Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fall Play List - 2014

Sometimes, I write and I write....and it's all in an effort to find that one sentence....that one thing I'm actually trying to say.  Then, once I figure that out,  I can, for your sake, go back and erase everything else.  You're welcome.

I'm in a mood.  A disconnected, cranky, exasperated, not very happy, don't care if I tie all these random thoughts together into a cohesive blog mood.  A funk.

OR...I simply have the flu.

Either way.



Here in the Ramfam home, we are currently in the THROES of the second week of going back-to-school
(not my favorite), and having the studio reopen with full time hours at the same time.

I don't know exactly why I find transition to be so hard.  Certainly, it's not the best time to come down with the flu.

While I lay in bed all day, My brain says, "Other families are going back to school.  Other people are going back to work after vacation.  And, making it look much easier than you are I might add".

Certainly, none of them EVER get the flu.  Or have any kind of momentary lapse of purpose or motivation. Or doubt.  Or find spaghetti sauce on the wall in the foyer and want to kill someone.


I remind myself that during times of high fever and coughing fits -- one probably shouldn't reevaluate one's whole life.  Perhaps my judgement is impaired by the cough medicine.

I remind myself to doubt my doubt.


During transitions (sickness aside), times where I have to let one thing go and embrace another, I have learned to prioritize self care the best I know how.  And, whereas I believe it's in my best interest to fight, if I must, to settle in to a new routine sooner rather than later...I try to handle my own emotions with kindness and gentleness.

When transitioning last Spring, I made a Play List of things to look forward too.  I am happy to say, it went pretty good.  Not exactly how I'd imagined, but that's ok.  That's real life too.

I did finish the front bathroom.  Although I choose the quick and easy route.  Doesn't look anything like my inspiration pictures.  But sometimes -- you just gotta get something done GOOD ENOUGH.  A year is too long to be working on redoing a bathroom.  I was over it.  A curtain with some tie backs, new rugs, new accessories -- for less than $100.  Good enough.

We did take an anniversary trip. To Breckenridge, a place I love, where we rode kayaks and bikes around town.  We will save Washington DC for another day and time I suppose.

I climbed the incline in 2 hours.  And we saw a few good movies.

But, contrary to how it may seem, checking things off my lists really isn't my sum total of how my life is going. Whether it's being lived well or not.

For fall, I tossed around some ideas.  I still want to paint my book shelves and revamp my Thanksgiving decorations.

I mean sort of I do.  But right now, there is something tossing inside me more.  There is this....

Shanna, just love people in this season.  And accept their love in return.  

And, right now, this feels like enough. 

And, know I say this is "enough" with an OVER FLOWING to do list.  More "new projects" for work and ministry than I can fathom.  Many areas that need a break through.  Many reasons to be brave.  Many things that require me to try it just one more time.  

I say this in the midst of time sensitive tasks and people depending on me...people expecting of me...and people wanting from me.  

And, I say this in the midst of PLENTY OF MUNDANE things as well.  Healthy meals that still need to be planned, shopped for (with coupons), prepped, prepared.  The gym -- still calls my name -- and I will answer.  I will "fit in" math homework, and reading to Eli, and yard work, and doing the monthly budget. Just.  Like. You.

I don't imagine fall and a season of  "just loving" to be quiet, or slow, or uncrowded for myself, my family or our calendar.

But I hope that I can be.  On the inside.  Because my FOCUS can just be LOVING WELL and RECEIVING LOVE WELL...not on my grand effort.  And, at the end of the day, I believe that will be enough.      

At least, I'm hoping so.  In this season, I am hoping for healing, and meaning, and inspiration, and joy and relationships for me and my family members that mean something at the end of it all.  And hoping to share some of that with others as well.

And, that's all I'm really trying to say.  

Well, that and the fact that B says some of the color has finally returned to my face.  :)



Monday, August 4, 2014

Turning the Titanic {Simple Meals}

A friend the other day joked that I was a "mommy blogger".  What?  That's a thing?

Obviously she was referring to my willingness to blog about such riveting (read mundane) topics as remembering late last night that I had an early morning appointment with the GYN (because it's been "awhile" since I've bothered)...on top of needing to get some blood work...make phone calls for our business...and take 4 kids to the dentist....all by 11 am.  Well...yea...that's my life.  And, I ain't afraid to blog about it.  Apparently.

Yesterday, I sat in the hair chair and caught up on my magazine reading.

If you follow me on facebook in any of our 24 Day Challenge Advocare groups, you know how I feel about getting variety.  I need it.  In food.  At work.  In fitness.  In my home decorating.  In my life in general.

The article I read however touched on an interesting topic.  That whereas variety was important, studies showed that too much variety at each individual meal time actually encouraged OVER EATING.


My internal alert system always perks up at the work "over eating", so let's think it through.

We, you and I, both go out for frozen yogurt.

We both fill our cups with 1 1/2 cups of No Sugar Added Vanilla.

I top mine with blueberries.  A righteous choice.

You top yours with blueberries, strawberries, walnuts, coconut flakes, and dark chocolate chips.  A righteous choice as well in my book.

YOU, apparently, are now more likely to overeat.  Because...for the obvious reason.  Yours is more yummy.

The thinking is that the more textures and tastes you have in a particular meal, the more excited your brain and taste buds are too eat it, and the less likely you are to feel satiated. The article did note the exception:  vegetables and spices.


Variety over the course of time, but individual meals kept simple.


Simple meals is one way I am attempting to "bring my family" along with me in this healthier is better journey.

Here is tonight's dinner, prepped and ready for the grill.

Chicken breasts marinading in teriyaki sauce, with veggies and peaches ready to go on the grill.


I met with another mom lately who told me she couldn't fathom not buying sugary cereal for her kids anymore for breakfast (even though she really didn't want them to actually eat it).

I suggested that she "down grade" the cereal choices then.

Simply put, stop buying their favorites.

Instead of Apple Jacks and Captain Crunch for instance, buy Raisin Bran and Mini Wheats.  Because they are more virtuous choices?  No, not really.  But because most likely, YOUR KIDS WILL EAT LESS.

Follow me.  You are a teen age boy.  You LOOOOVVVVVEEEEE Apple Jacks.  You love them so much, in fact, that you gorge on them, and instead of eating the recommended serving size of 3/4 a cup -- you eat the equivalent of a punch bowl full every morning.  In fact, you eat the cereal so fast your mom begins to wonder if she actual bought a box to begin with.
Your thoughtful, caring mother wises up though.  She switches to buying Raisin Bran.

Your complaining about this change is kept to a minimal, because you like Raisin Bran after all, it's just not your FAVORITE.  This minor change and minimized griping allows your mom to keep some of her sanity during this process.  I may or may not be VERY acquainted with this scenario.

The cereal choices in your pantry are now less fun...so, you eat a cup of it and go about your day.  Whereas the change in cereal wasn't particularly night and day in the nutrition department...you did cut your sugar, fat, calories, sodium, chemical, etc intake JUST BY HAVING LESS THAN YOU NORMALLY WOULD.

And, my friends, that's how you get started.

Eventually, you have no cereal in the house.  Now, there are breakfast choices that need to be COOKED or BLENDED for goodness sake.  Eggs, bacon, protein shake mix and fruit.

And, before you know it -- you are switching over to turkey bacon...and the changes go on and on.

Turning the titanic doesn't happen quickly.  But planning to not let everyone slam into the iceberg is still nice.

I have found that my family actually eats more healthful (in our cause that means smaller) amounts when my meals are thoughtful, but simple.

Saturdays dinner:  French Onion Pot Roast with Fresh Green Beans

Sundays dinner:  Marinaded steaks, with left over Green Beans and Watermelon Slices

Tonights dinner:  Teriyaki Chicken, with Grilled Peppers and Peaches.

See?  Thoughtful.  Fresh.  Planned out.  But simple.

I assure you, you eat less when the menu reads: Pot Roast with Green Beans INSTEAD OF

Pot Roast with Potatoes, and Carrots...as well as...

 Hashbrown casserole, Mac-n-Cheese, Rolls and Dessert.

That's how we used to eat on a Monday night.

These days, that's called a "special meal."

Every day meals are simple -- and variety is offered over the course of a week.

It's just one way I'm trying to bring this large family (4 teens) along with me!

I'd love to hear some of how you are doing it in your home!