Monday, October 10, 2011

The story of the amazing Zaya! Part 3, the final chapter :)

Through all of this the song Shadows by David Crowder was playing in my head. In case you were wondering :) Its over on the side if you want to hear it --->

Well, this point in the story is the happy part :) Sunday night I laid in bed beside my precious girl clinging to the sweet relief that tomorrow was promised to bring. I listened to her struggling to breathe and all I could do was wait. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. (I'm tempted to bust out an Annie song at this point.) Early Monday morning the sweet ENT came to visit us and told us what would happen, when it should happen and how it should go 'in general'. The plan was to take her to get anesthesia at noon and then they would immediately intubate her and then do a one inch incision in the back of her throat where they would drain the fluid and rinse it out. They planned to leave the incision open to let the abscess continue to flush and let it heal on its own. Then she should wake up in recovery and we would meet her back at her room. The doctor said this was such a great procedure because within hours of the surgery Zay should start feeling better. I looked over at her and I wondered how I could speed up time. I called JM to let him know when he needed to be there (his office isn't far from the hospital) and then I curled up next to Zay on the bed. By this day my little one was just a little shell of a person. She laid with me and whimpered for the next few hours drifting in and out of sleep. I have never seen a child more visibly sick. I haven't been around many children who were sick but the color of her skin, her inability to do ANYTHING was just overwhelming. When JM got there, I started to get up to give him a hug but zay mumbled out a little noise and held on to me tighter. So I stayed.
   Not to much later the nurse came in to take us down to anesthesia. When we were there we go to hear about EVERYTHING that could go wrong and then basically sign away our rights to do anything about it if the worst happened. Awesome. Then we cruised over to the OR where the surgeon came into talk us through the surgery one more time. I looked at my girl and she started looking a little worried. We weren't allowed in the OR with her so this is where she would go on with out us. OH MY GOODNESS!!! I mean rip my heart out. She started crying so pitifully and her little body seemed to small in that bed. Then as angel came in, our anesthesiologist. He was a big guy and he asked Zay if he could carry her and she reached up. As they walked away I heard him asking about her birthday and telling her about his kids and I KNEW she would be cared for. We were taken the waiting area where we did just that, we waited. This is one of those moments where I lost it a little. I just cried. My girl, who I remember staring at her face as I rocked her when she was born, the one that made me a mommy, the girl who showed me how much I could love someone else, that girl, was laying on a bed with a tube down her throat having a surgery and I was out here in a waiting room, praying. It was all I could do.
   In just shy of 30 minutes the surgeon came out to tell us that she was in recovery and that she did great! We made it! She had not yet woken up but he said that as soon as she did, she would be brought upstairs. I practically ran back to the room because I didn't want her to be there with out us. When I got there her sweet school had sent over a balloon and teddy bear and it was waiting on her bed. Seriously, we were surrounded by people loving on us and praying for us. I couldn't have been more thankful. Then I heard the nurse coming down the hall, I stepped out and there was my girl and she smiled. She smiled! It was so good. We slipped her into her freshly made bed and I showed her the new bear and balloon and again, she smiled. The doc said we could let her eat and drink as much as she was up to and that after watching her for a couple more days we would should be released. I can't describe the relief. The joy, the relief. Then I heard it, her sweet voice. I asked her how she was feeling and it was a this little 'good'. It was music to my ears!
   That afternoon, just an hour after surgery here she is:

This was just an hour after being released from the OR!

2 hours after surgery!!

Happy and chatty with her pal (and beverage)

She was laughing, painting, smiling with her friends, eating mac-n-cheese, it was good. She was eating and drinking so good by the end of the day that the doctor said she could go home the next day!!! I mean we were PUMPED! We were both so ready to get out of there. That evening she had been chugging gatorade to convince the doc she was ready to go. It was so cute.
Chugging gatorade!
  The next morning we were released and we headed home with my mom to see Bean and little sis. All I could think of was how good God was to us and how he blessed by his mercy as well as by covering us with His people.
On the way home! (She's giddy!)
    Thank you Thank you Thank you to everyone who prayed, sent meals, came to visit my girl, or sent sweet messages, you changed us. This event changed us and you all were apart of that. I am humbled. Thank you.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The story of the amazing Zaya! Part 2

  So I ended it last time with my precious girl being loaded into an ambulance and the horrible things a mind can do to you when left alone.
      I sat in the front of the ambulance with the driver while Zay watched Toy Story in the back seat while being monitored. (I wasn't allowed in the back with her. They didn't want me in the way I'm sure.)  Her oxygen was still ok and the ambulance driver was so laid back that it helped keep at ease... kind of. I knew JM was going to meet at the hospital and I felt like I was holding my breath waiting to get there. I needed someone stronger than me. I needed to fall apart. I needed someone to say that it was going to be ok.
    We finally pulled into Scottish rite and I ran to the back to welcome Zay and to let her know that I was right there with her. We walked in the big double doors like a crazy episode of Grey's Anatomy and I was asked a million questions and the EMTs were spouting off medical lingo to the nurses they were passing us off to. It was wild and in slow-motion at the same time. Weird. There was this common thread of conversations where people were confused by her lack of appearing REALLY sick and then the comment would be thrown out: "Have you seen the x-ray?" I heard this probably 5 times from leaving the urgent care office and being admitted into our room several hours later.
    Well, we were wheeled into a triage room and a nurse greeted us, checked vitals, etc, told us the doc would be right in. The doctor came in shortly and checked out my girl and said he wasn't sure if he was going to admit us or just shoot her up with a really intense anti-biotic and send us home... wait, what?! What was all this drama and chaos just to be told that she would be sent home with antibiotics?! Had he even seen the x-ray?! Come to find out, he had not. He asked us if she had had x-rays yet and I informed him that they were sent over with her in the ambulance so the kind man left us to check the pics. He returned fairly quickly with a decision to admit her under surveillance and continue with the intense antibiotic regimen for a few days. If it didn't help then maybe a CT scan, maybe not. That was it, there was no get this thing out quick, or easy answer, it was just, we'll see what happens. I was SO frustrated. My poor little girl was pale, her voice totally weird and she wasn't consuming anything. I just wanted a plan, I wanted to know how these well educated individuals were planning to make her better. Their plan was antibiotics.
      The nurse returned and made me hold my baby down while she rammed a needle in her arm and dug around for a vein. With mt husband, father-in-law and me about to go loco on her ass, she finally gave in to my demands for her to 'find another vein'. This whole time Isaiah was screaming and I was having to hold her still which was excruciating for my heart and my sweet girls neck. She couldn't breath because she was panicking and there wasn't much space in her cramped air-way. Finally they found another easy vein on her hand and I could just lay with my girl on the bed and let her whimper for a while.
   Eventually we were moved upstairs but by this point it was pretty late. The nurse on the 3rd floor was awesome and we were immediately welcomed in with all that we would need for the night. JM headed home to relieve my parents and it was just me and my girl. She slipped off to sleep, which was terribly loud with snoring. I am thankful that she was snoring though because I could tell when she stopped breathing at night. I would be in a half-sleep and wake up because she wasn't snoring and immediately start counting. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10... I'd jump out of bed and move her a bit to get her to breathe. I would climb back into bed and cry. This was our routine for a couple nights. Early, like at 2 am on Sun morning the doctor on our floor came in and said that, in her opinion, Isaiah need a CT scan first thing in the morning to figure out how they were going to work with this abscess. She said it was impressive (I had heard that said a few times at this point as well) and that with the scan they could plan for surgery if the antibiotics weren't doing anything by the next day.
      By this point I had so much peace and assurance that Zay was going to be ok. It was prayer. People knew what was going on and they were praying and I could literally feel myself sheltered in a huge covering of prayer.
    Even though I knew she would make it in my heart-of-hearts I still had to sit there and watch my baby struggle. Sunday morning we were wheeled down stairs for the CT scan and my girl stared vomiting. She was sitting on the table for the scan pitiful, vomiting, small, weak, alone in her pain. I couldn't stop it, I couldn't make it better. At this point she could barely swallow her pain meds. I was coaching her to swallow 1/2 a mL at a time. 1/2 a mL! She would choke on it and then she couldn't breathe and then panic. Terrible. Terrible. So the CT was canceled until they could sedate her later that day. We went back to her room and then the Calvary was sent in!!!!!
    Sweet friends and family came by with food, snacks, toys. It was like Christmas. We slipped out of the CT round 2 and all was well. We returned, to our mini-holiday. Let me say right now that there were some people out there who blessed me beyond words. There are not enough "shout-outs" or thank yous to express what these wonderful people did for Isaiah and for me in this day that seemed so uncertain yet at the same time they made us feel hopeful and comfortable.
   By the end of Sunday we had our surgery scheduled for the next day but poor IG was deteriorating quickly. She stopped talking, she couldn't take pain meds at all, her teeth were turning gray because she had been without nutrients for so long. I just held her, I prayed and I held her. Tomorrow couldn't come fast enough. I had such conflicting emotions: On the one hand, yay, she would be better and that nasty abscess would be gone. On the other, my little girl was having surgery and would have to have anaesthesia- so much uncertainty.

I'm crazy tired. This event sucks the life out of me, even now. I'm so thankful its over!! I guess tomorrow night I'll try to finish up with the beautiful ending.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The story of the amazing Zaya! Part 1

I feel like I need to post. Almost as a way to decompress all the emotions and energy that went into last weekend. Our life jumped immediately back into 'wild' once we got home so I think I need to revisit the feelings, the pain, the joy. I think its going to be a long one.
      A week ago today we rushed my little girl to Scottish Rite Children's Hospital with a large abscess in the back of her throat. Let me go back a little farther. About 4 weeks ago my children ALL got sick with a miserable cold and cough. They ALL were put on albuterol breathing treatments every 4 hours. Zaya and Bean were moved to inhalers after a couple weeks as well as antibiotics because of some suspicious lung stuff that the doc wasn't sure if it was pneumonia or bronchitis. Well, this inhaler/antibiotic combo gave Zay a terrible case of thrush which coated her throat. So on Monday, a week and half ago, I took my girl in to see the doctor again because I thought she had strep throat. They did the culture, nope. We went home. Thursday: Zay started to lose movement in her neck. She couldn't tilt her head up to wash her hair in the tub. I noticed she had trouble turning her head from side to side and she had a lymph node that was beginning to swell so bad on her neck that you could see the swelling. Friday: back to the doc. I pointed out the gland and the fact that I thought she had thrush as well. The doc treated her for the thrush with a mouth wash but didn't really address the lymph node. Friday night was rough, I gave her Motrin so she could sleep but she still just looked like she was in so much pain and there was nothing I could do. Saturday: We all went to Bean's soccer game and Zay want eating the doughnut we grabbed for her breakfast. We don't eat doughnuts EVER so I just felt weird about it. For the past couple days her appetite was ZERO so it had been a while since she had eaten- I just assumed her throat was sore. After the game we headed home, ate lunch, or in Zaya's case, didn't, and bedded down for naps. Zaya's neck was so out of whack that by this point it hurt to lay down, her lower jaw was beginning stick out in a weird under bite and her voice sounded like a cartoon character. I called the nurse and explained the past few weeks and told her that I wasn't being 'crazy mom lady' who was over protective of her daughter's sore throat and looking for another chance to get sit back in another waiting room. Well, after telling her about the swollen lymph node and the now, low-grade fever, she told me to take her to an urgent care office and have seen again.

This is Zay at urgent care, trying to smile. Her head is cocked to the side because it hurt to keep it straight.
    Zay and I abandoned nap time (I was so tired) and headed to the local Children's satellite office where we waited for 2.5 hours. I gave her milkshakes, Popsicles, anything to try to get her to get some calories in her body but by this time she couldn't ever swallow her saliva easily. I went up to the counter a number of times asking if I could PLEASE get someone to look at her, but, protocol is protocol. I understood, I have a reasonable respect for rules and orderly systems. Finally we made it to back and the very kind doc ordered some x-rays. We had them taken (which was very painful for Zay because of how she had to move her neck) and once the doctor saw them he called me out to see. What I saw on that screen terrified me. There was the largest bulging abscess behind my tiny girl's throat. It was pushing her trachea forward which was causing her lower jaw to jut out. The doctor said he had made the call to have her admitted to the ER. I started to get my keys out of my bag and asked if I should take her to Kennestone and he informed me 'no'. I was told that and ambulance was on its way to take us to Scottish Rite in Atlanta because they we're concerned about her airway becoming obstructed. Stop. Things got really serious. I held my girl as a million thoughts rushed through my mind, a million scenarios, some with happy endings, others not. The 'nots' scared me. I'm not a worrier. I Honestly have never really allowed myself to enter the world of thought of ever losing one of my babies. Even as friends have had to go there, I grieved for them knowing that I couldn't visit that place in my mind- it was too scary.

At this point she hadn't eaten for 4 days and had a really hard time sleeping. It was terrible.
      They put my precious treasure, my gift from God, on that stretcher and buckled her in and I watched as they slid her little body into the back of the ambulance. I smiled and told her that I would be up front with the driver (I wasn't allowed in the back) and once they closed the doors my mind went to the scary places. What was this huge mass in her neck? How would they get it out? What if there we're complications? What if it ruptured? What if the worse happened? I realized that I had gone to a scary place when I noticed that I was hanging on to the picture we colored together in the doctors office because somewhere in me I realized it could be her last. This made seem dramatic to some but I was so uncertain and Zaya was SO sick. I lost my ability to keep my mind in a happy place. I mean I could coax my self into positive thinking but there was the dark thought that remained and hovered. It truly was my worst nightmare.

I need to stop for now. All these emotions are kind of hard. I'll finish the beautiful triumph tomorrow! I love a happy ending.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Local Honey, Fresh Veggies... Get ready Georgia peeps!

I have a few minutes this morning while I eat my breakfast and drink my coffee. The kids are playing nicely upstairs so I thought I would blog. I'm sure it will not go uninterrupted by some emergency, like assistance on the potty, someone hit someone else (it was an accident of course!), the little one gets left out, you know the drill. Anyway, I wanted to put a little plug out there for my fellow Georgians. In a large number of my everyday recipes I use what ever veggies I have on hand because each week we get a special delivery of organic, fresh fruits and veggies to my door step. Needless to say, its awesome. In the summer, with farmers markets at every turn, it isn't quite as necessary but once things get a little cooler it is great to have seasonal produce delivered. The company is called Natures Garden Delivered and they have so many options so you can make it work for you. I also love it that throughout the year my kids get exposed to so many different fruits and vegetables.

They have 4 different size boxes: Tiny, Small, Medium and Large. We go the medium route which gives us plenty of fruits and veggies with little need to supplement with a trip to the grocery store. It also helps me be creative with cooking so that I can make sure we eat ALL the food that we have. Here is an example of this weeks delivery:

(O) Fuji APPLES/ea 4.00  
 (O) Pink Lady APPLES/ea   Exchanged 2.00
 (O) Yellow BANANAS/ea 7.00
 (OL) Green BEANS/lbs 0.75
 (O) w/ Tops CARROTS/ea 1.00
 (OL) Slicing CUCUMBERS/ea 1.00
 (NL) Hydro Bibb LETTUCE/ea 1.00
 (O) Green ONIONS/ea 1.00
 (OL) Yellow PEACHES/ea   Exchanged 4.00
 (OL) Yellow PEACHES/ea 5.00
 (OL) Green Bell PEPPERS/ea 2.00
 (O) Black Friar PLUMS/lbs 1.50
 (OL) Covington Sweet POTATOES/ea   Exchanged 2.00
 (OL) Bunched SPINACH/ea 1.00
 (O) Bunched BROCCOLI/ea 1.00 

 As you can see, we're getting lots of goodies. The number to the right is quantity and the letters in the parentheses stands for Organic, Local, Natural. Also with each order you have the freedom to exchange up to 3 items. Like, I exchanged the tomatoes for extra peaches because my dad has a garden with tomatoes and my kids will eat through 9 peaches in a matter of 3 days. They're amazing!

So, if you're in the Georgia or Ohio (random? Maybe.) area, check it out! They also offer dairy, herbs, etc.

And if you are in need of raw, local honey, my dad is a bee farmer with some crazy honey producing bees! Its delicious and I think it costs about $15 for 2 lbs! Just email me if you are interested. rebekahnysewander at gmail dot com

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Meal Plan for 8/1-8/7

Hello August!!!! This week I'm trying out a newer recipe, the Lettuce wraps and I really can't wait to see how they turn out. I wish I had something fun and witty to say this evening but I'm having one of those days where all my thoughts seem to be  few seconds behind and I have to really use a lot of energy to think of simple answers to questions. Gotta love it.

Monday 08/01
Thai Curry
So this is an all time fav in our house. Seriously, my husband would eat it every night if he could. So simple too. Start with two cans coconut milk (we prefer the full fat kind) and heat it in a large sauce pan or wok. Add 3-4 tbsp red curry paste, you can buy this in the international section of your grocery store or make it from scratch... what ever time allows. Mix the paste into the coconut milk using a wire whisk until it is thoroughly mixed with no red chucks. Once it begins to simmer add about 3 tbsp fish oil (or to taste) as well as 2 tbsp agave. Once everything is hot and blended feel free to add what ever veggies you have on hand or a bag of frozen stir fry veggies. My fav additions are sliced bamboo shoots, sliced red bell pepper, onion, small broccoli florets, zucchini and spinach or kale. I usually let the veggies cook in the sauce on super low for about 30 minutes or in a crock pot for  a few hours. If you want to add chicken, add some chopped or shredded, cooked chicken breast at the same time that you add the veggies. Serve over rice.

Tuesday 08/02
Meatloaf, squash with onions and green beans
I got this recipe from a health book called "Maximized Living Cooking Plans". It has some amazing recipes in it. Ok, preheat your oven to 375. In a bowl combine a chopped up yellow onion, a clove of minced garlic, a 1/2 cup fresh, finely chopped parsley, one lightly beaten egg and 1/3 cup sugar free ketchup or tomato paste. Add 2 slices toasted Ezekiel bread, crumpled, as well as about a pound of ground beef. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix it up until it is mixed through. I find that using my hands works best but it does feel pretty special. I place the meat and shape it in a glass loaf pan. My shaping it, I mean I pat it to make the top rounded. Bake the meat loaf for a bout 50 minutes, remove and spread another 1/3 cup ketchup on top and cook for about another 10-20 minutes. You might want to let it cool for a bit before slicing in. We don't always.
With the squash and onions I just pour about 2 tbsp coconut oil into a skillet and add 2 sliced squash as well as half of a sliced medium sized onion. Saute it until you like the consistency. Salt and Pepper it to taste.
Green beans: I cook a huge pot of these and we'll eat off of them all week. After snapping these guys I simply put them in a pot and cover them with water, and maybe a bit more. Add lots of salt and pepper and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper. I used to put fatback or salted pork in it but I have changed my ways :)

Wednesday 08/03
Salmon Croquettes with tomato/cilantro sauce, sliced tomatoes and green beans
This is also from the book mentioned above!
Salmon Croquettes: mix together 2 cans wild caught Alaskan salmon,  2 chopped green onions, about 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro, a couple tablespoons chopped red pepper, 4 tbsp coconut oil, 2/3 cup almond flour, a couple teaspoons lemon juice and 2 eggs. Once well combined, make the mixture into round patties about 2" across. Coat the patties in almond flour and fry in a skillet of hot oil. I use coconut oil. Heat them for about 3-4 minutes each side.
Tomato Sauce: Pull out your food processor and throw in 2 cups chopped red pepper, 2 chopped tomatoes, 2 green onions, 2 tablespoons cilantro, 1 tsp sesame oil, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon chili powder. After pureeing it for a bit, pour it into a sauce pan and warm it. Pour it over the salmon... yum.

Thursday 08/04
Rosemary Roasted Chicken, green beans, caprese salad
Ok, I love cooking a whole chicken. Here's how I do it: Pull out the giblets and neck from inside your defrosted chicken. Take a stick of softened butter and mix it with 3 cloves of minced garlic. Now lets get our hands dirty! Slide your hand between the skin and the meat of the chicken and rub the butter and garlic into every nook and cranny. Place

Friday 08/05
Asian Lettuce Wraps, sauteed carrot sticks
In a skillet, cook ground turkey through. Once cooked, add 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 can chopped water chestnuts, a few cloves of minced garlic and 2 tbsp fresh minced ginger. Stir over high heat for about 4 minutes. Add 1/3 cup tamari and 1/2 cup chopped green onions. Serve wrapped in lettuce.
Slice some carrots into toothpick type sticks and saute briefly in coconut oil until it reaches desired tenderness. Serve on top of lettuce wrap or as a side.

Have a great week!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Meal Plan for 7/25-7/31

DANG JULY IS ALMOST OVER! WHAT THE HECK?! Summer, where did you go? I do long for the cooler days of fall, living here in the south bends most hearts toward cool relief. I do however love summer, juicy peach chins, swimming, lazy days, no schedule, farmers markets. These are the things that we lose when fall creeps in. BUT we get football, birthday season (in our house), beautiful foliage, not sweating in the kitchen, soups! Ok, so I love every season.

My pal Janie Poo told me I should do weekly blog with my menu for each week just to make life easy for peeps who just need a little help. I fall into that category! Let me tell you a bit about me, our eating habits and just how this may or may not work :)  We eat as naturally as possible with as little sugar and gluten as possible. If anyone who ventures to try these and has a gluten intolerance, please look into the recipes to make sure it truly suits your needs. We eat a lot of vegetarian meals as well, so if you have meat lovers in your home you can add a meat to most anything! Also, I make 5 meals  week (most weeks), one night we'll have leftovers (the hubs fav- totally sarcastic) and then we'll eat out or with family at least one night a week. I have 3 kids, ages 4 to a year and a half and these are recipes that they all love. I' hoping this blog will inspire me to try new recipes and I'll pass them on to you with a verdict from the 3 bambinos!

Here we go!

Monday July 25th
Curry Lentils (snagged this one a few years back from this site. I tweaked it a bit.)

In a crock pot combine 1 32oz box organic chicken stock, 3 cups water, one package dried lentils, one can diced green chilies, 4 celery ribs (sliced) one medium onion (diced), about 2 tsp cumin, 1tsp coriander, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp dried mustard, 1tsp turmeric,  and 3 minced garlic cloves. Cook it on high for about 4-5 hours or on low for 8-10 hours. If you want meat just throw a couple chicken breasts on top and let them cook and by the time you're ready to serve it the chicken will just fall apart or you can shred it. I serve it over jasmine rice and we eat it with Indian naan or corn tortillas (gluten free option).
*vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free

Fish tacos from last week!
Fish Tacos

Grill tilapia on the grill or bake it in the oven for about 15 minutes at 350 after covering it in a little coconut oil, cumin and salt. It will flake easily when it is ready. Slice up the tilapia and place in a corn tortilla and top with toppings of your choice. Mine include: sour cream, cilantro, sliced onions, tomatoes, yellow corn and avocados. I like to have black beans on the side.
*vegetarian, gluten free

Salmon, fresh veggies, quinoa

I get wild caught Alaskan salmon, for the best nutrients possible. I pour and spread about 2 tbsp coconut oil on the bottom of  9 by 13 glass baking dish (you can also grill this!) place the salmon in the dish skin side down. Then I pour a little bit more oil on the fish and sprinkle it with sea salt and fresh minced garlic (you can use garlic salt) and squeeze a lemon over the top. I pop this in the oven on 350 for a bout 30 minutes. It flakes easily when done.
With our salmon we re having sauteed squash and onions. Slice both and place them in a skillet with a little bit of coconut oil. Salt and pepper it and keep it moving around over medium heat.
Fried okra: Slice your okra in about 1/2" slices and then pour okra and 2 cups corn meal into a  storage bag with salt and pepper. Shake it up good. In a deeper skillet or large sauce pan, spread the cornmeal okra in one even level into 1/2" deep hot oil. Let it cook until it gets nice and brown. Scoop it out with a slotted spoon and let it cool on a paper towel.
Quinoa: prepare according to package. I buy it in bulk at costco. I add green onions and diced tomatoes to mine to make it nice and tasty!
*vegetarian, gluten-free


This is an easy, "I don't have time to cook" recipe. I always have a bag of organic stir-fry veggies in my freezer. In a wok or large sauce pan pour  few tablespoons coconut oil. Once it begins to heat, pour in your frozen veggies as well as 1/4 c. liquid aminos (non-soy version of soy sauce- I think it tastes better!) Stir until it is heated through... about 20 minutes. Pour veggies into a large bowl and mix in enough cooked jasmine rice to feed your fam. In the same pan scramble a few eggs and then stir them into the stir-fry in the bowl. Add more liquid aminos to taste. The end :)

Taco soup

You can use dried beans or cans... totally up to you.
If using cans: In a large stock pot pour 2 cans black beans, 2 cans pinto beans and 2 cans garbanzo beans, 1 large can diced green chilies, 2 diced organic uncooked chicken breasts, one medium diced onion, one box organic chicken stock, 2 cups water, one package taco seasoning (ok, so i don't use packaged taco seasoning because of the MSG, I make my own mix from my kitchen spices... recipes are easy to find online). Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover it, turn it to low and let it simmer for an hour or two. This can also be done in  crock pot! If I have a busy day, I'll pour it all the crock on low and when I get home in the evening, my dinner is ready. Top with tortilla chips (or quinoa chips for a gluten-free option), cheese, green onions, cilantro, avocados, black olives, or whatever you would put on your taco!

If you care to comment, let me know what you like, or don't like and how you tweaked the recipes to suit you! Have a great week!!!

Adventures in Baking

  So today we made chocolate chip cookies using the toll house recipe except we substituted quinoa flour for regular flour and 1 cup of agave nectar for the 3/4 cup white sugar and 3/4 cup brown sugar. Meaning, I used 1 c. agave total.

The results:
  The cookies were super fluffy and because it was quinoa instead of flour, it did have a bit of a different smell and after taste.

The verdict:
   We were 3 out of 4 this afternoon. I didn't love the dough... too quinoa-y :)  The cookies, however were yummy. Zaya was not a fan. One bite and she passed it along to the Bean, who scarfed them down while telling me how amazing they are. (Everyone needs a kid like that!) Lulie ate them up but because of their fluffy-ness she made a bit more than a typical mess. So my grade on this one is 75%, that's a C, not awesome. Maybe I'll get the hubs to give it a go when he gets home and that will either bump me up to a more acceptable B or plummet me downward to a 60%, thus failing miserably!

Next time I think I'm going to use almond flour. The nutty flavor would make for a de-lish cookie.

Anyway, using agave instead of sugar allows for the cookie to have a very low glycemic index (nice for diabetics or those on a sugar free diet) and without the flour it is a gluten free treat! Eat up if you dare!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Top 5 Friday

This post is in response to my good pal Annie's blog. Check it out. She's real. She's funny. (yep, wait for it.) She's real funny.

She does a top 5 on Fridays and today's is about what you would HAVE TO HAVE in a carry-on on a long flight. Here's my answer:

ok, my fav part about your post is that you did it at 5am! Amazing! Here's my struggle w/ this top 5: I haven't traveled in 5 years without a little person or persons tagging along. This being said, I could travel by myself with NOTHING but the humm of the aircraft... Well, and my phone, but that's a freeby, right?
So here's my top 5 with all 3 children and a husband in tow (thankfully, liquor is included in the flight, not just for me, but so I can buy a round for the passengers in our area.):
Because the purse doesn't count it would be crammed full of any emergency item for the traveling companions.
1. Snacks (I don't go anywhere without proper sustenance.)
2. Zaya's Mamie (her blanket/lovie)
3. crayons and coloring book
4. Laptop, equipt with all the most awesome movies.
5. About $1000 in 1's so that I can pay for the drinks that will keep my fellow passengers happy while my can't-sit-still-for-longer-than-5-minutes 3-year old and my I-have-my-own-ideas-about-how-this-should-work 18 month old drive those around us slightly mad. I didn't include Zaya in the mix because she's typically quiet and happy for the most part. The other two are happy and pleasant most of the time but on a long flight, they might go a little crazy. (They get it from their mother.)

So that is it! Bon voyage! I'd love to hear your top 5 as well!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Summer time!!!!

I love summer, I mean I LOVE summer. I love how laid back we get, the freedom that is in the air, the reality that on most days we can do WHAT EVER WE WANT TO and not all the things that NEED to be done. In the summer, there is always tomorrow to for the unfinished things of today. I love grilling out with friends and playing in the long shadows of the evening with out the pull of HAVING to get everyone to bed.
 I can't wait to swim, oh, and we will swim, and then we will swim and after that we will swim some more. All of my blondies will be greenies by the end of this summer, Baby girl will have fat-roll tan lines and hopefully the elders will have conquered the quest to swim on their own.
 Now that preschool is out we will have days of playing outside with friends, popsicles, picnics, trips to the farmers market and THE BEACH. I will go as much as I possibly can. My toes are longing for the sand. It is going to be a brilliant summer!
In all honesty, I think my excitement for summer has officially gotten out of hand- I just thought I heard the music of an ice cream truck driving down the street!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


There are some good ones out there. None, however as great and wonderful and Gini. My sister and I were laughing yesterday about how great our mom was and is about making a big deal out of us. Birthdays have always been extravagant... not necessarily concerning presents but the time and effort she would put into it to make exclusively ours. Sick days were mini-vacations, equipped with rented movies, home made soups, our bedrooms or living rooms being turned into mini-hotels where mom was the concierge, and all the one-on-one time that a fever could handle. She looks for ways to make us feel special.

My mom is a giver. She would give everything she has for us if she thought it would help us or if we just needed a little something special. Its not that she tries to be generous, she just IS, it is in her DNA, she can't be removed from it. She gives of herself to no end, she has no concern for seeking her own benefit. Her joy is in bring joy to others. Anyone her knows her knows that you call her anytime for anything and she will do everything in her power to make it happen.

My mom doesn't live with an "end" to achieve. She enjoys the means. She doesn't look at us waiting for the end product to appear, she enjoys us, who we are now, as we are. This probably prevented her from really pushing us as kids but that is ok with me because I know she enjoyed just me. There is freedom in knowing that I don't have to perform to earn the unconditional love of another person. I think that is what a mother is supposed to do, just love. Just be the person that is always safe and pleased. That is my mom.

My mom is one of my best friends. I can tell her anything. With holding information from her just feels weird. I don't like it.

Mom, you're the best. Not in the cheesy greeting card way, but in the truth of there is no one that comes even close kind of way. I hope that as I grow as a mom that I can pass on your patience, kindness, generosity and gentleness. You make this world hopeful and you have given me eyes to always see the cup as half full. I see good in the world because I was raised by a woman who sees good all around her. Thank you for forming me, praying for me and setting the most wonderful example of a life surrendered. I love the eyes you've given me. You are every good thing that a mom should be. I love you mom.

Just a quick Gini story from today: We were at Zaya's ballet recital and my poor mom was running late because the girl at the floral counter at publix took quite a bit of time preparing the flowers that mom was getting for Zaya... she was also getting flowers for me to give Zay. So, she missed the first part of the recital because of it and I know it made her so sad because my mom wants to BE THERE... she's amazing at being there when you have a big event. Anyway, after the show John Mark was taking the flowers to Zay (that my mom had purchased for us to give her) but then Jacob wanted to give her some flowers as well, so she gave her flowers to Jacob so he could give her sister flowers. She does not want glory for her actions, she just lives with disappointments behind her and blessing before her.

Friday, April 29, 2011

my princess

This morning at 6am I was awake watching Prince William make Kate Middleton into Princess Katherine. On my lap was my own princess. I woke her up early so that she could see a real fairy tale unfold before her 4 year old eyes. We sat quietly with our cups of tea, occationally making comments about the fabulous hats and the general splendor of it all. After it was all said and down we slipped slowly into the rest of the day. We didn't hop up and jump into making breakfast or getting dressed, we meandered a bit. We did eat and get dressed... eventually. We let the rest of the family wake up and add their own quirks and joys into the pleasant morning mix we had already created. It was a nice calm beautiful morning. The morning an average girl became a princess. Fairy tales.

All the talk of princesses and princes continued as we packed up the car and headed out for a Costco run. My favorite point in the conversation was when Zaya asked me, "Is Princess Kate going to live in at Disney World?" Hahaha! I love her!
The conversation continued:
Me: No, sweetheart, she is a princess in England and the other princesses are disney princesses. One day you will get to have a wedding and dress up like a princess.
Zaya: I'm going to be a real princess, like you. You are the princess and daddy is the prince of Georgia. When Bean and I get married we'll be the prince and princess of Georgia... or Marietta.

If any one on this earth is NOT a princess, its me. If anyone on this earth, is GOING to be a real princess, its Zaya. I love her, there are not enough words...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spring time challenge!

It is spring time... not officially, BUT it feels like everything warm and delightful is busting at the seams here in my little world. Also , daylight savings begins tonight (or at like 2am tomorrow... to be exact!) and when we eat dinner at what feels like the middle of the day and my children are put to bed in full day light, THAT is spring my friends, that is spring. I love spring and all that comes with it(well, not allergies) but my favorite is the crazy clothes we end up wearing to make sure we are climate controlled through out the entire day. Its just comedy.
Check out her pose! (As well as the socks with sandals)

Singing songs and picking flowers
We're having a hard time not getting our way.

Well, we have commenced the moving process (happy and sad). So my house feels a little bare and personality-less. But is all a process right? I have a lot more to get rid of and pack up. Speaking of...

We have 2 and half weeks (roughly) before we're out of here and staying w/ the in-laws until our house is ready. SO instead of buying more and more food or having to pack up all that we have, I am going to have a 2 week challenge! We are going to eat from what we have for the next two weeks! Now, this may mean buying fresh produce on occasion but mostly I'm going to attempt to use all of our frozen, fresh and canned veggies between now and D-day.
I'm going to try to post at least every other day what we have been eating, and if it turns out good, I'll post the recipe... If it turn out poorly, well, we'll pretend it didn't happen. I posted pics of my pantry and fridge (I can't believe I'm putting this out there) in their current states and hopefully 2 weeks from now, they'll be empty. We'll see! (Monday night dinner I will be buying for because a crowd will be here and its not kind to subject them to my experiment!)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Feeling Better

Things have been fairly peaceful these days here in our little house. I couldn't be more thankful. We're experiencing some transitions but they aren't 'life altering'. What I mean is, they aren't so great that we are challenged in who we are and what God has called us to. I think that if these changes had come about a year ago, I might have felt differently, more challenged by them. But now I can let change swirl around me and just be content where I stand.

My sweet peanut got a stomach bug last night that kept me up for the majority of the night BUT today, we are better! With the sun, came smiles and happy cuddles. My precious elders are with their Mimi today so, although I miss them, I get to spend a day with just my peanut.

Friday, February 25, 2011

February flew by!

oh February and all your lovin', thanks for being so good to us! This month has been a good one, full of family and friends and just pleasure in general. We've started doing an every-other-Monday night dinner, so if you ever find yourself around these parts, please stop by. We had Valentine parties and other parties and homeschooling meetings and starting new missions opportunities, our life is moving non-stop, wonderfully directed, non-stop!  I have had a blast taking pictures and learning how to use this wonderful tool. Here are some captured moments and events:
John Mark took Zaya to the father-daughter dance at church and it was SO sweet! 

 I've been sewing like crazy with friends!


Birthday parties :)

I found my sister's old bonnet!

Anna had her first piece of sushi!!

We played at the park with friends!

JM sold his car and got a scooter!

And we have a contract on a house! The house of our dreams!

I know March will be even busier with Born Again Blessings coming up, Beans birthday and preparing to move! It will be good!
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