Home Again!

June 1st 2018 and…after five MONTHS of silence…I have returned.  It isn’t that I chose to be absent, but my laptop died and with a family growing as I added our little man…there simply were no finances for a replacement.

But life, if crazy and stressful, is also beautiful and blessed.  We got through the remainder of winter. Saw the first flowers of spring, have watched the mockingbirds build a nest next to the front gate, feed their nestling and seen him grow, fledge and move to the big tree where he is safer and, no doubt, learning to fly properly.  Image result for mockingbird fledgeling

We added a new dog to the brood. There will be an entire post about her soon, I promise.

For now…so happy to be back. So thrilled to be able to share this life journey with you once more.

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Monday Menu

Yes…a new year.  A new determination to make this MY year and get my diet where I want it to be.  Not where others prefer, maybe not even in their comfort zones, but to take the knowledge I gained in college courses on fitness and nutrition, what I have learned from life and from reading, and from what my body says makes me feel best and make some changes.

First up.  The dreaded…cover your eyes…no don’t, then you can’t read this, lol…Monthly Menu!  Meal Plan!  Whatever you choose to call it, it is a great idea that makes me crazy.

One…. it doesn’t really allow for shopping on a budget.  In my case, I shop around sales and coupons and what is in season. Not easy to plan for those.

Two…. I don’t know ahead what I ‘feel’ like cooking, how much time we’ll have after events, traffic, life…or what the boys will want to eat on any given night.

Three…. my very ADHD brain just doesn’t WANNA.

Okay, that’s not a very good reason, and the OCD part of me is grinning and rubbing her hands together in anticipation of my actually creating a plan for any part of my life.

Now, there was a time, when I was a younger mom with a house full of kids, homemade, adopted and foster, and a hubby who provided us a good income, that I actually was very good at monthly menus. Yeah.  Not sure where she went.  So here we go. Feel free to hold hands if it gets too scary. (Don’t worry… there won’t be an entire month here today… baby steps 😉 )

In everyday America meal plans are planned around the meat.  Not mine.

Monday:  Breakfast: overnight oatmeal with coconut and chia seeds/juice   Lunch:  pita sandwich with cabbage/carrot/brocci slaw, hummus, tahini, and whatever else I feel like throwing on…sometimes diced egg, or leftover tempeh…just fill it up  Afternoon snack:  (because without it the boy spawn might eat me!)  apple slices/peanut butter and popcorn  Supper:  spagetti squash with mushroom/pepper sauce and veggie meatballs

Tuesday:  Breakfast:  Fruit smoothie of whatever fruit and veggies are in the fridge plus flax   Lunch:  southwestern salad with corn, black beans, peppers and tortilla strips  Afternoon snack:  chips and dip  Supper:  Coconut Thai Curry with jasmine rice

Wednesday:  Breakfast:  cereal with berries and almond milk/juice   Lunch:  onigiri and salad  Vegan Onigiri, Six Ways -- These whimsical Japanese rice triangles can be flavored with a multitude of ingredients and make a great packed lunch or bring-along for a springtime picnic.

Afternoon Snack:  banana and peanut butter sandwiches  Supper:  vegan Chili with Tortillas (make lots, it is great to have leftovers)

Thursday:  Breakfast:  Fruit smoothie plus hemp seed  Lunch:  Veggie kebabs on pretzel sticks with carrot chips and ranch dip  Afternoon Snack:  goji berry raw snack chunks

Tasty Plant-Based Snacks for After-School

Supper:  BBQ pulled ‘pork’ (jackfruit is amazing!) sandwiches,  spicy fries, brocci-slaw

Friday:   Breakfast:  steel cut oats with fruit and almond milk/juice  Lunch:  Veggie Taco roll ups  Afternoon Snack:  Bababahummus with carrots/celery/pita chips  Supper:  Chili Nachos with guacamole and hot corn salsa

Saturday:  Breakfast:  pancakes with fruit/juice  Lunch:  pasta salad with veggies  Afternoon Snack:  PB Energy snack balls  Supper:  Mushroom pho soup

The best thing about cold weather is all the noodle soup. Recipe here.

Sunday:  Breakfast:  Fruit and veggie smoothie with chia seeds  Lunch:  Mediterranean wrap, grapes  Afternoon snack:   roasted spicy chickpeas  Supper:  Mimi Taters and vegan sausage

There…that wasn’t so bad.  And I had a lot of the ingredients on hand or they are staples.  Gonna make this work.

 

Wishful Wednesday

I ‘wish’ it was wicked…but not too much luck with that today.  At least not yet.

Instead another long, looooong day in the car had me thinking of so many things I wish I could change around here. Wish David was still here…the kids miss him so much.  Wish I could buy him one more banana split at Dairy Grove…and watch the kids giggling over their own ice cream, and how much Dat loved his 😀

Wish I could find a job.  Now that at least can be more than a ‘wish’.  I can change that.  I will change that.

Wish I could find a better ‘home’ for the kids, and me.  Found a wonderful little run-down ‘shack’ of a home driving around last week, the paint long gone, but the porch strong and sturdy, the tin roof needing a good cleaning and mercy! does the whole place need landscaping…a girl can dream.  It would be such a joy to take an old abandoned house like that and bring it back to life.  Make it a ‘home’ once more.  No fancy renovations; just restore it and love it. Put an old wringer washer like Grandma had on the back porch, and a tire swing in the tree out front.

Old Maytag wringer washer like my Grandmas used to have! Oh the memories of laundry day!

Get a wood burning stove (or gas if the city is picky) like the one we love at writer’s camp.

Related image   My cast iron would be right at home.  antique+stoves.+wood+and+gas | Peerless Kalamazoo Gas/Wood Dual Fuel Antique Cook Stove: grn

Add a porch swing and a joggling board…

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I’d be happy to spend the rest of my life fixing the old place up and making it a little ‘more loved’ every year.

If wishes were horses….

Someday, I’ll gallop away.

 

Munchie Monday

I am a ‘working-on-it’ healthy eating fanatic.  I backslide; I admit it. Never all the way; just small ‘errors’ in judgement, ha. I am not as strong-willed as my eldest daughter who has been straight vegan for…ever!  And it shows.  She is healthy strong, and fearless.  I hope a little of that comes from me…making her endure packed lunches with homemade whole grain bread (no white bread in this household!), and fruits, veggies…no bologna or processed foods…just things I knew were healthy for a growing little person but awfully hard to explain to classmates who just thought she/we were ‘weird’.

The entire family has been red meat free for 15 years for humane and environmental reasons. I have in the last couple of years started cutting out all the turkey and chicken…and while I am pretty successful in managing mine, it is still in the house because I also have a very recalcitrant teenage son who wants his ‘meat’ at least sometimes.  Since this way of eating is my personal choice…and I hope someday he will make that choice on his own…I am not going to force it on him.  But here we are with a new month, a new year…and I am eager to expand my horizons on the foodie front.

I am so excited!  Today I revisited a favorite even with my meat-eater…stuffed okra boats.  The kids love them.  I love them.  Time to try some new things to stuff them with… but first:

This is my go-to recipe:

  • 24 fresh medium size okra pods (1 lb.)  (split down the top, stem removed, and but don’t pop it open. It is a ‘boat’ not a ‘life preserver’ lol)
  • 1/2 avocado (mashed)
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts (chopped fine)
  • 1/4 cup red onion (minced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger  (minced)
  • 1 jalapeno chili, seeds removed (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt  (add to taste)
  • First mince all the ingredients that need mincing.  (NOT the okra)
  • Combine filling. Add the creamed avocado.  Gently stuff filling into each okra boat.
  • Place on parchment lined baking sheet, spray with coconut oil spray and bake at 425 till the boats are crispy and tops are slightly browned (about 10 min)
  • Peanut-Stuffed Okra Fingers

The Wonderful…and the Wicked

It would be lovely if the only thing being ‘wicked’ today was my over-wrought imagination.  Sadly, no.  Climate change has decided to mess with our weather and so, at the beginning of January, here we are on the coast of South Carolina staring winter in its hoary eyes.

In short, it is cold.

Cover the plants kind of cold.

New Zealand is looking better by the minute.

~~~

On a warmer and much more wonderful note, today I celebrate two amazing birthdays.

My sister was born on this day and she has been a joy and a grounding in my world since she made her appearance.  I became her ‘little’ …and certainly more obsessive…mama.  Determined to love and protect this little person with her big dark eyes and sweet smile from the moment she came into my life.  I have other siblings, but this one was/is ‘mine’.  Unlike the middles, she was more like me…not a ‘favorite’, not over-protected, not pampered.  She was tough.  We had to be.  She shared my passion for animals and nature, she was and is a beautiful, compassionate, and deeply caring human being.

I bought her her first horse…a POA aptly named Little Satan…he was her best friend and companion and he adored her as much as she loved and needed him.  Now she has a tough miniature horse out there in Arizona and a gorgeous mustang mare…and they bring her joy each and every day.

I am so thankful for this day and the love it brought into our world.  Happy Birthday, Tamara.

Birthday number two?  The irreplaceable J.R.R. Tolkien!  How can a birthdate not be more magical for being shared with the master of fantasy?  If any of you don’t know…I totally adore Tolkien.  I devoured his books. He gave a girl with a wild imagination another world to live in, another place to dream of, a new place in mt heart to call ‘home’.

Now, so many books and years later, I write fantasy…because I have dreams and worlds of my own to share…and he led the way.  Happy Birthday, Professor Tolkien, and thank you.

May we all find new warmth, and new wonders on this beautiful winter day.

 

 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time…

A merry and blessed Christmas to you all.  This year we got an extra special “gift”…. Reesie and I got to ‘reveal’ the gender of Lorien and Judah’s baby-to-be (heretofore named Grimlock by just-turned-5 year old Squid (aka Cedric).  I got to do the shopping and I wrapped the boxes and shipped them off for the big moment.

First…you must understand that Judah’s family only ‘makes’ boys.  That’s right, nothing but male children for countless generations.  They decided when Cedric was born they will adopt a girl if Grimlock is a boy; so either way they are going to be thrilled.  Cedric wants a brother. Judah can start his own ‘hockey team’ just as he and his brothers did.

8am this morning they got us on Skype.  Just me and Reesie here, my boys were still asleep, and them at Judah’s grandma’s house with his Grandma and his mom.  We are beside ourselves with excitement for the big reveal….for us, down here, so far from them up in New York, this is as close to sharing any of the excitement as we will ever be.

They got out the boxes.  Two.  One marked “Open second”  and the main box, with a tag that says “To Mommy and Daddy From Heaven”.  They had to unwrap two boxes to get to it. It’s a writer thing…building tension and drama for the ‘moment’, ha.  They open the lid…and there are layers of nice Christmas-y tissue paper…

And then… No automatic alt text available.

There was another foofy pink and a shirt to match…but this is the picture they took 😀

Lorien  was laughing/crying, Judah, standing behind her for moral support in their big moment quite literally melted down onto the couch beside her…both of them in shock and disbelief saying “a girl/ we got a girl”  His mom and Grandma were whooping and dancing.  It was soooo awesome to share in their joy at discovering that they were going to be blessed with a daughter.

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Her name is Lyra…a name they chose for their first daughter back when they were waiting to see what Cedric would be. A name made all the more magical as she announced her arrival to coincide with the arrival of Oumaumau, the first known interstellar visitor to earth, which came from the constellation Lyra.  How special is that?

So in honor of our very special Christmas gift…may your holidays be blessed with joy and laughter and the truest gifts of the season… hope and love.

Merry Christmas.

And I wonder as I wander…

Driving about today, over the bridges and the marsh, the salt creek, the river leading on to the sea and it occurred to me as I turned up yet another prosaic little tree-lined street that this defines much of my life. Not the nondescript neighborhood, but an endless desire to discover someplace or something new.

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Even as a very young child I was always begging Grandpa to “take the windy roads” through the Missouri Ozarks, or down some country road…any road or trail that took us into the unknown. Most of the time it was somewhere very mundane…another farm, another ramshackle cabin back in the woods, an old country general store.

One such building is H.D. Gibbes & Sons, which has come to be known as Gibbes Old Country Store. The building was first constructed in 1892 and has remained in the Gibbes family ever since.

Perhaps a new bridge over a winding, rocky creek where we could stop and wade or have  a picnic lunch. Sometimes an old cemetery with quaint and faded markers and worn fencing that bade me to stop and wonder about the lives that ended here.

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I realize that desire to wander without destination, to explore for nothing beyond the chance of discovery, and seeking nothing more than the wonder that surrounds us is exactly who I am, yesterday and today…and off in search of somewhere I have not yet been, a sight not yet seen…tomorrow.