Monday, October 14, 2013

a toddlers heart on the furlough

Believe me, nothing is encouraging about the furlough. Especially when you live in an area that is impacted the most by employees on furlough and not being able to provide for their families. Impacted to the point of my husband and I are thinking we should put off on having another child until we figure out what is going to happen with this government shutdown. People all around us are talking about plan B and what to do next. We even had one of our neighbors run up to Scott last night asking if he still had his job and if he would be willing to pass along her resume because she was just laid off from hers from the shutdown and she doesn't know what to do because she has three kids. She needs her income. Its tense over here and each day we wake up anticipating the news announcement letting us know that the Senate got their act together and people are able to go back to work. Then each evening our hearts sink, we become frustrated, we start to worry and we wait.  I'll tell you what, I'm not good with waiting. Especially when it is this stressful. Judah asked me this morning why I was so sad (I looked worried) and I tried to explain to him how people are on furlough and some people (whether they are on furlough or directly affected by a govt program that is put on hold) are not able to provide food to their families. What Judah got from that conversation was "Hungry people need food. How can we help". He started asking me about getting food for the hungry babies. So I grabbed his bucket for his tractor (we do not have a wagon). Wrapped it in duct tape to make it more secure to hold cans and attached a strong rope to the back to pull it. Then we went door to door in our neighborhood asking for extra cans that we can donate to a local food bank. Many people were home because it is Columbus Day. Judah ended up collecting 25 cans, a box of cereal and three bags of dry beans. He was pretty worn out from walking up and down the stairs to knock on doors and pulling the tractor. We came back home so we could drop off the food and read books before nap time. He asked me right before I put him down for his nap if we would go out and "ask for more cans to help the babies".  Seeing Judah's encouragement heart in action took away overwhelming feeling of stress and uncertainty about the future.

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

dairy free slow cooked chicken and dumplings

I've never in my life had chicken dumplings until I made it last week. I searched the web and found a handful of recipes but they all had dairy in them or the recipes consisted of carrots, chicken and dumplings. I wanted a hearty meal that my family can eat for a few days and I needed to make sure that meal did not have dairy in it. I made this Friday night and tonight with plenty of left overs. 

four boneless chicken breasts
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 medium sized sweet onion, diced
1 medium potato, peeled & diced 
1 cup sliced mushrooms
36 oz chicken stock (I used the wegmans brand and loved it, make sure it does not have dairy in it if your looking for a dairy free meal)
1 tablespoon garlic, minced 
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter (dairy free)
sea salt/pepper for flavor

1 1/5 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons cold butter (dairy free) cut into small pieces
1/2 cup of coconut milk

In the bottom of your crock pot layer your onions, celery, carrots, potato and mushrooms. Place the chicken breast on top. Then in a small pan over medium heat add the dairy free butter, once melted whisk in 2 tablespoons of the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes to create a roux. Add in 2 cups of the chicken stock and 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, slowly whisk in the last tablespoon of flour and keep stirring for 4-5 mins. Pour over the chicken in the crock pot. Pour the remaining chicken stock into the crock pot. Then add the fresh thyme, rosemary, sea salt and pepper for flavor. Put lid on and cook on low for 6 hours. 

After 6 hours I typically take out the chicken with tongs and very carefully chop it up and place it back into the crock pot. I then turn the crock pot on high while I make the dumplings. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and pepper. Crumble in the butter with your fingers into the bowl and mix it all together until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Add in the coconut milk and stir until a sticky dough forms. I then create mini balls (dumplings) and place them in the crock pot. Start by placing the dumplings around the outside first working your way to the middle. Cover and cook for another 1.5 hours. 

This meal is hearty, lasts awhile and my toddler loves it! 

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Monday, October 7, 2013

dont want to be that smell

Do you ever feel like sometimes your past just clings to you. When I first met Scott he swore that I smoked and I always felt like I smelled like it. My hair, cloths and my car just reeked of smoke, but I couldn't figure out why. I don't smoke and I wouldn't even allow my friends to smoke in my car.
Once we got married Scott borrowed my little two door hatchback Geo Metro and drove it to work so he could get the oil changed. He realized that the smell that clung onto me wasn't because I was secretly smoking behind his back. It was because my car was pumping carbon monoxide into the vents and covering my hair, face and clothing. 

I sometimes feel like my past can be just like that carbon monoxide that was pumping into my car. That once its spoken it clings on you. That when I walk into a room people will see me and not think of the positive things about me, but instead think of me as that girl who smells like smoke, or who had that abortion when she was 17, the girl who worked for mclean bible church or the one who sometimes really sucks at being married. Then their are so many other things that I left unspoken in the blogosphere. Struggles and hurts that I've entrusted to people for prayer and yet when I walk into a room I always feel that I'm carrying around the stench of what I have shared.

Sometimes the stench of things said or done to you tend to sneak up on you in the worst moments. Like today when I took Judah to the library. He immediately started throwing tantrums in the parking lot because I asked him to not run away from me. I was carrying a canvas bag full of 20 books to return. My shoulder felt like it was going to pop out of place from the weight of it and I was tripping over my moccasins as I was running after Judah. Once we got inside Judah immediately started talking about the rocking chair in the reading area. To distract him I asked him to help me return the books. Then had him grab a basket and told him once we find a few books and if he behaves we will go to the rocking chair. He was pretty decent, ran away from me only twice. I decided now was a good time to let him sit in the rocking chair. Our rule is that he has to sit down and rock he can not get up and push the rocking chair and let it crash into the wall or kids around him. If he does then we leave. He rocked for a few minutes then got up and started pushing the rocking chair and letting it crash into the wall. When I said it was time to leave he started screaming and throwing books at me. At this moment I am MORTIFIED. I keep thinking of false words that were spoken to me. Hurtful things that smeared my character and wounded my heart. I started to BELIEVE these words and proof that these lies are truth is my child screaming at me and not behaving in the library. So I calmly took Judah by his hand, distracted him by letting him help me check out the books and left the library.

Being Judahs mom I put a lot of who I am in how he acts. I figured if I raise him well then he should reflect how I am as a parent. His character should reflect my character. When he throws a tantrum I am mortified because I feel that this reflects on me that I am a bad parent and my mind is bombarded with negative words about myself that were at one point or another spoken into my life. I will begin to stink of those discouraging words and believe that they must be true. Believing bad things about myself when my child throws a tantrum is just like believing that I am a smoker when in reality my Geo Metro was pumping my air vents full of carbon monoxide. I may have really bad days where I struggle with being a mom. I mean really struggle. Those bad days may turn into a bad week. That should be ok. I shouldn't paint a label on my head and call myself crazy then start believing lies about how I parent my child or even who I am as a person. We all have our bad days or weeks. It should be ok for me to admit that sometimes I get anxious and feel like I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel when my husband is working long hours, that my heart aches because I don't have my sisters around, that its hard to fit into certain communities and I sometimes don't know what to do when my child is taking out his frustrations about life on me. On days where I can't see the light it doesn't make me any less of a mom or wife. I shouldn't question my sanity because I am having a bad day.  We shouldn't finger point or mom shame. Instead we should encourage one another and remind each other that they are doing a great job at being a mom. Speak words of truth of who they are in Christ into their life. Affirm that its ok to have a bad day that we all get them. 

I do not want to smell like my past. Its not saying that my future smells like roses and daisy's because I know it will not. But I don't want to carry around the trash bags of lies around any longer. I give myself permission to have bad days and know that I am still a good mom to Judah. I still love his guts even when he throws big tantrums. 

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