Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The season is in full swing!

Almost all of our decorations are up and the kids are feeling the spirit.  They love the songs and the decorations and the fun we have together during the holidays. They are busy planning their gifts for each other and we will go shopping this weekend.  They all draw names and have $5 to spend on each other, and they get quite crafty!

I came across an article the other day about Elf on the Shelf.  Now, I know I have friends that do it, and that is fine.  But I hate it.  And this blog really explains why-Leaving out the whole creepy elf being in my house and wandering at night it, it a good article and has some good points.
Why I hate Elf on the Shelf

A few pictures:

Our special ornament for this year: what we brought out of this year was that our family was more important than anything else...and with Conner turning 18 next year, we thought doing all their fingerprints on the ornament was significant of our WHOLE family

Friday, November 30, 2012

30 days of Thanksgiving- a follow up

It has been 4 years since I started 30 days of Thanksgiving.  Every year I have had more friends join in with me.  This year, I noticed there was some brief media coverage here locally.  I was surprised by the negative comments by people.  Some talked about being grateful all year round.  Some called it superficial.  Some said it was too stressful or that they weren't accountable to others for what they were thankful for.
To those people I say: You missed what this is about. :)

30 days of Thanksgiving is not about showing off.  It isn't about posting for everyone to see.  It isn't about only being thankful for 1 month a year.

30 days of Thanksgiving is a month of help you look around during this beautiful holiday season and recognize all that you have to be thankful matter how big or how small.  (I mean, sure we all could say we are thankful for our family or friends, but who thinks about how blessed they are to have running water or food in the fridge or the freedom to speak their mind in our country?)

It shouldn't be stressful.  It is ok to miss a day or two, or to even only post one time during the whole month.

The idea is to look at your life and recognize your blessings beyond family, friends and material goods.

I am so glad that friends have joined with me over the years.  It has blessed my life to see what THEY were thankful for.  This experience always makes me feel more at peace.  In a society where we are constantly on the run and trying to buy bigger and better things; it has helped me to be grateful for what I have.

That is what this is about.

Take it or leave it.  Participate or not.  Just be happy with who you are and what you have.

I hope that if you did participate that it helped to enrich your life.

Happy Holidays to all my friends. Much love coming to you!

30 days of Thanksgiving-month of posts

1- Today, I am thankful that I found my biological father 12 years ago. Finding him brought my brother Ronald Dilling into my life. Even though we don't get to see each other in person, we get to talk and text a lot and I am so grateful having him in my life. I do not dwell on missing him my entire life, but embrace what we have now. On his birthday today, I say I LOVE YOU to my big brother!

2- today, I am thankful that I got all the classes I needed for school next semester. I am thankful that I was able to create a schedule that will work better for Harrison's needs and let me spend more time with him. 

3- Today, I am thankful for the example of my friend Chris Mecham - one of the 2 organizers behind the Million Muppet/Puppet March to support Public Broadcasting- no matter what people think of him, or his politics--Chris is actually out there DOING something about what he believes in! While the rest of the population sits home and does nothing but complain about political activity...he is actively working for his cause! He is a great example--so on this the march is taking place right NOW...I give thanks for his example to me!

4- Today, I am thankful for waking up to the sound of my children's laughter as they play games together. 7 kids-and they actually do get along great.  

5- Today I am thankful for Harrison. He came into this world 5 years ago today. It was a huge surprise pregnancy and it was hard at first. He has brought so much love and smiles and joy into my life and has also taught me so much. My life would not be the same without him. Happy Birthday Harrison!!!

6-Today, I am thankful for my right to vote . I am thankful for the right to have my own thoughts pertaining to our Government and country-and for the ability to express them freely without fear of reprisal. Some people do not even have that.

7-Today, i am thankful for early morning snuggles with Harrison. I am thankful for a day off from school that I am going to spend knitting and watching movies with him on the couch--full of peace and love on this new day!

8-Today, I am thankful for my artistic nature. My creativity is the one talent I possess and I couldn't ask for a better one (well, I'd love to sing but....) Knitting is a passion and sewing a bit less-but still there. I love color. I love sharpies and doodling all over everything in color. For me, to dye yarn is the ultimate expression of my love of color and art. I would be lost without my creativity and love of color.

9-Today, I am thankful for the close relationship that I have with my children. Even the teenagers :) We can talk, have fun and truly enjoy each other's company. I am thankful for each one of them and their unique personalities, quirks, strengths and weaknesses. They truly brighten my day.   

10-Today I am thankful for waking up to the very light dusting of snow on the ground--for the reminder of the beauty that is nature....and the excited squeals of the kids as they see it!

11-Today, I am thankful for my freedom.

12-Today I am thankful for the work I am doing at the Refugee Center. Working with these women has been an amazing experience and has given me a greater appreciation for the smaller basic things we take for granted every day. I only have 4 more days and I am going to miss it! The way their faces light up when they finally get something, or when you see the intelligence in their eyes and see how they grasp the idea of concept we are teaching--those are the moments I am going to miss...along with their smiles and laughter. 

13-Today, I am thankful for the house in which we live, the car we have, and the food we are able to eat. Even though we may not have much, we still have more than a lot of people in this world - most of all, we have the little things taken for granted every day (like heat, running water, available food sources.)

14-Today, I am thankful for my online friends. Even though I haven't met most of you in person, I enjoy our friendship. I enjoy our talks, our debates and I learn so much from you all. I worry when your kids are sick. I think of you when I am going about my regular day. I talk about you to my hubby and kids. I have known a lot of you online for over 10 years now.  I think that just makes you my friends! 

15-Today, I am thankful for all the students "2 strapping it" on campus today. It brought Channing Tatum to mind and a big smile to my face.

16-Today, I am thankful for the education I am receiving. This semester alone has taught me so much about discrimination, racism, and prejudice. It has brought a greater understanding and awareness of the issues still prevalent in our society and I am so grateful for all that I have learned-no matter how sad it makes me to know that people are still being treated so horribly.

17-Today, I am thankful for my unending serves me well with 7 kids, 3 of whom are teenagers.

18-Today, I am thankful for knitting and my yarn stash...without it my children would not have such cute and warm mama-knitted woolies! 

19-Today, I am thankful that my work with clients for the semester has ended. I LOVED working with the refugees-but the time commitment was hard and I am glad to have the time back to just focus on school work and getting this semester ended while maintaining straight A's. whew! I do admit to a great sadness as I drove away from the center for the last time today. :(

20-Today, I am thankful for the kids week long Thanksgiving break....I enjoy spending all this time with them! 

21-Today I am thankful for my son Noah who has Aspergers. He has taught me so much about love, patience, and acceptance. He has brought to me the appreciation for the simpleness of a hug or an "I love you" and to recognize that love can be shown from him in many ways, not just the way we expect it! 

22-Regardless of how this holiday came about, I am thankful for this day--and the chance to spend it with my husband and children. Happy Thanksgiving to all of my family and friends. I hope your day is filled with family, love, thanks and peace.

23-Today, I am thankful for my brothers life. It was 4 years ago today that I got the call that he had a serious car accident and had been found 6 hours after he had been ejected from his car. His body core temp was dangerously low, but that ended up being what saved him as it slowed the bleeding in his brain. Life flight could not transport due to weather so they drove him several hours to get to the hospital. He was in the ICU for many days in a coma. His hospital stay ended up being 2 months with a huge amount of therapy afterwards. He has a traumatic brain injury. They said he would NEVER ride a horse or rodeo again. He proved them wrong. He's a little different, but still my goofy baby brother, and I am so thankful he is alive and with us still.

24-Today, I am thankful for my very large family. There is always someone to give you a hug, always someone to talk to and share with and be a friend. There is also a whole lot of love, fun and craziness going on in my home! LOL and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

25-Bella: "whimper..I don't feel good"
me: "RUN!"
Today, I am thankful that she made it to the bathroom before throwing up.

26-Today I am thankful for my son, Conner and for the strength, courage and integrity he has shown this year through some really rough crap. He took a bad situation and rose above it and focused on strengthening himself instead of bringing others down. He is such an inspiration to me and his character shines through. I am so proud of who he is. 

27-Today, I am thankful for chocolate, pepsi and midol---and my families patience with my uh...hormonal grouchiness.

28-Today, I am thankful for little boy snuggles that can always brighten my day. For his sweet little voice as he sings "our song" with me-even when he is so sleepy. I am thankful for how much he loves his mom and how his face lights up when he sees me. I am thankful for *very big surprise* baby.

29-Today, I am thankful for the men and women who serve our communities: The fire fighters, police officers and paramedics. Today, 3 years after the Lakewood shootings, I am reminded of the risk and sacrifice that comes with these jobs. To all of you that serve, to all that have family members that serve: thank you.

30-Today, I am thankful for my family and friends. I am thankful for this, the last day of the 30 days of Thanksgiving and for all the friends that joined in with me this month to take part in recognizing all the things, no matter how big or small, they had to be thankful for. I am thankful for all that I learned from them. To make it short, I am thankful for all of YOU!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Time for holiday craftiness! subway art

So I found Pinterest last year and I fell in love.  It is awesome for visual people like me! I call it my booksmarks...just with pictures! (hello! preferred way to find things!!)

I have found a lot of crafty ideas on Pinterest.  I have gotten my crafty groove on recently, and I will be updating the blog with things I do.

First...subway art for Christmas and Winter.  I think I will have these all over my house because holy cow they are addicting!

I created these in powerpoint.  I downloaded a bunch of cute fonts, pulled up html color code charts and went to town with customization of words, sizes, colors! It was a lot of fun to do.  I will print them and frame them to put on shelves and the fireplace mantle.
If any of my friends would like a copy, I do have it saved as a pdf and will email it to you upon request...

I have plenty of other crafts planned for the next few weeks....I can't wait to get them all done and put up around the house!  I am really loving all the time I have home with my family to accomplish these things!

It's been a long time!

Holy cow I haven't blogged here forever!  A lot has happened to our family over the last few months and all I can say is we are stronger now than we have ever been!  I am so grateful for my husband and children and the closeness that we share.

So glad about the elections last night.  I don't tend to talk politics with people, and I especially do not do so on my facebook page, but I did post this the other night which I felt was very important....
I am voting for Obama. I believe in WOMEN. I believe women should be able to CHOOSE to have an abortion if they want (even if I personally don’t agree with abortion-we cannot take away CHOICE). I believe women should be able to CHOOSE to get on birth control and have it covered by their insurance like every other medication out there. I believe that Planned Parenthood provides vital medical attention that women need (not only birth control, but testing for STD and access to mammograms) I believe women should be paid EQUALLY to men in the same job…not .72 cents for every $1 that men make. I believe gay people should have EQUAL rights to marriage and adoption like every other person in our country. Regardless of what either candidate has done over the last 4 years-whether you don’t like what Obama has/hasn’t done…those are the most IMPORTANT issues to ME. THAT is why I will vote for Obama.
Whomever you like or don't like...make sure you get out there and vote tomorrow. Even if you are like me, and live in an "always red state" still cast your vote so the numbers can be seen and heard. Don't lose your voice...get out there tomorrow and make it be heard!

I am thrilled to see the states that approved gay marriage last night.  What a beautiful time to see more equality coming to our people.

soo...its November...30 days of Thanksgiving!!  4th year running...are you doing it?  I am!!!  I will have my month of posts to get up at the end of the month.  I hope you are participating!
What is 30 days of Thanksgiving for those that do not know?
Everyday you post one thing that you are thankful for. It can be big or small. What matters is that it is important to YOU. Myself, I post it everyday on facebook, and then compile them all here in one post at the end of the month. You can do it whatever way you wish, but the purpose it to just recognize all the things we are thankful for that we don't think about. There is so much negativity in the world. Lets focus on the positive!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

"what do you eat?" and other food misconceptions

So there have been times when I went completely vegetarian, and others when I allowed some meat.  One of the most common questions/responses I got was:

"what do you eat??!!"   A lot of food actually!  You are amazed at the different types of foods you end up eating and serving.  My kids eat cabbage, bok choy, peppers, onions, carrots, asparagus, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, tofu -as long as it is marinated or in smoothie!!  They eat curry, sushi, and exotic sounding things like adzuki and quinoa.  They love fruits and veggies.  Does it mean that they are committed to being vegetarian 100%  no, not yet.  But that is their choice - but they do eat a huge variety of foods that a lot of people do not.

"I could never eat like that"  like what?  without meat?  I don't understand why that is so weird-except for the fact that we have been trained to look at a normal dinner as this:

a slab of meat.  potatoes.  and a small veggie.

Vegetarians/vegans are not limited to just a salad.  Or a plate as pictured above minus the meat.  I think that is one of the biggest mistakes a person makes when wanting to become a veg*n....they try to make a plate as above and fill it with a meat substitute or limit themselves to salad.   They fail rather quickly because that is boring and hardly fulfilling.

One of the first books I read that really hit home to me was the Vegan Lunchbox.  It taught me a new and exciting way to look at meal structure.  I learned that a plate doesn't have to be a slab of meat, veggies and potato.  But that you could combine items such as a sliced banana bread with a smoothie for lunch.  (Yes, that is one of Harrison's favorites!)  That a corn muffin filled with beans and a side of collard greens can be taken in a lunch box to school.  I don't have the time to sit and think of all the combinations, but the main point is, I learned there was a different way to make a meal plate.  And it was empowering! Yes, you can serve muffins with soup for dinner.   And that eating more whole foods type of meals will fill you up more and cut down on your constant rummaging for food!

"aren't those meat substitutes gross?"
Yes, they are.  And NO, you don't have to eat them!  We hardly ever use them in our meals.  I figure vegetarian is to eat no meat.  That doesn't mean you just substitute meat with a fake substance to stand in.  Instead of using "meat" crumbles for tacos, find a recipe with veggies and rice instead..and so on.
If you try to replace all the meat in your diet with substitutes you will find yourself failing.  You have to adjust your way of thinking of what a meal plate is. 

harrisons favorite meal:
bananas and strawberries, a small scoop of homemade macaroni and cheese-and yes, an oreo for dessert.  Not pictured was his cup of soy milk to drink. We actually didn't have any veggies that day for lunch-and that is ok too!  He snacks throughout the day on carrots and edamame :)
But he doesn't like meat.  Not sure if it is texture thing with him or what, but for now, he doesn't eat meat but a very small amount once in a blue moon!

Aren't your kids unhealthy without meat?  How do they get enough protein?
We eat beans, we eat legumes, we eat nuts, nut butters, alternative milks, grains, eggs etc.  they all have protein.  The "vegetarians are deprived of protein" is a myth...and if you eat a well balanced meal, you will be good.  Now, of course that are exceptions to that rule, just like there would be with an non-vegetarian diet.  The point is, if you eat healthy and pay attention to your foods, you are most likely going to be fine.

So yes, that is my experience.  I learned recently that Harvard did a study and revamped the food "pyramid"
I have to admit it looks a lot better than it used to, and finally addresses that milk is not healthy for our bodies!  but that is a different day, different post! LOL

Monday, January 30, 2012

Meal Plan Monday

I got a new cookbook this last week.  Sat down and read it cover to cover.  It totally inspired me.  this is the first meal plan I have made in a long time, and i can't wait to go to the store to get all the food!

variety of smoothies, oatmeals, bagels etc

Pinwheel wraps with tempeh, spinach and apple
Apple Cinnamon pancakes
Oatbran cereal with pumpkin
"margarita" smoothie with zucchini bread
fruit, cheesecake dip and....
salad available everyday.

Spicy macaroni and cheese
Cashew carrot ginger soup with bread
Curry in a hurry
Lemon Lentil soup and sourdough bread with salad
Indian shepherds pie
leftover night

This cookbook looks great! There were so many things I wanted to try that I had to cut things out of the list for this one week.   I will let you know how the recipes turn out!