Monday, September 26, 2011

I always keep my camera handy...

...because I wouldn't want to miss something like this:

Only Frazier would think to try on the yarn wreath. Didn't fit; little too small.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Thank You Very Much

We have always tried to model what we expect of Frazier in terms of saying "Thank you" by thanking him for things in appropriate situations, and for months now I've been requesting explicit please and thank yous from him any time a situation warrants one or the other. It's been hit and miss, but one morning a few weeks ago while he was sitting at the table having breakfast, I brought him a cup of milk and when I set it down at his place he said completely unsolicited, "Thank you, Mommy." Breakthrough!

Today we had lunch with my cousin Anna (Nanna, to Fraz) and while we were waiting for our food I gave Frazier a box of raisins to munch on. Without thinking I reached over as we were chatting, took a couple of raisins out of the top of the box and ate them. Frazier tilted his head down and peered up at me a little sideways with this expectant look and said slowly, "Mommy? Thank you?"

Oops. So much for modeling good behavior.

Thanks for sharing your raisins, buddy. And keeping Mommy humble.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Food For Thought

I suppose it started several years ago, but since I've had Frazier to be responsible for it's escalated. The food question...what to eat? Once I started, it snowballed...and it's ever-evolving. I've blogged about it before, but it's something I get questions about often so I'm broaching the subject again.

"It" is even hard to explain. I read plenty about how to feed yourself while incubating a new human and then moved on to reading about what to feed growing humans, and finally what to feed fully grown me. I've read a lot of books. Perhaps a ridiculous number so I won't tell you how many, and that's just the non-internet portion of my studies. Unfortunately, I still find myself vastly under-educated on the I said, I'm still working on it, but I have devised some basic rules for eating (and feeding the small growing human in my home) based on my research that I think serve us well. I can't possibly tell you what they are, because they are many and complicated and they probably should be different for individual people and families, but here are a few things I will say (and no, I'm not talking to EVERYBODY-I know there are exceptions):

You probably do have the time. To do research, to shop, to prepare food. Take the time you spent preparing, purchasing and eating food today. Now add to it the time you spent watching TV, surfing the internet, blogging, hitting the snooze button, painting your nails. You're going to eat anyway, and it's going to take some time to acquire, prepare and eat that food so that time is a given...are there one or two other things you could give up for health's sake? Could you make an extra 30 minutes a day (ten minutes per meal, maybe?) Because that's probably all you'd need.

You probably do have the money. Americans spend less on food and more on healthcare than any other industrialized nation. Coincidence? I think not. Consider how much you spent on what your kid wore today...and yesterday. Is what you put on your kid more important than what you put inside them? Or how much was the monogrammed lunchbox you packed your kid's lunch in? Sometimes I think we've been conditioned to make food the smallest portion of our budget so we can easily rationalize splurging on the container, but never the food itself.
Consider this: the cheese I buy costs $4.45 for an 8 oz block. Sound outrageous? But that's the same price as one tall Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks. The average American family spends roughly 10% of it's budget on food. That means we're spending 90% of our budgets on housing, transportation and...everything else. What's the everything else you're spending your money on?

If your pediatrician told you that your kid would die unless you found two hours a week and $50 extra a month to spend on them, could you manage that? No-brainer, right? It's easy to feed them cheap processed foods and waste a couple hours a week on facebook that could be better spent researching or cooking when it isn't a matter of immediate life or death.

You wouldn't take your kids to a building and drop them off just because there was a sign on the front of it that said, "Best Elementary Education In Town" and because it was conveniently located near your home and cost very little. No, you'd probably research it. You'd probably ask other parents about it; you'd want to go inside it and look around. You might even look up ratings and statistics. And only then, when you'd ascertained that their claim was, indeed, valid, you'd take your child there. If you researched it and found it was lacking in educational merit, or wasn't even a real school at all- would you drive across town and pay more for one that was? If that wasn't an option would you teach them yourself before you'd take them to aforementioned, self-proclaimed "Best Elementary School in Town"?

Yet, we feed our children foods just because they are in boxes emblazoned with unsubstantiated health claims, or because they are cheap, or because they are easy to make or available at a conveniently located store all the time. Even when finding an alternative or making it yourself are options.

I won't tell you I don't ever waste money or time or that lifestyle changes are easy or that diet is all that's important...and certainly not that it's most important (IT ISN'T) and I certainly can't say the way I do things is how everyone should or can. But what I am saying is that those things above are things I think about regularly and it's why and how I feed our bodies the way I do. It seems in Christian circles we talk freely about being good stewards of our time and our money, but we forget that God made us stewards of our bodies, too. I think we owe it to Him to upkeep the vehicle he gave us for our soul. We're little use to Him on earth without it. Moreover, some of us have been entrusted with little extra bodies to upkeep for awhile and to condition for future use. Isn't that a responsibility worth taking seriously? Worth a little of our time...and our treasure?

Time To Make The Donuts

As a general rule, we do not eat doughnuts (in the traditional sense of the word- doughnut). And by we, I mean Frazier and me...Josh has them at work everytime there's a birthday. That isn't to say we don't like doughnuts in a broad sense of the term. I love baked goods. So not long ago I started researching and experimenting and have come up with a nice doughnut recipe we've made three times so far!

1/3 c warm milk
1 c warm buttermilk
1 pkt yeast
5 c whole grain spelt flour
2 T butter
2/3 c sucanat (1/3 works too, it's up to you)
2 eggs
2 t cinnamon
1 t sea salt

Place warm milk and yeast in mixer bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes. Since I am not patient, I just sort of add everything else haphazard like after the five minutes is up. I do add each thing one at a time with the dough hook going and so far it's turned out ok. When combined, leave in the bowl, cover, and let rise 45 minutes or until doubled. Punch down the dough, turn out onto floured surface and knead a few times. Then roll out 1/2 in thick and cut out doughnuts. Place on a parchment covered baking pan, cover, and let rise another 45 minutes. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. We brush ours with butter and sprinkle them with an unbleached cane sugar and cinnamon mixture. Sucanat doesn't work as well for this gets sticky and is kind of grainy. You could also mix cream cheese and honey to drizzle them with, or once I served them with a homemade blackberry dipping sauce (blackberries + arrowroot + agave nectar and/or honey, reduce over medium heat, allow to cool).

Yesterday we made a pumpkin version. I left out one egg and added 1/2 c pumpkin puree. Lekker.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

These Shoes Were Made For Running

A little over a month ago I started having pain in my right leg and, since I do quite a bit of running, I assumed I'd just strained something. It wasn't until after a month of painful runs that it finally dawned on me...for the FIRST TIME EVER...that maybe it was my shoes. And then I realized that I'd been running in the same pair of shoes for a really long time, so I looked up how often to change your running shoes. Turns out I'd run about 700 miles more in my shoes than I should have. Oops. Just for your information, the general rule for changing your shoes is every 300-500 miles. Now we know.

I immediately did some research and decided on this pair:
The Brooks Ravenna 2 which was the Runner's World editor's pick for 2011 and seemed to be a good all-around running shoe. It also retails for less than $100 and was available in-store locally. I've run around 40 miles in them so far and am very pleased. My only complaint is that sometimes after about two miles the two smallest toes on my left foot start to feel like they're asleep, and I've determined it has to do with the arch support and how I tie the laces on that side. Minor adjustments usually remedy the situation. Compared to my old shoes they're like running on...I don't know, but something pretty amazing.

I couldn't help feeling, however, a little bit sad about retiring my old shoes. We've been through so much together and they've always been so faithful. We ran countless miles together around my neighborhood and on my favorite running trail here in town. They remember when running one mile was an accomplishment, and then three...and then ten. They were with me when we finally broke 8:30 on our one mile time. These shoes ran with me on my first 5K, in the Alps, the streets of Paris, around the cathedral in Chartres, and the sidewalks of Port Allegany, PA. I ran them out. They literally gave me all they had.
So maybe I'll keep them for old time's sake. To wear to the grocery store once in awhile.

Here's to making new friends...and keeping the old. ;)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011