Monday, November 27, 2017

Summer Lessons

With the passing of a season hopefully comes a time of reflection. This is my imperfect look back at some of the lessons that I learned this past summer. Big things happened this past summer.  We moved.  Our oldest moved out.  Fun things happened.  We rediscovered the joy of living near our tribe.  We learned that our entertainment needs are changing. We rediscovered the joy of movement.  We spent time as a church focused on worship. 

This move, our 10th or 11th in 23 years, was mostly uneventful.  Our house sold in days.  Closing was quick, without issues.  We were blessed to have funds to hire movers for the heavy lifting.  Once you have moved as many times as we have, you get good at it!  The hardest part was mostly related to the fact that we moved our son to his college at the same time which I will address next.  Since moving back to be near our church, work, family, and friends, our overall happiness has increased a great deal.  The lesson here is do not move away from the most important things in life, even for a good job! Also, I am wary of moving.  This was not what I had planned for my life, always moving. Yet, we will move again when we find the right house. 

Moving our firstborn son to his college was harder than I had expected.  I mean it really threw me!  We were not on the best of terms and I was frightened that he'd make good on his promise to never speak to me again.  That first week or two I felt as if my heart was broken beyond repair.  The loss of daily contact was so difficult.  I missed him, missed hearing about his days, knowing he was OK.  I really think I dipped into a short depression.  I am thankful for friends who prayed for and listened to me.  Not knowing what else to do, I kept treating my son as if he was the loving son I so wanted.  I sent him a couple care packages.  I did not text him but once a week to say hello, to which I usually got no response.  Then a few weeks ago he suddenly wanted to come for a visit!  His visit, while stressful for me, seemed to go well.  He came for another visit unscheduled!  We got to hear all about his new world.  He was happy!  Since then he has texted back when I text him, which is such a joy.  He has not kept his angry promise of never talking to me again.  I am so thankful!  He is coming home this Friday for 10 days.  I had imagined him staying on campus, not wanting to be here, it was a choice he could make.  Lesson learned?  Take these life challenges to the LORD way ahead of time and hold fast to Him.  He will provide comfort and peace!  (Update:  Wow!  The Lord heard my prayers and then some!  Our son was home and it was a good visit, very peaceful  AND best of all, he hugged me when we took him back to school.  Three weeks until winter break with fly by.)

One fun thing that we rediscovered when we moved was that we don't need cable.  We really knew that already, but I guess we just needed a reminder.   We had planned to migrate our cable package with us when we moved, but as it turns out, it was not available here, so we were all of a sudden free!  We ended up buying an antenna.  We already had a Roku.  We tried Sling for a while but figured out that once baseball season was over we really didn't watch it enough to keep it.  We subscribed to our PBS station and unlocked a bunch of good shows like A Chef's Life and The Great Brittish Baking Show.  We also have a Netflix and Hulu trial to see which one we want to keep. Both have their good and bad points.

Both my husband and I started to feel sick and tired of being sick and tired, so we have been trying to be more mindful of our eating and moving.  I guess we learned the value of self-care this summer.  We have a long way to go, but at least we have regained our motivation. We get up at 5:30 each weekday and do a head to toe stretching program.  In addition, we are making an effort to walk, play, and ride bikes several times a week.  We enjoyed a family round of disc golf over Thanksgiving at a nearby park.  Living by so many parks and trails is awesome!! 

Finally, our church spent three weeks recently focused on worship.  While I am not finished digesting this series, it has rekindled in me a desire to prepare my heart better for worship before Sunday morning rolls around.  Worship is a gift! 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Late Fall Menu Planning

When I sit down each week to menu plan, I like to look back over the past few weeks to visualize what we have had previously and strive for some diversity.  I tend to repeat favorites on a regular basis, although those favorites change over time.  Below is a look at my menus from October.  Note we had 2 birthdays, an anniversary and we were on vacation one week! We ate out a ton more than usual. During the warm weather season, we grill once a week.  Now it is time to start making soup once a week, if not more. We will also have baked potatoes more often. 

Sn 10/1  Grilled brats, chicken, or hamburgers (making extra for tomorrow's lunch and dinner)
M  10/2  Grilled chicken salad (used leftover grilled chicken)
T   10/3  Roasted chicken (chicken was on sale!) with potatoes, onions, carrots
W  10/4 Tacos
TH 10/5 Make your own flatbread pizzas, spinach salad
F  10/6   Chicken Tetrazinni, with zucchini noodles
S  10/7 Out with family

Sn  10/8  Out for our 23rd anniversary
M  10/9 Chicken enchilada casserole, salad
T  10/10 Italian Beef, salad, rolls 
W 10/11 Meatloaf, sweet potatoes, broccoli
TH  10/12 Baked Cod, Brussel sprouts, brown rice
F  10/13 Out for pizza with visiting family
S  10/14 Chicken Alfredo pasta, spinach salad

Sn  10/15 Out with family 
M 10/16 Chili with all the trimmings, salad
T 10/17 Grilled steak on big salads
W 10/18 Fish Tacos
TH 10/19 Out for my birthday
F  10/20 Pork tenderloin, roasted vegetables
S 10/21 Leftovers

Sn 10/22 Chicken and noodles, corn, green beans, biscuits
M 10/23 Oven fried chicken, homemade macaroni and cheese, broccoli
T 10/24 Lemonthyme chicken thighs, fried okra, cornbread
W 10/25 Beef roast, carrots, brown rice
TH 10/26 Roasted turkey breast, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, cranberries
F  10/27 Leftovers
S 10/28  Chili and all the trimmings (freeze leftovers), salad

Sn 10/29  Pizza for Trevor's birthday party
M 10/30  Tuna cakes, cauliflower with cheese 
T 10/31 Turkey and rice soup (from homemade stock)
W  11/1 Italian Slow Cooker Chicken, "smashed" potatoes, green beans
TH 11/2  Naan bread pizza
F 11/3 Zuppa Toscana, winter salad
S 11/4 Cheeseburgers, salad

Sn 11/5 Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
M 11/6 Baked Potato bar with leftover chili, salad
T  11/7 Meatloaf, sweet potatoes, salad

Other Cool Weather Favorites:
Chicken Pot Pie
Cheeseburger Soup
Burrito Bowls