Friday, December 11, 2015

Anyone sleeping in your garage this Christmas?

Merry Christmas, ya'll! I wrote this last year and wanted to share it here today. I hope each of you have a blessed holiday season! 

Every Christmas the little nativity set takes center stage. Modest scenes set up on lawns, acted out by real people at churches, and pictured endlessly on Christmas greeting cards. But, despite all the sermons and songs, stories and scenes, do we really understand what was going on? Have we romanticized the reality out of it? 

This season my four year old is really processing not just the facts of Jesus birth, but trying to understand it. I try to dig through the poetry and folklore the story has picked up to present to her a real picture she can grasp onto. “The little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes” is obviously not true. Babies cry. She needs to know that. I’d flattered myself that my husband and I were doing a good job leveling with her, until on the way home from church yesterday she said, “I wish I was born in a stable.” 

I can’t deny her reasoning. Doesn’t it look cozy? Don’t our suburban kids delight in interacting with goats, sheep and donkeys at petting farms we happily pay admission fees to enter? In her eyes, it seems like a lovely, fun place to be stuck. Wanting to explain that they didn’t want to be there, that it was an outbuilding not really meant for human habitation, we pulled up to our house. And then it struck me, in a way that had never entered my mind before. Jesus was born in a garage. The place where the means of transportation we call donkey’s were stored. Where the food (pigs, goats) stayed until you brought it to the house. Our garage’s smell of gasoline fumes, and their stables smelled of, well, more natural stinky things. There is no climate control, no attempt at decoration. The hard cold of our cement is mirrored in the smelly, scratchy hay lining theirs. 

What mother would want to have her baby in a garage? Better than outside in the street maybe. And that’s exactly the choice Mary had to make. And suddenly, to my modern, far from Bethlehem sensibilities, the desperateness they faced almost brought tears to my eyes. “No, the hotel is full. They all are. No pillow tops, clean sheets or serene landscapes on the walls available. No, you can’t even stay here in the lobby. But, hey, if you want a little bit of privacy you could have the garage. Your wife looks like she’s in a lot of pain. Go ahead.” 

And so the little baby, Jesus, King of Kings and Light of the World, was born in the garage. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What's Cookin' Wednesday!

Here's the deal with how we eat around here. It's sort of like Paleo with dessert. You see, we eat healthy (mostly) breakfast, lunch & dinner and then have some sort of sweet sometime in the evening after little munchkin is in bed. We did a Whole30 (that's a post for another time) twice, and really,  really missed this part of our day. I guess some people relax over coffee or wine after dinner, and for us it's sweets. This week I'm sharing a Paleo dinner, and an apple pie!

Let's be healthy first. We love Mexican food, and it's easy to do this and avoid the processed grains by using romaine lettuce as wraps. The receipe is simple:

Olive oil
3 Sweet Bell Peppers (I used yellow, orange, and red, but it doesn't matter)
1 onion (I'd prefer Vadalia, but all Costco had was regular white ones)
1 pound ground beef or turkey or even chicken breast
Salt, chili pepper, and/or red pepper to taste
Romaine lettuce for wraps

Put the olive oil in a big skillet. Slice the peppers and onion into strips and saute them until they start to get soft. In a seperate pan, cook the meat thoroughly. Once cooked, add it to the skillet and add a dash of the seasonings. Go easy at first! You can always add more if it's not zingy enough. Cook until the veggies are the texture you like. Fish one out with a fork and taste it to make sure.

Wash the romaine leaves, leaving them whole as you take them off. Dry completely, then fill with the hot yummy meat and veggies. It will look something like this and it will be delicious.

My husband and 5 year old ate it right up. I told my 5 year old a while ago that wraps are caterpillar food and now she is excited to eat like a caterpillar whenever she sees them. :)

This second food adventure this week was for a Labor Day cookout with my parents. We visited an apple orchard on Saturday and I couldn't wait to bake my first official apple dessert of this Fall! I used Grandma Ople's Famous Apple Pie recipe. I tried to follow it perfectly, but accidentally put the flour and sugars in all at the same time. It still came out great! I used Martha Stewart's recipe for pie crust, which I've used a bunch before.  

As you can see, my kitchen is all about the yin and yang of the cooking universe. 

Let me know if you like to keep things balanced too. And if you try one of these recipes I'd love to hear about it!!

Linking up at Buns in my Oven!

Scribbles and Scrawls

You pick it up off the shelf, in the quiet corner of the bookstore. Drawn to it's design, it's dimensions, or it's pure blankness. I love journals, new journals, fresh and unmarked. There's a separate way to appreciate one filled out, days recorded in ink. It's different with one where they haven't happened yet. Where you don't know what's coming up next. That's why I also love new blogs, and I thank you for stopping by mine.

What am I going to be writing about? Oh, a little of everything. I read somewhere that woman's brains are like an internet browser and there are always a million tabs open - that's me!! With each post, you never know which topic I'll be obsessed with that day. The overarching theme that I am approaching this blog with is echoed by both Aristotle and Jane Austen. What? You might ask what an ancient philosopher and the writer of romantic fiction have in common. This: 

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle 

“It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.” 
Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Can we live to create excellent habits? I think so. Don't worry, I plan to be both serious and frivolous. Is there such a thing as excellent frivolity? I hope so! Because I have so many things to talk about - home improvement, crafts, cooking (Paleo!), baking (NOT Paleo), reading, parenting....I'll be merciful and stop. So! I'll be back later, until then, live excellently!