Wednesday, January 30, 2013

in the kitchen

As the snow continues to fall, I cook.

(I cook whether it's snowing or not.)

So here's what we've been eating this week. A little bit of what's been happening in my kitchen:

:: crepes topped with fresh berry puree for Sunday dinner.
:: oatmeal porridge and oatmeal pancakes for breakfasts.
:: hummus wraps in lavash bread (thank you Trader Joes) for school lunches.
:: apples dipped in peanut butter and popcorn cooked on the stove. (with a little bit of coconut oil drizzled on top.) 
:: almond milk hot cocoa. (Really hit the spot this snowy morning.)
:: homemade biscuits hot from the oven with apricot jam. (An extra thankful family last night. Can't remember the last time.)
:: lots and lots of fresh green salad with chopped up raw veg, roasted sunflower seeds, and garbanzo beans.
:: tangy almond dijon dressing for this week's salads from my friend Renee's ebook: Eat This: Meal Salads and Whole Food Dressings. (Thanks, Renee!)
:: potato, pepper, and onion stir fry for Tuesday's dinner to go with oven-roasted caramelized cabbage. Did you know you could roast cabbage? Yes, you can and it's yum. (Thanks, Jennifer!)
:: sweet potato, corn, and kale chowder from Clean Food. (Love this.)
:: stocking the freezer and lots of experimenting with this fun new book I downloaded on my iPad this morning (just $2.99!). Tons of raw and wholesome snack ideas and recipes in this one. 
:: garlicky-soy green beans with sticky tofu over brown rice. Roasted butternut squash with apples, and more green salad. Tonight's dinner.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

blanketed in white


A doozy of a snowstorm came in today. Early, maybe around six this morning, I opened my eyes and immediately sensed an extra light radiating in the bedroom. Sure enough, it had snowed and the world was white.
An oatmeal kind of morning, and soon, the sound of snowplows could be heard as the world began to wake up and we all began to go about the day's business.
The snowflakes wouldn't seem let up all the day long, it seemed. Spent the morning conquering the pile of dishes and then snuggled in with a new book and a brief nap. Ventured out after lunch to give a massage to my dear friend and neighbor. Her husband welcoming me with a smile, thoughtfully shoveling a path and offering to carry in my table.
I love the quiet stillness that comes with these kinds of days. Days when the world is blanketed in white. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

when you need a little pick-me-up

It's been gray, gray, gray around these parts. For days on end. With this horrid, smoggy inversion that settles in our mountain valley every January and February-- along with frigid temperatures, the absence of blue sky and sun, freezing rain, driving home at 10:30 pm from school in heavy fog-- I've let myself slip into a major funk. The doldrums. Desperately wanting to escape to someplace sunny and warm and away.
And I think the lack of running resulting with all this has played a part in my blahs. I hadn't done any sort of running, nor any form of exercise since New Year's Day. Even if my environment allowed, I just haven't had the energy, nor desire to get out there. Things lifted a little yesterday morning. It wasn't nearly as cold as it has been and the air cleared up enough to get out. So I talked myself into it, and after I finally got going, I was glad and energized to say the least. 
This week, I've been in full time-nurse duty mode. All three kids here at home coming down one after another with the stomach flu. And just when everyone was back in school, and thanking my lucky stars that I didn't succumb to it all, Jane called late Thursday night in agony after her a sledding date that afternoon. They hit a hidden bump, she went flying, and came down hard on her hip and lower back. She couldn't walk or bear weight on her leg and we were all so scared that she may have broken something; possibly delaying her mission departure of April 3.
After the x-rays confirmed that no major damage was done, we rejoiced, but she's been home all weekend in bed and now today, Sam and Eliza are sick again. Gaunt and losing precious pounds they can't afford to lose, dark circles under their eyes, sore throats, headache, and the stomach nasties coming back full circle.
 Insert big sigh, here.
So as I headed to the mile-long checkout line at Costco yesterday afternoon, cart full and heart weary, how could I not stop by the flower stand and walk a way with a bit of color. A bit of cheer. A little pick-me-up.
A big, beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers to grace the kitchen table.
But mostly just a gift for me.
P.S. Buying flowers for oneself for no special occasion is a nice thing to do. A very lovely thing to do.
If you haven't, you should.


Oh, those pale pink ones always make my heart swoon...

Friday, January 25, 2013

on loneliness

Heaven sent.

A gift. That's what this was for me yesterday.

I don't think I've ever read anything that brought on so many tears. Where I could relate with every. single. word.

How could I not share this with you today.

Maybe you can relate with us.

These are the words that I wish I could express. Words that I wish I had the courage to express.  Words that so beautifully speak of what I've held in my heart this whole life long.

On Loneliness: A Letter To My Children by Rebecca Reynolds

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

morning. noon. night.

this little light

He pulled it out of his backpack after school just the other day. Wrapped up tight in a toilet paper wad. A secret surprise he'd worked on throughout all of last month-- "It was for your birthday, Mom." A little tiny tea light enclosed in air-dried salt dough. My favorite color, I noted, formed and painted with care. Sprinkled with gold glitter, adding a magical touch. Shaped "like an Egyptian boat", too, he pointed out to me.

 "I love it!" I told him. He smiled wide, so proud and happy, and lifting those eyebrows of his the way he does.

A few evenings later, he and I sat alone at the kitchen table. All the lights turned off. In the dark and in the quiet, gazing together at that flickering flame. "It's beautiful," we both quietly agreed into the silence.

This is peace.
This is love,
I told myself.

This precious gift from an eight year old boy; this fifth and last child of mine.

This light in my life.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

sunday truths

It's time to bite the bullet.

Face the facts.

Granny with a little Hipster flair.

Every time I think to myself, "Isn't it great that we haven't had any sickness this winter?", wouldn't you know it, someone  always seems to come down with something the next day.

It's a jinx.

He'd been begging for months.
How could I resist?
Jumping up and down, dancing around when he tried them on for us all on Christmas Eve.

Footie pajamas are the cutest things ever.

There's so much beauty around me.

If I only stop to see.

And open my eyes to it all.

A bowlful of grapes doesn't seem to bring on the guilt like my all too frequent habit of sneaking a bowlful of chocolate chips (mixed with almonds) from the freezer.

It doesn't quite do the trick, though.

Friday, January 18, 2013

within and without me

despite, in the midst of, and even because of:

smoggy sunless skies
frozen pipes
ice cube feet
dishes that stack
basketball game losing streaks
grimy bathroom sinks
learning from and accepting criticism even when you're giving it your all and you're frustrated with yourself  and you have to swallow your pride and the hot tears come 
down to the wire big kid late night winterfest projects to wrap up
spelling bee hopes set high
lunch hour seated chair massage sessions for needy, grateful teachers at his school
sitting in the middle of the mall, her eyes closed and her head back, enveloped in her thoughts while this daughter shops
making sense of and finding a place in her jumbled up mind for words like supraspinous fossa, greater tubercle, and thoracolumbar aponeurosis
heart break and heart ache when sacred trust is shared, helping shoulder the yoke of such a heavy, heavy burden

there's still peace,
such gratitude,
a stillness,


and beauty throughout

without me
and within me

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

around the house morning

Drifting out of my dreams,
I push the light up button on my watch
and it's a little after five.

I linger in the warm
 and these thoughts flow from one thing to another.
I stretch and lengthen, taking my time.
Then decide I might as well get up and make my way
in the dark to my corner
and read and think some more.

Slowly I make my way down
and press the switch and magically
we have heat and fire.
Looking out the window,
I see the overnight dusting of fresh powder.
The snow clinging on limbs like a fairy-land.
And the cold still lingers,
resulting in the kitchen pipes frozen once again,
but the blow dryer and his patience saves the day.

A hot breakfast would be good
so pancakes it is.
I set the table and light some candles
because that's always cozy.
And I go the extra mile and juice some oranges for a treat.
Sunshine in a glass.
Then lunches are made and he's out the door
and it's the last week of me taking the big kids
and we venture out, too.

And here comes the sun.
So good even if it was for a few minutes.
This beauty beckoning for my camera.
I  just can't help myself.

So I head back in,
stamping the snow off and leaving those boots
on the rug by the door.
Some music is in order.
It always gets me going.

And since I'm craving greens these days
and not pancakes,
I cook up something delicious and warm and nourishing
because I'm worth it.
By the way, a tofu scramble with lots of veggies
is where it's at, folks.
It won't let you down.

So I wander around the house
loving this light that comes only in the morning.
And I putter.
And I tidy.
Wondering what the rest of the day might hold.

Monday, January 14, 2013

when it's cold outside

these temperatures bite
and fingers go stiff
where one pair of socks 
isn't enough for me
and i'm as hungry
as a bear would be
and out is out 
of the question

seeking the shelter
the warmth of home
of quiet and snug
blankets lie ready
wrapping cocoon-like
with fireplace glow
for extra cozy 
and we come up with ways 
to entertain ourselves
with forgotten games
pulled off from 
the closet shelf
and book after book
(our old reliables)
which never grow old
and empty afternoons beckon 
fabric and scissors
where creativity reigns once again
and outside our window
that frosty white world
still remains