Monday, March 31, 2008

Understanding my torment


I've had to explain my torment to a few people lately. The words just don't seem adequate and I feel almost foolish trying to explain it. I stumble onto a blog which linked me to this article which eloquently describes much of what I feel on physical and emotional levels. I hope it might help you to understand me.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I look good naked!!!

Recently I've discovered the british show "How to Look Good Naked" . There is an american version , which I watched today for the first time, but I find the host of the british one, Gok Wan, to be more edifying. I've watched several episodes and have been struck at how women of all shapes and sizes, including those with bodies some of us would be thrilled with have such low opinions of themselves, self-loathing and lack of confidence. It really shows how our perceptions of ourselves come out in every aspect of of our lives- how we care for ourselves, dress, walk, talk and act. By showing these women how to love who they are and see themselves as others really see them their entire persona is transformed. Not only are they able to accept their perceived flaws but they are left with the inner courage to be proud of who they are. Their inner self shines through and their love of self makes them more beautiful than any makeover, weight loss program or plastic ever could.

I could sit on the couch and dream about being chosen to be on the show and have Gok transform me into a beautiful woman. I'd be sitting and dreaming for a long while. I could take the things these women learn to heart and I could try to look at myself more objectively. I can chose to look at myself through my Hero's eyes. He is constantly telling me I'm a hottie or sexy or grabbing my bum. He did this 40 lbs ago, 60 lbs ago, through swollen ankles and 4 pregnancies, through leaky boobs, bloated belly, beyatchy moods, zit breakouts and depression. I am just finally starting to listen, to really take it in and learn to love my body and myself for what I have and who I am. I'm learning to not hide when a camera comes out or crop myself out of pictures of the crew. I'm also learning to take steps to make myself healthy, to not set impossible goals for myself, to become the best me not the best magazine cover or twiggy women in my town.... to be healthy and happy no matter what store I have to shop in or what the world's opinion of me.

I try to teach my children that inner beauty is what is most important. To not judge people by the clothes they wear, how they look on the outside but to let who they are inside, what they stand for, how they behave as the measure of who they are. Someone has told Iceman that his Mom is fat and he was very hurt by that because he knew it was a mean spirited thing to say. He doesn't see me that way. He sees me as his Mommy and he has told me since I've been losing weight to not get too skinny because then I wouldn't be a soft cuddler anymore. They have friends of all different shapes and sizes. They get it, I need to start taking what I'm preaching to heart and applying it to myself. I see the beauty in others who don't love themselves but I also need to see that same beauty in me.

I owe it to myself and to those that love me to be the best that I can be. That starts with falling in love with myself. I hope any of you that have any doubt about how beautiful you are will join me so that we may all be able to proclaim " I look good naked!!!"

"We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same." ~ Carlos Castaneda

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Horton Hears an Egg Knocking

We had a really great long weekend. The Hero has had several trips away the last little while with several more to come. It isn't easy on me or the crew. We miss him and things are out of sync when he is away. We had orginally planned to sneak away this weekend so we could have some quality family time. The forecast was all over the map so rather than risk bad weather spoiling our plans we decided to stay put, turn off the crackberry (YIPPEE!!) and do what we wanted to do. You know how holidays can sometimes be filled with meeting the expectations of others, following agendas, driving, stress, etc. We chose to avoid that and just spend our time reconnecting and celebrating the gift of what Jesus did for us.

We really had fun this weekend and spent most of it just the 6 of us. We went to see Horton Hears A Who, did traditional things - coloring eggs, stootzing, eating hot cross buns, made new traditions- resurrection cookies, chocolate chip hot cross buns and a new story, reflected, laughed, kids played lots of soccer, discussed why we celebrate Easter, shared dinner with friends and most importantly enjoyed each other.

The Hero has to work tomorrow. The crew has another day off of school. We will need to get to our library books and home reading. I still hope to get a chance to watch the Passion of the Christ again. Kodiak has watched it with me before but La Diva finds it too painful to watch and the boys are too young to understand or see the brutality. Our lesson with the beating of the nuts was sufficient for them.

If you are looking for things to make with that leftover ham. Here are two of my favorites:


HAM AND BROCCOLI CASSEROLE

This is an easy and economical casserole. I often take it to potlucks along with copies of the recipe.

½ cup Miracle Whip
¼ cup milk
2 cups raw broccoli, chopped
1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 ½ cups ham, cubed
1 ½ cups cooked rotini noodles
½ cup green pepper, chopped

Topping: ¾ cup croutons and ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Mix together all ingredients except topping. Top with topping and bake @ 350F for 30 minutes.


HOT EGG N CHEESE ROLLS

Grammie always made these and they are so yummy. Great to make ahead and keep in the freezer.

5 eggs, hard boiled and chopped
1 cup cheddar or Velveeta cheese, cubed
¼ cup, celery, diced
1 tsp. Chopped onion
1 pkg. ham chopped
1 Tbsp. chili sauce or pickled relish
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of chili powder, if desired
3 Tbsp. salad dressing aka mayo ;)
1 dozen hot dog buns

Mix all together and add salad dressing to moisten. Stuff hot dog buns and wrap in tinfoil. You can put back into the plastic bag the hot dog buns came in and freeze at this time. Put in the oven until the cheese is melted. Don’t use the microwave, they get soggy and you miss out on the crispy bun.

Easter Blessings

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Preparing for Resurrection Sunday

It's been a busy day so far. We colored eggs this morning in preparation of our traditional "stootzing" (more on that tomorrow) on Easter Sunday morning. Then the crew set off to complete their weekend chores. I made Ina's Lemon Cakes for our dessert tomorrow. I can't wait for dessert they are so yummy. Also on the menu: ham with mango glaze, scalloped potatoes, roasted asparagus with parm petals, green beans and Art Smith's biscuits.

Tonight we are going to make Resurrection Story Cookies. I'll include the recipe in case any of you want to join us.

These cookies are made the evening before celebrating the Resurrection, and are cooked in a warm oven overnight so they will be ready on Easter morning.

You need to preheat the oven to 300 degrees (this is important--don't wait until you are half done with the recipe!)

3 egg whites
1 cup whole pecans
1 tsp. Vinegar
A pinch salt
1 cup sugar
A zipper baggie
A wooden spoon
tape
Bible

Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces.
Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers.
Read John 19:1-3.

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl.
Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink.
Read John 19:28-30.

Add egg whites to vinegar.
Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life.
Read John 10:10-11.

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27.

So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing.

Add 1cup sugar.
Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him.
Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.
Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.
Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet.
Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.
Read Matthew 27:57-60.

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.
Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.
Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66.

GO TO BED!
Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.

On Resurrection morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Resurrection, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9

A few comments on this post......

If you haven't made Art's biscuits you HAVE to, they are to. die. for!! The Hero said if we didn't have guests he would have been hard pressed not to eat the entire dish. I doubled the recipe for company and served them with chive butter.

Our Resurrection cookies were not hollow this morning. I keep forgetting we are no longer in the desert climate we've become so accustomed to in the south part of our province. This is a relatively new home so it is very humid from the new wood. We also awoke to fog, add the snow still on the ground and you have tons of moisture in the air. We reheated the oven, turned it off and then put the cookies back in for a bit. After a couple of hours the were more hollow and able to be enjoyed. I didn't have pecans so we subbed almonds and they were yummy but needed a harder beating with the wooden spoons. We eventually added the meat tenderizing mallet into the mix to hasten the process. Iceman saved the lesson for the morning by remembering a book on his bookshelf called "Love One Another- The Last Days of Jesus" which told the story of Jesus' sacrifice and had a picture of the empty tomb in it. He did a great job starting off the reading of that story but turned it over to Kodiak when he became a bit overwhelmed by the size of the paragraphs.

Friday, March 21, 2008

He Chose the Nails


Not a pretty sight is it? Yet with this picture of pain, torture, brutality comes love, mercy and grace. Take a moment and reflect on what Jesus did for us. There is a great devotion at He Chose the Nails, it takes almost 10 minutes but it is worth the time in reflection.
For I am crucified with Christ and yet I live
Not I but Christ that lives within me
His Cross will never ask for more than I can give
For its not my strength but His
There's no greater sacrifice
For I am crucified with Christ and yet I live
~chorus from Crucified with Christ, Phillips, Craig & Dean

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

A visit from the tricky Leprechaun

Happy St. Patrick's Day! We started the day with excitement from the visit of the trickster last night. This tradition was started last year due to Iceman's memories of the havoc the Leprechaun created in his classroom the year before. We were surprised that Ice was so enthralled with this creature as he's never bought into any of the other mythical traditions that so many families do for holidays - Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, et al. have not been major players at the Hutch. So last year we decided to indulge his excitement and the Leprechaun made a visit to our home. Yesterday he was beside himself before bedtime with worries about what the Leprechaun may try to pull this year. His eyes sparkled as he shared his thoughts on the types of tricks that could be played. He was a bit disappointed when he discovered that it wasn't a statutory holiday and he'd still have to go to school.

The boys were not disappointed this morning. Iceman is a major detail guy and likes things to be in their place (except for his toys... how does one transfer the OCD to that part of his life??) which means he doesn't miss a trick. Upside down clocks, fish bowls in the wrong place, pictures moved or upside down, a box of rice instead of cereal on the table, gold coins, an Easter sign hanging on the front door where a shamrock had been all month, coats moved, packs on wrong hooks and yummy chocolate coins covered in gold. Iceman did not miss a thing. He shared the stories of the visit of the tricky one with his teacher and classmates. His eyes sparkled as he retold a few of the tricks during our parent teacher conference this afternoon. He was decked out in his green shirt and plastic green top hat too. Turtle gets to carry on the day tomorrow with a green shirt and a sparkly green top hot as he did not have school today. He was pleased to be able to share a shamrock shake with me today as consolation for him not having school on St. Paddy's Day. I think most of the tricks have been returned to normal, if not Iceman will be sure to draw my attention to something I missed.

The Hero and I snuck out for a pint and some wings as our nod to green day and tricks pulled.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Finally some relief

I think I've found something to help me get through this horrible bouts with pain. I pop Aleve Liquid Gels and they take the edge off, anything stronger makes me a stoned Zombie. I'm so thankful for my cross border connections and there is no way I'd be coping without this stuff. However, it helps but there is still that mind numbing pain. Last weekend we were at some friends for dinner and she put some Gardener's Dream Cream on my shoulder, which was killing me after a fall, the relief was nearly instant. Finally... yes I'm slow sometimes... it dawned on me that this could help the rest of my pain. Thankfully they carry it at our local pharmacy so the Hero ran over Friday and picked it up. I've been able to function much better since then.

Big Breakfast!

At least one day on the weekend the Hero makes big breakfast. He makes all sorts of yummy things, sometimes I help him, others he does it all. He will make everything from waffles, pancakes, eggs many different ways, sausage, bacon and his famous Firehouse Hash. It's a tradition that we all enjoy and appreciate.



The boys at the firehall have recently adopted this practice for their duty crew Saturdays. Yesterday was the Hero's weekend and he coordinated the food this round. Iceman and Turtle donned their turnout gear and went along to help check trucks and clean the hall. They were bragging their Daddy up as he was preparing belgian waffles for the crew. They said that he does this every weekend and that was met with much skepticism from one of the newer members. She even grilled them later to see if it was in fact true. ( She annoys me to no end but that's a whole other story. Iceman showed her who was boss when he could go through everything on the check list and not only know what it was but where it was supposed to be.)



On the menu yesterday were Sour Cream Waffles...


1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. Baking powder
½ tsp. Baking soda
1 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. Salt
2 large eggs
¼ cup oil
1 cup sour cream
1 ¼ cups milk
Stir in first 5 ingredients together in bowl. Make a well. Beat eggs together in a small bowl until frothy. Add oil, sour cream and milk. Mix. Pour into well. Stir to moisten. Cook in hot waffle iron until browned, using about 1/3 cup batter for each. Makes 12 waffles.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Chipotle Tamale Pie

picture from Food Network
Tonight I made Chipotle Tamale Pie. I saw Ingrid on Steven and Chris last week and thought it looked delicious. I made a few modifications:
- doubled the recipe due to the family size and my desire for some leftovers;
- I also subbed ground beef for turkey. At almost $7 for a pound of ground chicken or turkey it wasn't happening; and
- cornbread mix is not something I've ever seen in the Great White North so I made mine from scratch.
When I make it again I will reduce the chipotle factor because my younger 2 found it a bit too spicy. I served it with a simple green salad. I found that the mixture alone sprinkled on my green salad was just as delicious as my slice with cornbread topping.
Leftover tip: chop iceberg lettuce, warm slice of tamale pie then crumble, toss with lettuce and Old El Paso Toppers Zesty Ranch. Delicioso!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

My Tormented Haiku

I have not missed you
stealer of joy always pain
touching hurts hugs too

searching for blessing
purpose for the agony
need refreshing now.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Iceman's Smoke Colored Goggles














Iceman is a boy obsessed with all things fire rescue. I have no clue where he gets that from, how about you? He asked to borrow the camera one day and this is what he photographed.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

88 years


Today is my Papa's 88th birthday. Explaining to the crew that great-Papa is 88 years old has been quite the feat, particularly with Iceman and Turtle. That is a mysterious number in their minds. Iceman just finished 100 days of school so he knows how far up into that countdown 88 is. They are in awe of this birthday milestone.
I've recently been reading about the history of my Papa's family. Someone from a branch of it has written a book about the experiences of the family in coming to America and finally settling in southern Alberta. It is fascinating and heart wrenching reading. My Papa's picture is in the book several times as he grew up in that same area. He was very well known for his musical talents. It was his grandfather that brought his family over from Russia. His mother had already lost a husband to the war and came with them in search of a better life for her and her son. It was here that she met my Papa's father and remarried. She is mentioned in the book quite often until her marriage to my great-grandfather and her departure from the family farm to another in the area. I imagine that the hardships experienced by our relatives are not far off of those experienced by my Papa and his family.
I was sharing with Iceman in his weekly journal about how one of his family members from way back created the croissant. I've always heard this story but never saw the lines of connecting this person to my Papa until I read this book. There is talk of an uncle who was working for a wealthy family in Alsace France and his creation of this wonderful bread. It was named croissant after him. The family name was Croissant (pronounced Croix-sent). The book speaks of my great grandfather's memories of this wonderful bread baked by an uncle back in Russia. He speaks of the oven built to cook their bread and the arduous process to bake it. He is remembering this wonderful bread while his own tummy is grumbling from hunger and he is doubting his decision to come and find a better life in America.
I've always joked that my affinity for bread was a genetic disposition and had little to do with self control. I have decided that I must try to make croissants. I've heard it is quite labor intensive. I think it would be a great thing to attempt in honor of our heritage. Anyone have a recipe to share?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

International Women's Day!

I'll admit that I just read this on my calendar and had to wiki it to find out what it was all about.

So in honor of this day I want to give a 'shout-out' to all the women who have touched my life - past and present. Each of you have added something to my life and I thank you for that gift.

My favorite girl power quote:

“A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground. Then it is done, no matter how brave its warriors or strong its weapons.” ~Cheyenne Proverb

Friday, March 07, 2008

My lazy day, don't wanna cook, go to

I love watching Paula Deen. Her accent makes me giggle. She cooks with real food and she eats it with the joy that I do. A few weeks ago I saw an episode dedicated to brunch/breakfast type foods. Drooling, I went on the hunt for the Potato Crusted Ham Quiche recipe. The first night I decided to make it I did not have the proper ingredients. I used frozen hashbrowns in place of the potatoes, I omitted the peppers because some of my kids curl their nose at them, I did not have ham so I used a couple of cans of crab meat and a 4 cheese mix in place of the cheddar and gouda. I'm a rebel with most recipes. Last night I made it with real shredded potatoes (definitely better than the hashbrown cubes) and subbed in turkey bacon, mozza and imperial cold pack sharp cheddar.

It is an easy dish no matter what ingredients you have on hand. It makes a great dinner when you forgot to defrost something or need an easy dish. Let me know what combinations you come up with.

I'm begging you....

....please, please, PLEASE when you are setting your clocks ahead this weekend check your smoke detectors to insure that they are in working order.

If you don't have a smoke detector please go and get one. Can't afford one? Call your local fire department and ask if they have a program to provide them. If they don't they can send you to someone who does. You seriously cannot afford NOT to have one. Give up that coffee, pop, junk food, smokes, magazine, heck don't eat for a day if you have to....please just get one and maintain it.

Don't know where to put it, what to buy then check out the information here or here.

Wondering why I felt the need to post this please read this story or this tragic story.



Please be smart and be safe.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Your Best Life


Recently someone asked the question "Are you living your "best life"?". I didn't give it a whole lot of thought and quickly answered with something along the lines of "It depends whose measuring stick you are using to determine if I'm living my best life. For me, I believe that I am living my best life for right now, this minute". Since then I've been thinking of the how people get to the place where they feel that they are living their "best life". I've also been wondering if I'm missing out on something for believing in my answer to the question.

What makes a life the best? Who decides what the best is? Are you living your best life? If you aren't living your best life what are the stumbling blocks to getting to that place? Do you have a plan of action to get you there? If you are at that place how did you get there? I'll try to answer some of these questions later.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Through Kodiak's Eyes






Kodiak is our budding photographer. His camera, a hand me down from us, is never far from his reach. He pours over magazines and books with photography and about photography. He hopes to own a "really cool camera" one day soon.
On a totally unrelated note he was invited to his first junior high boy-girl party this year. His little brothers have teased him without mercy. His only qualifier for attending is that he is giving her money because well..... any other gift would allow people to think he actually cares about his sweet girl. ;P lol One step closer to the best hyphenated last name in the history of the world..... *sniff* my baby is growing up.


Turtle's View of the World





Turtle finally let us download the pictures from his Little Tykes digital camera. These are a few of my favorites. I love to see how things look from his perspective. What does your view of the world look like?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Things that have me thinking today...

"All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and
regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you"
- Wayne Dyer

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.
- Blaise Pascal

Most people would rather be certain they're miserable than risk being happy.
- Robert Anthony

Thanks to my iGoogle page and it's gadgets.