Weekend Scrapping at Badlands Ministries

Apr 26 2014 Badlands

This past weekend my sister, Lynette, and I went to the Badlands Ministries for a crafting weekend.  Of course we scrapped, but we also climbed the foothills at least 4 times.  Once on an extremely windy day, I thought my sister was going to be blown off the side of the hill.  40+ mph winds can do that. Fun times.  We got exercise, did a ton of chatting and got some layouts made.

You Did It

This 8×8 layout was a quick one for documenting the day my son got his permit.  He is anxiously awaiting his driver’s license late this summer.  It will be so strange not to have to shuttle him around.  This morning was open gym and weight lifting from 6 a.m. till 7:30 a.m.  Yes it is off-season, but conditioning never seems to stop.

Oops

I also wanted to do a quick layout on Z’s car accident last fall. Strange, but only took one photo, so I did an 8×8.  This way we will never forget.

Love About You

As I was searching for a photo I ran across this one of my boys before bed when they were much younger.  It is a little dark so probably can’t see their faces, but oh my, this captures their personalities so well.  Since I only had this one photos, an 8×8 was perfect for it.

Always Together

This photo of Big M and I from Christmas is a fun favorite.  I love having layouts of just us together in our albums.  I wanted to use these embellishments, so it turned into a 12 x 12 for it to work.  When my boys go through the albums someday, they will never doubt that I love their Dad.

Memories

Two other older photos I found were of our boys when we moved into our house in 2007.  We planted trees with the though of taking a photo each year to show their growth and the growth of the trees.  Well the trees died that winter so that never happened, but I love see how small they were back then. Since I did a 12 x 12 I had plenty of room to journal.

ND Winter

The last one to share is of two photos taken 2 days apart in 2011 in our back yard.  The top one is after it snowed.  The bottom one is two days later after the typical strong winds we have in North Dakota. (I am writing this as I listen to the winds blowing about 25 to 30 mph with gusts in the high 30s.).  The wind completely changed the landscape, and I wanted to document that change.

I doubt I will scrap again until next September, but it was exactly what I needed at the end of a school year. Relaxation and getting away.  Now to tackle my huge spring to-do list.

 

Right Now

Finishing up the school year.  JV’s last day is today, and Z has wrap-up work to do along with finishing his AP English class as CHS

Thinking about food and health.  Trying to figure out how to eat well and feel good.

Knowing that I need to get started on Z’s graduation announcements.  We are not having a party because he doesn’t want one, but I want to let family and friends know he is graduating.

Looking forward to Spring, which has decided not to arrive.  We woke to a foot inch of snow today.  Yuck.  It is supposed to be colder than average through June. My bones need some heat and sun.  Edit:  Oops, I meant an inch of snow, but is sure felt like a foot. 🙂

Working  on next year planning for JV, or I will forget what he has done and where we need to start later this year.

Hoping to really spend time this week on Holy Week with a focus on my relationship with Jesus.  Looking forward to spending time in church during the Triduum.

Refocusing on what foods are causing me to not feel the best and eliminating them from my diet.

Feeling pride for JV.  He has made a goal of making so many baskets during the off-season.  That means making at least 200 baskets a day.  He is tackling that goal, even if he is sore from doing weight training.

Feeling pride for Z.  He started working this past week for 3 hours a day before his AP English class.

Planning our summer calendar. Between planning for Z to head off to college and JV’s crazy basketball schedule, the summer is going to go so fast.

Loving my family; spending time with them playing Settlers of Catan, watching The Voice and eating together..

Thinking through my business.  I have focused very little on my business.  Have had only a few sales the last two months.  Trying to figure out how to fit it into my life and get re-motivated to list.

Enjoying the longer days. Love that it is light out until about 8:30 at night. Just wish we could spend it outside more, but difficult with the cold weather.

Vitamix Blender – Green Smoothie

Kale Spinach Smoothie a

Last November I told you how much I loved my new Ninja blender.  Then in January my friend loaned me her Vitamix blender to try.  One try, and I was sold.  Yes, I love my Ninja, but as I began using it for more and more things, I was finding little bits of kale weren’t being blended completely, or little pieces of almonds were still in a smoothie.  I would have been content with it, but then I tried the Vitamix.

This blender pulverizes anything.  I now use my blender at least once and sometimes twice a day.  This guy gets used.  Today, since it is St. Patrick’s day for I made a green smoothie to go with my red cabbage and jicama.  The original recipe was from Stacy Julian.  Here is what I do.

Kale Spinach Smoothie b

Green Smoothie
7 ounces of coconut milk
4 ounces of water
a couple of handfuls of frozen strawberries
a scoop of protein powder (they all taste different and many have a ton of sugar in it; look for low sugar and high protein; keep trying until you find one you like)
several handfuls of baby kale, spinach and swiss chard that I get at Sam’s Club
Blend till smooth and enjoy.

It makes about 20 ounces of smoothie.

My son still uses our Ninja for his individual smoothies, and we still are glad we purchased it.  However, if you are looking for an awesome blender that will blend anything and everything, I recommend spending the money for a Vitamix.  I know you won’t be sorry.

Just last night I made a snack ice cream out of just frozen strawberries and greek yogurt.  No liquid at all.  No problems for this beast.

Do you have a blender you like?  Do tell.

Julienne Zucchini Noodles

Julienned ZucchiniHere is another way I tried in getting more vegetables in our diet.  I julienned two zucchini squash, added a little salt and let it sick for 20 minutes or about the time it took me to make spaghetti sauce and noodles for the boys.  Then, I heated it in the microwave for 1.5 minutes. We put some “noodles” on our plate and added the spaghetti sauce on top.  Yummy.  Less pasta, more vegetables in a yummy way.

The zucchini was slightly crunchy.  If you want a softer “noodle” just heat a little longer.  Pretty sure Big M and I will be eating spaghetti this way in the future.

If you have ever tried julienne zucchini noodles, what did you think?

This Broke My Heart

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A woman in Canada is desperately seeking a family for her daughters.  She set up a website to beg for someone to help her.  The father, apparently is out of the picture, and she is in a long-term care facility for multiple sclerosis and other physical ailments. She can not take care of them.

My heart just broke for this woman.  I can’t imagine not being able to take care of myself, much less my two boys. I am blessed…I have my health. But what would I do?  First, I have an amazing husband who would never abandon his boys.  Second, I have a fantastic family who I know would help or take my boys in, so I know I would not be in this situation.  For that I know I am so dearly blessed.

I admire this woman.  She is doing what she can to make sure her daughters are taken care of.  That is sacrificial love. She is willing to sacrifice her time with her daughters to ensure their physical and mental health.  Wow, that is being a Mom.

I live in the USA, so I can’t help, but I would if I lived near there.  It appears that many people have expressed interest in helping.  I have found that if people know of others needs, they are usually more than willing to help.  People are good and generous, and I am hopeful for these girls.  However, I will keep praying for this woman…she will continue to need them.

Reducing Sugar Intact

SugarSomeday I will have to blog about my journey with my health over the past 3 years, but today I want to tell you about sugar.  Sugar is bad for you.  We all know that, but do we really know how bad it is for you.

Check out this post, “You’ll Stop Eating Sugar after Reading this Post” that lists 25 reasons sugar is bad for you. Or if you want a quicker list of 75 ways it can harm your health read, “Counting the Many Ways Sugar Harms Your Health.”  Sugar really is deadly.  There are even studies that show that sugar lights up the same brain areas as cocaine does.  It is definitely addictive.  If you don’t believe me, go 24 hours without any sugar and you will have withdrawals symptoms.

The sad thing is we don’t realize how much sugar we eat each year.  Sugar is in everything.  I used to love eating Yoplait Thick and Creamy Yogurt for breakfast.  Yogurt, it must be healthy for me, but that little 6 ounces had 28 grams of sugar.  That is the pile of sugar on the left, about 7 teaspoons worth. My stomach hurts just looking at how much sugar that really is.

For more than a year now I have eaten Fage Greek Yogurt, it has 6.5 grams of sugar per 6 ounces or 1.5 teaspoons of sugar.  That is the picture on the right.  Think about it, I would eat a yogurt each day, that means I was consuming 10,192 grams or 2,548 teaspoons a year with just my Yoplait yogurt. Just by making that change for the past year I have reduced my sugar intake to 2,366 grams or 592 teaspoons per year.  That is huge, people.  I am telling you…HUGE.

I have not stopped eating sugar.  I still like candy, but eat less of it.  I no longer drink Coke. You know I loved my afternoon Coke. That had even more sugar in it.  I have changed to a Stevia or Erythritol sweetener for my tea and I am trying to reduce that as well.

Americans eat way too much processed food, and almost all of it has sugar in one form or another in it.  I have a long way to go to eliminate my processed sugar cravings, but I have made progress.  I am trying hard to eat at least half my plate as vegetables, a fourth protein and a fourth fats/carbs, as well as chose health, low sugar snacks. My health has improved, but I still am working on it.

Do you pay attention to your sugar intake?

Brussels Sprouts Anyone?

Brussel Sprouts

 

In my quest to eat more vegetables I decided to try brussels sprouts.  I have never eaten them before, so off to Pinterest I went to find a good, healthy recipe.

Tonight I made Cranberry Orange Roasted Brussels Sprouts from Two Peas & Their Pod.  The above photos is what they looked like when I put them in the oven.

I did make one change…I used Truvia instead of honey.  I was pleasantly surprised.  My first try with brussels sprouts was yummy.  No, they weren’t my favorite vegetable, but I liked them.  However, no one else in the family really liked them.  So I am wondering…anyone have a good recipe for brussels sprouts?  Please leave me a link in the comments or send me an email with the recipe.  I have half a bag left, so I want to try a new recipe on Tuesday.  Once I find a good recipe, I am going to move on to eggplant, but for now it is brussels sprouts that I want to be able to incorporate into our dinners.

BTW, did you know it is brussels not brussel?  I didn’t realize there was an ‘S’ at the end.  Learned something new today.

The Beginning of Endings

Zachary swimToday my heart is sad. Last night was Parents’ Night at the pool and the last time Z will swim in the Aquatic Center pool as a high school swimmer.  Oh how the saying fits… “where has the time gone?”

As I have mentioned, it has been a busy few months.  Between basketball and swimming, life just is whizzing by.  That is good because I haven’t been able to think about it all coming to an end.  This week we traveled 1.5 hours one way on Monday to watch JV play a basketball game.  Then on Tuesday I was at the pool getting all of the boys to write a handwritten thank you note to their parents.  I really believe that a handwritten note is so powerful and a lost art.  So we decided that the best thing we could do for parents was to have them write a note and give it to them.  For me that is more powerful than candy or flowers.

I had put together a young boy and current photo of the three seniors.  Z’s photo is above. Tonight we had these photos along with the coaches on the big screen while we did the athlete and student introductions.  Turned out cute. So glad I know enough on Photoshop Elements to complete this project.

Last night I got to the pool early to start organizing parents’ night and found out that our team was hosting the dual instead of the other team.  That means we were responsible for 16 timers.  Normally I am the one who is head timer and responsible for making sure we have enough timers for the meet.  I do this ahead of time, so scramble I did.  Kim and I were able to get the cards and suckers together and ready for the intros, and I was able to get the timers all situated.  We have great parents who are will to help when asked.

All this time I refused to think of what my heart was saying.  I was busy, so I was fine.

The coach had Z pick what he wanted to swim.  As a sprinter he loves the 50 and 100 free, but he decided to do the Individual Medley and the 100 Backstroke.  Fun to see him in different events.

One parent asked me if I was sad and I responded, “I am not thinking about it.” Which was true.  The swim meet went well. Z did well and the team won.  I was able to get the timing stuff put away and head out to the high school gym.  JV had a basketball game.

JV Feb 2014Big M had left the meet early to catch JV’s game.  I was lucky to see the second half of the game.  I am so glad I did.  JV has had a tough season.  Teammate injuries have caused the team to be split up for practices.  Basketball is a game of flow, and his team does not have it, but tonight he was determined and did very well.  The team won, JV was happy.

All I can say is I love watching my kids play and swim.

Came home, had a late supper and instead of the Olympics, we caught the Duke vs. UNC basketball game. We are Duke fans in this house.

Finally past 10:30 I lay my head on the pillow, and that is when it hit me, and I couldn’t fall asleep.  This is the first big ending.  My boy is finishing his high school swim career.   He does have two meets left–the regional and state meets, but not in this pool.  My life has revolved around swimming and basketball for years now.  Life is changing and this is only the start.  Z is turning 18 next month, ending his childhood.  He will be graduating in a couple of months.  Too many ending, and I have always hated endings.

Big M reminds me that endings mean beginnings.  True..Z will be going off to college.  He has so many adventures awaiting him.  I still have 3 years of homeschooling left and 3 years of basketball.  Next year I can completely focus on JV and not have to have my heart and mind in two places…well sort of.  It is all good.

But today my heart is sad.  I don’t want this stage of life to end.  I am so grateful that I am sad. It means we have enjoyed this stage. It means that we have participated in something great that we don’t want to end.  I wouldn’t give up these feelings for the world.  I am so grateful to have been able to watch Z grow in his life and swimming had a lot to do with his physical, as well as mental growth.

So today I will let myself be a little sad and tomorrow…I will let tomorrow come and embrace all of the endings, being mindful of the wonderful memories and the new beginnings because….Life is good, it is all good.

Today…

Boys and I

Life is just speeding by.  This morning Big M said, “I can’t believe February is almost half over.”  It is 6 weeks into the new year, and it feels like it was just Christmas.

Since life is crazy busy lately I decided to do a quick post on what is going on today, so I can remember a snippet of my life.

Today….I woke at 5 a.m. when Big M’s alarm went off.  Felt tired so was trying to go back to sleep, when it occurred to me that I hear Big M in the shower, but I don’t hear Z moving around.

Today…Z forgot to set his alarm.  He has five morning practices left for the swim season. He can’t wait till he can sleep in and not go to 6 a.m. practice. I have to admit, I will enjoy that too.  I don’t have to take him like I used to, but I still wake up.  Looking forward to sleeping until 6.

Today…it is so cold.  It is negative 25 degrees at 8 in the morning, but at least it is sunny, very little wind, and the days are getting longer.

Today…I have a backache.  Spent a total of about 11 hours standing on the cement pool deck on Friday and Saturday. I was head timer for Z’s team’s 2 day Swim Invite.  Then yesterday spent a few hours in the car to Dickinson and back.

Today…my Mother-in-law is staying at our house.  We went and picked her up to spend the week with us, so she can take in the boys’ activities this week. We have 3 basketball games, 2 swim meets and 2 piano festivals this week…and I wonder why with homeschooling, my online business, keeping the house going, etc, I don’t find time to blog.

Today…I am doing laundry.  Seems like I do a load or two every other day or so.  I don’t mind it so much since I really like my new washer and dryer.  My only complaint is that my washer does not wash a load in less than 90 minutes and usually longer.  But the clothes are clean, and I love my quick, gas dryer.

Today…JV finally is feeling better.  He was sick for the third time since Christmas. All last week he was miserable with a sore throat and headache.  No one else has been sick…knock on wood.

Today…we are doing our 30th week of schooling for the year.  It is really starting to hit me that I have less than 3 months of schooling with Z and then I am done.  I graduate, I am finished…wait, I mean Z graduates and is finished with high school.  Only one boy to plan for schooling next year. Mixed emotions are getting stronger every day.

Today…we are having leftovers for supper tonight.  That is dinner for my Idaho and west coast friends.

Today…JV has a basketball game this evening. He struggled playing last week because of being sick, but hopefully he will feel more energetic.

Today…I am reading The Calorie Myth and Drop Dead Healthy.  Really trying hard to eat better. I have made so much progress in feeling better because of changing what I eat.  Still a work in progress, but I am moving more and more toward eating vegetables, fruits, and proteins with some fats for my main source of calories.  Not cutting any food group out completely. Only eliminated foods I am allergic too like peanuts and yeast.  However, I feel better when I don’t eat a lot of process foods and carbs.

Today…I hope to watch some Olympic events this evening.  I enjoy the summer Olympics more than the Winter, but I try to watch a little of it. Those men and women are amazing athletes and have sacrificed so much to be the best of the best.  It is inspiring.

So what is today like for you?  Do you watch the Olympics? What is keeping you so busy?