Sunday, October 18, 2015

 Super cute Old MacDonald song by Charlie.  Sam captured it on the way to church today.  Charles is awesome.

Went to a friends house so we could pick piñon nuts since she lives on south mountain and has more piñon trees than us.  We were out for hours on a slightly chilly and windy day, on our hands and knees like this picture below. (I forgot to bring my camera).  I absolutely loved it.  It felt like we were hunter-gatherers from long ago.  Charlie was helping me, and finally got the hang of finding nuts on his own.  Then he got tired.  I said he had to keep working.  He said he couldn't.  He leaned back on a fence resting, looked up at the sky, and said, "I'm busy".  What a riot.

 We got lots!  We hope to sell these this week.
Under the hard dark shell is the delicious white nut.

Story time at the library was all about spinning wheels.  There's Daisy!

Look at that kid on the end.  Doesn't his mom know how to match anything?  And he only has one shoe!  (That's Charles and we actually did leave the house with only one shoe.)

I know it's hard to see, but D had a soccer game down in Albuquerque during the hot air balloon fiesta.  If you look closely, you can see the sky is full of them!  This happens every year in Albuquerque.

Evan decided to get some cool Halloween pictures taken.  He fell off the monkey bars and fractured his arm.  You can see it near the wrist broken about halfway through the bone.
Here he is pretending he's in pain.  Actually, we were the worst parents ever.  After spending all day going from place to place to get him taken care of, we finally got home and went to bed like normal.  In the middle of the night I heard crying and ran to see what was the matter and he said, "I can't sleep!  I haven't slept all night", through his tears.  That's when I remembered that we didn't give him any pain medication at all.  He didn't even know he was in pain, he just knew he couldn't sleep.  It broke my heart.  Right away we dosed him up and in 15 minutes he had relief and was able to go back to sleep.  How awful that I didn't realize a broken bone would necessitate pain meds!  He was acting fine so I never even thought about it. 

Dallas, Pat and I all spoke in church last Sunday.  Dallas gave such a wonderful talk and everyone seemed really amazed by him.  He is really neat guy.  From the list of books we've approved him to read for school, he keeps choosing books about slavery and famous abolitionists and really is fascinated by it all.  It's so much better when they choose to learn something on their own than being forced to do a unit on black history at school, for example.  It has sunk into his heart and he will remember.

Sam, who didn't even want to play soccer, continues to be one of the top two players on his team.  David is the best and then Sam.  They are the ones who score and defend and handle the ball like a boss.  It's so weird he didn't want to play.  He clearly enjoys it.  He has his good friend Billy on the team and he helps him to score and they high five each other and it's just so great.

Vegan Experiment-Best Vegan Foods

My month long goal of a Vegan, nothing-processed, and Sugar-free diet died after 14 days.  Sad I didn't hold out, but I learned a lot regardless. 

Every day watching my kids eat sandwiches, cookies, donuts, brownies, pizza, burgers, milk, eggs, sausage, bacon, etc., was awesome.  If they made cookies, I hounded them to eat every last one so I wouldn't have to see them. When I went out to lunch with Pat for his birthday, I ordered a salad while he sat next to me and ate a beautiful Croque Madáme.

Making my food wasn't too difficult, but certainly not as easy as eating what everyone else was eating.  That's the cruel thing about moms trying to diet.  We still have to make meals for our families, and then make our own.

Sunday was my downfall.  We had given talks in church that day, staying up late and waking up early to finish them.  I never had time for breakfast.  Pat had early morning meetings and I had to get everyone ready alone.  Once the stress of speaking was over and we all got home, I looked for something to eat and just could not eat the same stuff one more time.

And I was super annoyed because I hadn't lost any weight.  Okay- maybe 5lbs depending on when I weighed myself.   So I said, forget this!  I wasn't in it to lose weight, but that should have been a side effect according to everyone.  Sometimes I wonder if the stress of feeling hungry causes our bodies to gain weight thereby thwarting our efforts.  Maybe I should have had one cheat meal a week so my body wouldn't freak out so much.  But I was trying to get through one completely clean month to see if it made me feel better and see if it made a difference in my skin, etc. Blah.

It's hard to say if it made a difference since I only did 14 days. I did have more energy when I exercised and my nails are stronger, though I don't know if this is the gelatin capsule I take.  It was probably a good diet and I should have kept going but maybe I can just eat more veggies and the occasional bad stuff.  I noticed I had better breath when I was on it; probably because of the no dairy.  I did think it was important to add fish back into my diet and bone broths.  In the end I resolved to still eat my favorite vegan meals and limit my meat, dairy, and sugar as much as possible, but just to live life and not stress. 

If you ever go vegan, or just want some healthy delicious meal ideas to lighten your meat/dairy/sugar load, here's some of my favorite meals below.  Beware, you will be in the bathroom a lot!  Someday I'd better add the recipes too.

Nachos (whole grain chips, black beans, pico de gallo, and "cheese" sauce made of cashews, bell pepper, and nutritional yeast).  Soooooo yummy!

Vegan Tuna wrap.  (Chick-peas, celery, pickles, seaweed, vegan mayo, mustard).  Excellent!
Sea weed comes in small sheets that you just chop and toss in.  Give it that fish taste.  Could also use kelp.

Believe it or not, there's a baked potato underneath all those vegetables.  The big bags of frozen vegetables from Costco were so helpful. This day I added black beans for protein, but I like it better without.
Top with the awesome cheese sauce!  You can also use this cheese sauce on noodles, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.

(Most of these pictures are not mine).

Fajitas with mushrooms instead of meat.

Vegan Chili (or Chili "Cheese" Fries)

Beet Burgers (I've posted these before- make lots and have in freezer).
I even served these to the missionaries since they came over during my experiment.  With vegan potato salad on the side, and a bunch of other non-vegan stuff.

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers (I just like to eat these w/o bun-also freeze well)

Falafels in Whole Wheat pita (with this sauce)

Indian Lentils-lots of onions

Roasted Root Vegetables (beets, turnips, parsnips, carrots, onion, brussel sprouts, etc.)

Vegan Pasta Salad- whole wheat noodles and a vegan mayo plus vinegar

Vegetable Stir-fry (but do it over brown rice). 

Lentil Potato Soup (I'll still never know how my mamita in Penco made lentils taste so good).

Cheese-less pizza with vegetable toppings (eggplant, cherry tomato, onion, mushroom, pineapple, etc)

Pad Thai style rice noodles with peanut/honey sauce, green onions.

Lentil Tacos (from my cousin Jennifer).

Meatless spaghetti sauce and whole wheat noodles

Mel's Black Bean-Yam-Red Pepper Burritos

Mel's Bean Curry with coconut milk (a meal we have often)-do with brown jasmine rice

Soups- Mexican Bean Soup, Minestrone, Green Minestrone

Mashed Potatoes with Chilean Red Sauce- tomato sauce & broth gravy with cooked onions, peppers
(make potatoes with garlic, olive oil, and no sugar almond milk or cashew cream sauce)

Creamed Spinach (made with rice milk or cashew cream sauce) with Rice and Beans

Big Vegan Sandwich or Wrap (blogged before)

Avocado-Herb and Lemon Pasta

A few breakfast items (though I mostly had sprouted bread toast):

Spelt (or whole wheat) Pancakes (with real maple syrup).  Smear with peanut butter for protein.

Oatmeal with pumpkin seeds, figs, honey (I know), and almond milk.

French Toast made with whole wheat quality bread, dipped in mashed banana, almond milk, cinnamon and vanilla, then in almond flour and fried.  Serve with real maple syrup.

Whole Grain, no sugar cereals with almond milk. (Uncle Sam's, Grape Nuts, Shredded Wheat, Ezekiel).

Great vegan snacks:

Popcorn, Green smoothie, Pickles, Olives, Hummus and Mary's Crackers, Whole Wheat Bread, Sweet Potato, Amy's soups, Peanut Butter Toast, or Avocado Toast, Almond Milk (sugar free), Nuts, Edamame, Cowboy Caviar with Chips, Salsa and Chips, corn on the cob.

Monday, October 5, 2015

I love my family!

I've been looking at these first two pictures on my fridge for a long time and I love them so I realized I'd better scan them! The first is my sister's wedding and the second is my cousin Cait's.

Then, thankfully, one of my aunts or uncles sent the pictures they took at Steph's baby shower of us families.  This was a while back and so fun!  Soon to be parents :)
Jeremy and family :)
Youngest to Oldest and Mom!
Cute girl!  Hey Amy!

Last Sunday Steph and T were able to bless their sweet June.  So many years waiting for this, it must have felt so sweet.  I heard it went wonderfully and that I missed surprise aunt visits and a rockin' after party with tons of good food. *smile* 

Sunday, October 4, 2015


While I'm busy studying Neanderthals and The Epic of Gilgamesh at night for my school, the kids school work continues on each day.  Between my Humanities and English class I do way too much writing each week, so forgive me if this is post is hasty.

Wednesdays are our favorite homeschool day.  It is our library/picnic/piano lessons day.  The days have been beautiful. 

By the way, I really dislike potty training.  Is is weird to say, I'd rather deal with diapers?  He does great for a couple days and then the next day will go everywhere he's not supposed to.  I'm talking 10 clothing changes in one day people! And this is what I find every time I need to go.

We had a great view of the eclipse.  The moon got above those clouds just in time.
On our way to the library.  Since driving anywhere for us takes some time, we always work in the car.  Dallas took all these pictures.

Freshly showered after a sweaty workout.  Feels so good!
After story-time we go to the park for a picnic.  And then it's off to piano lessons for the rest of the day.

I absolutely love homeschooling. I am so blessed to be with my family and to have that freedom!

New topic:
I am a vegan this month.  You know me.  I'm always trying different things to learn about my body.  So since I eliminated every trace of sugar for a month (a couple months ago) and didn't notice much difference, I am trying it again, but this time also eliminating dairy and meat.  My friend Chantelle affectionately calls it the "No Will to Live Diet".  We'll see if my health improves after October.  *Update: Vegan-ism died after 14 days.  Two weeks was all I could last.  I just plain ran out of things I felt like eating.

I went to see my doctor for my post-op, and he never could meet with me.  After an hour and a half in the waiting room, Pat had to go back to work so I asked if a nurse could just tell me if I have any bad test results since I've been waiting two weeks.  A nurse came out and said there was no cancer.  Thankfully.  I still don't know anything else about how the surgery went and they can't fit me in until the end of October now, so that's all I know.  It's a bit frustrating.

Back to the vegan thing:
I found this breakfast that makes me want to sing.  Coaches oats, with honey, cardamom, toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped figs, and a splash of almond milk.  I got the recipe from the back of a package.  It was so good!

The kids had hard boiled eggs on the side.

I've had the pumpkin seeds for forever since I buy in bulk and I use them for granola bars too.  Dried figs, and Coaches oats purchased at Costco.

It's the Gilgamesh.  And I happen to be studying Gilgamesh.  Weird how that happened.
We had the missionaries over this week and they challenged the kids to ask a question and then watch conference and that their question would be answered.  All my kids were really into conference and Sam came up to me 1/2 hour into the Saturday morning session and said his question had been answered.  He didn't want to say any more but I gave him a great big hug.  I love conference so much and I am so happy to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The gospel makes me want to jump for joy and never come down!  I could go on forever about the blessings in my life because of my membership in the restored church of Jesus Christ. *smile*

I was just released from my 3+ year calling in the Stake Young Women's presidency.  My last project was getting the 2016 calendar ready.  This was the 3rd poster I made so we could all see it in our stake meetings.  We changed a bunch and added a bunch more after this and then I got it on the stake calendar.  It is a super busy calling with no small amount of stress since everything we do is big.  Dances, Standards Nights and Firesides, Sports, Girl's Camp, Trek, etc. With my surgery and school and needing to focus on family and my husband's calling and a few other reasons, I needed to ask to be released.  I have been through a pregnancy, school, and two surgeries already during this calling while my husband was both a scoutmaster and then additionally a high councilor.  It was time.  When I told my president we both cried and she said she knew something was supposed to happen.  It's bittersweet leaving because we worked together so well, but it was the right thing.  I love my presidency and my stake presidency and it has been SUCH a privilege to work with them and all the ward YW presidencies as well.  What a tremendous blessing!  Now I'm just so happy to relax and be with my kids more, not always running to Albuquerque for meetings and such.  We really do have people over weekly and have time to be social again.  Well, the calling was super social, but... you know what I mean.