first,
I was just going to buy new towels.
But where would be the fun in that?
Plus I figured,
to get kitchen towels of any quality,
I'd have to pay a good bit for them....

If I was going to pay good money for something,
might as well be something I really love, huh?
And the best part?
Actually, there's 2 best parts:
I used birthday money (thanks, Mom & Gramma!)
I have leftover fabric :-)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

i said yes!

25 years ago,
I got a cute little puppy for Christmas.
Which is nice and all,
I was expecting a ring.
a diamond ring.
It was early evening on the 27th of December, 1986.
My family was going to be heading to Illinois soon.
Tyler came to my apartment around  6:00.
7ish, I called my mom and told her
it wasn't looking like it'd be today, either,
and to just go ahead and leave.
Not long after that,
Tyler asked me to get him a piece of banana bread.
I went to the fridge
(I kept banana bread in the fridge?!?)
and there, sitting in my nearly empty fridge
was a little green velvet-lined box
with a sparkly huge diamond peeking out of it.
I squealed and ran to the living room
where Tyler got down on one knee
and asked me to marry him.

I called my mom back and told her not to leave yet
and we ran over to show off my ring.
He never did get that slice of banana bread.
But it's okay,
'cause pretty much every year since,
he's gotten some.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

the party

We changed things up a bit from last year
and had the birthday cake for breakfast.

Once again,
we read from Matthew 25 to find out what gifts Jesus would like.
Without knowing how much money we were contributing,
each kid dug deep into their piggy banks
(which are really just sad wrinkled envelopes)
so they could give too.
we passed out envelopes of homemade cash in assorted bills.

There was an extra envelope with a glittery pickle on it.
A few years before she died,
Granny started the pickle tradition:
She'd hide a pickle ornament in the tree
and whoever found it 
got an extra gift.
we found a pickle just like hers
and decided we'd carry on the tradition.
with a twist:
the pickle finder would get an extra $50 
to spend on birthday gifts for Jesus!

 Jeremiah found it! 

I grabbed a stack of envelopes
and a piece of paper.
As Tony determined where to buy what,
I quickly wrote it in a chart.
As people decided what they wanted to purchase
I'd stick the money in an envelope
neatly labeled with the item, how much it cost
and which charitable organization we'd buy it from.

From Compassion, we bought Jesus
1 cow
3 goats
a swingset
a skilled birth attendant for 1 birth
(guess who chose that ;-)

We purchased
5 chickens
(I also ordered their book!)

From  Samaritan's Purse we got
bees for a family, so they could start a honey business
and Lily and Lexi got food for a week for 9 hungry babies
or their nursing mommas.

We kinda hit the jackpot with World Vision.
We gave $73 for clothes and that gift will be multiplied 
11 times - providing $803 worth of warmth!
Our gift of $21 for emergency food will be quintupled.
I kinda wanted to specify the food go to Haiti,
since that's where the Hendricks are,
but the money would only have been quadrupled,
so it seemed wiser to just give to the global food crisis.
We also got mosquito nets for 2 families
and gave 50 bucks to the Maximum Impact Fund,
so World Vision could use the money where it was most needed.

This Christmas, all together,
wait - I've got to add it up.....
Oh, YAY!!
All together

(I feel like it seems like I'm bragging,but that really isn't my heart!
I just want us to be able to look back later and see what we gave,
 as encouragement and also as a challenge to live even more generously)

Happy Birthday, Jesus!
Thank-you, God, for giving the unimaginable gift,
Your Son. Your only Son.

baby come back

During the late fall and early winter of '76,
once a week
after school
we'd go to my Aunt Bonnie's house
and the kids would play
while my mom worked on my Christmas present.
I knew whatever it was would be really special,
because she spent a lot of time on it.
I had no idea at the time, how right I was.

Christmas morning, 1976 (8 yrs old)
Johnny arrived in yellow zippered  jammies stitched with gray thread
and I loved him immediately.
My favorite Christmas present ever!
Through all of my moves
and purges
Johnny came with me.
In Fort Smith, he lived on the green bench in the upstairs hall.
Ten or so years ago, I found a girl doll with blond braids
 at a yard sale
made from the same pattern my mom had used.
I was thrilled to have her,
but she didn't have quite the value that Johnny had to me
she didn't make the cut.
Johnny went into storage.
When he got packed away,
the plan was 1 year.
Several weeks ago,
almost 6 years after my beloved doll got stuck in a box,
we were sorting through our stored items in the shop.
My wedding veil and flowers hadn't fared well in storage
and reluctantly got tossed in the fire with a sigh.
And then,
we got to the box that Johnny was in.
For the record - plastic tubs make much better storage containers
than boxes.
Wasps and mud daubers can still get in and build nests,
but mice
and other critters
can not.
Not knowing this bit of wisdom, 
Johnny, dressed in a pair of TJ's preemie jammies,
was in a cardboard box,
and he was apparently the coziest thing in that box,
and the mice had a party with him.
Oh, how I cried.
I was going to throw him in the fire, too,
but Tyler told me not to;
said maybe he could be repaired.
I wanted to believe him, but I wasn't so sure.
Heart-sore, I obediently stuck him back in the box anyways.

Unbeknownst to me, when we went up for Thanksgiving,
Tyler brought the horribly damaged doll to my mother.
And many painstaking hours later,
she had cleaned and repaired him!

Mom said he was bobbing around in his soak water
so she added some weight to hold him under
and when she uncovered him - this is what she found.
He was just waiting to be re-born.

She sent him back as 'a present from Santa' with TJ.
(who had no clue what was in the package).
His jammies were irredeemable,
but Johnny himself
looks good as new.
I'm sooo glad I didn't toss him in that fire!

 The little kids didn't see what the big deal was,
why Momma was crying over a doll;
but the big boys, and Tyler,
they knew.
With the exception of photographs,
he is the only piece of my childhood 
that survived all my purges.
The one earthly thing
that means the world to me.

Thank-you, Mom, for giving Johnny new life.
And thank-you, Love,
for rescuing him from the flames.

Friday, December 23, 2011

no wonder

 we are in a nutritional mess!

I clicked on a link to get free samples of healthy products
saw this

Thursday, December 22, 2011

chocolate drops

For when you want a little something.

Tyler made these so we could have some treats
at my family's Christmas gatherings last weekend.
They got a thumbs up from everyone who tasted them
from my don't-really-care-what-he-eats brother
to my totally buff body-builder sister.

Chocolate Drops

4 squares Bakers unsweetened chocolate - grated
3Tbs Xylitol - powdered in a small grinder OR a bit of stevia powder
1/4 c. coconut oil

1/4 c. raisins - chopped
1/2 c. almonds or pecans - chopped small & toasted
1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut

Mix well and drop onto a wax paper covered baking sheet.
Pop in the freezer for a few minutes 'til they harden a bit.

humble pie

Guess where I went today.
the Crotty Foot Clinic.

I did actually find some more podiatrists in town,
but one of Tyler's co-workers had been to see Crotty & said he was fine
and the earliest appointment I could get was with him.
Of course, my issue was never with the doctor,
just his name.
Or rather the stupid disgusting name he chose for his clinic...

The back of that heel there should be roundy, not pointy.

It turns out
an obese 43 year old woman has no business
trying to do Couch to 5K - at least not the 12 week program.
I will be wearing a boot thing for 3 weeks
and staying off my feet most of the day
and taking an anti-inflammatory
(which I'm not thrilled about)
and hopefully I will be good as new(ish) soon.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

almost Christmas daybook

right now, I am 

pjs and my much loved 13 year-old robe.
And gators, because my slippers got too holey to wear.
I'm sure hoping there's a pair under the tree.

listening to
not much of anything.
Every once in awhile, the heater will make some noise,
and there is a rooster crowing way off in the distance.
Oh - some dogs barking, too.

for almonds. 
Really! They have made the transition to 
this new way of eating
so much more tolerable for us.

that it's time to make an appointment.
Even if it has to be with Crotty Foot Clinic.
My heel has been on fire for over an hour straight.
Usually, it's just a few seconds at a time,
several times a day.
It is very nearly unbearable.

I am reading
(which was a lovely surprise gift from a sweet lady
I don't even know very well)
and a few books from the library,
but no novels right now.

in the kitchen
I am learning how to cook 
all over again.
Some days I am more up for the challenge than others.
Mostly, though,
it really hasn't been too bad. 

not much of anything.
There are only so many hours in a day.
Any extra time available is spent studying grain-free eating.
I would really like to get back to my red and blue quilt, though.
I did clean off my sewing desk a few weeks ago.
Oh - and I ordered fabric for a quick little project.
And if I win this giveaway, I'll order some Flora
and make a quilt for the LEM.

looking forward
to my sweet love being off work 10 days in a row!
Part of me wants to pick up and go somewhere.
The saner part just wants to stay home.
I have to remind myself that what I think will be fun
rarely is.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

making me think

"Aunt Marin loves me."

"How do you know that?" I asked her,
"Because she tells you, or how she acts?"
Lex' confidently responded, "How she acts."

Friday, December 16, 2011

a perfect binding

 I had Gramma's quilt finished ages ago
with the exception of the binding.
I was waiting for it to cool off a bit
but also,
I hadn't found just the right fabric yet.

 About a week (or a month) ago, I happened to see this fabric
and thought it was the one.
But I realized the zigzags were sideways for my needs. 
Drat! The colors were so perfect!
Then I discovered that the same colors were available

Sewing the binding on is one of my favorite parts of making a quilt.
Although, my eyes are getting bad,
so I was wearing my granny glasses,
complete with a beaded chain to make them less likely to disappear 
and somebody delighted in making fun of me.

 I hope she likes it okay,
but I know nothing will top last year's gift.
I'm fine with that.

another 7 quick takes

I never did figure out how to get a decent cup of coffee with this,
but it's great for brewing a pot of tea.

I've pretty much decided
 I'm going to have to see a doctor for my blasted heel,
but I've looked in the yellow pages;
 there is no 'podiatrist' heading under 'physicians'
and I've always said if I ever had to go to a foot Dr,
I sure wouldn't go to the 'Crotty Foot Clinic'
(isn't that the most disgusting name?!)
and I really don't want to have to eat those words.

This girl makes me smile.
She makes me awfully frustrated, too;
but mostly, she makes me smile.

if she ain't careful, she's gonna need a podiatrist, too
I got one of those curling wands a few weeks ago.
I love it!

It does take a bit of getting used to
and it takes about 30 minutes to curl all my hair
the curl 
stays in for days!

My hair isn't really that color.
It's much darker.

I'm really proud of my big boys;
They haven't complained one bit about our dietary changes.
Actually, the little ones have done really well, too, considering...

It's great for helping 'disguise' food.
I made PF Chang (sort of) lettuce wraps the other day
and I knew everyone would like them,
but I also knew the girls would take one look at them
and think they wouldn't like them,
so I put candles and garland on the table.
Worked like a charm.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Santa and the Savior

I'm not sure exactly why,
but this picture brought tears to my eyes
when I saw it on the wall
as I stood in the checkout line at Hobby Lobby

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

our Lily

Oh, how I love this girl!

she can make a mess so fast it makes my head spin
She hasn't quite been herself in a long time.
Mostly, I think she was out of sorts 
from having an extra person in the house for so long.
I can sure understand that.
And Marcos had only been gone 3 days
when she came down with a nasty
long, drawn out cold.
Then the Tummy Bug visited
and she never really had it full-fledged,
but she had several days of not feeling too swift.
I'm not quite sure what happened, but Monday,
we got our sweet Lily back!
I've missed her.

Mommy loves you, Precious Girl!!

edited to add:
She'd come in our room in the early morning
and unhappily snuggled between her sister and youngest big brother
(she'd wanted to snuggle next to me, but alas, there was no room)
and this is how our Lily woke up today:
She rolled over to look at me
sitting in the rocking chair with the mangled pads,
barely opening her eyes.
"Oh, Momma, isn't it a beautiful day today?
It's so nice to have the bright sun coming in (it's rather overcast)
and these comfy bed and chair
and all this space!"
And with a sweep of her arm, she bopped out of bed.

Do you see what I mean??

Monday, December 12, 2011

the bookstore

I went to Books a Million yesterday
for the first time in a really long time.
I could easily spend hours in a bookstore.
(I didn't)
If I ever have time to kill,
I should go.
(Like that'll happen in the next two decades)
A new book store just has the best smell;
I'd forgotten.
All those fresh books.
And coffee.
A used book store certainly has its charm, too,
but it's not normally its fragrance.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

goodbye grains

I'm not really even sure where to start.

As Americans go,
we eat healthy.
Whole grains, and lots of 'em.
Cold-pressed good-for-you oils.
Honey - raw, of course - and Xylitol instead of sugar.
Whole wheat pastas, 
except for the 4-6 times a month 
the kids have mac & cheese or curly noodles.
For goodness sake, we drive over 2 hours
one way
to buy our milk.
To say I care, greatly, about the nutrition of my family
is an understatement.
Those 4-6 serving per  month of white pastas?
I feel guilty for
I only buy them because the kids like them so much
and it's an easy thing to fix if I'm gone.
And really, when the bulk of our diet is good,
I figure it can't hurt that much...

Last Tuesday,
I followed a link that Elizabeth shared to this post.

One look at me
and you can see I have 'issues'.
I continue, even with severely reducing my food intake
(of healthy foods)
and exercising some (although admittedly, I could do more...)
I am gaining weight.
I weigh more than I ever have in my life.
In my life, people!
I have been pregnant 10 times!
And then there is the pain.
I've had pain in either my SI joint
or my heel
or both
pretty much every day
since February.
Some days the pain has been debilitating,
sometimes it's just a nuisome.
But I don't think I've had even three pain-free days in 11 months. 

Tyler, while his weight is fine for his height,
has a bit of fat in the worst possible place - his belly.
He also has high blood pressure,
liver 'irregularities',
high cholesterol,
and is considered pre-diabetic.

After reading The Post last Tuesday,
I immediately sent it to Tyler.
A few hours later, he sent me a link to this post.
I spent the entire day on the computer.
We emailed.
We talked.
We prayed.
I may have shed a tear or three.
We decided that we would probably do a 
60 day wheat free experiment 
starting in January.
We watched the documentary Fathead.
And I couldn't bear the thought of feeding my family wheat
I have 450# of wheat in my pantry,
and with the exception of Friday, being Jeremiah's birthday
and Saturday morning pancakes for the kids
and a few other times 
when the kids have had a tiny bit of wheat in something
We have been wheat-free for a week.

I'll be honest,
when I was looking for ways to help my husband live a long life,
I wasn't expecting to find that we'd need to do something so extreme.
so counter-cultural.
('cause we are so normal ;-)
Most of my research was comforting, actually;
pretty much everything said 'more whole grains'.
That, I could handle.
I also determined we needed more leafy greens
and more exercise.
But the nagging thought was there,
if we are eating so well
(for the most part)
is Tyler having these health issues at a fairly young age?
I pretty much decided he just had lousy genes.

I'd been exposed to the idea of going wheat free before,
but come on - I've got those buckets and buckets of wheat...
And how could that even be healthy?!
Bread is the 'staff of life'.
it began to make sense.
And as I studied further, it seemed foolish to wait until January.
 that is how
a wheat-grinding girl like me
said goodbye - in December, no less
(perhaps temporarily, perhaps forever)
to Saturday morning waffles
and my finally-perfected wheat biscuits
(that I never even got posted, I so recently perfected them!)
and our delicious whole wheat bread.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

good mail

You want to get some good mail?

Remember just a little over a year ago,
(Only he told me he preferred to be called Blesson, not Sam)
And then, exactly 2 months later,
we got a letter from him and discovered he knew English.
I was so stinkin' happy!
Well, now
there have been enough back and forth letters
that we are responding to things the other person wrote.
Which is just so cool!

Want to  know just how precious Blesson's letters are?

That unopened package under the letter?
Quilt binding fabric..

(and just in case you can't read his letter,
Our letters to him are equally precious.
He states, "....I can not explain how much happy...")