Saturday, January 31, 2009

Nebraska weather is so weird

I don't know if I'll ever get over how different the weather is here compared to Scotland. Especially how fast the weather can change!

A few days ago we were playing in the yard in the snow, sledding down the hill with coats and gloves and hats. We had to come in after a short while because it was so cold our hands were swelling up and getting red.

Today the snow is gone, the sun is shining. It says it's 50 degrees but it sure feels hotter. We've had to take our coats off outside because it's too darn hot. We're going for extra drinks of cool water and playing outside.

For Scotland, it takes half a year to reach the temperature extremes we've reached in the span of 4 days. I love it! Keeps you on your toes.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Why am I a vegetarian?

I've been meaning to post about this for a while, but kept getting sidetracked.

Romans 14
"2 For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. 3 Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him judge whether they are right or wrong. And with the Lord’s help, they will do what is right and will receive his approval...6 Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. "

I know you know when I went veggie, and the events that led to it, as I blogged about it at the time. But I thought I'd offer some insight into my feelings and reasoning about the issue.

I don't believe it's wrong to eat meat. Sure, Peter Singer's Animal Liberation is a very compelling book. But ultimately, I'm a Christian and I believe God gave us animals for consumption (amongst many other things, including companionship, and education). I don't preach vegetarianism at people and I don't believe everyone in the world must go veggie. Arguably, it could be detrimental to our eco system if they did!

Then why don't I eat meat? For me, I'd go as far as to say it would be a sin if I did. Bear with me here.

I have moral objections with the way we manufacture meat in the developed countries. The feedlots, mass producing meat by feeding them cheap corn they were never designed to eat, pumping them with antibiotics because they're living in their own filth, and basically treating them like they're not alive, they're simply assembly line items. I don't believe it's what God had in mind when he gave us permission to eat any meat.

Ok, so what then about humanely raised and butchered farm animals, or wild animals who are hunted? Not as bad at all, and if I was a meat eater, it's the way I'd go. However, I have to ask myself the question - would I personally be able to look the animal in the eye and kill it? Could I fire the gun, or slit the throat? No, I absolutely could not. Bottom line, meat doesn't just come from a package, and if I'm not willing to personally slaughter the animal, because it would convict me to do so, then I should not be eating it. Euphemistically wrapping it in plastic and sticking a nutritional information sticker on it doesn't change the fact that it lived and breathed and gave its life for this meal.

And it pangs my heart to think of that. I am a sensitive person, with a strong conscience. Some people feel comfortable with rearing and killing and cooking an animal and that's great. It would break my heart to watch the life pour out of one of God's creatures, at my own hands, just so I can add it to my menu. It hurts me to think about. So I shouldn't do it.

Ok, you have moral objections, but sin is too strong a word I hear you say. I'll respond with scripture:

Romans 14
14 I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong...
23 But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.

So for me, with my convictions, I believe I'd doing the right thing by abstaining from meat. I don't believe it makes me any more holy or righteous than meat eaters with no conviction.

But I do believe God has a purpose for me, and that he made me the way I am for a reason. I am a sensitive soul, and I believe that he wants to nurture that in me, so he can use this "weakness" towards his glory. I can certainly think of some uses he can make of a person like me, with a strong passion to protect the beauty and sanctity of life. I'm not flawed, I'm not wrong. I'm created for a purpose as we all are. Let's allow some diversity and keep in mind:

Romans 14
3 Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t.
17 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. 19 So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Helping with baking

I love that Zoe is at the age now where she can help bake things, and not just help make a mess! We had fun making these donuts, even though they tasted crap (I don't have a deep fat fryer and do a bad job of frying with a regular pan)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Real boys wear pink

When I was pregnant we were choosing diapers which Zoe and Turtle would share. I was convinced we were having another girl and insisted on pink while Rene strongly suggested a neutral color. Eventually he said "if it's important to you, we'll get the pink".
So now our son will just have to get used to it!

This pink bunny comforter was one we bought Lana a while back, in an attempt to get her to use it instead of twisting hair. Didn't work out obviously, and Zoe never took to it, but Glenn LOVES it! Ah he's so pretty!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

By self

Ah Zoe has reached that wonderful independent stage. She's started wanting to do things "by self". What I love about 2 (or almost 2 as in Zoe's case) is how they want to experiment with independence, but still need you just as much as ever, and always come back for a snuggle and a kiss.

Another thing that amuses me that she's been saying lately is "it was a accident". Such a big word for a wee lass. Too cute.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Burns night

Saturday night. Friends. Food. Fun.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

feak pie supper

One of the meals we used to enjoy in Scotland, when I was a carnivore, was steak pie and chips.

With all this puff pastry I've been making I figured I'd have a go at some veggie steak pie, or "feak pie" as I've been calling it.

It was a make it up as you go along thing, so I didn't expect it to work out. but it sure did. I think it will become a staple around here. It was even better than the real thing. And nothing had to die for it.

I made the seitan the night before, and it was the best seitan recipe ever. I'll be using it in future. So beefy and not rubbery, it was moist and juicy. Mmmmm. Then I cooked it up with the cooking (beef style) broth, some flour, seasonings, carrots and peas.

Then on went the puff pastry and I bunged it in the oven for...a while (didn't count or anything)

It was full of flavor, perfect texture. yummy.

And I made chip shop style chips to go with it, with plenty of salt and malt vinegar.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Burn's Night

We're having some friends over on Sat to celebrate Burns night (a day early)

I'm planning on making some Scottish foods, and we've ordered a couple tins of haggis. I'll be sure to post pics afterwards.

If you're wondering what Burns night is all about, check out this fun site.

Robert Burns

Lunch today

Paninis made with fresh homemade ciabatas, smothered in butter and pesto, topped with tomatoes and mozzarella then toasted on the griddle until the cheese melted. Delicious. The bread was so satifyingly crisp on the crust and soft inside. I'll have to make these again sometime so Rene can try them.

I also made a huge batch of baked mac n cheese which I will freeze in small portions for quick lunches. I tasted some too, it's pretty yum. But man I'm full now.

We've got bunnies

I didn't get round to posting this until now, just because it took me so long to get round to getting pics off my camera and uploaded to smugmug

Kaya got 2 bunnies for Christmas! She called then Nick and Neddy. Santa lucked out and got the bunnies, their cages, food, bedding, hay and water dispenser all for free from craigslist. They were waiting by the tree on Christmas morning and Kaya has been thrilled with them!

They're very cute. Cutting their nails is terrifying. They're really calm though and handle it well. We're trying to litter train them, they do most poops in the litter tray but not all.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The vision

This is the vision I am blessed to get to see every day. Is he not the sweetest darling ever in the whole world? Well, him and his sisters of course.
Here he is being naturally cute on camera

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Update on my Belle

I was looking through old posts and realized I hadn't given an update on this post or this one.

So first the eye surgery.

The stent was intended to remain in for 3-4 months before being removed in office. Unfortunately it came out on its own much earlier.

I was very worried that it meant the whole surgery was useless, a waste of time and money, and that we had put her through it all for nothing. But, thankfully, it seems it was successful! We've had no more problems with sticky or runny eyes. And the eye Dr said she's all better and we never have to go back for a check up or anything. She has normal, healthy eyes now! It's just wonderful.

Then there's the depression thing. Or whatever it was.

There has been a dramatic improvement in Lana. I think some dietary changes have made a difference. I think mostly though, the main thing has been her simply seeing that when we moved house this time, we didn't completely move away, we're still in Lincoln, going to the same groups and libraries and museums etc. I think she had gone into somewhat a depression because she was so scared of moving again, after moving from Scotland and then from Maine so soon.

Since we moved to our new house last April, she's been getting along wonderfully with our neighbour girls, and is growing and blossoming into a unique and for the most part, happy child.

I am convinced she still has sensory integration issues. She's incredibly sensitive to anything scratchy or uncomfortable. But this issue has also improved tremendously with a healthier attitude and healthier body. She is not as sensitive to sounds, she doesn't cover her ears anymore, she can handle wearing a greater variety of clothes than before, and is much more cuddly and accepts hugs and physical touch.

She still twists her hair, and won't be able to grow it long for a good while, I'd imagine. That's just Lana. It's how she copes with a world that's very overwhelming to her. She's no longer putting herself to sleep multiple times a day, nor lying around on the floor for hours on end without talking. She's like a new person.

She plays all day, she's busting at the seems with imagination and creativity. She's a veryunique girl who lives in her own world, for sure. But now she allows us to visit that world and see its beauty. She has a whole city of imaginary friends with backstories and neighbourhoods - she knows who lives beside whom, and who has what magic powers. They visit with her often and give her gifts. At any given time she has an imaginary cat or snake or baby ghost on her shoulder or head or in her pocket. And she'll talk and talk and talk about them. They make her suddenly bust out laughing in the middle of supper or watching a movie, because they do something silly.

Lana's so in touch with this whole realm of life that many of us just don't see or get. She's incredibly intuitive, and internal. Whatever is going on in life, Lana is always experiencing just a version of it. She's not quite completely with us in the real world, she's in her own parallell one, very close to ours, but prettier.

She's a loving, caring big sister. It took a good year and a half for her to fully accept Zoe, but she eventually did, and she cares for her and teaches her and plays with her and nurtures her. She loves to hold and dote over her baby brother, she hasn't expressed an ounce of jealousy towards him, but has been completely, selflessly in love with him from day one. He adores her too, and lights up whenever she sits beside him and talks to him.

She socializes and plays. She loves Sunday school at the new church, even though she's in a class on her own, without her sister there. She gets involved and is sad when its over.

She communicates and compromises so well with her sister. It's inspiring to sit it out when they're fighting, instead of intervening, and to hear them come to an agreement all on their own, and apologize and forgive each other then carry on playing happily.

I'm so proud of the beautiful (inside and out) girl Lana is blossoming into. I'm so happy that she is much healthier and happier. I'm sure we'll have trials with her in the future. But I feel like God gave us something incredibly unique and special in Lana. She's a little piece of enchantment, and a connection to a magical world. It's a blessing to share my days with her.

Monday, January 12, 2009

What have I read lately?

I've read a couple of books recently which have significantly influenced the way I think about food.

The Maker's Diet by Jordan Rubin starts off by telling his moving story of his battle with severe Crohn's Disease. It's a compelling story which gets you sucked into the book right away.

It's an easy read, but you'll uncover some rather shocking facts and theories about food. If you thought you were eating well, or you at least knew a decent amount about nutrition, this book will make you think again!

If you thought you were doing good by avoiding eating eggs and saturated fats to reduce your risk of cholesterol and therefore heart disease...this book may change your mind. Rubin claims many saturated fats are GOOD for you, and that at least 50% of dietary fat we consume should be saturated. In this book, Rubin states that, "the theory that saturated fats and cholesterol clog arteries has been effectively disproved".

Ok. But eating iron fortified, whole wheat breakfast cereal and whole grain breads must be healthy, right? According to the Maker's diet, if whole grains are not sprouted or fermented, they contain dangerous phytates, which block the absorption of essential nutrients (including iron in that iron fortified cereal).

Rubin encourages a primitive, biblical based diet. After reading this book, I felt a little like I couldn't eat anything, because nothing at all was healthy. Unfortunately I don't think we could afford to eat all whole foods, though I'd love to. But we are striving to make things from scratch whereever financially viable. Limiting processed foods can only be a good thing.

The other book was The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.
The dilemma referred to in the title is that of "what's for dinner tonight?". This book takes a good, hard look at where our food comes from and forces us to think about what the true cost of our supper is, economically, ethically, financially and environmentally.

If after reading the Maker's Diet and feeling guilty about eating whole grains and polyunsaturated fats, you at least think SURELY there's nothing bad can be said of organic food, then read this book to change your mind again. Pollan has much to say about industrial agriculture, including the industrial organic industry.

I found the section on sustainable farming fascinating, and the benefits of supporting local, sustainable farms have never made more sense to me.

Pollan is believer in evolution, which features heavily throughout this book, but if you subsitute "evolved to" with "was designed to" whenever you see a reference, you'll find it makes a whole lot more sense!

These books are both from a meat eater's standpoint and in fact both have a few anti-vegetarian things to say. However, I did find these books both highly enjoyable and they've given me a new perspective on menu planning. The Maker's Diet explains so much about nutrition and the importance of gastrointestincal health, whilst the Omivore's Dilemma stresses the importance of appreciating the value of food, and the story behind our food; it is a challenging and thought provoking book. You might as well look them up in your library for a wee read.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Scottish word of the week - 11

Scottish Word of the week : - BALTIC

adj. meaning cold.

eg. "I'm staying in the hoose today, it's baltic oot there"

Here's the demonstration by my always-a-good-sport husband

Friday, January 9, 2009

I wonder why

I wonder why God designed us such that the time postpartum hair loss seems to be at its peak, co-insides with the time babies start learning to grab onto things and pull things, and they favor hair.

My hair is falling out all over the place and Turtle constantly has a fresh chunk of it in his hands.

Here's a pic just 'cause he's cute.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I hining

Zoe thinks no one can see her if her eyes are covered.
She says "I hining mummy" (hiding)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Real Food

Warm, freshly baked wholegrain bread
Cream cheese
Sliced tomatoes
Organic green peppers (can't always afford organic, but , the local food co-op does "tired vegetables", which don't look any worse that Walmart's regular veggies, yet it's pesticide free and if you get there at the right time of year you'll get local produce. And this was a whole paper sack with like 8 peppers or something, for $2.94! Not bad.
Grated cheddar

= one yummy lunch.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ahhhh that's more like it.

Glenn slept so well last night! My boobs hadn't expected it, based on the previous night and were in overproductive mode. I had to wake him to feed him at about 6.30 am lest I explode. He had a guzzle with his eyes closed then went straight back to sleep. And is still sleeping now at 10.30 am!

I'm in a much better mood today. On my to do list is : visit post office, visit library ON MY OWN to get myself a book, do a huge clean and purge of the house, with Rene's help of course, take down tree and decorations, grudgingly (not ready for Christmas to be done)

Here's a layout. Blessed Are The Tears That Fall is a beautiful Bryan Duncan song.

Friday, January 2, 2009

One of those days

Turtle has been a wonderful sleeper since the beginning. I started to depend on that, and expect it. But last night was different. For whatever reason. He just wouldn't sleep. Kept waking up hungry and crying. As soon as he finally, thank goodness, fell asleep, I rolled over in bliss thinking I'd finally get some rest, when Rene's alarm goes off, loud as can be and he's so dazed and tired he doesn't remember how to switch it off. And Zoe wakes up. Screaming.

I finally settle her down and Glenn wakes up again. I nurse him to sleep, at long last. And then Kaya comes in to wake me up for breakfast.

So I started off the day grumpy. And it was destined to not end well.

I thought it would be best to just get out of the (very messy) house and have some fresh air. I got the kids ready to go and loaded into the car.

Ha! That sounds easy doesn't it? It fit into one little tiny sentence, just like that. In reality, it was
Kaya:"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhh the hair brush HURTS! NOOOOOOOOO. I'm never brushing my hair ever again"
Kaya: "I'm not putting trousers on, I want to go in my jammies"
Me: "Zoe, please don't throw everyone's shoes down the stairs"
Me: "No Lana, you can't go in just a t-shirt, you need a sweater or a coat. This is winter!"
Glenn: "waaaaaaaaa" (hungry)
Me: "No kids, please keep your coats and shoes on. We're late"
Lana: "But I'm thirsty and I didn't get my vitamin!!"
Me: wondering why someone's car is beeping so obnoxiously, then wondering where my keys are....then realizing they're in Zoe's hands and she had pressed the panic button "oh crap"
Kaya: "can I bring my toy car?" "can I bring my elmo?" "can I bring this game?" "can I bring this bag?" "can I bring another game?"

And more and more. So finally we leave, late. But we leave. We went to the la leche league breastfeeding cafe. That all went smoothly apart from Lana coming to me near tears telling me she was hungry and wished we brought food. So I promised her we'd get lunch as soon as we were done.

The meeting is at the library. When we were done, the kids wanted to go into the library to get some books. Sounded like a good idea. I forgot they had been cooped up in the house since before Christmas, that they had LOADS of energy built up and the library might not be the most accommodating location for their needs.

I set Zoe in front of the toys, Kaya and Lana quickly noticed a craft table set up and sat right down at it, while I searched the computer catalog with Turtle in the sling. He was a little fussy so I bounced him slightly and scribbled down reference numbers. Zoe started getting roudy. I scribbled faster. Zoe started running away. I ran after her and put her back in place. Zoe started having a melt down. I left Kaya and Lana to their crafts and took Zoe with me to the adult section to look for books, hoping that she just needed to stretch her legs a little and have a wee change of scene.

But no. She was running away from me saying "No mummy. No catch me." and pulling books off the shelves! She was pulling them down faster than I could pick them up. She was running to the next aisle while I picked up one aisle. Then she'd be hiding in some other aisle, doing more damage. I wish I had an extra set of arms and legs. Glenn started fussing because every time I bent over it squashed him in the sling. I scooped Zoe up and she started kicking and screaming and I struggled to not drop her as we made it back to the kids section.

By this point I was drawing a good bit of attention. And a few of my friends from LLL were in there too. Zoe didn't want to be in the kids section and started running away. I found a book for Kaya and scooped it up while catching Zoe for the umpteenth time and told kaya and Lana it was time to go NOW!

But Kaya didn't care for that idea. "But I didn't choose a book yet!" "No, you chose to make crafts instead" "That wasn't MY FAULT!" Meanwhile Zoe has another pile of books around her, parents and kids are staring and watching us like a good TV drama, and Zoe starts stripping off her coat and shoes. I'm squatting down again with Glenn fussing and getting squashed, while I try to put her shoes on and she screams "NO SHOES, NO SHOES" while Kaya yells "JUST ONE BOOK MUM". Kaya wouldn't hold her bag, I had a baby and a kicking and screaming toddler, Kaya's bag, Kaya's coat, my purse, Zoe's boots and coat and the book I was trying to take out, oh and Lana's hat, all clumsily in my arms while I tried to get Kaya to give up on the book idea and come with us.

I balanced all the way to the craft table and told Lana we have to go. "But I'm not finished my craft yet! waaaaaah" Thankfully when she saw how stressed I was, she was wise enough to do as I said, and she helped me carry my purse and came. I had to sternly tell Kaya "If you don't come now, we get no book today" and she eventually yelled "FINE!!!!!!" and came. Zoe dropped to the floor and made her body go limp in protest. I scooped her up as best as I could and made it to the counter, got the book out and got to the car where I had a chat with Kaya.


I had promised Lana lunch but did NOT want these kids getting out of their car seats. I was quite pleased to have them all strapped down. So I did the drive through at taco inn. First time I've taken them on a drive through. I don't think Zoe's ever been to a drive through..not that I can recall. We don't do it often, but it seemed like a good idea. However, it turned into fusses and fights and mess and ice cubes chucked all over the car. I tried to ignore it and enjoy my burrito. Took one bite and my CREAM CHEESE burrito had CHICKEN in it. Ugh. Forget it. So I went hungry.

The rest of the day went the same way. Constantly at least one kid crying. Somebody needs help reaching something, somebody spilled something, somebody is stuck, somebody needs help with the computer, somebody had a poop day (I think that's why he was fussy last night, he hadn't pooped in a week! And had a LOT stored up) and was up to his shoulders, somebody wouldn't share the chair, somebody's food is too cold, then too hot after microwaving it, somebody wants to remind me of every single thing I've ever promised to do but have failed to do yet, somebody stubbed their toe and thinks the whole world is about to end...

I just didn't have a good day. I'm sure it wouldn't have been half as bad if I wasn't sleep deprived and hungry all day. But it's over. And tomorrow is Saturday and I'm asking for a sleep in.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Scottish word of the week - 10

The word is: DROOKIT

adj. meaning wet.
eg. "I was oot in the rain fer 2 hours and I'm drookit."

Watch the video

Happy New Year

We didn't do much, the kids crashed out and we sat up on the bed having boring conversations, but it was sweet. Then we watched some lost season 4 special features, but gave up soon into it as we were tired.

I'm hoping to get more scrapbooking done this year. So I figured I'd start off as I hope to continue. Here's a page of the fam.