Friday, January 28, 2011

My Quest for Skinny Jeans - A Standoff!

This week there has been a standoff going on between me and my scale.  The lines are drawn in the sand, the guns are drawn, we are fifty paces back-to-back, and the theme song to the movie "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" is playing. 

My weight has held steady for over a week now, no matter how hard I have worked.  I have even said things like, "Go ahead, make my day!" to the scale to no avail. 

Maintaining a consistent weight like this when you are trying to lose weight is known as "plateauing".  Plateauing might be super if you are climbing a mountain, but it is not so super when you are removing a mountain of fluff from your body.

So, what to do?  Well, I am going to keep right on going.  I am going to push through this plateau.  I am going to focus on how energized I feel since I have eliminated wheat and sugar.  That is a victory!

I am going to keep exercising and eating healthy.  

What will I eat?  Well, the same stuff that I have been eating.  Which by the way, I would love to share with you.

Today, let's focus on breakfast, shall we?

I usually start my day with a smoothie.  It is easy and efficient and my monkeys always want to share it with me, so I know that they are getting some fruits and veggies into their bodies. 

I like to put two large handfuls of greens in my smoothie.  It can be kale, spinach, collards, or yum...the tangerine microgreens in the photo above.  Even monkeys like those.

Then I throw in a handful of frozen berries, a banana and some unsweetened almond milk into the blender with the greens.

See, they are having a party. Hey, keep it down in there!

Oh yes, some blueberries make a lovely addition to the party.  They are great conversationalists.

Once everyone is in the blender, press blend, and a smoothie is born.

This is a great way to start your day.  And it is surprisingly sweet without any added sugar.

The smoothie fills me up for about two hours and then I have a mid-morning snack.  This snack can be anything from a handful of pecans and a Granny Smith apple to a slice of cheese and some carrots. 

We can talk about lunch next time.  For now though, I want to encourage anyone who is on this quest with me to keep going.  It is not easy, but it is worth it.

And if you are in a standoff with your scale right now, keep those guns drawn, dig those boot heels into the sand and ask that scale, "Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"

Plateaus are for sissies and mountain climbers,


Thursday, January 27, 2011

He's a Trainiac.

He's a trainiac, trainiac on the floor.
And he builds tracks like he's never built before.

Yes, our little dude is making tracks to new destinations each day.  I love listening to him construct and converse with his tracks and trains.

"Coal caw is cwoss." (translation: "Coal car is cross.")
"Do you want to wide?" (translation:  "Do you want to ride?")
"Oh no! The twain fell off the twacks!" (Can you tell he has the Elmer Fudd thing going on?)

His little imagination muscles are growing.  His constructive and symbolic play skills are flourishing (Sorry, it's the Speech Therapist coming out in me.).

From tracks of cross-continental proportions to the smaller figure-eight configurations; it's fun to watch him build tracks and line his trains up ready for action.  I am sure that there is all kinds of pre-math and physics stuff going on here.

Sometimes he wants to be the sole conductor, and other times he requests, "I want help us!" (His pronouns kill me.)

I just love how little people play and learn.  It amazes me!  So much can be said through play.  Maybe that is why it is used as a form of therapy for children who have experienced trauma.  Play is a child's language.

Want to really be blown away today?  Watch a child at play.

Okay, it's off to the twain yawd for me now

Have a playful day,


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Floating Garden

I am not a designer or decorator, but I know a good idea when I see one.

I saw a good idea this past weekend and I said "Hey, that would look really cool in our house", and Music Man suddenly remembered that he had something to do in Mongolia.

Then I bribed him with the last piece of German Chocolate cake the kids and I made him for his birthday, and he decided to remain in the country and help make all of my decorating dreams come true.  What a good guy!

The funny thing is that this idea sort of developed out of a nature find that our youngest daughter made at the park by our house. She found this ginormous branch, and insisted that we should bring it home and make a craft out of it.  There was no way that I was going to talk her out of it, so the branch came home with us and we named it George.

Here's George.  He is one huge stick.  And I have heard that he is self conscious about his size and can kind of get bent out of shape easily.

We decided to put George to good use and make him into a floating garden over our kitchen table. With a little help from our friends...

Miss Twine and Mr. Hook.  They hooked up at the local hardware store. They are engaged to be married. 

And of course every respectable super hero needs an electric drill to tackle tall decorating projects in a single bound.  Music Man to the rescue!

And every super hero needs a cute side kick to help him save the world from renegade decorating projects.

After drilling two holes in the ceiling and installing the hooks.  It was time to fasten the branch to the ceiling with twine.

The branch provided a home for these little glass beauties to dangle from.  Aren't they funky and fun?

I love the look of glass and wood together.  It is so organic and natural. 

Our monkey was quite pleased to have contributed to this project with her most excellent nature find.

And there you have it, a floating garden above our kitchen table.  Isn't it lovely and eclectic at the same time?

So, now that the garden is hanging, I would love some advice on what I should put into those gorgeous glass vessels.  Flowers?  Pebbles? Shells? Candles? Cheerios? What would you put in them?

Update:  Many people have asked where we got the glass containers for our floating garden.  Well, we splurged a bit and got them at West Elm, but it would be totally doable to use recycled glass jars or bottles for this project.

Also, Music Man was able to screw the hooks right into a support beam (He's fly like that.).  However, if you are going to hang a branch or plank of wood, consider using these babies in the hanging process:

These hooks have a piece of metal that sits sideways on top of the sheet rock in the ceiling so that the screw can not pull through.  These are similar to toggle bolts. 



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Something Beautiful - Monkey Love

Today, as we were going about our daily business of school and more school, the usual playtime noises from our littlest monkey were suddenly replaced by silence.  And in my world, when the littlest monkey is quiet it usually means trouble, with a capital "T".  There could be any number of shenanigans afoot when the little man is on the loose.  Anything from toilet bowl fishing to total bookcase evacuations could be happening.  And boy is he fast!

But this day, the source of the sudden quiet would prove to be something beautiful.

This is what the little guy was doing when my mom radar located him.

Look how intently he is studying the picture in the frame in front of him.  He did this for several minutes.

And then he did this.  I love this photo, where he is smiling and touching the picture.

But what really makes this so very touching, is that the picture that he is looking at is our family picture.  He stood there for a long time captivated by that photo.  He smiled at it, touched it and talked about it. He understood that this is his family.  His mommy, daddy, brothers and sisters.  He kept saying our names and would say, "That's the baby" when he pointed to himself. Oh, what a sweet, sweet moment! 

After that, it was back to business as usual.  We hit the books.  And the little monkey?  Well, he thought that the floor needed to be washed with the water from the dog's bowl and some toilet paper.  Cheeky Monkey!



The Watching Tree

Way back when we only had two monkeys jumping on the bed, and Music Man and I were not outnumbered, we lived in a tiny little neighborhood with big red maple trees.

There was one particular tree that we traveled by either in the wagon (Radio Flyer variety, not horse drawn), or in the van, or on foot each day.  It was our "Watching Tree".

The monkeys would notice the tree's changes with each season.  They watched it's leaves turn a vibrant red color in the late fall and early winter.  By late winter, those glorious red leaves would turn crunchy and brown and fall to the ground. Then until spring, the "Watching Tree" would look so sad and lonely with its barren branches.  And just when you could hardly stand to watch that tree look so forlorn, tiny green buds would begin to appear all over the tree and it was spring.  As we watched the buds develop into the full-grown, lush green leaves of summer another cycle was complete. 

Our "Watching Tree"  had taught us a thing or two about the seasons and about the beauty of creation. It provided a platform for many conversations ranging from how our bodies change as we grow to death and new life. Who knew that a tree could be so profound?

We live in a different neighborhood now and we have many more monkeys, but we still have a "Watching Tree" to watch and learn from.

 Here it is in late fall/early winter as the leaves are beginning to turn red.

And here is one of the watchers, watching and contemplating life as only a six year old can.



Sunday, January 23, 2011

Something Beautiful - A Reflection of Love

This weekend was a whirlwind of errand running, cleaning and organizing.

Music Man and I went to IKEA and spent the better part of an afternoon trying to design a storage solution for our oldest son's room.

We were clueless. The learning curve was really high and my blood sugar was really low.  I convinced myself that I needed a cinnamon bun, but I could not convince my hubs.  So, I found myself zoning out and wandering around the department people-watching while Music Man found someone to help us with our designing dilemma. 

As I rounded the corner of the display room, I noticed a woman in a wheelchair.  She was looking at her reflection in a mirror.  A man, who I believe to be her husband, was standing behind her looking at her reflection as well.  He had such a look of love and admiration in his eyes as he studied her. I glanced away, feeling like I was intruding on an private moment.  But, I could not help but to take another look at their reflection again.  This time the man was brushing the woman's hair.  Without any hesitation or embarrassment, he brushed her hair right there in the middle of the store, like they were in the privacy of their own home.  And all the while, he was looking at her with a smile on his face and eyes that adored her. A tangible gentleness and tenderness was reflected in that mirror.  The mirror held a live picture of a true commitment between two people to take care of each other even down to the smallest details.  The man in the reflection understood his lady's need to look nice in public, but her physical inability to take action.  He became her hands. He met that need.  It was a true reflection of love.  Something beautiful.

I wandered back over to Music Man and we finished up our project. Then, he lovingly took me over to the food counter and bought me a cinnamon bun.  And that was so awesome that I may have decided to have some Swedish meatballs.  And, I might have had some mashed potatoes and ligonberry sauce.  And maybe a ligonberry soda too. 

If you will excuse me now I have to ask Music Man to fix the scale, because I just weighed myself and it is saying something scary.



Friday, January 21, 2011

My Quest for Skinny Jeans - I Drink Salsa with a Straw!

Well, not really.  However, I would if I could.  Because I LOVE salsa.

But, since I am a big pain in the tush, and I loathe onions, I make my own salsa without the dreaded beasts in it.

And if Music Man eats onions, he knows that I will not kiss him for 24 hours or until the odor has vanished from his breath. 

Today, I will share with you my onion-less salsa recipe, and the world will be a better place for humanity and Music Man. 


Please do not panic as I share this recipe with you.

I cook for an army, so there are no frills here, baby.

I am the world's worst measurer (Is this even a word?). Which essentially means that I am lazy, and that I like to "eyeball" my ingredients.

I enjoy better living through kitchen gadgets. They are my friends.

I have been know to burn, char or otherwise destroy a few food items in my life.  (The monkeys know that dinner is ready when the fire alarm goes off.)

Please proceed at your own risk.

To make onion-less salsa you will need:

One large can of peeled tomatoes

2 medium cans of diced tomatoes with diced green chilis

1 lime


1 Tablespoon of cumin

1/2 cup of sugar (I use Agave)

6 cloves of garlic

1 small can of chopped jalapenos or a few fresh ones with the seeds removed.

Throw everything in the blender or food processor. 

Push puree. 

And you've got salsa!

Serve that sassy stuff up with some corn tortilla chips, or my personal favorite, sliced bell peppers, and you are in business. 

Of course, feel free to dial down the heat by adding less jalapenos. 

And, if you really must have onions in your salsa, then by all means ruin a perfectly good recipe and add the beasts.

But, I will not be kissing you anytime soon.



Thursday, January 20, 2011


Every fun-loving American kid likes a good old-fashioned game of Peek-A-Boo", right?

Why, here is our youngest monkey playing a game of "Peek-A-Boo" to demonstrate my point.




Well, maybe not every fun-loving American kid likes a good old-fashioned game of "Peek-A-Boo"

Next time, I think that we will stick with a kinder, gentler game like "Duck, Duck, Goose".



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Music Man!!!

Tomorrow is Music Man's birthday.

He's turning 43.

I am telling you this because everyone always thinks that he is younger than me.

He is not younger than me.

Someone once thought that I was his mother.   Actually, it happened twice.

I have a complex about this.

I am not Music Man's mother.  He has a perfectly good mother, thank you very much.

People always think that he is lying when he tells them his age. 

Then, they think that he is joking when he tells them that we have six kids. 

Then, they look at me and shoot me dirty looks. 

Well, not really, but I always feel like people think that I robbed the cradle or something.

I have a complex about this too.

Maybe, people are confused about Music Man's age because he is the ultimate goofball. 

Just take a look at the evidence:

It all started all long time ago.  We call this Music Man's "signature move".  He was 6 in this picture.  Now he is 43, and he still does this move.

 Like father, like son.
 Weirdness comes naturally to our girls. Our oldest daughter used to call Music Man a "weird funny".
 And our boys are just as weird. 

Funny Daddy!

So, tomorrow Music Man is 43.  

Not 23 or 33. 

He's 43.  

And I am not his mother.  

I am younger than him, darn it!

Happy Birthday, Music Man!  I love you honey!

Your loving wife,