Monday, October 31, 2011

Ham and Green Bean Soup

Ham and Green Bean Soup

Eat Sometimes

1. 1 Bone in Ham
Cut ham into cubes, leaving some meat on the bone.
Place bone in a large pot. Cover with water
Place cubed ham in the refrigerator for later.
Simmer, covered for at least 45 minutes.
2. 1 t. Summer Savory
     1/2 t. Ground Pepper
Add to broth.

3. 2c. Green Beans
Cut into 1/2 in. pieces. Add to soup.
Add cubes of ham.

4. (optional)
    1/2 onion, finely sliced
    3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
    3 carrots, peeled and sliced
Add to soup. Cook until done.

5. (optional)
    milk or cream
Add to the soup just before eating

  • Cooking with bones adds flavor. It also provides extra nutrients that are in the bones. Can you think of a nutrient in bones that is also something you need in your body?
  • Have you heard of Summer savory before? It is an herb that is in the mint family. Smell it!
  • Be sure and taste your soup before serving it to see if it needs any more seasoning.
  • Salt is not needed in this recipe because ham is high in sodium (salt).
  • Adding potatoes, onions, and carrots to this soup will add extra nutrients and some carbohydrates. Adding some carbohydrates may improve satiety (the feeling of being full longer). Eating too many carbohydrates, however, may be unhealthy.
  • You can tell if a potato is done by poking it with a fork. If it easily splits in two, it is done.
  • Be sure to try eating this soup and politely tell your mom or dad what you think of it!
  • This soup can be kept in the refrigerator and saved for later if you have extra.
This recipe was written so that children can be a part of the process. The red instructions are intended for parents or very close parental supervision. The orange letters are intended for older children or parents. The green letters are for children to do with the parent's permission.

This soup is made at the stove, so always be cautious when cooking with heat!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

How Great Is Our God

I love different cultures. I love looking at the world at a different perspective than what I've grown to know. I am attracted to people that look different and talk different and sometimes think different. Oh, and eat different.

Yet it comes down to the fact that we are still people. We still have hopes, needs, dreams, fears, and loves.

It thrills me that I can connect with someone who was born half way across the world, someone who didn't even speak English until he was 12. We not only connect as friends, but as partners.

But I'm not just talking about my husband. No one culture fascinates me, they all do!

What really gives me the chills, though, is when I meet someone who was born across the ocean, who speaks a different language, but is my brother or sister because we both love Jesus. There is a connection that cannot be described. How great is our God.

That is why I love this song- How Great is Our God- world edition. My sharing with You Tube seems to not be working right, so I've linked it here. I hope it blesses you, too!

Ten Best Toys

At our local children's museum, they have a display of the ten best toys of all time.

More "best toys" are here.

I painted all day, and when I was painting, I had to make sure Max was entertained. I also had time to think about random stuff. So I came up with my list of 10 best toys. Some of these kept Max entertained today!

10. A hose. You can fill up buckets, spray it, watch the water run out it to the ground, and drink out of it!
9. The salad spinner. They actually make toys that work the same way! And this one can spin lettuce, too!.
8. A pile of dirt. We enjoy the time they are occupied, but we pay for it later.
7. Shoes. Really. Hours of entertainment.
6. Bath water. Water is fascinating.
5. Pea gravel. A new treasure hunt every day.
4. Refrigerator magnets. I must admit, I play with them, too.
3. Junk. One person's junk is a child's imaginary invention station.
2. Hats. I never knew someone could get so excited about a hat.
1. Vacuum sweepers. Especially the ones with the hose to reach down in the corners. So they can try to suck their skin up.

Do you have any best toys to add to the list?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Christmas and Giving

The nudge to give has grown stronger and stronger for me. I mean, not just once and a while, but a way of life. Well, sometimes it's a nudge and sometimes a push. I have lived without before, and am terrified of going through it again. I'm starting to get the hang of it.

During the K-Love pledge drive, Savannah was describing the process to me.

"First, they say all the telephone numbers, then, you hit send...."
"And THEN, all of your money disappears. All of it!" Brookie finishes for her.

Yes, giving can feel like that.

A few weeks later, there was a service organization handing out candy in the front of Wal-Mart and taking collections. On the way out, I gave each of the children something to give back to them. Savannah was so excited to give away her money.

"Oh, I just love to pay money when you get nothing!"

Sometimes it feels like that, too.

God knows us so well. He knows what we are ready for. It started out small. A few bucks here and there, and started growing. I've learned that if you know you should, you'd better do it. I've learned that God is faithful, and that he takes care of us when we genuinely take care of others.

And it has become very clear to me that I do have much. I am blessed. And if you are reading this from your own computer you are too. I have money for food, I have a car, I have plenty of clothes, I have much. My needs are all met. So when we complain about what we wish we had, isn't that a slap in the face to those without- and to Him who has blessed us?

I have been given much. I am rich. And I should live with this attitude to be thankful that even though I have done so little to deserve it, I can share with others because I am taken care of, I have enough resources to make something happen, I am victorious. God is so good.

This realization has made me more thankful, more happy, and more at peace. I wonder how would thanking God change the world?

So this morning I was getting the kids ready so I could go buy some paint. For some reason, I found myself on the computer looking up Operation Christmas Child to make sure I wasn't missing the deadline. I was planning to put a box together at some point.

I read through the site, and I was nudged again.

God: You need to do this today.
Me: Okay. That sounds like fun.
God: You need one box for each of your kids.
Me: ooooh, kay.
God: You need to spend as much on each box as you would on each of your children.
Me: .......................k.

Now, let me just say that I don't go broke over Christmas. My kids get presents, but nothing extravagant. A) because I don't like a lot of extra stuff to deal with B) because Christmas isn't just about opening presents C) I'm not rich I mean, I have a budget.

In addition, I happened to have a surprisingly increased amount in my checking account at this time in the month. Now, I could have used it up quickly by paying off some debt, but at that point and time, there was money sitting in my account.

It was clear. No one could ever convince me that there is not a personal God. It was just too clear.

We prayed for what to get since we don't know the children, but God does.

Each child was responsible for one box that would be given to a child their age and gender.

We found some snazzy wrapping paper.

And plastic shoe boxes on sale! (Sorry, camera phone.)

All kinds of presents And my heart stopped beating only for a few seconds when the cashier reported to total. Yep, about my Christmas budget for my children. Thank God I had it.

And now we have four bulging shoe boxes, ready to drop off.

I was so blessed. I hope everyone gets to do this. I think a day should be made of it. It should be a national holiday. Go ahead, take your kids out of school! (That's what we did!)

More giving has made me feel so much more blessed, more at peace, and has filled me with joy. I wonder how the world would change if people gave more?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Opinion: On Food (Part 3-Good, Better, Best)

So with all that stuff said, this is my passion. Creating a healthy environment for my family.

I have not perfected it yet. I probably never will. At least trying makes it better.

I believe in the good, better, and best method.

It is good to eat. Eating something is better than skipping a meal.
It is better to make grilled chicken with a side of asparagus  and rice than a donut.
It is best if the grilled chicken had no added hormones, if the asparagus was certified organic, and if the rice was wild.

I find that as I keep this in mind, I climb my way up the latter toward the best as far as I can go. When the budget is tighter, I go with what is on sale. If I  have a little flexibility, I spring for the healthier stuff.


In teaching child nutrition, the green light, yellow light, and red light tool has been used. Green is a food you can eat anytime, yellow foods are good for you but need to be limited to sometimes, and red foods should only be eaten once and a while. We keep a fruit bowl that is for anytime. We eat meals at specific times during the day to prevent overeating. We have a dessert every Friday.

If these eating events become a routine, it is a household way of doing things instead of something preached. Pre-made desserts can be eliminated from the grocery list and out of mind (at least more so). Kids can pick out their favorite fruit bowl fruits. Sit down meals can be enjoyed often.

The likelihood of healthy children is best when coming from a healthy family.

My Opinion: On Food (Part 2)

I just accidentaly deleted part 2.

Part 2, Round 2

Food and Weight

1) Americans are unhealthy. Most people say it's because we are overweight because studies show that the majority of the overweight people are the unhealthy people. Americans are overweight. However, I am not convinced that it is always the weight that is making us unhealthy, but the habits that are causing the extra pounds might just be causing the unhealthy bodies as well. I have witnessed a large amount of jaw-dropping eating habits. I'm not talking about one meal. I'm talking habits. And with these habits, it's no wonder we are in a health care crisis.

2) I don't think it is going to be fixed with a diet plan. Some diet plans are worth looking at, with caution, but keep in mind they want to make money. A heck of a lot of money can be made on fad diets.

3) Weight loss diets that swear by a particular way of eating and knock all others should be considered with extreme caution. I'll bet I can show you a healthy person that eats exactly the way that diet shuns.
Some people say the vegetarian diet is the best for them, others swear by high protein. Diets can get as heated as politics.

4) I don't think we will get healthier by focusing on the composition of our foods (primarily speaking). I think it has more to do with lifestyle and attitudes. We are wealthy enough to eat when we want and many times what we want, and we don't have discipline. We are emotional. The advertising industry knows this and takes advantage of it, from both ends. They get us to eat the foods we shouldn't, then convinces us to pay a lot of money to lose the fat we gained from eating those foods. So we lose 20 pounds in two weeks and then gain 30 back.

5) Various socio-economical groups of people tend to starve and feast. Busy working class (ahhhem.. or moms) get too involved, skip meals, grab fast or processed foods, and wait to eat until the next time they are famished. Beauty concerned people diet....yo-yo style. Poverty level skip meals and stock up on filling, high calorie, low nourishing foods to survive. Generally speaking, of course. Certain fasts can be healthy. The habit of meal skipping is not.

6) When studying diets, I see a lot of criticism of registered dietitians. Mainly because of the amount of carbs they encourage. I think I read things with an open mind. I want to know what is best and just because I was taught a certain way- if it is wrong, it's wrong. On one hand I get that the medical field does not tailor to individual needs. It tailors to the majority, based on studies. It comes at you with, "I'm going to recommend this meal plan because according to such and such study, it is most likely to work for you. And if I recommend this, that is also recommended by this research based article and the USDA, I won't get sued." Or something like that.

On the other hand, pleeeeeeeaaaaaseeee!!!!! Do you really think I will weigh your over priced food every single meal for the rest of my life? Do you think I will never eat a candy bar or, heck, a serving of brown rice ever again? Do you think that with a family of 6 I can afford your high protein, grass fed, purely organic menus? DO YOU REALLY think I have the time to make every little touch to my full coarse meals from it's most simple, unprocessed form? Impossible.

Dietitians are trained to help the masses. Diets don't cater to normal families. It's not healthy for a mom or dad to sit there eating a salad while the kiddos gobble up steak and potatoes in the name of weight loss. Sorry folks, but if one person needs to lose weight, all need to change lifestyles. That's why balance is the key. And one more thing. Even if you think you are eating the most perfect meal plan ever invented, someone will counter that.

Hospitals work the same way. I have not found an Atkins or Primal hospital yet, and though they may cater to you in the name of customer service, it will not be default diet plan.

7) But then again, healthy eating must be a priority- for our health. It helps the kids in school, it improves our quality of life, our productivity, and our attitudes. I think weight should be considered, but not a primary reason for changing eating behaviors. There is the high calorie, low nutrient, fully processed lifestyle on one end, and there is the incredibly expensive, time consuming, super duper healthy on the other. If you can do the super duper healthy option, good for you. The majority cannot.

If you are wanting to lose weight for the sake of looking great, may I suggest opting for a new hairstyle or dress. All sizes of people can be beautiful. If you want to be healthier and feel better, might I suggest changing a few lifestyle habits and you might just be surprised at how your body responds.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Opinion: On Food (Part 1)

I have been thinking of this blog post for some time now. How to say it...

Food and nutrition has become a big love and sometimes hate topic for me. Love because I love everything about food. It's necessary, but also yummy, fun, and beautiful. Hate because it's confusing and a huge industry so there is a lot of misinformation out there.

I am a registered dietitian. I distinctly remember a class that the dietetics majors shared with hotel and restaurant manager majors. You could tell the difference. For some reason, we sat on one side of the room and they on the other. We sat there, pen in hand, posture straight, quiet (except for a few thoughtful q&a), and occasionally glancing over to the other side of the room to the distraction of the easy going hotel-restaurant people. I often wondered why on earth I was on the studious side.

Dietetics is a very diverse area- I couldn't see myself in a white coat walking down the hall of a hospital with a clip board in had. I had no idea what to do after a very discouraging clinical rotation followed by graduation. The work I ended up with was truly a divine intervention. One week out of my clinical experience I was given a breath of fresh air at a small behavioral hospital for children. Eventually that is where I became a dietitian and still remain on the payroll. It is a place where I was free to use creativity in the food and the presentation of information. It was an exciting experience for me.  It fit me perfectly.

Yet I still find myself extremely anal. When it comes to food and nutrition, I tend to put on the white coat and look at numbers carefully. I do my research and make sure my process fits some kind of flow chart or another. This is the one and only area of my life where a type A creeps through, so I want to say this right.

And this will take a few parts...

I want to do more with food and nutrition  on this blog but I need to set a foundation- what my food priorities are, what information I hold valuable, and what my somewhat unique focus might be, because at times I might appear to contradict myself but I have a very well thought out food opinion.

Here is my summary:

Adult nutrition is ultimately the responsibility of the individual. You can go to a doctor, go to nutrition counseling, and do your research but actions are what make the difference.

Your family's diet will affect them. The food you eat will either help you or hurt you. It needs to be a priority.

Your life is not all about food. Good food is a foundation for life and sometimes a compliment to life, but it is not all you do, nor the most important thing you do. There needs to be a balance.

When dealing with children, the important thing is teaching a healthy lifestyle. Individual meals are important, but creating a lifestyle that will continue when the parent is not around is much more valuable.

Some foods help, some foods hurt, and some foods help and hurt. We need to focus on the good foods, get as many as we can, but be aware that we will ingest things that are not necessarily the best for us. It's life. Getting stressed or discouraged about food may even cause you to eat more of the bad stuff, since stress and food have a relationship. And finally, we need to pray that our food helps our bodies.

We cannot possibly know everything about food, nutrition, and our bodies. However, there are some things that we can do that will improve the quality and quantity of our lives.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


We needed to have a serious talk about love.

So I sat them around the table and we read 1 Corinthians 13- the part about what love is. We had a good, wholesome conversation about what it really is and and gave examples of how not to be selfish and boastful and how to be patient and kind.

My middle daughter has a way of not appearing to pay attention. She was doodling the entire time. In the middle of everything, she proudly marched up to me and presented me with her list of the fruit of the spirit. I guess our talk about love inspired her.

Now, I get dozens of sheets of paper aka "artwork" given to me each day. Some are impressive, some are sloppy scribbles, but all are given to me with the intention of receiving praise in return. I love children's art. I always want to praise their efforts in one way or another. I try not to laugh....

But sometimes it's harder than others. Even when you are in the middle of "the love" talk.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Family Traits

We are a learning family. Many questions are asked, many interesting conversations are had.

Something I find super neat about home school is how things just fall into place when I need it to. This is especially fantastic since my organizational skills are lacking at times. Coincidence? Absolutely not. God is my curriculum director- from school books to reading books to what happens to be in the news to bugs on a walk. I am so blessed.

Recently we have had questions about physical traits- brown skin, slanted eyes, curly hair, big lips. Why is Mommy the only white person in the family? Except for Ellie... who is my niece but resembles me more than a few of my kids.

And what do you know.

The science topic was traits- first species then traits within a species... what can mix and what can't.... and finally using house cats as an example of one species with different traits, comparing two different offspring.

So starts the family traits conversation.

Savannah looks most like me but has the darkest skin, Summer looks most like my husband but has the lightest skin and curly hair. And Brooke is aaaaallllll mixed up. My eyes, Dad's nose, Dad's lips, my smile. We studied hair, eyes and feet.

All beautifully different, yet alike. Family traits are pretty neat.