Friday, February 26, 2010

More Girl Stuff

My girls got permission to use their brother's guitars the other day.
They spent hours...creating their own 'latina', 'rock', and 'folk' music.

They were even accepting tips...
and it didn't hurt to throw in some of their own money for good measure.


I'm not sure- but I think they may have trained Abby to give
'puppy- dog eyes.'

Then they spent a few more hours at it; learning a few new songs and 'playing' guitar while singing.
To hear them singing Linda Ronstadt's 'Blue Bayou' and Schuyler Fisk's 'Hello' song....
Was absolutely precious.

Girls Are Funny!

I love girls.  They are so completely different from boys. 
Each gender has their own unique, wonderful qualities.
But girls can be weird.  And fun.
And they keep themselves entertained- especially if they have another girl to use their imagination with. 
....with which to use their imagination?  

Case in point: A typical Saturday morning- household projects and chores to attend to.
My girls always seem to be ready for anything their dad is working on.
The boys used to be, when they were younger, but they outgrew it.
Probably because their dad requires a lot more of them.
(I seem to have the same effect on the girls.)

On this particular Saturday morning, one of the chores that needed done was chipping out the ice from the animals' water tank.


Winter in cold states requires a lot of work for animal care.
It's not always fun, let me tell you.
And using tank heaters can put your electric bill through the roof.
So we often choose good old-fashioned hard work.

And the girls were excited to help their dad.
Dressed in short sleeves and their new Christmas vests....
I didn't say they were always smart.
(Plus the hard work kept them warm.)


They begged for the opportunity to use the axe (under Dad's watchful care)
One would chip the ice, the other shovel it out.

Efficient.  Hard-working. Girls.

The funny (and weird) part came when they realized they could make it all a game.
They begged their dad to yell out commands like, "Get to work you lazy dogs!"
"This is coming out of your pay!"
"Work harder or I'll throw you back out on the street!" 

Laughing, The Man of the House tried it a few times. 
But the morning was quiet....and he was afraid the neighbors might hear.
Still, they begged for  more insults.

And I was reminded of my childhood.

When my sister and I would pretend we were blind 
or had impairments of some sort.
Or that we were over-worked servants.  Very Cinderella-esque.
Any opportunity- like Mom having us wash dishes or fold laundry- resulted in an imagined reality.
Called to dinner we were school teachers or secretaries on our lunch break. 
We even had Mom pour our water/milk/juice in wine glasses.  
(Didn't all grown up, professional women drink wine on their lunch break?)

We even renamed our little brother in order to accept him into our imagined reality.  He became "Jonathan"  and was occasionally our son or servant or a messenger from the king.
(When the princes were requesting our presence at the castle, of course.) 

The problem was, he was really little....and started asking to be called 'Jonafan.'  
Mom finally asked us to call him by his real name. 

But it was a great childhood!
And the fact that my girls are now enjoying wonderful.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Healthy Green Smoothies

Recently, I came across a great website for health and nutrition.
I learned some great ways to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables in my family's diet.  
And the best part is, they really enjoy it!
I've been making smoothies for my kids- often for breakfast, but a few times for an after dinner snack, too.
Amazingly, they ask for it.  

Below, I have posted directions for a basic green smoothie.
Full of fresh greens (and you can use all types) and berries, this drink is chock full of nutrients.  
And it turns purple....which somehow delights the eyes and brains of  young children  so much more than something vibrantly green. 

I do believe that greens like spinach and kale, swiss chard and beet greens should also be eaten lightly cooked as this helps break down the oxalic acid in them.
Spinach and other fibrous leafy greens contain oxalic acid. While this cleans our intestinal tract, oxalic acid binds with calcium and diminishes the absorption of calcium in our bodies. 
For those who are prone to kidney stones, you might check into other greens for your smoothies- those that are not so high in oxalic acid.  Or, put in a lesser amount.  
Here is a link to an article on this very subject.
The 'chewing' process of the blender helps break down these fibrous greens, so our bodies can digest them easier.

Here's what you need:
A strong blender.  Mine is a Cuisinart and works great.

Spinach and Kale  (Spinach is a very sweet tasting green and is a great addition to your smoothie)  or Spinach and Swiss chard. 
Or any other leafy green combination you'd like to try. 
I purchase my spinach at Costco- an enormous bag, organic, for less than $4.00.

Berries.  I like to combine Costco's mixed berries with blueberries.            


Virgin Coconut oil and some milled Flax seed.
These add good fats to the smoothie, which helps you absorb more vitamins from the fruits and vegetables.  They're also great for your brain!

Plain yogurt.  This is optional- I don't always add it.  
But it's great for  adding probiotics to your diet and intestinal tract.

Bananas.  Or other fruit.  I usually add an apple (skin and all) to my smoothie.  The kids like a banana and apple in theirs.

To begin, add a few cups of water to  your blender.

To this; add a great, big handful of Spinach.
Get it down in there, where the blades can do their job.  
But don't pack it in tightly.

Mix it until smooth.


Now add another big handful of Spinach.


And throw in some Kale.  
I usually add a bit more than this, but I was running out.
I recommend adding a little the first few times, as Kale can  have a stronger 'green' flavor than spinach.

Mix it well.


Now  wash and core your apple, cutting it into quarters or eighths.
Leave the skin on. 
And toss her in:

This is also a good time to add your flax seed and coconut oil.
I usually add 3-4 tablespoons of flax meal and a large tablespoon of oil.


Now you can add your banana:


Add your berries.  I usually do 2 cups of mixed berries and 1 cup of blueberries. (all frozen- this makes the smoothie cold)
Add the cups separately and mix well between.

If the blender has a hard time mixing the berries, 
you can add a bit more water to thin it down.

See the color beginning to change?

 For this batch, I only added one cup of mixed berries and one cup of blueberries.  So it's not as dark as it usually is.

Scrape the sides to get all of the green incorporated.

Pour into glasses.
(Again, this is usually a darker purple)
And serve! 

 For my own smoothie, I sometimes add a bit of protein powder as well.
This breakfast is so much better for you than cereal, pancakes or other typical fare. 
We try to rotate our breakfast menu- some mornings we have the smoothies, other mornings we have steel cut oatmeal or eggs and toast.
These smoothies can be an added benefit to any meal.
And they are great brain boosters!

If you'd like to check out the website where I learned about these,
go here

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Grateful Praise

For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,

For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,


Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.


For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,

Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon and stars of light,


Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.


For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,

Friends on earth, and friends above,
Pleasures pure and undefiled,


Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our  hymn of grateful praise.

For each perfect gift of thine,
To our race so freely given,


Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of heaven,

 Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our  hymn of grateful praise.



        For thyself, best Gift Divine, 
 to the world so freely given,  

 for that great, great love of thine, 
 peace on earth, and joy in heaven: 

 Lord of all, to thee we raise 
 this our hymn of grateful praise.

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