Staying Sane

537944_10150820038735907_195425947_n

Daily rituals… we all have them.  Some are helpful.  Others?  Not so much.  I have a few daily rituals, and they’ve always been a source of comfort and calm in the midst of the moment to moment unpredictability of raising 8 (soon to be 9 *grin*) sweet children.#1. Taking the time to really enjoy my coffee.
I love the smell.  I love the warmth.  I love the creamy goodness.  I love how I perk up about 30 minutes after drinking it.  It just always hits the spot.  I drink it in the morning, and in the mid-afternoon.  I usually try to sit by myself for a moment (hard to do around here) and don’t talk for a few minutes.

#2. Turn my mind off from thinking about the things I do every day.
I do this for a few minutes before bed, usually with the help of *sudoku* puzzles.  All day long my mind is usually focused on all the things I it takes to do daily life.  Sudoku has nothing to do with any of it and it challenges me to think differently that I have been all day long.  It also helps me to go to sleep.  If I don’t change my train of thought before laying my head down on my pillow, I usually lay awake for some time with my thoughts racing about the day.

#3. Listen to my Audio Bible (thank you “YouVersion” app on my iPhone!)
Normally this would happen while I make breakfast or take my shower.  It helps me get in my general daily bible reading.  A must if at all possible!

What daily rituals do you have that help you “stay sane”?  🙂

Who Am I?

NOTE: I wrote this post some time near the end of last year (2013).  I am astounded at what the Lord has done in such a short time and am overwhelmed at his grace and mercy towards me.  There is a small update at the end.

And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21 ESV)


Untitled
Untitled

My disorder has manifested in a strange way.  The tips of my finger are usually raw or crusted over with a “scab” as the skin underneath attempts to heal.  It takes a LOOOOOOOONG time before my finger is healed as the skin usually flares up again before it’s had a chance to heal.  At the moment I only have two fingers which have recognizable fingerprints.  When this first started happening it struck me as a scary thing to not even have fingerprints!  One of the few things that are overtly “ours” as human beings is our fingerprints; they’re unique.

Chronic illness, tragedy, and death, has a way of bringing us into an identity crisis.  How we have known ourselves has been drastically altered and we feel “lost”.  For many months going through the more trying moments of my disease, I struggled with knowing who I was.  I unknowingly found a lot of my identity and value in the things I was able to do (such as cleaning, cooking, etc).  I couldn’t do any of these things for a few months.  I could do very little for myself during this time as well.  My dear husband, who deserves a whole volume written just for him and how he has served me during this time, often had to help me get dressed and frequently help me wash my hair.  I asked the question again and again, how is it even of any benefit that I exist any more?  I prayed many time for God to please let me not wake up.

I discovered apart from Christ and his redeeming power, I didn’t have the will to live.  In the eyes of the world, who values people for their ability to produce, I was worthless.  In Jesus, my life is worth something.  Only HE can redeem this train wreck of a situation and make it something beautiful.  It doesn’t matter what I have the ability to *do* because in Christ, it is all about what he can do.  Any good that has come out of this illness has been because of what he has done and the abundant grace that he gives.  I can’t even begin to fully understand all of what he is doing, but I trust that is for my good and will be for his glory.

As I patiently wait on the Lord through this, I will turn my face to him, like the flower does towards the sunlight, and keep my eyes fixed on the glorious treasure that awaits me when this is all over.  Jesus.  Forever.
Untitled

 

AN UPDATE:

A picture is worth a thousand words so….

Untitled

 

I still have very very mild flare ups, but I have found more natural alternatives to steroid creams that have proven very effective for me.  I had a bout with skin eczema on my arms beginning at about 8 weeks into my pregnancy, but my hands have been largely ok excepting very mild flare ups when my diet is less than ideal for more than one meal in a row.  I suspect my arm eczema was due to unknown environmental factors and hormonal shifts that happen rapidly during the beginning of pregnancy, but *really* I have nothing to tie it to conclusively.  The eczema on my arms has left me with patches of lighter colored skin (which gives me a nice spotted puppy look), but has been more or less completely gone for about 6 weeks now.  You also might note the lack of wedding band – it just doesn’t fit any more 🙂 my fingers are so un-swollen, it just falls right now.  Until I get it re-sized, it’s kept in a safe place so I don’t lose it.  DaddyScott and I are doing fine lol.

Who are you calling short?

It’s a strange and wonderful thing when your children no longer just out-number you, but now we’re beginning to be out-grown!  Over this past year, J has grown at least 4 inches.  Passing me in height, which is not a particularly difficult thing to do, but he is quickly closing in on DaddyScott too.  Looking UP to my child is a very strange feeling indeed 🙂 I wonder if eventually I will be the midget in the house??  At least I will always have L, who has always been my short girl and doesn’t seem to be breaking that trend any time soon.  This is just such a good visual reminder for me… that my children will grow up.  There is no stopping it or slowing it down so we might as well enjoy it.  Love you J 🙂  Maybe you’ll be as tall as your G-pa Scott!

Untitled

The Vinegar Simmer & Recipe

My new favorite way to cook vegetables to get lots of flavor into them (and reduce overall oil consumption) is what I’ve dubbed the “Vinegar Simmer”.  Frequently I will start sautéing my veggies in a bit of coconut oil, but as the oil begins to evaporate or whatever it does exactly that makes me need more, instead of adding more oil I will add several dashes of vinegar to the pan instead of adding more oil.  Alternately, you can totally skip the oil part and fill the very bottom of your pan with some vinegar (about 1/4 inch or less), add your veggies, then top off with some water so that the vegetables are not quite covered, and bring to a gentle simmer.  Here is a recipe that lends itself very well to this cooking method!

Green Bean Potato Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 lbs of potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 2-3 medium onions
  • 1 lb of fresh green beans (frozen would work too), chopped into bite sized pieces
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Seasonings: salt, garlic powder, onion powder

Boil your potatoes until *almost* cooked.  You don’t want them so cooked that they fall apart, you will want them to be able to hold their shape when mixed with other ingredients.  Start warming a frying pan on low to medium-low heat and add your vinegar.  While warming, chop your onions and add green beans and onion to your pan.  Add enough water to *almost* cover and season liberally with salt, garlic powder, & onion powder.  Simmer until veggies are tender.  It is ok if the liquid level goes down some, but add additional water as necessary to keep the veggies half submerged (and for this recipe you will want that liquid to help marinate your potatoes.  Once your veggies are done, pour this whole vegetable vinegar mixture on your potatoes & add additional salt, garlic, or onion as necessary.  You can serve immediate *or* put it in the fridge to marinate, stirring just before serving.

I’m simmering some onions below :).  You don’t need much liquid most of the time unless you want to make it into a sauce.
IMG_1920

The ScottFam Take on Potato Casserole

Untitled

I posted this as my dinner the other day on Instagram (I’d love for you to come follow, but it’s nothing exciting… mostly food 😛 ), someone asked for the recipe.  I figured I might as well type it up to share with you if I’m going to take the time to type it up at all!  So here ya go, we call this “Potato Casserole”.  *remember, portion sizes are to feed a family of 10 people of varying sizes*

  • 5 lbs of potatoes
  • 1 lb of ground meat
  • 2 lbs of frozen peas and carrots
  • 4 medium onions
  • approximately 2 cups of chicken broth (or yogurt, or milk, or whatever you prefer)
  • Seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and sage

Wash, chop, and cook your ‘taters.  Mash them with 1tbsp each of salt, garlic powder, & onion powder, as well as your chicken broth.  While those wonderful potatoes are cooking, chop and sauté your onions & meat together in your choice of oil (we use coconut oil for cooking most of the time) and season liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, sage & chili powder (don’t worry about using too much necessarily because you’ll be adding in your frozen veggies in a moment).  Once your meat is cooked through and your onions nice and soft, stir in your frozen veggies to this same pan and warm until heated through.  Lastly, mix it with your potatoes and you’re done. 🙂

SERVING SUGGESTION:

I really like to add greens into our diet wherever I can – and this meal is no exception.  I will often add a big handful of baby spinach, spring mix, or romaine lettuce to a bowl and chop it with a fork and knife before serving the above potato casserole on top.  If you mix it up well, it’s really not like eating salad at all, I promise! 😉

Untitled

Hey Look! A real bowl this time 😉

 

Breakfast Fruit Bowls – breaking away from “the box”

Untitled

Box cereal that is 🙂

We started doing this recipe last year when I was in the deep dark throws of the worst of my eczema and need to drastically modify my diet (and the family’s to make it work).  We needed a grain free breakfast that didn’t cost a fortune, was healthy, and was easy enough for even the children to prepare by themselves.  The “Breakfast Fruit Bowl” was born.  So what’s in it?

BANANAS – lots of them!  They’re inexpensive and healthy.  YES, healthy 🙂 People frequently vilify this fruit in particular because it contains the dreaded “sugar” or “carbs”, but if God said he made all the vegetation on the third day and said it was GOOD (Genesis 1), we shouldn’t knock bananas for simply being “so full of carbs”.  Yes, we live in a fallen world, so nothing will work for everyone, but I regained my health in large part to these awesome yellow fruits, so give them a chance.  I promise to write an ode to bananas, but I’ll save that for another post entirely 🙂 because bananas deserve it!

APPLES – another fairly inexpensive fruit, that adds a nice crunch and touch of sweetness.  Apples are actually good for your liver (which is an extremely important, often neglected organ).  The more tart the apple, the better it is for your liver.

CHIA SEEDS – this is another food that deserves it’s own post!  They are a bit on the expensive side, but for this recipe you just sprinkle some on top 🙂 a little goes a long way.  There have been a lot of good posts on this wonderful food, so I’ll leave you to those for more information (See: Uses for chia seeds, Mountain Rose Herbs profile on Chia Seeds, and Mark’s Daily Apple’s take on Chia seeds).

NUT BUTTER – peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter, etc – any will work 🙂

CINNAMON – Cinnamon is cinnamon, right?  Well, that actually depends.  Remember just a little bit further up I mentioned how the liver is an extremely important organ?  Cassia cinnamon (what is normally sold in stores) is bad for your liver when consumed on a regular (re: daily or almost daily) basis due to it’s large coumarin content.  Sweet cinnamon (also called ceylon cinnamon, sweet cinnamon, or true cinnamon) on the other hand has very low amounts of coumarin, making it safe for every day use.  As you can see, consuming either cinnamon is “good” for you, as long as you follow that simple guideline.  Cassia = for occasional use (and good for simmering on the stove top to make your house smell divine) – Ceylon = every day.  There is a handy little chart located HERE when comparing some of the primary differences between the two spices, but I can’t vouch for anything else contained on that site.  For the record: I use both kinds 😉

To feed a Scott sized family, here’s the recipe you’ll follow:

  • 10-12 bananas with freckles (aka ripe), chopped
  • 6 apples, washed and chopped
  • enough chia seeds to sprinkle on top
  • cinnamon to taste (feel free to leave this out if you’d like)
  • about 1 cup of nut butter (the amount varies, I don’t really measure it)

Chop and mix your fruit.  Sprinkle chia seeds & cinnamon on top.  Add your nut butter and stir.  The stirring process will mush the bananas slightly so you will get a lovely creamy “sauce” going on.  And that’s it. 🙂  Additions I’ve often felt that would be fun to make it a bit of a treat by bits of granola and dark chocolate chips, but I’ve never gotten that far :P.

Untitled

Yep, I’m eating out of a paper bowl, with a plastic fork 😛 gotta keep up with the dishes somehow!

“Whose cup is that anyway?!?”

I’d love to say we have some sort of wonderful organizing tip on this one, but we don’t.  I’m constantly amazed at people who can keep up with “drink bands” and the like, but my poor limited brain power just can’t make it that far :P.  So here is what we do, are you ready for it????

We have a bunch of different kinds of cups and the ones that are the same come in various colors, and none of them are the same.  Everyone gets their own kind of cup, problem solved!  Seriously. 😀 Before we had this particular problem though, we would use masking tape or just write directly on the cup with a sharpie because the sharpie always washes off anyway.  When using a sharpie, we would draw a picture (like a flower or smiley face) instead of a name, just in case the marker didn’t wash off in the dishwasher.

This is our counter yesterday – no editing, no rearranging… we ALWAYS have more cups than people.  I’m really not sure how this happens 😛

Untitled