Friday, November 27, 2009

My Mom and Me

"You're just like your mother." That's what my Dad used to say. When I was a kid it filled me with pride because that's the attitude he said it with. When I was a teen it frustrated me somewhat because I wanted to be my own person. When I was a young mom it seemed impossible, "How did she do this?" But now I'm content and happy and blessed to be like my mom.

My mom and I and her mom and probably her mom before that and hers before that and hers before that, are wives and homemakers. Oh, we're capable of doing it all, have a career and take care of a home and children. But our hearts, the core of our being is for our husbands, our homes, our children and our grandchildren. We're homemakers. And I'm blessed with that, content with that, and consider it my highest calling.

The next time my nephew, the one that asks the questions everyone else only thinks, asks, "Aunt Sandy, what do YOU do to make a living?" I'm going to have an answer for him. It's going to roll off my tongue with confidence, "I'm a Homemaker, just like my Mom." Blessed, Oh so Blessed!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holidays? Who Needs 'Em!

To say I love the holidays is a stretch, a really big stretch. I tolerate the holidays because they exist. I tried both ends of the spectrum, celebrate to the max (well, the max for me) and just barely get by. Neither one gives me that deep sense of satisfaction. I've either done too much and am exhausted or not done enough and feel empty. You see, I'm a worker. I am not a dreamer or a schemer or a thinker. I do not get radically happy and I don't get tremendously sad. I don't think about the past and I'm rarely conscience of the future. I work and I accomplish and I cross things off my "To Do" list and that gives me energy, and makes me feel happy and capable and confident. That's who I am. I am feeling a sense of loss today, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

Exactly one year ago, life as I had known it changed. Totally changed. It's been good and it's been not so good. I nearly lost my mobility, my bending and lifting, twisting and turning, walking. Sciatica. Need I say more. It was just a matter of time really, a sooner or later type thing considering the progression of the genetic tilt to my pelvis and degeneration of the discs in my lower, lower back. It has greatly inhibited my "working", my accomplishing, my getting things done and being energized by it.

However, it does put the holidays, the whole "My family/Your family" tug of war, "gotta have this/gotta have that" hustle and bustle, "get this done/get that done" rush rush into perspective. What's the bottom line? The tugging, hustling, rushing, gotta have it, work, work, does not matter.

What matters is my love. My deep love for my husband. My unconditional love for my children. My thankful love for my parents. My "no strings attached" love for my brothers and their families. And my "as close to heaven as it gets" love for my Grandbabies. That's what matters, and that's what I am thankful for. This is the core of my life: My Lord and my Saviour, Jesus Christ and my love for my family.

I'm Blessed. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Perfect Breakfast

This is not a food blog. However I have posted several posts lately whose main theme is food, but this is not a food blog. Food just happens to be a main interest for me right now. And you know what happened this morning? I made the perfect breakfast. I love biscuits for breakfast and have been trying to make a gluten-free, dairy-free drop biscuit for about a month now. I used a recipe by Linda at The Gluten-Free Homemaker which was changed slightly by Debbie Ross at The Gluten-Free 'Dish' and then I tweeked it a little more because when I stirred up the recipe it was more like pancake batter than drop biscuit batter so I added some of Amy Green's High-Protein Gluten-Free Flour Mix. I scooped and dropped the batter and baked it and they were perfect! Next time I will make them smaller because one thing I have noticed about Gluten-Free is that I eat less and feel more satisfied and nourished longer.

What's the green stuff on my plate? That's Kale.

I grew up in the 60's in suburbia. It was a time when homemakers were moving away from the country farm and home gardens and into convenience. My mother's food budget did not allow for foods we may not like so I never had Kale growing up and I did the same thing with my children. A couple of days ago I went to the store to buy Kale because I am intrigued by Amy Green's recipe for Kale Chips. I had to search the labels on the different greens because I didn't know which one was which. This morning when I took the twisty-tie off the bunch of Kale and looked at the leaf I realized it's the dark green stuff framing the ice on a salad bar separating the salads. I was impressed with how dark green the leaf is and how dense it felt. I had read a recipe by Gluten-Free Gidget which used steamed Kale so I steamed it and I kept tasting it so I'd know how to season it but it was so good, kind of a cross between brocolli and cabbage, that I just drizzled a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil on it. I scramble two eggs in my seasoned cast iron skillet. I put it all together with a cup of hot tea and voilla! The Perfect Breakfast!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I've Got My Groove Back

Well finally!

When we were closer to 40 than to 30 Mike and I respectively lost everything. Twelve years ago we joined our hearts and our lives and started re-building again. There were setbacks and obstacles and re-starts and a lot of times it felt like two steps forward three steps back.

This past year has been our best in so many ways, and the, lets just say, most challenging in so many ways. For Mike and for Me and for Us. Mike has been off work for a year. Oil Field. He's a consultant so if the phone doesn't ring, he doesn't work. But the Lord provided enough work in the previous 6 years to pay for those six, do a whole lot of other things we wanted plus have enough for this year. Doesn't that sound like the Year of Jubilee?! It's been miraculous really! Me? I've been battling my sciatic nerve for a year now. I'm just thankful I can walk, let's just put it that way. Plus all the changes that go with "The Change" have finally settled in and believe me, it is a CHANGE. Sometimes I feel like the butterfly that metamorphosized into the worm. Oh, excuse me, caterpillar.

But now, at this point, I feel as if I'm gettin' my groove back.

One of the main things to getting my groove back has been finding an answer to the issue of what to eat and how to prepare it. We were going through so much and everything seemed so much like "Fruit Basket Turn Over" all the time that I could never get it together food/meal wise. The most uncomplicated, agreeable, constant thing we could do was go to Rosa's, or Whataburger, or Chili's. So we did, for the better part of twelve years.

I've come to realize however that we are missing a very integral part of home. I was saddened by that and decided that it is time we grounded our own style and preferences and likes and dislikes, patterns and traditions. It's time and way past time.

So now after 14 1/2 years I am cooking again. I am inspired by a very dear young woman in Dallas who is becoming my friend. Her food blog Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and the many blogs she links to are keeping me on track and enthused and excited about cooking. I am able to blend my needs and preferences with Mike's needs and preferences and prepare and present meals that are becoming our own. Not my past or his past but now our past, our present and our future. Thank you Amy Green, you are blessing my life!

Monday, November 9, 2009

I Did It!

Well, I did it! I made Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free Banana Pudding and it is delicious! You see, I love banana pudding and even though Banana Pudding is not a traditional holiday desert I always think of it as something special to have for the holidays. Ususally it's Easter but for some reason I am wanting it this year as we're planning for Thanksgiving. Maybe it's because I haven't had it in about 10 years! Here's to success!

Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free Vanilla Pudding

2 1/2 c. unsweetened plain almond milk
4 large egg yolks
1/3 c. light agave
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. cornstarch
1 T. vanilla extract

1. In a small dish, stir together cornstarch and 3-4 T. almond milk until well blended.
2. In a small saucepan, whisk together remaining almond milk, egg yolks, agave and salt.
3. Add dissolved cornstarch mixture to almond milk mixture in saucepan and stir.
4. Keep stirring over medium to low heat until mixture thickens and begins to boil.
5. Turn heat to low and continue stirring and cooking for about 1 minute more.
6. Remove from stove and pour into a heatproof dish. Add vanilla extract.
7. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding and chill for at least 2 hours.
8. Serve with sliced bananas and whipped topping. Enjoy!

This post is linked to Amy Green's Simply Sugar and Gluten Free

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