Monday, July 22, 2013

Role Model {Mindful Mothering Mondays}

The alarm goes off at 5:30 am. I grab some clean scrubs and stumble to the shower. I always mentally prepare myself for the day when I'm in there by praying and thinking. I pray for the patients I will be taking care of that day, their families, and doctors. I also pray for my family that I will leave behind for the next 12+ hours.

6:30 rolls around and I make my rounds. The twins are already up, pouring cereal in the kitchen. The oldest and baby are still sound asleep in their shared room. Jase and the other 2 sleep peacefully in the bed I left not so long ago. I get into the car with a smile on my face. I know they will have a good day, a fun day, and I can't wait to hear all about it when I get back home.

Sometimes I wonder if the kids think it is weird that their mom works and their dad stays home. I know for a fact NONE of their friends are in a similar situation yet it is just life for them.

My hope is that it opens their minds. I hope they don't think they have to do something just because that is what everyone else does. I hope that when my boys grow up they know there is nothing wrong with staying home and raising your kids if that is what works. Just as there is nothing wrong with working your butt off so your wife can stay home. I hope my daughter knows that she doesn't have to stay home if she feels a distinct calling from God to do other things, but it is just as ok if that calling is to be home with her babies.

When I walk in the door at 7:45pm that night, I am bombarded with hugs. "Missed you mom!" "Yay! Mom's home!" I sleep well at night knowing we are doing just what we are supposed to be doing.

*Come over to Small Town Simplicity for more of Mindful Mothering Mondays!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Quinoa and Black Bean Lettuce Wraps

One of the things I find absurdly amusing is when people find out you are a vegan they all of the sudden have their PhDs in nutrition!

"How can you be getting enough protein with no meat?"

"But, but, but....don't you have to drink cow's milk to get all your calcium in?"
           -Nope. Not at all.

I find it pointless to try to argue or reason with people who have already made up their mind that they are right and you are wrong. So, yeah...

Tonight was another quick, easy, and yummy meal. I like stuff like this on the nights I work!
(Original recipe found here:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tostadas on Corn Tortillas w/ Re-fried Beans, Salsa, and Lettuce

We used to eat a LOT of flour tortillas. A Lot. We used them in place of bread. We are working on liking corn tortillas. They are definitely better when cooked! The beans are vegetarian. I was surprised to learn a lot of re-fried beans have lard. Gross. We always have a huge jug of salsa around so this meal came together very easily which is good since I work tonight!

Monday, April 22, 2013

How Did We Get Here? A Vegan, Gluten Free Family.

I'm going to start keeping track of our dinners. I want to do this for a couple reasons. One: I want to be able to look back and see what meals I have made so I can reference them when making future meal plans. Two: maybe somehow someone on the vast Internet will come across this blog and be in the same situation and find some hope. So how did we get here? How on Earth did we become a vegan, gluten free family? It is not something I ever imagined doing but here we are. Here is out story:

The bug first bit me in my Nutrition class during nursing school: around November of 2010. It suddenly hit me that being a vegetarian was something I wanted to try not only for me, but for my family as well. The trick  was going to be getting my meat and potatoes husband to go for it. When I came home and presented it to him, his response was, "Ok. I will eat whatever you cook." Fair enough! It was on! I started by making things we ate anyway (tacos, lasagna, etc) but replace the meat with other things or just eliminated it all together. It went over well and everyone was fed and happy.

Fast forward to February of this year. I was feeling really crappy, really tired, and really worn down all the time. It got so bad I actually went to the doctor. My vitamin D level was critically low and I was referred on to a Rheumatologist. At that point, I decided to go ahead and make the jump to vegan. I had witnessed my brother's amazing success being vegan (check out his awesome and hilarious blog: Fat Kid Chronicle) and had been doing some of my own research about it as well. For us it came down to 2 reasons: cheap and healthy. Cheap: people like to think eating healthy is expensive. Really, it is not the case. A bag of lentils and a box of quinoa does not cost much at all. You know what is expensive? Meat, cheese, and milk. Healthy: you cannot deny the health benefits of this diet. Is it the only healthy way to eat? No. Are there many other healthy diets out there? Sure. Do I care that you are not a vegan? Not really. I am in the school of thought that most people do things in their life because they have done research and are doing what is best for them. I respect that about you so please respect that about me.

Now, let's throw another little monkey wrench in. At our youngest son's 1 year well child check we discovered that he had been consistently loosing weight since he was 6 months old. He only weighed barely over 15 pounds at 1 year old. We started keeping a food diary and found that he was eating plenty and the weight loss did not make a lot of sense. I started using my nursing knowledge and the wonderful Internet and came to the conclusion that the poor baby in gluten intolerant. Once we removed the gluten in his diet, he started gaining some weight and some of his other symptoms disappeared! Wonderful! But finding things that are gluten free as well as vegan is quite a challenge. In fact, it is overwhelming at this point. I'm hoping that by keeping track it will become easier. That is the goal anyway. So that is how we got here. I will try and post what we have for dinner every night but I am a full time nurse and a mom of 6 so bear with me if I miss and night or two!

Chickpea Patties with Curry Mayo and a Side Salad with Apples and Red Peppers
(adapted from original recipe found here:

Monday, March 18, 2013

It's hard, and that's okay. [Mindful Mothering Monday]

This is hard. This whole mothering thing. I don't think many of us really like to admit that. I know I don't. The internet is not our friend is this area. I see Facebook and Pinterest plastered with reminders of what I'm not doing for my kids. St. Patty's Day came and went this year with barely a mention of it in my house and certainly no shamrock pancakes or anything like that. There are times I try and succeed at these things but more often than not I don't. And yet my children have thrived up until this point. It's just SO hard not to compare. I always try to tell myself though that what I see online is the best of the best. That mom who made hand felted Valentine's for her kid's classroom parties most certainly also dealt with a meltdown or an argument at some point and a mountain of laundry that day as well. See, we seem to only put our best selves out there for people to see and that is when people get the impression that we have it all together. Just because I had homemade cupcakes and hand made toppers for E and F's birthday this past weekend, in no way says that I know what I'm doing or have it all together, To me it was saying, "Hey, look what I had time to do. I hope they like it!". I've been told by people before that they look up to me or that they don't know how I do it. I usually try to answer and honestly and humbly as I can but saying I DON'T have it all together, not even close. And some days I honestly have no idea how I do it, I just put one foot in front of the other. Even 6 kids in, I'm just figuring things out! So here is real:

The kid's laundry that will hopefully get washed and dried today but surely not folded or put away.

The kitchen. Neglected all weekend since we were out and about most of it.

I doubt you will see many pictures like this on Facebook. So let's all just be gentle with each other. This is hard, it's hard for all of us. And that's okay!

*For more encouragement head over to Small Town Simplicity