Monday, March 7, 2016

It's been a while....

I wanted to start this post with my intention. I am not writing this to make anyone feel guilty or bad because we have different beliefs and desires for our families, I hope just the opposite, that we can feel unity in our differences and embrace each other unique ways of seeing and fulfilling dreams.
I started this blog sometime ago to record my thoughts and experiences to help others who need connection with a likeminded person like me. Health, adoption, self reliance have been a few things I have touched on previously. I'm not exactly sure why I am publicly journaling again, but nonetheless, I feel inspired to do so and to be inspired by writing it.
Our family has taken on new adventures in living the life we love. We started homeschooling, raising chickens, training our beloved dogs and growth on many levels. 
Homeschooling was a big step for our family and blessing to say the least. It's been everything I never knew I wanted. The progress I have made personally could not have been made any other way. For the first time in my life I can say that I love reading now. My children are best friends (yes they still fight), yes I still have bad days, but I love what we are creating together! especially at this young very influential time in their lives.  I felt like I was drowning by choice. So I decided to change it and live the life I love. I loved my personal time when the kids went off to school, I loved seeing my kids earn awards and the associations with others at the school, but something wasn't sitting well in my mind and heart. My kids came home completely exhausted, they felt entitled to TV and relaxation until they needed to do homework and sports. No time together to be outside, no time to create or serve, no time to play and work together. I felt like a slave to my family, trying so hard to create a beautiful life for them. But I was miserable and so were they.
It's hard to get out of the mindset that I need to push my kids to love learning and all the competitiveness, but it's about quality not quantity, which in this day and age is really hard to not feel peer pressure about especially as a responsible parent you want them to be their best. How about family work, being a good friend, building character, learning to cook, helping with younger siblings, slowing down to smell the roses, picnics, exposure to great mentors, riding bikes in the middle of the
day, time to make their own songs on the piano, free thinkers (this what my daughter said) and serving the community and family.
Well, it hasn't come easy and with God I have prayed for his companionship to inspire my everyday. I would completely fail if I didn't have HIM to turn to. I remember those first, very overwhelming days  and weeks, of homeschooling. I went up to my room in complete tears wondering if I really made the right decision, I prayed and cried. The lord prompted this thought that became more profound as I pondered on its meaning.....he said "you are their soul teacher" I said I know, I feel so alone and how can I possibly be "it." Then it hit me like a dagger in my chest, "I am their soul teacher." More than math, reading and writing, I get to teach them about the things of the heart...the soul, things that really matter. I get to have spontaneous teaching moments and to dig a little deeper to see if I am the example I want my children to duplicate. That was a real kicker right there, was I the example I wanted my children to become? I think I have changed more than my children and this journey has been as much for me.
The 2 comment I get most often is that "they could never have the patience to homeschool" and that "they could not do what there teachers do." Well...... I would not consider myself a patient person, but I do consider myself to be someone that will do what I need to for success. I am also not trying to duplicate school at home. I wanted something different, so I'm taking a different approach. I love learning "other ways" to do things and allowing the possibilities that resonate in my heart but didn't know existed.  Oh yes, how could I forget the infamous socialization question.....we are very social, we do participate in a homeschooling group that meets often without demanding an absorbent amount  of time. This has been a great addition to our homeschooling experience.
I could go on about my experiences and thoughts, but I will save them for another day. Here's to you and living the life you love however you dream that to be. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Gluten/Grain free enchiladas

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

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We say chicken, but steak would be just as good if you have it.
(I cannot take credit for this recipe: Check out "Mark's Daily apple" for more recipe Ideas and insight;) 
2-3 cups of cooked chicken breast, steak or turkey
1 ½ cups cheddar cheese
¼ cup of cream or half & half
1 scallion
3 egg whites
Enchilada Sauce: 
1 8oz can tomato sauce
2 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp cornstarch
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp chili powder
First prepare enchilada sauce. In a medium skillet, warm butter and oil. Add all dry ingredients, whisk in two cups of water and tomato sauce. Stir continually until sauce thickens. Adjust spices accordingly and set aside. In a second skillet, heat chicken in a quarter cup of enchilada sauce. Bring to simmer. In a mixing bowl, add eggs and half and half and beat until well blended. Heat up small skillet, spray with non-stick spray and add just enough egg mixture to coat pan. Allow to cook through, about 1-2 minutes. Repeat till all mixture is gone (you should get about 6 crepes). Inside a baking dish, place one of the egg crepes and coat with a small amount of sauce. Add chicken, a small amount of cheese and roll. When all are rolled top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle chopped scallions and cheese on top and bake at 350 for 10-15 min or until cheese melted and bubbly.

Read more:

Monday, January 7, 2013

Almond crusted Tilapi (gluten free)

Here we go:

Season almond meal (almond flour) with onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and dry parsley.  The parsley is only for my eyes (food always looks more appealing when it looks seasoned, but is not needed if you don't have it)

make a breading station, whip eggs in one dish , and in the other flat pan add the seasoned almond flour

dip then dip and add to a saute pan that's filled with olive oil to pan fry.

Serve with buttered peas, or "riced cauliflower",  and home made tarter sauce (mayo, lots of lemon juice, garlic, dill relish, and salt and pepper to taste). Enjoy!!!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

gluten free pumpkin muffins

Pumpkin Muffins
(not my recipe, my sister found it on line, my favorite "treat")

1 cup almond meal/flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (plus more for topping)
1/8 tsp salt
3 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp coconut oil
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 chopped pecans (optional for topping)
1 small very ripe banana, mashed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a muffin pan with tins or nonstick cooking spray.
2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Combine all wet ingredients in a medium bowl.
4. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
5. Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full. Makes 12 muffins.
6. Add chopped pecans and a sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice to each muffin.
7. Bake for 20-25 mins at 350 degrees.

I include spreading a small amount of raw honey with cinnamon & butter on my yummy (moistly dense) pumpkin muffin ;)

I can finally feel my waist again....

Cutting out all the starchy carbs and treats from my diet has been an amazing blessing!!! My emotions are more even, I am not addicted to food (like what is my next meal going to be, and conjuring up all kinds of yummy decadant things in my mind), and I can finally feel my waist again!!!  I  don't calorie count or keep track of fat grams, but eat whole foods void of wheat, gluten, beans, rice, pasta etc.  On the weekend i will have a sweet potato or a little brown rice, but beyond that I eat and think Plants and animals with very little fruit. I try to stay away from dairy as much as possible, but i cant help but eat string cheese every now and again.  Here is a favorite family snack we all enjoy (even our toddlers love it).  Jalapeno greek yogurt dip and instead of bread or pits chips we use peppers, cucumber, carrots, black olives, celery or any other veggie like zucchini, summer squash etc.  when they are in season.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I have a perplexing question?

Why is it when I speak of pride (not even the bad kind) or gratitude verbally that same thing is changed or taken away from me within days? Any thoughts?   I would love to change this trend,  is there some universal law that I am unaware of? 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Our Adoption Story

     Since our final adoption just a few days ago I felt it appropriate now to share our story of how these sweet little ones came into our lives.  Some might wonder why we wanted more children since we had, in the worlds view, the perfect family, boy and one girl. Our family, simply, did not feel complete.  So we went on an adventure since the birth of our twins...the journey consisted of change, and we all know what that means... GROWTH(or should I say challenge) in all aspects of life, not just the childless ones.  And now here we are 7 years later and 2 more babies in just one year.  I don't want to "collect them like stamps, or because they are cuter than cupcakes."  I want to take part in creating something with God.  I know it will require some stretching in every aspect of my life, emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically.  But, in the life here after, I want to meet my Maker with dirty knees and chipped nails and say "I did What you asked me to do, and I did my very Best."  I want to follow my saviors example, to feed the sick and afflicted, and to comfort the naked.
    After over a year of contimplating the idea of foster care we decided to give it a whirl.  We felt that if we couldn't have more children of our own, then lets start serving someone else. I wanted to give our family the opportunity of service, and maybe get nothing in return but a broken heart and wonderful memories.  That is how it seemed at first.  We had our first placement, and then sweet little Ian left 2 days later.   That same weekend we went out of town, only this time Brad stayed home for work, and I took our twins.  Well you can guess what happened next.  My husband called telling me they have a 3 month old baby at child Haven for us (a homeless baby I thought), if we wanted to come and see him and hold him before we made the decision we could.  So, my sweet Husband went down by himself, while I was still out of town.  Sat with this this little guy and held him. lets take him home.  Again, my sweet husband took him home, while i am frantically telling him were all the bottles were stored in the garage and what size diapers to purchase etc. etc.  He says "Anna, don't worry about it and you don't need to come home early."  I still wonder how that first night was, just Him and this new little baby.  He took him to all of his church meetings.  The ride home from Utah could not have been more filled with excitement and anticipation for all of us.  I still remember seeing him for the first time, he was asleep and we just had to wake him and give him a bath.  Oh man, that was it.  It did not take long for us to fall in love.  I hugged my husband and said, "I used to think i was so shallow because i felt that if your baby was not cute you could not bond, but I was wrong, this baby was not cute and I LOVED him all the more." He truly was a ray of sunshine. 3 months later we were given another opportunity to take in a beautiful baby girl.  This is not typical in the foster world for anyone to take in 2 children under the age of 1 that are not siblings.  This would mean we would have a 6 month old and a newborn.  With special authorization and a million little miracles to go along with it.  Natalie was placed in our home on Aug. 27th 2011.  I felt like I saw it all, saw what the lord was doing in my life.  Giving me Paul (his caseworker was such a wonderful advocate for us in getting Natalie) so that I could have Natalie.  She was a fullfillment of a dream I had years earlier. That baby girl with black hair and tan skin.  Her natural mother relinquished her parental rights very quickly and we knew she would be ours.  I even did a relactation and breast fed this sweet baby.  Who knew you could breast feed an adopted baby. The proof is here, and I did it!  Paul's situation didnt change. I kept perspective, but wondered what the Lord really had in store.  I wanted him to either go home soon and get this whole thing over with or let me embrase my new life. My hands were very full at this point with a new baby, Paul and 2 other children who needed love and attention.   Finally in Jan. 2012 Paul's natural mother decided that it would better for her to have us adopt him.  She loved him dearly, but knew it was in Paul's best interest to stay with us.  I really could not believe all of this was happening.  Certainly life would be easier with one baby at a time, but that is not how we do things around here.  When it rains it usually pours!  Then the doubt started to come in my own mind, do I have the capacity to do this? Can everyone feel loved and given the attention they needed?  Am I being selfish in being given such a blessing when I know there are so many who desire for children?  Well, I realized that the Lord is the Author of my life and I am just his Pencil.  We prayed. A lot.  I know these babies are ment to be in my life, in our life.  Sure, I had fears and still do.  Adoption can be scary.  I don't know the challenges we will be up against in the future, but I am going to live by Faith.  Faith and optimism go hand and hand.  Yes, I have my days when I am not seeing things with my eternal eyes, and life catches up with me.  On those days, sometimes even weeks, I take a step back, Quiet my mind, see all the blessings around me, slow down and live in the moment.  That is when the Joy enters!
   I have to say I truly feel as if the lord is blessing me for obedience, and also, Letting go sometimes allows us to recieve.  As much as I wanted children, I made up my mind a couple of years ago that if this was all, I would still be happy.  That was when, I think, the miracles started to happen.
   Now here we are, feeling so blessed it almost feels wrong.  I thank my father in Heaven everyday for my family, I pray for strength and the capacity to do all that is required of me.  I pray for my children to feel whole in mind, body and spirit.  I  pray all the time.  I see his tender mercies daily, even hourly.  He has been so good to me. I have my challenges, but I know this life was ment to be fullfilling and joyful.
    I wish anyone who reads this the Best on there own personal journey. This is my story, and you will have your own. Oh the many seasons of our life!