Happiness is perspective

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Happiness comes in many different forms to different people. Just like any other emotion. It can create a mood and change your outlook. Lately, my outlook has been tested. My happiness has been test. I feel that it has been good character development for me and maybe to another. We shall see. But we will talk about happiness tonight. 

Joy. Pure love. Excitement. Happiness. Contentment. I am defined as this most days I see and hear my sweet little daughters voices. Hearing my oldest (almost 4) pray with thanks at dinner time. It has been beyond heartwarming lately because she is now expressing her emotions outwardly in prayer. Tears filled me and my hubbs eyes. IT was pure bliss. Heartfelt. Happy. Our littlest one (almost 20 months) folds her hands, closes her eyes with the occasional peek & smirk, prays.

Joy in the sprinkler, talking about Disney and meeting a “real” princess… Excitement. Seeing a toddler respond to the simple joys in life and seeing how simple joy really can be obtained. Even if it is just jumping in a puddle. Sticking your tongue out to catch that rogue snowflake. You can have joy without having anything. Zero, zilch. We really can have contentment with simple pleasures.

I have found myself these past few years wanting to simplify, do away and regain my house. Materialism isn’t necessarily bad. But sometimes, you get crowded and you loose focus on what is important. For instance. When I was first married, I didn’t need nice things. I knew I would work towards nicer furniture and so on. But that was not my priority. Once I had my first daughter and did not return to work, I ended up seeing flaws in things and hoping for new. (Little did I know, knew meant it would look old when you have kids drooling, eating and peeing on your sofa. Hehehe) I was seeing myself as not content. Things had to be clean, perfect and really not for others, but for me. To feel like I achieved an accomplishment during my day. I was so used to working for so many years with an end goal. It is funny how you end up in a different frame of thinking. Here’s how.

I had my second daughter. I was tired. And I didn’t care. I was done. In a kind of good way. Let me put it this way, I am grateful to be here. After having my second child, I wasn’t sure I would be here. Pre-eclampsia has really impacted me and my health to this day. I am grateful to be here. And I feel it was a reminder after my first pre-eclampsia fear, I was being reminded in my second. Be grateful. Be content. Be, Happy. Enjoy life, it is the only one you have.

I have gone back and forth with different levels of sorrow. Depression crept in. It wasn’t the baby blues or a condition like that. I am sure it was hormone related. But people in general were really breaking me down and breaking my heart. It was painful to go into public and come home feeling uplifted and happy. I was sick of the drama, mean attitudes, bad drivers and unkindness was flooding in and covering all the good things. Heartbreaking. I was my worst critic though.

It wasn’t until recently I have seen things and people the way they are and have accessed finally that you cannot change them. You can pray for them and hope for the best for them. Even in odd situations that you wished never happened. These experience help us grow. 

What do I focus on? My girls. Their outcome. Being content and just going with the flow. God really has put some things into perspective. Sort of like the character, Anton Ego from the Disney’s Pixar, Ratatouille. He was looking for perspective from this new chef. And he knew he wouldn’t find any, but boy was he wrong. He had a full dose of perspective where he least expected or probably wanted. 

I am a roller-coaster I suppose. Once I was a free spirit, happy go lucky. Then uptight and afraid of making a mistake or making someone unhappy (this was from my childhood thinking as well and a way I thought as a child so it came back to haunt me. Like blasted boom-a-rang. This is something I did to myself. Not my husband, nor my children. It was me worried I would fail as a mother and not live up to expectations. That I would raise my kids a certain way and ruin their futures. But those were lies. Complete lies I was believing. I was a great mom and knew it deep down. I am a great mom and I am happy. I am content. It just took some wake up calls. It took life events to open my eyes to see the truth. My kids tell me everyday that they love me. And I love them. My husband is my love of my life, my joy and my earthly foundation. God is my stronghold and glad I have his grace. I have his love and forgiveness. He sees my heart. He knows my sorrow and He is always there for me. I am grateful. 

I hope you enjoyed my post. I know it is quite random. And a tad all over the place. But it is my hope I am able to help bring perspective to another, who might be going through this as well.ImageImageImage 

DASH of Common Sense

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Most of the people who drop by my blog spot would not know the struggles I dealt with while pregnant in 2009 and in 2011. I had developed preeclampsia. Those were two complicated pregnancy’s that God pulled me through and made me stronger. For those who do not know what that condition is, please refer to The Preeclampsia Foundation website for more details.

Since 2009 my body has not been the same and not just the typical adjustments after having a baby but after my body being put through the wringer twice. After having my mind, heart, liver and kidneys stressed to the max, I have been seeking my healthy norm that I was prior to pregnancy. I had lost a lot of weight that I had put on from lovely bed-rest and edema from the condition. I did it by nursing, healthy diet and exercise and strong determination. But, I hit a plateau and began noticing edema coming back. What on earth?!?

Well. One thing I know is stress kicked into high gear in the Summer of 2012 when I picked up a part-time job working from home doing underwriting for an insurance company. Trying to balance home duties, kids needs and my own personal time needs ie sleep. I was going down hill with blood pressures all over the place. I had seen doctor after doctor telling me old information about after effects of preeclampsia and finally this year, went back to an old faithful I had seen in 2009 that specialized with my pregnancy complications dealing with my heart in particular and he agreed something wasn’t right and pills would not be the trick. Mostly because I had inconsistent blood pressures and going on a drug would only complicate matters. Some facts about preeclamptic survivors, is their risk for heart disease, kidney disease and liver conditions magnifies. Many doctors who are not up to date with the latest news regarding this condition and what long term health of the patient can lead to can mean a harder recovery and or no recovery and possibly pre-mature death from the silent killer. Heart disease. As a patient, you take health, your health into your own hands. Find a doctor who is well versed and don’t give up. Doctors are humans who either choose to investigate you and get to the bottom of your issues or brushes you aside and sums you up in their head. You choose to hire or fire your doctor. That is the beauty of having options.

This wonderful doctor informed me that he has been working with several organizations to get them on board with his research surrounding the effects of preeclampsia and the risks the mother has afterwards. ie American Heart Association

The main reason for my post is to share the diet plan he has suggested to me. The DASH diet. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. I have purchased the book and an additional recipe book to plan out my meal plans and I am so glad I did. The recipes are simple, sound good and seem very simple. I hope to share my journey as I try to lower my blood pressure, improve my good cholesterol, lower my body weight and lesson my chances for cancer. Naturally. I love running and walking trails. This in combination with my diet, I hope to see some improvements. A lot of this is simple, common sense meals. Eating mostly veggies, fruits, lean proteins and fibers. I disagree with alternative, fake sugars. I will not and cannot eat those. But I use good, real sugars in my diet. I was already eating similarly to this diet just by common sense, but I am a person who often needs guiding along to follow through for the cause. This in turn will help my husband and teach my daughters the value of healthy eating. I want to grow old with my husband and watch my daughters grow. More than words can express. I look forward to our local market opening in the next few weeks to get our fresh fruits and veggies.

I had an EKG last week, I have a stress test tomorrow on a treadmill -call me hammy for hamster ;)  An MRI Friday. They are testing me for MS (multiple sclerosis) and praying that I have good news rather than the alternative. Either way, I am in good hands. I have a purpose here and will learn as I go. God is so good to me and and for all I have been through in my life when I entered this world, I have seen the hand of God work in me and others. <3

Me and my girls checking out the gorillas

Me and my girls checking out the gorillas

Thank you for checking out my post and may you live a healthy, happy life. Blessings on a great day to you! =)

Do you know the Muffin Gal?

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Muffins are awesome. They are full of wonderful things, well… not every muffin is made the same way. But here is a way to get some protein and a laundry list of goodness in your body.

My oldest daughter just turned three in November and she has always been a muffin girl. But not always the best eater. I was so happy to finally buy my mill a few years back. I have seen a difference in our skin and digestive tract by improving our diet with milling. You’d be surprised to know all the benefits of fresh milled wheat as suppose to milled wheat or that other white stuff I am trying to avoid eating with every grain in my body. Pun intended. ;)

As far as skin goes, I have had less breakouts and periods of no psoriasis and skin irritations. It goes the same for my daughter for skin irritations and less psoriasis breakouts. The reason? Vitamin E is prominent in these hard red wheat grains. And, high in fiber keeping your tract clear by regular movements. You intestines are your immunity and when they get backed up or if they are in distress with irritable bowl, celiac disease or constipation so on. You feel like crud and you may even look like… never-mind.  All these factors with a laundry list of other benefits I hope to share gradually for you all in time. I will attach a link for your convenience on how I started with the help of The Bread Beckers.

The photos above may amaze you, that you can eat beans in foods. My hubby does not like the texture of beans and is a pretty picky eater and he devours these. It is worth your time to try. If you do not have a mill, I noticed that Whole Foods has a grinder now with different types of wheat types to choose from. Here is the recipe below, with the detailed items I used. I owe a big thanks to The Bread Beckers for this recipe as well as other recipes I will share in time. :)

What on earth is Ezekiel Bread? Or Ezekiel mix?

Well, the biblical reference is taken from The Old Testament, the book of  Ezekiel 4:9. It is considered a fasting bread. Ezekiel was commanded by God to eat a certain about of this bread everyday. He would be the bare of Israels sins. Here is the link to Ezekiel if you’d like to read from this story, directly from the source.

“Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself. You are to eat it during the 390 days you lie on your side. ”  

Let’s just say, Ezekiel survived off of this bread for a long time.

Combine these un-ground grains to make the mix. This can be used to make the bread. But I will be providing the muffin recipe.

2 1/2 cups hard red wheat
1 1/2 cups spelt (rye can work too)
1/2 cup hulled barley
1/4 cup millet
1/4 cup lentils (green lentil)
2 tbs. great northern bean
2 tbs. red kidney beans
2 tbs. pinto beans

Sweet Potato Muffin or Pumpkin Muffin      (recipe from Bread Beckers notes via Melanie C.)
Preheat oven to 350

Measurements before grinding:
Note: I like to make a big batch of Ezekiel mix and then prep little pre-sorted containers of this mixture for easy muffin preparation. Also, I spray the muffin liners with Bakers Joy for easy removal of muffin from liner.

¾ cup Ezekiel (mixture from above)
¼ Spelt
¼ Oat Groats

Grind then Add:

½ Cup Sucanat
1 tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Baking soda
¼ tsp Baking powder
¼ tsp real salt

Whisk dry ingredients together

Combine dry with wet:

Sweet Potato Muffins:                                                                                  Pumpkin Muffins:

2 (6oz) jars sweet potato baby food                                                       1 cup canned Pumpkin
¼ cup coconut oil or olive oil                                                                  ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup honey                                                                                                    ¼ cup coconut oil or olive oil
2 eggs                                                                                                                   ¼ cup honey
½ cup mini chocolate chips                                                                       2 eggs
½ cup mini chocolate chips
Bake 18 minutes

 

I hope you enjoy these muffins as much as our household does. The history behind this is interesting as well. Thank you for visiting my post. I hope you have a blessed day. Here is one of my favorite quotes that I hope may brighten your day. It may be cloudy, but it can be bright =)

 

“Do not anticipate trouble,

or worry about what may never happen.

Keep in the sunlight.”
                         ~Benjamin Franklin

 

 

One stick of butter helps the cookie, go down.

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Boy did I make one ugly cookie today. It was so ugly, it made me cry. But that is okay. Looks are deceiving. It tasted good, surprising. So. Why did this cookie turn out so ugly? I’ll tell you and you can make fun of me. It’s okay. I laugh at myself ALL the time. I trip over everything and walk into walls. It’s amazing I have survived these thirty plus years.

I decided before leaving for church this morning with the kiddos that I would prep this easy to remember (so I thought) oatmeal raisin cookie. All thanks to that white haired, black topped man, Mr Quaker. Recipe is on the lid & all. I whip it up in my handy dandy stainless steel bowl [Pampered Chef one- Awesome! Lid & all. So handy! Hense, Handy Dandy]. Yep, I am awesome. Can’t you hear my self mockery ;)

Breakfast was getting away from me (cold, that is) so my kind husband stirs the mixture for me and he is looking reluctant to imply as I am scarfing down my oatmeal… but he picks up the courage… “This mixture is really dry…do we need to add something?” I am like, “Nah… it should have enough. It has two eggs and butter”. He continues to look at it oddly. So, of course I come over and assess the damage. I start drizzling light flavored olive oil hoping it softens the mixture up enough to hold itself together. Literally. In the fridge it goes with fingers crossed.

It is now evening and the hubs has prepared an awesome meal for me and the girls. Ready to have dessert. Pull out the mixture and it looks like it’s ready to top a fruit for crisp. That isn’t a bad thing, but it wasn’t the desired effect. I was bewildered. What did I do wrong? Obviously a liquid based item was my fault. I grab the recipe by the prompting of the hubs and I am like, “See, it called for 6 tbls!” I plea in my defense. Hubs looks at me with a funny look. It is missing a stick of butter. He is cracking up at me. I am baffled and start laughing at myself and decided to just go with it and see what happens. They came out like little crumbled cookies, dry looking as the Sahara. Surprisingly they were moist in the center. Maybe my olive oil attempts assisted in the fight. So. rather than chugging these along as cookies. They are baked into a jelly roll pan as granola bars. Yep. Here ya go kiddos. Mommy will teach you how to improvise. Indeed. I am one improvising mama.

So. here is the recipe. To mock myself and rub it in more and more.

Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Link here)

[with my notes]

Ingredients

  • 1/2  cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened [Unless  you are like me and only put 6 tbls rather than the half of lb of butter and a smidge amount of light olive oil]
  • 3/4  cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup granulated sugar [I used honey granules in place of white sugar]
  • 2  eggs
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  teaspoon baking soda
  • 1  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3  cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
  • 1  cup raisins [California Golden were used]

Preparation

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time Time: 08 min

Variations

Bar Cookies: Press dough onto bottom of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Store tightly covered. 24 BARS. VARIATIONS: Stir in 1 cup chopped nuts. Substitute 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or candy-coated chocolate pieces for raisins; omit cinnamon. Substitute 1 cup diced dried mixed fruit. HIGH ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENT: Increase flour to 1-3/4 cups and bake as directed.

Yield

4 DOZEN

[Disclosure: I have made these several times for several years and enjoy them, a lot... even when I forget the butter. ;) No picture since we ate the evidence for fear of more tears of sympathy.]

Thank you for reading my post. I hope you enjoyed it. :) All my quirky faults I am sure we can all relate.

Eggs for dinner.

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I will go ahead and start off by saying we love breakfast for dinner. I also really need to go grocery shopping. Hence we are having eggs for dinner. We literally have nothing left in the house to eat. I have failed at my job of keeping our fridge and cabinets stocked well. What happened? How did this happen? Well, there have been too many things filling our fridge for events. In other words, for other people. So, that means I have to pull my act together with Christmas afoot and get our supply back up. Good thing we have eggs. Two eggs at that. My dear husband made omelets for our daughters and currently, I am not sure what we are eating. Guess the Hubster will be making a run to the grocery store.

The nice thing about your cabinets running low and fridge looking bare, you can get a good mental grasp to how it may feel to someone who is less fortunate. Many families in America are in this boat. Their cabinets are bare and they do not have the funds to restock like I know we will in a bit. But I know that for me, being a stay at home of two and my husband working so hard to keep us provided for it is hard for us too sometimes. Things in general are going up in price and my kids are eating up a storm. I remember growing up not having a lot either. We all have been their in some form or fashion. I am just grateful for so many things and need to slow down and look around at the blessings I often take for granted. We have running water. We can turn a handle and decide how hot we want our water to be. I have a switch for lights so I can craft to my hearts desire.

For my daughters, the best thing I can do for them is show them what it is to want and not have it all. They are truly blessed beyond words and they don’t know that yet. My husband and I many years ago said we will be sure to serve a shelter during the year holiday or non-holiday so we too can bless someone who does not have the luxury of a roof over their head or hot meal or water at hand. My oldest is three and I have been talking to her about help other children who are without family and do not have toys or food like we do. She is a giving spirit anyway and she has been known to try and give her sweater and jacket to children who admire them. It melts my heart to see her sweet disposition take wing. Children really can be eye openers to adults who have lost their spark of child-like behavior. There are some things at work in my very own heart that I know that the Lord has put there to do and really feel that is the path I want to leap in. I would love to start my own non-profit organization. Name already in mind and outreach figured out. It is just figuring out the next steps. It will be a challenge with two small children. But I am one determined lady. We shall see what happens.

After typing this my husband wrote a list and has left to bring home some nourishment for these tired, hungry bodies. Thank goodness.

I pray for those who have nothing or very little. That they will find shelter, food and warmth.

My two loves at our favorite pumpkin patch in November 2012

My two loves at our favorite pumpkin patch in November 2012

Blessings on the rest of your week.