Sunday, February 26, 2012

Daniel Plan- Day 4

Well, I have to say that the family has been so supportive of our attempts to fast using the Daniel Plan this week, and I'm very proud of them for trying so hard.  Over half way through the week- whew.

And they were doing fairly well for the first few days....until we spent a Saturday at the Boys Basketball Tournament. 

Poor Bri!  She came back from the concession stand looking almost defeated.  So I asked her what was wrong, and she said "There are only 3 things that I can eat at the concession stand;  popcorn, water, or a pickle." 

It's so hard to tell them no or deny them something as simple as a treat at a ballgame.  However, I want them to develop some self discipline and not need to have immediate gratification when they want something.  I want them to understand how very fortunate they are that they HAVE the good fortune to be a middle class family in America and really want for nothing.  And to know that many kids their age go without some of these basic needs being filled every day.  This knowledge adds purpose to our little fast.

We have become Label Reading Fools, and we are absolutely outraged at the bad stuff that gets snuck into some supposedly healthy food.  We found HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP in most of the healthy whole grain breads, sugar in ketchup, oatmeal, wheat thins, and just about everything thing in our kitchen, and the final insult is the artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, MSG, and aspartame in many places that we didn't expect them. 

Sneaky buggers.

I'm finding that there are certain times in a day that I have set aside either for a little snack, or for a Diet coke.  Those are times that I struggle through, trying to keep busy and not think about how my body is craving sugar and caffeine.  Of course, that is the purpose of a fast- to lean on God instead of leaning on my addictions.

I'm also beginning to understand my those people on Survivor just lay on the beach most of the day, languishing and bereft of all energy. 


Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Daniel Plan

Ever since we got home from China, I've felt restless.  Spiritually restless.  The same feeling that I had before we went...the feeling that I thought was tied to the completion of our adoption.

I thought that this emotional journey to bring our daughter home would satisfy that inner voice saying "Do more". 

I had hoped that once back, we would settle back into complacency comfort and feel like "Job Well Done."

Apparently not.

Dang it.

So before I hopped back on the adoption horse, I began researching something that I could do closer to home.  Something that would not only bring me closer to God and my faith, but would also be good for my family. 

With Lent looming before us, I used that as my spiritual deadline- trying to come up with a project that could coincide with this special season.

I read several excerpts from books written by those who promote fasting.  One caught my eye- this plan is a 40 day fast according to the lifestyle of those who lived back in the days of Jesus and his disciples. Minimal food choices, and only those from that locale.  That sounded intriguing, but then again, I have 5 kids to feed each day.  Would we fit into THAT kind of a plan.  Probably not. 

Then I read about Rick Warren's version of fasting called The Daniel Plan, and it intrigued me.

He put together a group of medical and nutritional professionals, (including Dr Oz, who I adore) along with spiritual leaders, to formulate The Daniel Plan, Glorifying God in the way we Eat, Think, and Move.

It does include some forms of fasting and denial, as in with sugar and caffeine (two of my favorite things!) and yet, is made up of healthy food choices that will help your body purge the toxins that we are inundated with daily, such as preservatives, artificial coloring, sweeteners, and all those funky "made in a laboratory" ingredients that are on most of the food labels these days.

It also includes a program to keep your body and mind in shape with physical and mental workouts.  Kind of like how our lives SHOULD be maintained, if it weren't so much easier to just grab some junkfood on the way to our couch to sit mindlessly in front of our tv.    (Ahhh, those were the days when we all thought Twinkies were a HEALTHY SNACK!  Fond memories....)

SO, we are on Day One of this plan, and the kids are already planning a mutiny because their favorite granola bars (of which they thought were healthy) AND their favorite flavored yogurt (Also, thought was healthy) are both on the NO EAT list because of the high fructose corn syrup in them.  They thought this was going to be a breeze, so they enlisted. 

Naive children :-)

However, as I sit with a caffeine headache pounding across my forehead, I'm wondering how I can be the resolute leader of this wayward pack of nutritional misfits when I know that a cold Diet Coke is sitting in my fridge as we speak!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Plus One

Last week I got a call from a fellow foster mother and friend, to find out that she was in the hospital after having surgery the night before.  (Heidi, I promise that I won't tease you anymore about how loopy you sounded on the phone!  Ahhhh.. pain killers!) 

 She had fallen while caring her foster son, and she broke her one ankle and sprained the other.  She's looking at weeks of Couch Arrest, followed by weeks with a walker and therapy. 

She asked if we could take on their youngest foster son, who is 3 years old, because she just can't take care of him in her condition.  Of course, we said yes, and he is now sharing a room with Luke.  (This match up is already paying out dividends by limiting how late Luke can stay up now in his room-BONUS!)

Little Man is a sweetheart, and after a heartbreaking farewell to his foster Dad when he was dropped off, he has done extremely well and demonstrates a resilience that many kids would struggle to carry off.

Camille has already latched onto him, and they are best buddies now who love to play with the wooden Thomas the Train set and Monster trucks.  

Being drug around on the wooden floor-super fun!

Camille, Quinn, and Little Man
  It's wonderful to have a little guy in the house again!  The unrestrained energy that a little boy channels is energizing even to me and I LOVE IT!  Of course, with little boys comes stepping on leggos, balls being thrown in the house, and sticks mysteriously showing up in the house under the guise of being a pirates sword.

But it's all good! 

I only hope that we are able to give Little Man a strong feeling of security and being loved so that he is comfortable and happy being here with us.  The emotional roller coaster that is the foster care system is hard on these little people, and no matter how resilient they are, it leaves it's mark on them.  So our job is to soften the hurt, ease the emotional ups and downs, and be a soft shoulder to cry on and a soft lap to be cuddled on.

Welcome to our home, Little Man.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Frugal Friday~


7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

This book is EXACTLY what I was looking for- the concept of shedding our commercialism cloak of fitting in, and being bold enough to go against the peer pressure of our generation to Have It All.

I've never felt that we need it all. 

I grew up reading Laura Ingall Wilder books, and I felt a kinship to that era of pioneer women- quilting with worn material scraps, getting a tin cup, candy cane and a penny for Christmas and being happy about it, living frugally every day because their generation didn't have the luxery of living any other way.

I cringe when my kids mention wanting any electronics for their birthday, open cupboards filled with food and tell me there's nothing to eat, or they whine "We're having THAT again!" 

  I don't think we need to give or get gifts at EVERY EVENT that my children attend during the Christmas season.  I feel that every holiday has become too commercial and tied to a Hallmark card,  and I agree that the Christmas season has gotten WAY out of hand, forfeiting all Jesus references in lieu of Walmart Black Sunday sales ads.

Jen Hatmaker speaks my language.

This is an incredibly insightful book that everyone should read.  I couldn't get enough of it, and I want Jen to write another one just like it.  Immediately.

And because I loved it SO MUCH, I plan on trying to incorporate many of her suggestions into our own lives, starting with Lent.  As a family, we are going to try to do each of the 7 tasks, somewhat abridged versions of them, just to introduce the ideas to my family.  Then after Lent, we will choose which" denials" or changes we will want to continue.

I'm very excited to get started and see if we can move away from Immediate Gratification, to becoming more patient and also content with what we have.

Isn't that the definition of Happiness? 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Best almost-Valentines Day Gift EVER!

There must be some mistake.

I can't POSSIBLY have a son that is 29 years old.

That would make me....ummmmmmm....


Happy Birthday to my first born, the one who introduced me to the joys of parenting.

Tanner, Travis, and Erin 1991

He is an amazing young man.

And I'm so very proud of him.

Happy Birthday Travis!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Things I've noticed...

There are funny little things that you notice about someone as you get to know them, and I don't want to forget them. When we showed the kids our video from Gotcha Day tonight, I realized how much Quinn has changed already, both in appearance and demeanor.    As I spend more time with Quinn, more pieces of her puzzle are falling into place to give us a better picture of who she is.

* She loves all fruit, especially bananas, apple juice, fish crackers, PB ,"nutritious rice" (that's what the orphanages call it), Ramen, and applesauce, but is allergic to milk products and has to drink soy milk.

*  Can hold a pen or crayon the correct way already, with either hand.  So far, is showing a slight preference for her right hand, but often interchanges.  Loves to write on EVERYTHING.

*  Is fascinated with all electronics, and pretends everything is a phone, including the TV's remote control.  Then she has funny conversations on it, and says "yah, yah, yah"  then "ha, ha, ha" like someone told her a joke, followed by more baby gibberish.  Super cute!

*  Took to brushing her teeth right away, and it's hard to get the toothbrush away from her.

*  It took a month to get her comfortable enough to take a bath without crying, although she still insists on standing!  All it took was putting her stacking cups into the tub, and the tears stopped.

* We noticed in the videos from Gotcha Day that she has gained alot of weight since then.  She does love her food :-)  Problem is, many of her shirts won't fit over her tummy anymore!

* After being here alittle over a month, she already says Dada, Bye bye, Oh oh, Peek a boo, Mama, off, thank you, and  Baby.  Sometimes she watches me talk, and then she purses her lips like a fish.  Do I look like when I'm talking?? 

Who put these things in my hair?  Camille!!!!!

Writing down these Little Things will help us to remember her first days here with us, and give her some documented childhood memories for her to reminisce on when she is older. For a child who comes to us with very little history, I think this will be big to her someday.

She has learned so much already, and has faced so many fears head on- she is so brave! 

I can't wait to see where that courage will take her~

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hands and Feet of Jesus

Let me just start out by saying yes...I do keep scrapbooks of my children's accomplishments, pictures of their birthday parties, and 4H ribbons.  However, I am not a "Scrapbooker". 

I grab any adhesive that is within reach, slap in the picture/newpaper article/artwork with tape/glue/rubber cement, write in a quick label, and call it good.  No cute decorations, borders, glitter, or caligraphy.  I'm just not that patient, nor do I have the time to be that creative with the number of scrapbooks that I have to keep up.  Quinn's will be #8, (And actually Overachiever Travis had 2 scrapbooks.. sheesh!)  I also have to keep Lifebooks of all the foster children we have had, so you can see why I shoot for a very efficient method of documenting my kids history and accomplishments.

Anyway....the last time I was putting some basketball pics in a scrapbook, I was thinking of all the great things my kids do that don't make it into the scrapbook.  Things like volunteering to help me at the Food Pantry, playing violin in church, helping the residents at the Nursing home on Bingo night.  Things that, in my mind, are equally important in the building of their character.  At LEAST as important as a basketball tournament, am I right??

So, today during homeschool I introduced our newest project.  We are going to keep a scrapbook of our, for lack of a better term, Good Deeds.  We are calling it "Hands and Feet of Jesus" book, and will work on adding pictures and descriptions each month of the projects that we will choose to do.  We started by making a calendar to write in the months that we already have particular projects that we work on, such as helping with 2 Vacation Bible Schools in June.  We will post pics of the activity and have the kids write up a little description or essay on each project to go with the pictures.

They were already surprised and kinda proud of themselves when they saw the list of what they already have committed to do!  February already has 3 activities-working a Food Pantry shift,  presenting a church service at the Nursing Home on the 12th (Bri will be playing violin and Luke will be helping with the service and communion) and assisting with Bingo at the Nursing home on the 28th.

Not too shabby for a short month.

My goal is this: I REALLY want them to understand that those activites are as important as passing swimming lessons, earning a purple ribbon at our County Fair, or getting a gold cup at Violin Contest. 

I want them to LOOK for opportunities to do good deeds, find ways of volunteering or helping out in their community, do for those who aren't as fortunate as they are. 

 Luke 12:48-  For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. 

(It inspired millions of Americans when Kennedy used this quote, I'm hoping that it will work for me as well!)

 This scrapbook will give me the opportunity to recognize and celebrate my family's efforts for their time and energy spent helping others. 

And as a mom, I know I will be able to look back on this scrapbook and feel as proud of these accomplishments as I am of their ribbons and trophies. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Snapshot Sunday

I love this!  Quinn doing "school" with the girls.

<center><a href="" target="self"><img alt="Sunday Snapshot" src="" /></a></center>

Friday, February 3, 2012

Frugal Friday~

I's been awhile since we've talked frugality, hasn't it?

In all truthfulness, it's hard to preach being frugal while I'm slapping down my Visa card to charge round trip plane tickets to China, ya know?  (I'm still working on finding a "Frugal" way of doing an adoption, and THAT going to be a challenge.)

Coming off of an international adoption, FRUGAL will be the theme around this house for awhile, needless to say.

Flash forward to now, and we are settling into a new routine in our new location, and beginning to talk what I call "Homestead Talk" again.  Diagrams of the farm are being scribbled down, seed catalogues are laying here and there, baby chicks are ordered, and thoughts of spring are just around the corner.

After having to throw out all of my frozen chicken when we moved (due to the freezers sitting for too long unplugged), fresh chicken was my first priority.  50 Cornish cross chicks have been ordered, and 15 laying hens for fresh eggs.  After recently having store-bought chicken, and not being impressed AT ALL, my mouth is already watering thinking about chicken enchiladas, chicken noodle soup, chicken pot pie stew.... yummy!  But I digress..

To reduce the costs, I am purchasing chickens with friends for the volume discount.  We located a hatchery for the meat birds out of Nebraska that is half the price of our other poultry provider, which will help the bottom line.

This week I will also be scouring my favorite seed catalogues (Fedco, Gurneys, Johnny's) to begin planning my dream garden, which starts out each spring as a utopia of greens, but by fall is sometimes a weed-fest.  I do what I can.

Now with Quinn here, we're including more freshly made Chinese-type meals, so I'm increasing the amounts of Pak Choy, Leeks, cabbage, and other greens.  I found that sauteed vegys piled on top of rice are incredible, and super healthy, so I'm excited about growing them.

The exciting part of growing seedlings this year?  I have a WHOLE BASEMENT in which to put grow lights and trays in!!  And I won't have to worry about the basement flooding in the spring, so...

 Let the Planting Begin! 

And just for fun, a bit of cuteness :-)