Ice Cream to the Rescue!

Sit back while I tell you a story about the best laid plans…workout_done

I was feeling pretty awesome today when I got up, and hit the ground running. I had a busy day, and knew that if I didn’t get my workout in first thing in the morning, that it wouldn’t happen. Among other things, our five-year old had his FIRST ever soccer game tonight. He’s been talking about it and planning it for over a month! It was all going down at 6:30, so I planned the whole day around it! I also wanted make sure that we had time for dinner and time to clean up and get out the door on time!

After my workout, I got dressed, packed up some food, water and snacks for the day and took the whole chicken – that had been marinating in a dry rub all night – out of the fridge and put it into the oven to slow-roast for 4.5 hours while we were gone. <sigh> Then I herded up the kids, blended up my Shake and hit the road.

During the day there was a lot of speculation about how the game would go. Excitement was building.

So we came home and I had just enough time to cook up some acorn squash, potatoes and broccoli (all from our csa farm)to go with the aforementioned chicken. Everything was going according to plan. We sat down, to eat our family dinner – that was quite delicious by the way! We had time to clean up, pack up, gear up and head to the big game. Now the excitement had bubbled up to pure giddiness!

He skipped and smiled all the way to the field, just in time to see the game ending. Apparently this isn’t a very well run or organized program, because it turns out that only 2 of his teammates knew what time the game was, and even their coach didn’t show for the game. Well, to say that he was devastated is an UNDER-statement! Poor kid. I didn’t even know what to say to him! Thank goodness DADDY was there and in a moment of brilliance declared, “Ice Cream!” Yes ice cream! Why didn’t I think of that?

ice_cream_dq2There were just a few more sniffles and we were on our way. He ordered his ice cream cone with sprinkles, and smiled for the rest of the night.

And yes…in a show of family solidarity, I partook in a mini blizzard – Heath if you must know! But I did it for him!

Thanks for LETTING Me Work Mom!

I just wanted to share something that made me happy this morning. I work at the Farmer’s Market every other Saturday for the farm where we are CSA (community supported agriculture) share-members. I’ve learned a great deal about the various vegetables that they grow. I’ve learned that there is so much more of a variety of vegetables that we are not exposed to in our limited grocery store produce section. I’ve learned that there are people who pick up produce the morning of the farmer’s market, from the same place that grocery stores get their mass-produced produce (haha!) and then sell it at the farmer’s market to people like me (the old me) that assume they grew it on a farm somewhere nearby. So really, they are just selling you the very same grocery store fruits and veggies, but up-charging you since you assume it was locally grown and therefore worth a premium. ARGH! So if you go to a farmer’s market this summer and approach a “farmer’s” stand, be sure to ask WHERE their farm is! If they have one…GREAT! If not…keep on walking a support your local farmers. 🙂

Ok, back to what I’ve learned…

I’ve learned that getting up at 5:30 is HARD! I could never be an actual farmer, but I’m happy to be a farmer’s helper every so often. But today I learned something even better. My son voluntarily woke up at 5:30 with me this morning because he wanted to go and work with me at the farmer’s market. He was much more awake than I was at that time in the morning, and ready to get to work. He helped set up, and was eager to assist in any way he could. Once we were set up, he tried his hand at the “good morning” meet-and-greet. He learned that timing, and volume are key! He got it right a couple of times. It was sweet to watch him trying to figure it all out.


It was a relatively slow day, so we got to walk around a bit and check out the other vendors’ wares. We bought some homemade soap that my son picked out for its lovely, lemony scent. We watched a lady write his name, and his sister’s name, on a piece of rice and then put it inside an oil-filled vile where it will be preserved – apparently a Turkish, good-luck tradition. We also bought some delicious cinnamon swirl bread and my son got to pet a puny little dog named “Tiger”. We saw lots of people, got out in the community, had some nice conversations, learned about the food we eat, and had a nice morning.

When we got home though, after working for about 3 1/2 hours, I learned the coolest thing of all: I have a pretty awesome son! Before he took off to go play with the neighbors he said, “Thanks Mom!”. I said, “For what?”. To which he replied, “For LETTING me work with you at the farmer’s market today.” We were home before 2 of his siblings were even awake. He learned some pretty cool lessons today, I think! He learned the difference between Moroccan mint and apple mint. He learned what garlic scapes and leek scapes were. He also learned how to set up a big tent, and a folding table, how to keep fresh veggies fresh while they sit on the farm stand, how to meet and greet customers, and how to make his mom really proud and happy! 🙂

Bucket List

Happy Memorial Day and unofficial start to summer. Here in the midwest, I have to say it doesn’t feel much like summer this weekend. But it’s been perfect weather for tackling all of the outdoor projects. I’ve shoveled many yards of soil and mulch this weekend and have the blisters and achin’ back to prove it! At least I wasn’t sweating profusely like in years past. So how’s that for looking on the bright side!? I am however, looking forward to steady, warmer temps ahead so that we can start checking off some of the items on our Summer Bucket List!

What is the “Summer Bucket List?”


On one of our many LONG car-rides, we decided to put together a list of things that we’d all like to try to do this summer. The kids came up with some really good ideas. Some of them are so simple, like: skipping stones and climbing trees… 🙂 But they’re important just the same. Other items that came up made me laugh. I came to the realization that we have never, ever, all 6 of us together at the same time, been to a movie theatre! Well…perhaps it’s because we would have to take out a second mortgage on the house in order to afford such an outing! Lucky for us, in the small town where we live now, there’s a cute little old-timey movie theater that is MUCH more affordable than it was for all of us to go when we lived near Chicago. So, I think we’ll be able to check that off the list after all!

We’ve already been able to cross off a few. We’ve had TWO bonfires already and we just picked asparagus the other day! SCORE!

They want to watch stars, chart the moon’s phases, stay up late and watch for shooting stars, go fishing, eat corn on the cob, fly kites, watch a sunset, etc….

One that made me smile was when they decided they wanted to save up some money over the summer and donate it to a good cause. <Pitter Pat> goes my heart!

It’s funny, but most of the 40 items they chose would cost very little to NO money at all! And that makes me happy and also realize that the little things really mean the most when you’re a kid!

So here’s to summer! Go make a Summer Bucket List with your family! You might be surprised with some of the ideas they come up with for must-do summer activities! 🙂

A Public Service Announcement


Unless you WANT your husband to get buff, healthy and totally hot…forget about getting fit! This is a warning to women everywhere. The following events will happen, and it’ll be your fault!

Here’s how: First, you’ll start working out with HIS weights! Not to be outdone, he’ll work in a couple sets of his own, and ask you to “spot” him, which means…”Look how STRONG I am”! Then, you’ll take the dog out for a few runs, and suddenly he’ll be dusting off his running shoes and “testing” them out to see if they still feel good. You’ll inevitably start cooking and eating healthier foods. He’ll  begrudgingly take one bite, and then he’ll clean his plate, get a second helping, but save enough of the leftovers to take for lunch the next day.  You see where this is going. Go ahead…get healthy…see what happens!

Here’s the truly discouraging thing about this phenomenon. Your husband will ‘decide’ to get fit, and the next day…he’ll be down 10 pounds!  Just deciding seems to work up enough of a burn to accomplish this feat…overnight! Before you know it, his pants won’t stay up, he’ll need new belts and you won’t be able to pry him away from the mirrors in your house. 🙂  It’ll happen. Trust me.

It won’t stop with your husband either…nope. Your mom will be calling you and wanting to know what healthy recipes you’re making for dinner this week. She’ll want to start working out with the latest and greatest programs available and taught be women half her age! 😉 She’ll be leading a revolution in her own house and then guess who’s next…yep…your dad! (See above for how that’s going to turn out)

Don’t even get me started on your kids! They are going to be running downstairs to follow along with your workout video. Your 5-year-old might even decide that he is strong enough to pick up your 15 pound dumbbell after you explained to him at least a dozen times that he should not pick it up because he’ll likely drop it, it’ll land on his foot, and he’ll break a toe! But he won’t listen to you. He’ll pick it up anyway, drop it on his foot and break a toe! Your six-year-old might be learning how to read all of the big words in the world around her, but pay special attention to food labels and words like: calories, sugar grams, high fructose corn syrup, etc. She’ll point out again and again what ingredients are in the foods you’re all eating and make dinner time a real learning experience for everyone.

So you can see…this is not a decision to take lightly. Are you ready for the consequences of your actions? If so, I suggest you buy men’s pants on sale, get more mirrors, some protective foot coverings for your children and a dictionary. Then, you might be prepared to take on this new healthy lifestyle, and all that comes with it! Good luck! 😀

When in Doubt, Add Butter!

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. We spend so much time preparing for the day: make a shopping list, go shopping, freeze the turkey, thaw the turkey, brine the turkey, rinse the turkey, chop the veggies, peel, peel, peel the potatoes…and on and on. I am always struck by how quickly the meal itself is over. After days of preparation and hours of cooking, it’s over in the blink of an eye!

I had the privilege of making rolls with my grandma the day before. These rolls are legendary. There are stories about these rolls that go back decades! They’ve been at every Thanksgiving that I can recall. We used to sneak them into our sleeping bags after dinner when we were kids so that we could enjoy a late-night snack. My uncles have been known to hide them in their pockets before leaving. All of this trickery has led to the occasional ‘pat-down’ before being allowed to go home. It’s all part of the tradition in my family.

My grandma has arthritis now. These rolls are very labor-intensive! A few times now I’ve gone and helped do the heavy work while she sits and tells me what to do. There is no recipe to pass along, you just have to experience it. She cooks purely from instinct. I feel so lucky to be able to share this experience with her. We talk about so many wonderful things; she shares stories and memories of the past. I take all of that with me, as well as a crazy-sore deltoid muscle! You wouldn’t believe what a good workout it is to stir, mix, knead, and smack dough around!

This recipe literally starts and ends with butter! It’s the first ingredient in the bowl, it’s used throughout to prevent the dough from sticking, and it’s the final step, that gives them their beautiful, buttery shine. 🙂

Of course, they’re not the cleanest, most healthy food you could eat, but with that much love and history, it’s gotta be good for us, right? It does our hearts good to carry on the tradition within our family. We couldn’t conceive of a Thanksgiving without them actually. I hope this tradition carries on through the generations.

So this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for my big, wonderful family. I’m thankful for tradition and a day spent  with my beautiful grandma. She is the one who started this family after all. And while the food is top-notch, just plain AMAZING…the company is what makes the day. It’s the people I look forward to, not the food. I love the stories, the memories and the traditions more than the potatoes, the pies and yes… even the rolls.

All of the preparations and work that goes into the day is absolutely worth it! The meal is just what brings us together with our loved ones, if even only for a day, to remember and be thankful for what’s truly important.

I’m Rubber,You’re Glue

A few days ago our son approached us about a friend who had called him “fat”, and said that it hurt his feelings and he wondered what he should have said or done. Now, this is almost as ridiculous as it is mean. This particular son of mine just happens to be in about the 25th percentile in weight for his age. So…you can see why maybe this particular insult was misinformed. But, it hurt his feelings just the same. So we chatted about kids and how sometimes they can say and do things that make us feel bad. We taught him some good old-fashioned comebacks…just for fun: sticks and stones, rubber and glue, pants on fire, etc…they all still apply. The sad thing is…adults are just as guilty of this bad behavior as kids.

In one of my challenge groups we were talking about the nay-sayers we face in our own families and circles of friends. You know, the ones who would mock, make fun of and belittle someone’s health and nutrition efforts. Why would anyone do that? Well, my explanation to my son about his friend was that sometimes a person doesn’t feel very good about themselves. Rather than changing what they don’t like, they attempt to build themselves up by tearing other people down. I think the same holds true for us grown-ups. Shame on us!

When we see someone pouring themselves into something we don’t quite understand, we should ask questions, express interest, or keep quiet.  We should not insult or belittle. What could be better than someone trying to be their best self, inside and out (to borrow a phrase from my friend Carrie)? But I get the eye-rolls, and the comments, too: “I would only run if someone was chasing me”. If I had a nickel for every time I heard that one! “Do you enjoy that bird food you eat?” Actually I do! Because it makes me feel good! You would never hear me mocking someone’s lack of exercise or greasy cheeseburger “value” meal! But what if I did? I could say something like, “Wow, looks like you haven’t worked out in a while!” or “Hey, I see you don’t give a crap about what you eat. Think there’s enough grease in your meal to clog ALL your arteries? ”. Nope, I wouldn’t do that. So why would anyone feel that it is ok to mock healthy lifestyle choices? I don’t get it.

Here’s my public service announcement: Choose your words wisely. Don’t insult what you don’t understand…yet! Ask questions. Express interest. Learn more about people! The more we learn about each other, the more we understand, experience and GROW! If you cannot act your age and refrain from negativity, than bite your tongue and listen. You might learn something without even trying. We’re all on our own journeys in life. We’re finding our ways, learning about the kinds of people we want to be. We tell our kids to be nice to each other:  “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”, right? Let’s practice what we preach. Teach by example. Be excellent to each other. 😀

Plight of the busy mom

It’s a challenge everyday to fit everything in!  As a mom of four, I am forever busy!  We are always on the go to lessons, practices, classes, etc. etc.  Add that to shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc. etc…WHAT ABOUT ME?!  I wake up most everyday, put on my workout clothes and hit the ground running.  I don’t often get my workout done in the morning…I’ve never been a morning person.  I also have always had some low blood sugar issues, so I feel like I can’t workout until I’ve eaten a little something.  By the time I eat and digest…the morning window of opportunity has passed.  I usually end up fitting it in after dinner.  The kids are busy playing with friends or busy doing something…and it’s my opportunity to have about an hour to myself.  I truly enjoy my workout time, because it’s the one hour a day where I truly just focus on ME!  It’s the one time of day I ask the kids to let me have the space and time to get it done.  I like to put on my headphones and focus on the tasks at hand.  When I’m done…I’m re-energized and ready for the evening routines:  getting kids ready for bed and such.  And finally…I can relax and spend some time with my husband, review the busy day, plan for tomorrow, or watch a game or some news on t.v.  I feel better and sleep better when I carve out that “Me”-time, and everyone in my family benefits from it!  Trust me.