Thursday, July 30, 2009

Purity begins with Daddy and his son!!!

This past weekend Clay and Christian (14) went away for their Purity weekend. We used Passport to Purity. Let me explain a bit about Purity Weekend. It is a time for the same-sex parent and child to go away and spend extra special time together. During this time there is a great bonding time and time to grow together while learning God's plans for your future with your spouse. It is about making the decision to keep yourself pure for your future mate and best friend. The weekend is to give a sound Biblical foundation for our children to stand on as they go through their teenage years and have to make some tough decisions. We pray that they stand strong and always keep their thoughts and actions pure. We pray that they will always keep God in the forefront and think their decision through with their spouse in their thoughts. We pray that they are in continual and constant prayer and conversation with God in their day-to-day life.

Their weekend started Saturday at 4 p.m. when they headed out. They stopped at Which Wich? This is a new fave for Clay and the kids. I have yet to eat there but I am looking forward to my tomato and avocado sandwich. I have heard it is delicious! They then headed out to Shreveport to the Boardwalk. They stayed at the Hampton Inn. We love the Hampton. We have stayed at some 5 star hotels and find the bed here very comparable if not better most of the time. The boys always want us to buy their sheets and pillows for them because they love them so much. =D
When they made it to the hotel they started up their evening study and did an experiment with a couple puzzles. Clay gave Christian his puzzle. It had no picture to look at and there were puzzle pieces missing which Christian did not realize at the time. Clay had his puzzle and all the pieces were in it and he had the picture to look at. They then raced to see who could finish first. Christian started out strong but of course Clay ended up beating him. Christian got frustrated as he realized he did not have a picture and that pieces were missing. The point of the exercise was to realize that God had given us all of our puzzlle pieces and the picture to go along with it and that is the Bible!! =D When we know what God wants for us it makes this puzzle of a life all that much easier!! After their session and puzzle experiement they ordered pizza and then went to bed!

The next morning they woke up early to get a good breakfast and then get started on their session. The experiment with this session was with a balloon. They poked holes in the balloon to show how poor judgement with your purity leads to less and less of a whole self. It gave the example of handing a full balloon over to your spouse on your wedding day or handing them a leaky or even perhaps empty balloon over. They also did an experiment with a match. Clay had Christian light the match and then put it out in water. He then asked him to re-light the same match. Of course if did not light up because it had been used up and had given itself to the first strike up. Another experiment was having a pitcher of clean water. You then had a couple clean glasses of water and 3 dirty glasses tainted with dirt, coffee, or other pollutants that you can see. The pitcher of clean water represented Christian. The 2 clean glasses of water were good choices and good friends that helped keep him on the right path with God. They were poured into the pitcher and only added to his purity. The 3 dirty glasses represented poor choices and negative friends. Once these glasses were poured into the pitcher it was no longer clean and pure and only led to impurity. (I think this one is my favorite) The last experiment they did was with two different colored sheets of construction paper. You put glue on the two pieces and then put the pieces of paper together. I think the sheets represented relationships. Once they were put together when they were pulled apart (or broken up) they were stained and unclean. They were never the same again. The purpose was another example to show that you save yourself for your spouse so that you two will never be torn apart. You remain clean for each other as God desires for us.

Later Saturday they took off to have lunch at Sushiko and to walk the Boardwalk. Clay raved about the salad at Sushiko....We will probably be making a stop there this weekend as Cullen is going to be in a triathlon over close by....I am looking forward to it. They both enjoyed it very much.

After Sushiko they headed out and watched the new Harry Potter movie. Neither of them liked it that much and said it was the worst one. =( They also watched G-Force and said it was okay. In between movies they stopped for coffee and enjoyed some more quality time talking and hanging out. After the movies they headed to Saltgrass! They loved it!!! We have been wanting to eat here for a long time and just never did. Clay said the steak was fantastic and Christian agreed.
At the end of the weekend Clay gave Christian his purity ring. It is silver and has True Love Waits etched in it.

Here are some comments Christian made about his weekend:
"I thought it was going to be at first all about where we were going and what we were going to be doing. But as we were in the car I thought I was going to have to work and get bored very soon and that it would get old....but I actually enjoyed that part. I also loved just being with my dad. I love my ring and I wear it all the time."

We are so proud of Christian and the young man God is molding him into.

Cullen cannot wait for his weeknd with his dad. We told him it will be a couple years before he gets his turn but we are focusing on doing more "dates" with the boys one on one. Cullen and I went on a "date" Tuesday night and had a BLAST! We went and had sushi. I got a veggie roll and he had a Cruchy roll. He said it was the best he had had. After that we headed over to watch Ice Age and we both thought it was really good. I thought it was the best one so far. After Ice Age we went to Target and got in some shopping. We both got new PJs...we love PJs...and Cullen got some new shorts and shirts too. I so enjoyed my time with my little man and we must do it more often. Next week I hope to be going on a nice "date" with my oldest guy, Christian. It is due time. I will also be going on a date with my Man!! =D Cindy and Clint (Clay's brother and wife) will be coming over Tues or Weds to watch the kiddoes. We have been swapping out every week so one couple gets some time alone together. Clay and I have not made plans yet for our date but we'll enjoy the time together.

I really look forward to Clara's Purity Weekend. What a special time that we will spend together. I still have a few years yet before I have that honor!

I know.....long post...but I felt it was all very important. I pray that my kids will let God guide the way in their decision making as it makes life so much easier and a lot less painful!! God is great!!

I am going to throw in a food post too....(as if this post wasn't long enough). Last night we had a GREAT dinner. I knew Clay liked purplehull peas but I did not remember ever trying them. Since I am not a fan of black-eyed peas I figured purplehull or any pea for that matter was not going to be a friend of mine! I was WRONG!! I have shelled a few purplehulls in my life with my Grandma, Clara, in Oklahoma...but just did not remember trying them as a child. Well, last night was the first and it won't be the last. I made purplehulls, cucumber and carrot salad, vegan cornbread of course I threw in hot sauce and onion/garlic powder, and served this with sweet onion relish, fresh sliced tomatoes, and pickle-jalapeno-cherry fire relish. The cornbread was almost polished off and was finished by the kids for breakfast. It is a keeper recipe. I was worried I would not find a good substitute recipe that would be vegan and have a healthful benefit but I was wrong!! It is yummy, sweet, and cake like. We will definitely be making this meal a weekly occurance as long as I can buy purplehulls at the fresh veg/fruit stand. The relishes we got were great too...that sweet onion relish is something special!!! I bought the dressing to make the cucumber/carrot salad with and it is mmm, mmm good!! This was a hit with everyone (Cullen could do w/o the peas though...I'll let it slide as he likes most everything and is doing great with his healthy choices...LOL) and of couse as usual Clara ate it all up!!

We had tofu stir-fry tonight and we will be having that often too. I still have to find a firmer tofu but I like it in there. It is easy for the boys to pick out and Clay liked it. Clara, as usual, ate it and loved it, tofu and all!!

Okay....I will end this book now...more to come soon I hope!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Quinoa and black beans

Tonight I made Quinoa and black beans for dinner. "It is called quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), and is a grain that comes from the Andes Mountains of South America. Quinoa's origins are truly ancient. It was one of the three staple foods, along with corn and potatoes, of the Inca civilization. Quinoa was known then, and still is known, with respect, as the mother grain. We call it the "Supergrain of the Future." Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain; an average of 16.2 percent, compared with 7.5 percent for rice, 9.9 percent for millet, and 14 percent for wheat. Some varieties of quinoa are more than 20 percent protein. Quinoa's protein is of an unusually high quality. It is a complete protein, with an essential amino acid balance close to the ideal ... similar to milk! " I borrowed that write up from here! I tried to take a pretty pic of it for you guys.

Quinoa and Black Beans
adapted from Quinoa and Black Beans from

Serves 6
2TBS olive oil or safflower oil (I used both)
1-1/2 onions chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 C uncooked quinoa
1-1/2 C vegetable broth
1tsp cumin
1tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne (to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
1 can rotel tomatoes
1 15oz can black beans (drained & rinsed)
2C shredded carrots

1. Heat oil in skillet and add onions, garlic, and carrots. Sweat until soft.

2. Add seasonings and then quinoa and veggie broth. Bring back up to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer 20 minutes.

3. Add beans. Heat through. You're ready to eat!!

I hope you like it as much as we do!! I am always grateful when I make something that we all can like!! Enjoy!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Catch up again!! Some Tot Food too!

(sorry....the tot food is further down in the post if that is the main thing you wanted to see)

Okay....sorry! I have just not made time for the blog lately. We have been so, so busy with life! Where do I start? Well, my boys have been active in the local children's theater the past month. Cullen enjoyed his first theater camp and it was fabulous. It was a week-long camp that focused on 8 and 9 year olds. Cullen loved it and it inspired him to write his own story. It was exciting to see him get so involved and enjoy every aspect of it. I did not get a lot of pics but here are a few....He was Officer Hairy Legs! =D He did an awesome job and we could not be more proud of him!

The next week Christian started Mulan Jr. It was a job in itself but worth it!! He had to practice for 2 weeks from 6-9 in the evenings and towards the end they practiced until 10. He played Yao and he was EXCELLENT if I do say so myself!! They then had performances on Friday night at 7, Saturday at 2 and 7, and Sunday at 2 and a cast swim party after that. I apologize for the lack of pics lately. We were not allowed to take pics of the performance b/c of copyright laws so I stole these from Candy after the show. Christian is giving PawPaw& Meemaw his autograph. I forgot the little dragons name but here was her costume. They really did an excellent job with sound, lights, and the actors were fabulous!! Way to go Christian....we are proud of you as usual!!

Since posting last we have still made big changes around here in our eating. Clara and I are eating vegan (no dairy and no meat). I have lost 12 lbs and will be trying to weigh in every Monday. I lost most of my weight on the vegetable juice and water fast I went on prior to this change for 7 days. It has been over a month since I have had any soda or caffeine. I don't plan to pick anything like that up again or will try very hard not to. I know if I have one I will probably not stop there....sooooo no more sodas for me! To be honest, I have not missed them one bit. Besides some mild withdraw symptoms of feeling crummy and mild headache I have had more energy and feel so much better!! =D God has truly freed me from the addiction I had with food and caffeine/aspartame! I was drinking close to 6-8 (if not more) diet sodas a day before I started this lifestyle change. God changed my way of thinking....just as I would not smoke a cigarette anymore I have chosen not to put the harmful chemicals in my body that are in sodas (especially diet sodas). I am trying very diligently to make decisions with my eating that would glorify God.

I have always loved cooking and made it a focus of my life. The love of cooking is not gone but it has definitely changed and is not my main focus. It is tough to change your complete grocery shopping list and ingredient list when I felt so comfortable before. The kitchen is a comfortable place for me to be in and I always knew what to substitute for what....all that has now changed. I am reading, reading, reading and trying to educate myself on the nutritional needs for myself and for a toddler to maintain a healthy vegan lifestyle. Clara is drinking fortified orange juice with calcium. I am also going to look into soy milk that is fortified also. She is easy to adjust as I have always made it a focus to try and feed her healthful foods. I am experimenting with my recipes. We had spaghetti last night but I used organic sauce and did not add meat. I did cook Bison on the side for the guys. I threw in some shredded carrots to saute up with the fresh garlic and onions. I also threw in baby portabellas for a more meaty feel. We like our sauce sweet and spicy so like usual I also added some red pepper flakes and honey. We had brown rice spaghetti noodles and you would never know it was not the bleached, non-nutritional regular old spaghetti you get in the grocery store. Clay said he thought it was the best spaghetti I had made and I could try it next week without the meat on the side. I might double the mushrooms for their need for a "meaty" feel. We love 'shrooms anyway. It was a hit. Today for lunch we had Ezekiel sprouted tortillas. I will be honest and say I was kind of dreading these a bit. I figured no one would like them. We were not too thrilled with the Ezekiel bread. Well....we LOVED them!! They were very hearty and heavy. I made Clara's with homemade refried beans I made in my NEW VITA-MIX blender!! This machine is AWESOME!!! (on a side note...we also made mixed berry sorbet in the Vita-Mix before lunch for a cold, sweet treat. I added frozen mixed berries, 1 c OJ, & a little bit of Agave syrup...Yum-O!) Okay...back to the burritos. I made Clara's burrito with the tortilla, beans, shredded carrot, and spinach. She ate almost a whole burrito dipped in the hummus she LOVES!! Here are a few pics of her plate and then her licking it clean. I added some videos at the top right of her licking her plate clean (and climbing out of her crib). Her plate consisted of frozen blueberries, roasted red pepper hummus with zuchini sticks, extra shredded carrots, and her bean burrito.

How great is that!! The boys really liked the burritos that is what is for dinner. Save me some time too. There is a great feeling within knowing you are feeding your kids foods that will heal them and not make them sick!

I will try to update more often...I got behind and dreaded writing this book but it came easy today. Sorry it is so much!

This weekend Clay and Christian are going away on their Passport to Purity weekend getaway! They will head out Saturday evening and spend quality time together learning together the Godly principles of sexuality to protect Christian and his future wife! =D How exciting is that! I cannot wait until Clara and I get to share in our weekend together. Cullen is ready for his weekend too which will not be too far behind Christian's. They are both really looking forward to it!

Well, hopefully this time it will not take so long to post more. I need to get together a Tot School post too! Maybe tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tot Food

Well, Clara inspired me to eat better. I will delve deeper into that in another post. Her dinner tonight was vegetable bowtie pasta Asian style with Tahini (sesame seed butter), a bit of soy sauce, Earth's Balance Natural Buttery Spread (vegan butter), with fresh ginger and garlic in it and I tossed in some shredded carrots. She also had squash, broccoli, and cauliflower. Clara would have liked it better with less ginger, I think. She is not too fond of cauliflower....okay...she does not like it. BUT I still offer it to her. She will eat a bit of broccoli and she likes black beans. She was not too fond of the squash either. I will just continue to modify until her tastes change. I also offered her up some walnuts and had cherries for dessert. She was not keen on the walnuts either....=( We have begun eating more vegan but would not say we are. Clara and I are trying to stay away from meats and dairy. Dairy is known to lead to skin problems (allergies) and the calcium is harder to digest than would be represented in vegetables.

Last night I made Baked Ziti with brown rice penne pasta. You can find the complete recipe in the great book The Eat-Clean Diet for FAmily & Kids by Tosca Reno. It had organic Muir roasted tomatoes pureed them in their can, garlic, onions, 2 cups shredded carrots, vegetable stock, 1lb bison (the boys are not ready to give up meat....I am undecided). I topped it off with non-dairy mozzarella and wallah (sp??) it was done. It was a success by all, except me. I am fasting so unable to eat what I am making now. I started last Friday with only veg juice and water. It is TOUGH!! Clara also LOVES pizza along with most everyone else in this family. I found a pre-made whole wheat crust at the health food store and bought organic pizza sauce. I topped with spinach, roasted red peppers, grated carrots, non-dairy mozzarella and it was a success also. If all else fails and she does not like what I serve I can always give her a organic, whole wheat bread with almond butter and a natural fruit spread and she is happy!!

Okay...I might post again tonight as I have been behind lately and have much to share!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Baby Swimming Pool???

Okay....I had to post this! Clara loves water so much that she has found her a new swimming pool to take advantage of inside!!! Here are a couple of pics!!

My Clara can get into something in no time flat!! This morning she got into the her out and in a second walking through my room and past the half bath in the hall she had given her small brown puppy dog a bath in the other toilet!!! To say the least, little brown puppy is now no longer....He is taking a ride in the trash can! It is almost impossible to keep this girl out of the toilet!! Another day this week she also decided to use her creative side and color a wonderfully beautiful orange crayon masterpiece on our bedroom wall. =) I did not think to get pics of that before I got it off the wall along with some of the sheetrock. A note to those that have not gone through this yet....use soft, soft pressure when removing crayon from wall or else pieces of sheetrock come with it. Yes, trust me. It is getting time to paint anyway and we need semi-gloss paint instead of flat that it was built with. I have been telling Clay this....this incident just proved my point. LOL =D Out of 3 kids this was our first wall masterpiece that I can remember. Now, Cullen broke in our new brown leather couch with pen mark when he was little. Thank goodness it did not show up that much and we still have that couch to date. Time for new living room furniture too....=D I think we might wait a bit to make sure Clara realizes artwork needs to be on paper for now!

Clay just reminded me that Christian too did some artwork of his own with crayon but he chose to do it all over the floor in his room.

Needless to say as soon as I got her out of her new-found "swimming pool" I wisked her into the bath. Here is a pic of her proud self getting cleaned off.

**NOTE*** The yuckiness you see on the top lid of the toilet seat is a stain!! Promise! My toilets were cleaned yesterday!!****

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tot Food~ Leading to better decisions for the whole family!!

Prior to this week we have not had much luck with Clara eating sandwiches. She tended to take them apart and did not each much of it at all. While we were in Oklahoma I found a heart-shaped sandwich cutter which I "had" to have. Well, I am glad I got it. She will eat almost an entire peanut butter and jelly sandwich when it is cut with the heart-shaped cutter. I think it seals it better and it is easier for her to hold onto without the crust. We also tried the Mott's natural applesauce but blueberry flavored and peach flavored. The kids LOVE these and they are all natural too.
We also really like Annie's Homegrown organic ravioli and also the spaghetti loops and soy meatballs. This way she can have quick "junk" food that isn't really junk at all. We have used the bunny grahams before but I wish we could find such good variety in the stores here. So far I have only found the loops and meatballs and cheesy ravioli. I need to run by the health food store and see what I can find.
This plate has the organic/natural cheese ravioli, natural vanilla yogurt, frozen peas, and frozen berry blend of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Clara likes peas but she does not like them frozen hard. She likes them after they have sat out of the freezer for a bit when they are cold but not hard. When I first heard of eating frozen peas I was kind of grossed out. Try them...they are yummy, cold, sweet treats!! The kids also LOVE CLIF Kid Zone bars to snack on. We have found them at Sam's Club. They are organic energy bars for kids.
Focusing on feeding the kids better has shone a glaring spotlight on what I do for myself. I am a full-blown diet soda addict and enjoy food so very much. I am trying now to make those good choices not only for my kids but for myself. As of today I have had NO diet soda and only had 2 yesterday before deciding to make better choices. Asparatame is such a horrible thing for you. I have known it for a long time. We are so stringent about no smoking and no drinking but yet I will drink 4-6 diet sodas a day. What kind of message is that sending?? I ask that you pray for me through this struggle. I know God is mighty and He can do anything, BUT God is also a gentleman. He will not just barge in and take control unless you ask Him too. I am asking that I can make the next "best" decision through Him and that I can hand this struggle over to Him!!
To join in Tot Foods to share your ideas with others and get great ideas from others you can go to Carissa's website here. Join in the fun and share your ideas!!