Monday, February 21, 2011

Cookbook: The Farm Chicks In The Kitchen

 We've been so blessed by all of the care and concern you've shown while our Historian has been unwell.  Thank you for praying for our little family. I'm happy to report that he is doing well and recovering from surgery.  He is still not able to drive and is sore and tender, but he is healing up nicely. He is home from work and just today has felt well enough to tidy and sort papers and books in his office - no heavy lifting of course (10# limit right now). We were able to attend church yesterday - not for the whole morning, but for the worship service, and that was our first family outing since coming home from the hospital Thursday.  He was very tired after and slept for 3 hours, but it was good to just get out and see our church family again.

For my special day, the Historian perused my Amazon wishlist
and ordered a few books for me! He knows me well!
So far my favorite one is The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen: Live Well, Laugh Often, Cook Much! I was on the waiting list at the library for this book for months so I know it is popular - I was so happy to receive it! I love the old time items used everyday 
- it's close to home for me!  I love surrounding myself with simple old kitchen utensils and cookbooks from yesteryear - they remind me of quieter times and my Nanny's kitchen.

The recipes I've used so far are great - comfort foods made with easily obtained everyday ingredients and a little something 'extra' to bring it up a notch. Today I made 'Cheesy Potato Soup' and it was a real hit.  I reduced the fat by using less butter and skim milk cheese and it was still creamy and good. Everyone commented on the nice basil accent. My old recipe uses bacon, sour cream and heavy cream, so this was a good alternative for a family
trying to watch those fat grams!
I also made the 'Maple Oat Scones' and they were quite popular - and amazingly filling. The kids loved the glaze and it really kept them moist. I plan to cut them smaller next time. I made the 'Crunchy Granola' for snacking and 'Nancy's Nutmeg Coffee Cake' to share - all very good!  I love it when I can look through a cookbook and find 5 or more recipes to try right away!  I think I could cook through this whole book and my family would love every  bite!  

Today was the kind of day where I just really wanted to crawl back into bed and start the week tomorrow, but of course, we had schoolwork to do!  We got through everything, got to piano lessons and ballet and I even ran a few errands despite the nasty icy roads.  I guess I'm glad I didn't go back to bed! I have a feeling that the public school kids will have the day off tomorrow since the ice/sleet /hail and freezing rain is still coming down! With all of last week's interruptions and the the week of sickness that the kids had, we need to push on and get caught up in our schedule a bit!  Maybe if it's still nasty tomorrow I'll bake one of the great looking pies in 'The Farm Chicks' and we'll celebrate - spring is just around the corner!

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Curves Ahead

While our Historian is going down my familiar road of illness and pain with his God Blesser troubles, I have just realized that I am traveling a short piece on his oft traveled road 
- that of the watcher.

I am not a good watcher.
I am knee deep in the sin of worry and I can feel the burden of loving someone 
who is really unwell more keenly than ever before.  
I've been given a glimpse into those concerned looks and silent prayers I see when my liver and I are not getting along so well.  When I can't eat.
When I wake up looking like I never slept. 
When I just sleep and sleep and he quietly takes over all my jobs 
and keeps the children cheered. 

I keep bringing my worry to my Heavenly Father
- breathing quick prayers for release from the strain. 
The peace floods over me and I know. 
I know He loves this man of mine more than I could begin to understand.  
I am watching him closely though, and I see the agony etching lines of pain in his dear face. 
 It's not easy to stay peaceful.
If not for the Word flowing through my mind, speaking Truth to my heart, 
peace would vanish.

Friday the Historian came home in agony from work. 
God Blesser Crisis #2. 
We've learned that sticking strictly to the fat free diet doesn't prevent acute attacks.  
After 12 hours of increasing agony, I took him to the ER.  Again. 

Sent home with better pain meds and a management plan, we wait for Monday to call the surgeon's office and set up a  surgery date.  Meanwhile he rests, mostly comfortable.
  Meds every 4 hours.  I have them charted.  Alarms are set.  
I'm doing what little I can and praying. I'm watching the curves in our road and praying. 

Isn't is a blessing that empathy teaches gentle lessons in trying circumstances?

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Company Girl Coffee & Giveaway

EDITED February 14, 2011: 
This Giveaway is now closed!  Thanks for entering!
Comment #8 - Becky is the winner!

Welcome Company Girls and any other friends who happen by today!

I'm so glad you could drop by today! It's a special day for me and I am so glad to have some extra company to help me celebrate!

These beautiful flowers are brightening up my kitchen!

They arrived this morning quiet unexpectedly and have really made my heart sing - both the beautiful blooms and the thoughtfulness of the giver are a blessing!

It's been quite a week here with the Historian's God Blesser troubles, but I have not forgotten the promise I made to have a little giveaway in celebration of my special day!

Of course, I did get a wee bit sidetracked and didn't quite get things finished on my intended schedule!  I was sewing and hot gluing before bed last night and I took the last bit of handwork with me this morning to the children's homeschool art class!
I always have such good intentions! 
I had so much fun making these little things 
with one of you in mind!  
I hope you enjoy my simple gift!

The Black & White Giveaway
Four small items made by me for you!

1. A Soother Sac - filled with fragrant dried lavender and wheat berries.
2.  A folded flower pin with fun frayed edges.
3. A little zippered case to organize your stuff.
4. A small double tassel in black and white.

To enter this Giveaway:
No jumping through hoops - I promise!
Just leave a comment on this post and 
I'll throw your name in the hat.
We're old fashioned like that here!
 The winner will be asked to contact me by e-mail and I will see that the package is mailed out by the Historian who has a much better relationship with the Post Office then I do! 
The children will draw a name on 
February 14th!
This Giveaway is open to Canadian and U.S. addresses only.

Thanks for dropping by!

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

'God Blesser' Trouble

Are you ready for an organ recital?  The squeamish are welcome to look away - I completely understand! This is what's going on at our house these days ...

The back story:
When our Storyteller was 14 months old I had a gallbladder attack - just one, but it lasted 6 tortuous weeks.  At that point my dear gentle Mum drove 3 hours to our home and marched me into the surgeons office and demanded strongly suggested that my gall bladder should be removed - as soon as possible! We were living in Canada at the time and the waiting list for gall bladder surgery was 4-5 months, but I was in agony, and trying to take care of a busy 4 year old and an active 14 month old while on pain meds was not working out so well.

Thankfully, though I felt badly about it, Mum's squeaky wheel policy gentle insistence got me in for surgery the next day.  I felt terrible because I knew that the opening was available because another waiting patient had passed away, but I was so grateful to be in the office just at the right time to take that appointment and get rid of my terribly diseased gall bladder. The extent of the damage was not apparent on ultrasound and it really was quite a blessing that I did not have to wait any longer.  It took months to heal and 5 antibiotics to clear the infection from my body.  The liver disease issues I have today are most likely the result of my gallbladder issues 9 years ago.

Here's the cute part of the story - our sweet Dreamer was quite worried about her Mama.  At just a little more then 4 years old she was a carefree, joyful little girl.  She fully trusted God to heal her Mama - but she couldn't quite get the words out right!  Her plea each day was that God would make Mama's 'God Blesser' well!  When I came home from the hospital the first thing she wanted to know was if they really took out my yucky God Blesser - I showed her a tiny little bandaid on my tummy (not the real scar of course), and she was so happy!  'Goodbye bad God Blesser! Mama's going to be all better now!' She sang as she danced around my room! We couldn't help but dance the happy dance with her!

Gall Bladders have been 
God Blessers ever since!

 This past weekend ...

The Historian had a bit of trouble with his God Blesser just before Christmas and went to the doctor to look into it.  The verdict: a healthy God Blesser, but a few small stones - as always surgery was recommended.  It was hard for him to understand why a healthy organ would need to be removed and why simply removing the stones wasn't an option.  He's still struggling with that question and would really like to hang on to his healthy body parts as long as possible - which I understand. The Historian decided to reduce his fat intake even more, start juicing again, avoid all refined  sugars and white flour and pray for God's wisdom. He had a few uncomfortable nights,  2-4 hours of pain but usually by morning he was fine and headed off to work, watching his fat intake even more carefully.

Friday night we did our usual winter routine, Pizza and Video night.  Homemade Pizza and lots of raw fruits and veggies. I've been using an all whole wheat crust recipe that I love, and using about 1/3 of the low fat cheese I used to use and he hasn't had any problem with it at all - but I guess it wasn't low fat enough.  He woke up in agony and could not get relief.  By 5 am he was asking me to take him to the hospital, which is where he spent most of the day.  Poor man.  He was in so much pain his blood pressure was super high, he was out in a sweat and totally pale.  I felt so badly for him.  I could feel his pain.

As soon as they sedated him and he was asleep I rushed back home to two sleeping children ( we had awakened and informed the Dreamer so she wouldn't worry) We had three important things on our Saturday agenda and a hospital visit for the Historian wasn't one of them.  The roads were a mess and I was sending up SOS prayers almost continuously - both for my sweet hubby and to keep us on the road.  Thankfully we made it through the day, got everything done except the grocery shopping (so very thankful for a nicely stocked pantry and freezers).  I picked up the Historian when he was released and we got the meds he is now on.  He has been home all week because of the pain level and the fact that he is  so unaccustomed to medication that he is quite sleepy and a wee bit more loopy than usual.  Not a good combination!  He sees the surgeon tomorrow, and I have a feeling he'll be parting company with his God Blesser sometime in the near future, but we're still hoping there is another option.

This whole experience has been stressful and hard, but I see the Lord's timing and His provision, as well and a few unexpected blessings! The Historian has been trying to loose some weight and this God Blesser issue has really helped.  He was so totally disciplined in cutting out pop, sweet tea, and fatty foods even around Christmas, so he was slowing loosing a few pounds each week, and his blood pressure is back in the normal range! Obviously the diet restriction he is now under has him loosing even more weight and that's a good feeling.

He's also developing a greater empathy for me and the daily struggles I face. He just wants to feel well - to feel normal, and to be able to eat something without worrying that it will cause him another severe attack.  He's always been very compassionate and loving - supporting  me in a very godly and patient way, but empathy is something different, isn't it?  If you've been down the road it's easier to see the curves ahead.  He's going down my road right now.

This makes me think of Jen at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and a recent post she did about her battle  with a nasty flu bug - you can read it HERE if you like.  She mentioned that she felt that 'Mommas aren’t allowed to get sick', so I was trying to encourage her to see the blessing in illness too.

I'll include a part of my comment:
First of all, you are not indispensable – your family will survive while you are laid aside. In fact, it is an opportunity for them to turn the tables and be a blessing to you. All of the those nurturing muscles we strive to instill in our children need occasional exercise to grow strong! We have seen so many wonderful character traits grow in our children during our journey with chronic illness. Our children have learned that we make plans, but God orders our days. We have seen compassion, selflessness and contentment flourish as a result of this season of my ongoing health struggle.Secondly, illness is a gift of compulsory stillness and quiet – and there is no better time to hear the still small voice of God than when you have nothing else to distract or busy you. If you choose to use this time of illness to understand your frailty and deepen your walk with the Lord, than every pain and misery will be worth it. Instead of choosing to seek mindless entertainment to pass the hours while laid aside, choosing to pray, meditate on the Word and worship leads to sweet blessing.
Lastly, illness is the very best reason to find thanksgiving in wellness! There have been times (in the last 5 years) when just for a few minutes I have been without pain and without fatigue – they are precious – breathtakingly beautiful moments. I often forget how good it feels to be well, to have full health and strength. It is a gift we take for granted, far too often!
When you are well again, please do a little happy dance and rejoice.
I am hoping and praying our Historian is soon well again - I know he'll be doing a 'happy dance' in the kitchen with me when he is - just to embarrass the kids, you know! He is the strength and dependability of our home, a spiritual leader and the one to bring reason and a gentle sense of humor into our daily family life! It's hard to see him down, but knowing this season will pass is such a comfort! All suffering is very temporary in the eternal scheme of things, and we are choosing joy, laughter and faith during this God Blesser trouble!

Are you learning faith and character building lessons in a season of illness for your family? 
I would love for you to share them with me!

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Company Girl Coffee 02/04

Welcome Company Girls! I'm so glad you could slide in to our humble home for a little visit! Sorry about the ice, but we are working on it! Since it is 4" thick over most of the driveway, it might take some time and sunshine before it is gone! 
We're chopping and salting - little by little it's breaking up!

I think it's 'safe' to have you visit, though you might hear a cough or two from our children. 
They've been p.j. clad couch potatoes for about 5 days!

There is something to be said for living in pajamas for 5 days 
- the ironing pile didn't grow much at all this week! 

I think we've achieved  a family record - both children were quite sick with fevers, sore throats, coughs, poor appetite and lethargy.  Poor lambs. I am terrible when they are sick - I turn into 'hover mum', taking temperatures, plying them with cut up fruit, Popsicles, Jello and homemade Chicken Noodle soup - and I become the 'hydration Nazi' - forcing them to suck on ice chips, drink diluted fruit juice, water and sip nice hot cups of tea. I pray for them often and they almost always catch me when I think they are asleep praying for them in their beds - they think I'm a worry wort!  Imagine that?

Thankfully they are  both on the mend and both got dressed today for the first time all week. They missed all of the fun of 'the ice storm/blizzard of the decade', 
but really it wasn't much fun!  

We have so much to be thankful for - both children are on the mend and for once my fragile immune system fought off the virus successfully.  Wonders never cease! I know many were praying for our little family, and for me especially.   I am so thankful that we didn't lose power other then a few brief flickers - considering we had two very sick children to keep warm, fed and entertained, I am very very thankful that our home was spared the outages.
I am also so thankful that they are getting well without a doctor's visit - we were under a level three snow emergency and that means nothing was open and the only folks on the roads were emergency works and road crews.   There must be something in my chicken noodle soup! 

Peppermint, on the other hand,  showed no concern whatsoever for the children's well being - he is so disgruntled with the ice storm that he has lost his purr!  He refuses to go outside and has  become a permanent fixture in the sun room.  He's even figured out how best to annoy Bailey so that she scoots 'his' throne ottoman over into the best possible patch of sunshine! He's a very grumpy old kitty these days and not the least bit sociable!

We've been seeing  a lot of wildlife and Dreamer is always excited to take pictures of our visitors!  The deer have been around a lot and our bird feeders are rarely without guests, though I am not too happy to be feeding the TREE RATS! 

They wreak havoc with the garden and steal the bird seed, as well as making the kid's treehouse their outhouse every winter! Grrrrr.  I used to like squirrels, but then we moved to Ohio where they are overly abundant!  
The local farmers call then tree rats and I think that's about right!

Speaking of critters ...

With the children so sick we didn't do a scrap of schoolwork this week, which means I had a bit of free time too - between hovering and taking temperatures, that is. 
As homeschoolers we usually keep going through the snow and ice days that the public schools are forced to take off for safety reasons, but this week was a total wash. 

I did get to do some sewing though!
First, I plowed through the dust on my sewing table.
I dream of the day when I will have a proper sewing room, but for now it's just a table in our bedroom and it becomes a dumping place for everything that needs attention!
 Then I tackled the pile of mending and hemming and re-opened the Animal Hospital for all of the stuffies who needed TLC.  There are two fellows still in the recovery room, but all  surgeries were successful and the stuffies have been  returned to their homes!

Then I had  some fun!

Dreamer  saw a quilted calico critter  at the bookstore a while back and we decided to use the scraps from her quilt to make a Bear for her room!  It was a fun project to do together!
We barely had enough fabric to make this chubby fellow - and we used every scrap of poly stuffing on hand in the craft closet, but it turned out so cute!

Can you see how huge he is?
Apparently he gets along quite well with the other stuffies that occupy Dreamer's bed!
I guess we made him with a friendly heart!
His name is ... yet to be determined!  Dreamer's brain isn't working too well yet!  
Coughing kills brain cells you know!

 I've started  sewing a few things for my Gift Drawer this week too.  I felt so badly that when I had that bulk cooking day with a new young bride from church a few weeks ago I had nothing to give her - I didn't know it was her birthday until we sat down for lunch!  I looked in my Gift Drawer and there was nothing suitable to give her, so I am working on Soother Sac's and zippered pouches along with more felted rose pins and other little things to re-stock a bit!  Next time I'll be ready!

 I have finally found an end to that big bag of zippers my Mum thrifted for me two summers ago - and I'm sad because zippers are expensive!  Maybe I'll find another mixed bag of sewing notions with some good usable zippers!  I hope so!

So, I guess I'd better wrap this up!  It's so good to have visitors drop by from time to time!  
I so enjoy your thoughtful comments and encouragement!

Please come back next Friday - it's a special day for me and I'll have a little giveaway to celebrate! I haven't done a giveaway in forever simply because there are so many big lovely things being given away on all sorts of lovely blogs - my simple gifts pale by comparison! 
I'll show you a picture of a little something I made next week, and if you want to throw your name in the draw - the more the merrier!  I won't even make you jump through a single 'hoop' - no friending, following, tweeting or liking required! 
I'm just a simple, straight forward sort of person!

Bye for now!

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A cinnamon roll kind of day ...

We're almost to the backside of this storm system and thankfully we have not lost power for more than a few seconds at a time.  So many branches are down and the roads have been  closed to all but emergency vehicles for most of the day. 
Both children are much better, though our Sweet Dreamer is still not very energetic. 

It just seemed like a cinnamon roll kind of day. So quick to use Taste of Home's 90-minute Dinner Roll Recipe and just roll it up with some butter, cinnamon sugar and pecans! Cinnamon rolls  don't need to be an all day affair - especially since they disappear  so quickly! 
Perfect with a hot cup of tea.

Keep warm!

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Iced In!

We are just getting another layer of thick ice on our already glittering landscape, and I am praying even more that our power lines stay intact.

We have two sick children to keep warm, nourished and entertained.  
Storyteller is thankfully on the mend after spending three days on the couch.  
Fever, chills, sore throat, cough and no appetite, all shared now with sister.
Dreamer is on day two of the illness and has spent much of the afternoon sleeping.

One lovely thing about the ice storm - the Historian got to come home from work and spend the afternoon keeping the children company on day three of the DVD  marathon.
The best part if being seriously sick at our house - unlimited viewing for those who are too unwell to read or play. When they are both down they get to trade off picks.

 I spent the afternoon catching up on mending and doing a little sewing. 
I do love an unexpected day off, though I am always sad when my two best students are sick!

I hope you all are keeping warm and well.  I know this weather system is causing difficulty over much of the country - it's just ice here, though there are many trees loosing branches.

The Historian checked in with Mr. Neighbor, poured salt on his steps walkway, and took him some soup and muffins along with his mail and paper.  He is doing well  despite the storm. 

We have much to be thankful for!

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