Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Warm Weather

It is now late April and we are now entering into my favorite time of year in West Virginia. A time full of seventy degree days, green grass, and Poppaw's garden. 


After a morning of babysitting and watching the state road guys spread gravel in the rain, the clouds finally broke. 



Off we went, down our little road.
We took the long way around so we could also check the mail. 


Poppa met us outside and we walked to the garden together.


Inspecting the spring crop of onions.


"Dis pinach?"



"It yummy!"


Bunny in her favorite tree.


Wish Flowers!


When we got home, I push mowed the back yard while the girls played in the creek.
It feels good to feel alive again.



Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Last

Tonight my smallest child went to sleep without a binky. She never ask for it. She never fussed. Never shed a single tear over it. She was just done. And I cried. Because that's what mamas do when they are happy... And when they're sad... And when they are a little bit of both.



We've been in perpetual babyhood for over seven years. If I were listening to my body instead of my heart, I probably would have stopped (Or at least taken a break) after our second daughter. Instead I went on to have a third. I have never, for even a second regretted that decision. But I knew the minute we found out she was a girl, I was done. I wrestled with myself over this for quite some time (Cause babies ahhh!), but deep down, I knew. I have treated every day since then like it is the last day I will have a child this young. I both held onto to the perfect amazing moments, and let go of the stress. I took precious pictures and got in ALL the snuggles. I played more, read more, loved more. Because soon it would be over. Being up all night, or up before the sun was no big deal with her. A fussy day was not the end of the world. Because soon it would be over. Something amazing happened. I learned how I want to live. Every day. For the rest of my life. Today was our last day of babyhood. It was a good day. Tomorrow will be good also.

If anyone is curious how I weaned her from her binky so super gently, I listened to my mother (always a good Idea in my experience). A couple of weeks ago, I got rid of every single binky except one (You could even keep a few), then I poked a hole in the top. She was a little iffy about it at first, but there were no other binkies as an option, so she went along with it. After that I snipped a teeny tiny super thin sliver off the tip every few days. Eventually, there just was't enough to hold onto very well. She got tired of it and stopped asking for it at all. Easy peasy. End of story. Thanks, Mama!











Saturday, November 5, 2016

Soup's On

I've been living on a plant based diet for almost six months. At first, it was a temporary thing to lose a few pounds. I felt better almost immediately. I dropped a few pounds as I expected, because I was eating a lot more veggies, and less overly processed foods, but that wasn't the biggest surprise. My daily headaches where gone. My unexplainable morning sickness (with no pregnancy) that I've had every morning since every morning for over a year when I first woke up, was gone. After three weeks I decided to have a non vegan meal, and the next morning, it all came back. I was done.

I dropped a few more pounds over the summer. Not a huge amount because I still eat a lot, even if it is healthy food. In the beginning it was kind of a challenge to find vegan food, but now it was become pretty fun to take something that is usually made with animal products, and make it with plants.

There are a lot of misconceptions about Vegan or plant based diets that I would love to address. I get asked a lot of questions. Here are my top five:

1. How do you get protein?

The same way cows, or rabbits, or gorillas, or any other herbivore does. PLANTS! Protein is there. Its not hard to find once you start looking for it.

2. Do you miss meat/dairy/eggs?

Maybe at first, but honestly I feel like I can now see them for what they really are... And it's kinda gross. Kind of the way we might look at some strange seeming food from another culture and wonder how they eat it. Sure you could get used to it, but... No thanks.

3. What about calcium (or some other nutrient)?

Refer to question 1.

4. Ok, but vitamin B12 isn't in plants... So what about that?

Ok, you got me there. There is no good plant based source of B-12. It is actually found in the bacterial in soil. Thats where animals get it (Unless they are never let outside, the they are supplemented). In a more natural, less sanitized world, we would get it from dirt, or leftover dirt on our produce. When I get organic, locally grown produce from good sources, I don't wash it. when I get veggies from my grandpa's garden, I don't was thm. If I forage for wild growing food, I don't wash it. I also take a supplement, just in case.

5. Are your husband and kids vegan too?

No. My husband is an omnivore. My kids are (mostly) vegetarian by their own choice. I do try to limit the dairy (as well as sugar, GMOs, processed junk), and they do eat eggs.

Feel free to leave any other questions in the comments and I will try to answer them the best I can.

Now that I have explained all that, I will get back to what this post was actually going to be about, originally. I am nothing if not good at getting sidetracked.

I have been cooking from scratch a lot more in the past few months. I get a real kick out of making plant based recipes that no one would know were plant based. If four out of the five people in my family (or six out of seven if you count my parents) love it, it's a win... I think most families have the one kid who is a picky eater. In our house it's the middle one. Her vote doesn't count a whole lot because she would literally live on PB&J if I let her.

I am now about to share with you, the most epic, the most delicious, the most amazing soup I have ever eaten. Brace yourself.


Vegan Cheesy Broccoli Potato Soup.

Pretty sure I can hear angels singing...

I developed this recipe after going over several, taking what I liked from each one, and adding my own twist. It's soooooo good.

Ingredients:
1 large onion
1 clove of garlic
1 carton of veggie broth
1 head of cauliflower (or bag of frozen)
5 cups chopped celery
5 cups sliced potatoes
1 Tbs sea salt
2 Tbs curry powder
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 cups of almond milk (this is kinda optional, but make it creamier)
1 head of broccoli (or bag of frozen)
5 more cups of diced potatoes


I forgot to picture the celery... Sorry... I'm sure you know what celery looks like.
Not everything here is organic, but we are working toward it.


I literally start crying in excitement, when copping the opinions for this recipe.

Brown up the onions and garlic in a little bit of the veggie broth.


Add in the cauliflower and veggie broth and boil until soft.



These awesome crinkle cut knives are not sharp at all and great for kids.


Add in the celery and potatoes and cook through.

Ok now this next part is a time saving tip. It does dirty another pot, but that is worth it to me when kids are SSSTTTAAARRRVVVIIINNNGGG.



While the big pot is cooking, go ahead and cook up the broccoli and diced potatoes and drain them. You could wait and add them in at the end, but that will take an extra 20 minutes or so.

Ok, back to pot one...


Once everything is nice and soft, go ahead and add your salt, curry, yeast, and almond milk.

Then... This is interesting part...
Remove from heat, make sure it is all cool enough not to burn you, then dump it in a blender and blend until smooth.

*I have a small blinder and had to do it in batches, pouring the blended soup into a large mixing bowl until the pot was empty.*


Then back into the pot it goes.

Add the (already cooked and drained) broccoli and potatoes, stir in, and reheat. 

Tada!


Salt and/or pepper to taste.
You're welcome!
































Tuesday, November 1, 2016

October Ends

Yesterday we gave the baby (I mean... the two year old) a late nap, then got all three girlies dressed up to go trick or treating with their cousins.

When I asked Bunny what she wanted to be, her answer was the best costume I've made yet...
A girl knight!
The knight with two young princesses. Homemade costumes really are the most fun.

We all had a blast!

It didn't take long for this baby princess to get the hang of things!

The whole heehaw gang. Six adults, nine kids, and WAY too much candy.
We got sooo much candy that tonight, November 1st, The Switch Witch is scheduled to arrive. Thats right, my little sweeties are trading their overly sugared, processed junk, for a gift from The Switch Witch (they've requested art supplies). After the day we had today, I'm really thinking we should have done this last night. Too much sugar turns these girls into little halloween monsters. But better late than never. I am excited to get back to healthy eating. We all function a lot better with proper nutrition.

All in all, October was a rather lovely month. I am sad to see it go. But November brings a newness for which my heart has been longing. Onward and upward.







Friday, October 21, 2016

Seasons


I have recently been reading a book called Oola: Find Balance in an Unbalanced World. In it, the Oola Guys talk about how sometimes we have to be unbalanced for a season, in order to focus on specific things. However, if the lack of balance lasts longer than three years, it is no longer a season, but a lifestyle. Being someone who seeks balance, I found this intriguing.






We currently own two homes and don't live in either of them. We have been renting our home in WV to my sister and her children, so that they could be close to family during and after her divorce. Meanwhile we have been living in my parents' house. There have been many times since living here, that my husband or I or both of us have wanted to move back to our own house. I'm sure there have been many times my parents have wished to have their house to themselves as well... We all get along great, but the situation with the layout of the house was never ideal for two separate families. Every time we would talk about it however, we knew that the timing was not yet right. First, my sister's children were still adjusting, then she and her fiancé found out they were pregnant with high risk twins, then she had newborn preemies, and I just never felt like I could in good conscience, ask her to move out. This past spring however, my sister and her fiancé started looking to buy a place of their own. Her older children are now all in school and the twins are over a year old and perfectly healthy. Just like the leaves slowly fall off the trees, things slowly fell into place. Seasons changed.






After nearly three years of living in limbo, living in neither of our homes, we are moving out of my parents house and back into our WV home. Even though in my dream world, we would be moving to NC full time, my heart is at peace with this. It is time to find a new kind of balance in the world we will live in now.


We are also entering a new season of life with our children. Our youngest will be two next week! For the first time, I am not already pregnant for another baby. We don't actually plan to have anymore, so this is really the end of an era for us. No more breastfeeding (she self weaned at 13 months), no more diapers (except for at night), basically no more baby stuff. I am sooo ready! I love babies, but we've basically been in perpetual babyhood for six years. I am excited for what comes next. 

What comes next is actually getting back to a lot of things that are important to us. Blogging is one of those things. My goal is once a week. Feel free to hold me to that, and call me out if I fail to meet that goal. 

It feels good to be back!






Monday, February 29, 2016

Enough

Just popping in for a little update on our life. I would apologize for being MIA the paste several months (Or year... or however long its been), but I decided in 2015 to relish every day, and that's exactly what I have been doing. So #sorrynotsorry.

Though it might not look like much has changed, a lot actually has. I've spent the last year and a half learning about what God wants for me and who He wants me to be. In the past, I have wasted so so so much time burdening myself down with the weight of this world. Even good work is not always God's work for us. He convicted me of spreading myself so thin, that I had no time or energy left for Him. I no longer feel like I have to do or be everything. I no longer allow myself to feel guilty for not doing or being everything. I am not everything, nor am I supposed to be everything. Neither is my husband, or my children, or anyone else. God is everything. I am enough. All I have to be is His. All I have to do is what He calls me to. I am planning to write more on these specific things.

 
Ephesians 2:10 ~ For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
 
Matthew 11:29-30 ~ Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
 
Mom and I closed our daycare in August. I started homeschooling Bunny (now almost 6) and Squirrely (now three and a half). The are amazing little people and I am so grateful to spend everyday with them. We have a very laid back style. Kindergarten is great because we only spend about an hour (broken up into 2 or 3 or even 4 sections throughout the day) to get everything done. For Bunny this includes math, writing, reading, art, and unit studies which are either science, history, or literature, depending on what we are studying at the time. In January, we learned about the calendar and seasons, with a little moon and planets thrown in. Right now we are on classic fairy tales. Why fairy tales? Because we can. Homeschooling equals freedom for us. It means we can learn what we want, when we want, from wherever we want. It means we can up and go to the beach for a week and not have to worry about following a school schedule.
 

 
Homeschooling overall is actually a lot easier than I expected. The hardest part is having Mousey (now 16 months) underfoot. She wants to be a part of everything, but can't sit still or participate in much at this point. She is a little ball of energy and so much fun.
 
 

 
A side effect of not having daycare kids to play with every day is that Bunny and Squirrel have become the best of friends. I can hardy believe that a year ago they barely got along.
Now Mousey is joining in. They are a great group of girls.
 

 
We are still back and forth between WV and NC.
My husband's job is still here and our hearts are still there.
 

 
Leaning to relish, meant learning to look at life as an adventure.
Even the hard tings are just the up hill part of the journey.


 
What a crazy beautiful messy amazing adventure it is.
 
 
 


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

New Blue Room


Papa and I have been slowing making our NC house a home. We started with a  total redo of  the bathroom, then painted the family room (still have some odds and ends to do in there), and now the girls' room.

                          BEFORE...


                            AFTER!



 The bed was mine and Papa's. We upgraded to a king and I couldn't bare to part with it. It works well since this room will be shared by both Bunny and Squirrely. They are used to sleeping together in our bed, so it makes sense for them to feel more comfortable sharing a bed in their own room.

I got the netting on Amazon for around $10. A must have for every little girl's room.
 
 

The bedding was a Bed in a Bag from Kohl's. The fairy pillow we bought handmade/used. Mermaid and Horsey are Bunny's.

We actually have another little pillow by
Natural Life that my baby sister got for me. It goes with the room perfectly... When I came in to take pictures, it was no where to be found... I still don't know where it is... No clue...
 

The butterflies were a birthday gift to Squirrely. They just belonged here. Miss Mousey seems to think the should be lowered a bit for her convenience.



I got this vintage lampshade at Goodwill for a buck. I grabbed a $5 lamp at walmart to go with it.



The dressor, shelf and end table were actually pieces that were in Bunny's nursery (that she never slept in). I just gathered some secknd hand things and painting the to match.



Thrifted knick knacks and some art from ... fit here perfectly.



The bassinet I used for my wee ones is now a home for dolls. Walmart curtains and rod, and a bunting I made from scrapbook paper and twine... 



And on the opposite wall, a poster of one of our favorite quotes, finishes out the dormer space beautifully.
 
Needless to say, I'm in love with this space. The girls love it too.