The Ghosts of Past

In July of 2011 we lost our home. It was a great house, it was our first house. It was the biggest house I had ever lived in. It had beautiful granite counter tops, beautiful hardwood floors, a huge kitchen, a bedroom that could sleep 4 people, a whirlpool tub to soak away the day in, and a perfectly manicured lawn. I can honestly say that living in that house made me feel secure, it made me feel that I was finally settled.

All of that changed in 2008. It was the first year that things started to go south with the economy. Year after year things got worse but I kept saying that all would be okay. I never gave up hope that our lives would stay the same. Well, they didn’t. When it was time we finally had to let go. We moved into a rental home and never looked back. I tucked away all the sad feelings into the furthest part of my brain. It was over.

We moved into a home that had more land, the house was really small, and I really struggled at first. My husband was thrilled , we were in the woods and he had more freedom. We began to build our lives over. We got chickens and goats and built a huge ramp in the backyard (my husband is a skatepark builder). Then as luck would have it the house next door came up for sale and it had even more land. It was a steal, it needs a lot of work, but slowly it is coming together.

We have even more animals now, turkeys and ducks now call my land their home too. I still dream of my big kitchen and a bathroom that feels like a spa getaway. In time….

Then in October I got invited to a party back in the old neighborhood. Ah, the ghosts of my past come back to haunt me. I kept telling myself I was fine, going to the party would be fine.

The day of the party came. I almost felt sick to my stomach. I would have to look at all the old neighbors, all the people who saw us lose our house, lose our life. I started to feel a deep sadness. I wasn’t sure where it was coming from, I had moved past all of that, I thought. Our lives were better now. We barely have any bills, we live a much simpler life, and things are so much easier, right?

It was about an hour until the party. I felt my heart beating in my chest and I was anxious. I didn’t know what I would say to all those people. I started doing my nervous twitch and my OCD kicked in. I count on my fingers when I get nervous or anxious. I wandered around the house and realized I was actually really sweaty. What the heck was going on inside me? I didn’t want to drive past my old house. I didn’t want to see it or ever remember it. It represented so much more than just a house we lost. To me it felt like a failure, a big fat in your face you couldn’t make it. I felt sick to my stomach. I had to go to the party and put on my best face, let nobody know that I was a wreck inside. How could this be so hard, it’s just a house, some wood and plywood with a few stones on the front, that’s all. It was starting to look like I was the house, the structure that couldn’t see it through, I was the thing that was lost. I didn’t know where the house ended and I began.

Truth be told, at the heart of it all was the “what will they think of me” that drives all of my anxiety. One of my biggest challenges in life is letting go of what “they” think of me. So I put on that pretty party face and got in my car and went to the party.

Walking up the driveway I whispered to myself, ‘let it go’ and I did. My sister Jennifer often uses this quote in her writings and workshops. It is a favorite of mine. I had no choice I was getting dragged, I had to let it go.

Let-go-or-be

I walked in and let my ghosts go back to the place that they came from, the past. It was a great party. I had such a good time. Nobody really cared that we lost our house, that we were struggling, or that we weren’t where we used to be. Nobody said a word. Everybody was amazing. In fact in reality we aren’t the only ones who are struggling now. It turns out that having gone through the fire can help somebody else who is in the pit now.

I don’t particularly enjoy the feeling of anxiety, it sucks. This is what my ghosts do, they come back for a visit, and stir the pot up. I can take their hand and walk the road with them, or I can leave them in the car and go to the party.

Here is what I know:

If you lose it all then you have a big open place to fill back up.

and most importantly what I learned from Dr. Seuss

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself 
any direction you choose. 
You’re on your own. 
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go….Dr. Seuss, Oh! The Places You’ll Go!
US author & illustrator (1904 – 1991)

And then there is always a handstand on a skate ramp with goats. Now that is living.

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Baby it’s cold outside…

Let’s make soup.

I love the winter. I love soup and one pot meals. There are many ready-made soups out there in the world. There are even “healthier” pre made soups to choose from. If you are really in a pinch for time you could absolutely find one that works for you. If you do have the time, and I am only taking about 30 minutes, you could make the most scrumptious soups from scratch. I think your time in the kitchen is important. I love to cook but I don’t want to spend hours and hours in my kitchen slaving away. I want to create real food, really good food and in the most efficient way possible.

Here are some things we need to think about for making soup:

Are we making our stock from scratch or are we buying it pre made. If you choose to buy your stock pre made there are many great choices for organic and free range chicken.

I found this stock at Kroger for $1.99 in the health food section. It is rich and creamy and organic too!

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Today I used this brand. Over the last month I have made my stock many times. So delicious and full of flavor. I will post my recipe for that in a few days.

Next thing to tackle in your soup is deciding what you want as your main ingredients. Are you making a vegetable soup, a puree soup, or are you making a bean soup? There are a million and one ideas here, insert your own.

Today I decided to go with a vegetable soup with coconut milk and mini organic ground turkey meatballs. It was a hit. My kids love it, granted my kids love veggies, but any kid would love this soup. The soup was brimming with veggies and a savory stock. For the grain eaters in my family I added some Japanese Soba noodles(traditionally made with all buckwheat) mine had a buckwheat and wheat mixture.

Here are the ingredients I used.

1/4 yellow onion

4 garlic cloves

2 inch chunk of fresh ginger

1 large carrot

2 large handfuls of green beans cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 orange bell pepper

2 stalks of celery

1 box of organic free range chicken stock

4 cups of water

1/2 can coconut milk

salt

pepper

roughly 2 tsp of curry powder

1 tsp of coriander seed(crush in your hand over soup pot)

2 tsp ground ginger

handful of fresh cilantro

1 pound of organic ground turkey

Here is how it all went down. By the way I also use this as an opportunity to spend time with my youngest firecracker.He pulls his stool up and gets to work. He loves to cut the green beans and the carrots. His most favorite is to make the little meatballs. Kids love this stuff and if you don’t mind the mess then get your kids in the kitchen with you. It’s a great way to bond, plus you get the added bonus of teaching them lessons that can use forever. I love the fact that my kids love to cook. I smile knowing that when my sons grow up they can cook amazing meals for their families. Everybody loves a man who can cook.

I added a tbsp of organic extra virgin olive oil to the pot. Once the oil was ready I added in my chopped ginger, garlic and onion. I add a drop of salt to extract the moisture from the veggies. Once they soften I add my water and chicken stock. I brought that up to a boil. In the meantime I cut the carrots, bell pepper, celery, green beans, and cilantro. I added everything except the cilantro at this point. Then I got busy make those yummy little meatballs. Super simple. Add your meat in a bowl. For time sake I used ground ginger here instead of fresh. I then add cilantro and a dash of salt and pepper. Make your meatballs really small and drop them into your boiling water. They cook fast, really fast. I then added my half a can of coconut milk, a dash of salt and pepper, ground curry and my coriander seeds. If you are adding noodles then get a small pot of water and bring it to a boil on the side. If using soba noodles they cook really fast, 3-4 minutes in a rapid boil.

Now it’s time to plate.

If using noodles then place them in the bowl first. Then fill up your ladle with as much veggies and meatballs as you like. Then pour on that golden goodness. Garnish with fresh cilantro and enjoy.

There is so much goodness in this soup. The healing properties of the chicken broth. Chicken broth, especially made with the bones, is rich in minerals, soothing and really easy to digest. The antimicrobial properties of your ginger and garlic. The carotene in the pepper and carrot. The fiber in your green beans. Oh my, oh my.

If you want to make it even healthier then try this. After your place your soup in the bowl add some fresh greens like kale or spinach right on top. Turnip greens are also full of vitamins and nutrients and really cheap right now. They tend to be more bitter than kale or collards, but if you like that then go for it. If you want to get some raw veggies in your diet then here you go. Yes, the soup is cooked, but the veggies won’t get to the temperature that would cook them and break them down. By the way, it tastes great and adds great texture to your meal.

Now you know how good this soup is for you, but the best part is that….

It’s really yummy too!

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Here is a great article about why chicken broth is so good for you. Check it out here!

Real Mom. What does that mean anyway?

There are a ton of really great mom blogs out there today. They have everything from the city mom to the farm mom, the stay at home mom to the working mom, there are thousands of blogs to choose from. I knew that creating this new blog would be a labor of love.

What do I mean when I say Real Mom?

I mean honest mom. I will tell the truth about what it’s like for me to be a mom, I hope in doing so it will inspire others to lead their most honest life too.

So here it is, I am a mom and I am navigating a crazy life. I can’t handmake all my kids clothes, cut coupons, or bake cookies afterschool. I didn’t hand paint my kids rooms or even finish their baby books (gasp!!!). Sometimes I forget to put their jackets on, and on occasion I give in when I know I shouldn’t.

What I can do is get up every morning before my kids, and make them a delicious and healthy breakfast and lunch. I can sing and dance to silly songs with them in the living room until we drop. I can kiss the boo boo’s to heal the wounds. I can get out the stool and let them cook with me, even if it means that dinner will take twice as long, and the kitchen will be a complete mess. I can snuggle with them at night, and I can be there in the morning to talk about the wild adventures they had in their dreams the night before.

Long ago I decided for myself what it meant to be a real mom, an honest mom. I had to accept the things I could do, and let go of all the things that I couldn’t do. I am still learning along the way.

I am hoping that with all my trials and tribulations you will laugh with me, cry with me, and maybe learn from my mistakes and successes.

What I know.

I learned how to fill my life with family and good friends to help support me along the way.  I learned that mistakes lead to knowledge. I learned that yelling does NOTHING. I learned that no matter what, as long as my kids hear me say, “I love you” their world is alright. I learned that my mom does know a few things more than me.

Most importantly, I learned that being a mom was the best character building lesson given to me.

I hope you will follow my blog and get dirty with me 🙂

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Food

food

fo͞od/
noun
  1. any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth.

    Ahh yes, another definition of food…..

     :anything that provides mental nourishment or stimulus

Wait, here is one more goodie……

         :something that nourishes, sustains, or supplies

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