Monday, January 31, 2011

Every Other Month - 11,980 FT.

Two words. Soul sport. 

 There is a certain magic that happens the moment I step foot on the slopes.

 And gaze out upon God's great creation.

 And marvel at the grandiose spectacle of nature herself.

 And man's manipulation of it.

For a moment, I tuck myself deep into the trees. 

The snow is soft. And I am alone. It is silent. The air is still.

I lay back and look up. And am reminded to find the silent and the still inside myself. Ahhh.

 And there's no place I'd rather be in that moment.

Until the next moment comes along. When there's no place I'd rather be than sharing the most divine chocolate bar with a swinging chair full of beautiful women.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Natural Breathing Treatment

It's that time again. Everyone seems to be getting sick around these parts. In my opinion, the worst thing about dealing with head colds is the congestion. The cold may be gone but the dang congestion that lingers around for weeks on end is enough to make me want to chop off my head. Just before taking to such drastic measures for relief, I'll usually try this home remedy first.

It works powerfully thanks to these factors ~

Eucalyptus oil is a common decongestant and expectorant for inflammations and infections of the upper respiratory tract. It also offers anti-viral and antibacterial properties which help deal with infections.

Rosemary has anti-inflammatory compounds while thyme relaxes the bronchial tubes.

This is the perfect combination for relieving all that stuffiness. And it's inexpensive to boot.

ALERT: You do not ingest this remedy. You breath it in. (Just had to say it!)

Natural Breathing Treatment

You'll Need:

3 cups boiling water
1 TBS dried rosemary
1 TBS dried thyme
10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
kitchen towel

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Transfer to a glass bowl, measuring cup or what ever else is handy. Add 1 TBS rosemary and 1 TBS thyme. Stir well.

Add ten drops of the Eucalyptus oil. Stir well.

Place your head directly over the steaming bowl of herbs and oil, place a towel over your head to trap the steam in and breath deeply through your nose for a few minutes. Fun patterns of floating herbs will be your view while you wait for the treatment to take effect.

In times past, this treatment has saved me from progressing into a full-blown sinus infection. Thank God for cheap, easy and effective home remedies!

Please note: The ideas shared here are for informational purposes only and do not substitute for professional medical diagnosis or treatment. Please consult with your professional health care provider regarding your unique health concerns.

On occasion I enjoy going to YouTube and searching a keyword to see what it comes up with. I couldn't be more pleased with today's selection. This alone is my motivation to never consider chopping my head off again.

miss A - Breathe

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dry-Rub Baby Back Ribs

Simple. Delicious. Crock pot dinner. 

Enough Said. 

Sweet and savory. No sauce needed. Serve on the side if you wish. But I don't think you'll be inclined to dip. 

Enough said. 

Dry-Rub Baby Back Ribs


1-2 racks pork baby back ribs (approx. 3-4 lbs)
1/3 C brown sugar
1 TBS paprika
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp white pepper
3/4 tsp oregano, dried and crushed
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (half this amount if you prefer less heat)
1/4 tsp sugar

The Preparation Method:

You'll need to get a large crock-pot ready to receive the rubbed ribs.

Preparation is literally complete in two minutes from now.

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix well.

Shake the spices over your racks of ribs. Cover completely. Be generous.

Use your fingers to rub the spices into the meat. Repeat on the backside (bone side) of the rack.

Place the ribs inside the crockpot standing on their edges.

Set on low-heat. Cover. Walk away. Let cook for 8-10 hours. Follow the cardinal rule of crockery cooking: Don't remove the cover.

And there you have it. A delicious rack of dry-rub baby back ribs with minimal effort. YuMmy!

Play this song as you prep your ribs. It's the perfect accompaniment for this dish.

Memphis Jug Band - K.C. Moan

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

You're Gonna Miss This

My vision is becoming blurry. I can hardly talk. I might express my current sentiment in an ah-ta-ah-ta-ah-ah-ah kind of exhale. I'm nearly choking.

It's that song again.

You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days
Hadn't gone by so fast

These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this

No matter my current circimstnaces or locale, it never fails, I turn into a full-on weepfest when this ballad starts to play.

Don't even get me started trying to relate the lyrics to a friend. My hubby can attest to the streams of tears running down my face as I try to describe the meaning of the song to him. And then I have to stop talking about it to regain composure. I still don't think he knows why I like it so much.

But truly, there is something that touches me so deeply when I stop to think about all the rough moments
that I own as a parent. Despite how I so desperately want the moment of agony to cease — cue three young children screaming all at once for hours on end — I know that I'm gonna miss all of the beautiful moments of the young years when they're gone.

Turning back the pages even further, starting with the birth of my first child, I tear up just thinking about it. That labor. Those deep sensations of the womb.

That day, when the uterus gives its first real squeeze, it's a feeling unlike any other.

Despite how uncomfortable, unusual or un-freakin-believable those contractions may be, they harness a power and a beauty. The whole process downright touches the most primal places of the soul. If you let it.

The labor is a place where I have the opportunity to connect with the billions of human mothers who have birthed before me, not to mention the 490,000 woman who are birthing their children on the very day that I am birthing mine.

The intimacy of connecting with that deepest place in my body, it's a gift. One that I don't have the opportunity to receive countless times. For me, I've received the gift three times. And I miss it. I wish I could experience it every day. Well, maybe not every day.

Last night, I as taught my childbirth class, I had the special privilege of encountering one of my favorite moments of the whole series.

The Dramatization.

Those of you reading this who've taken my class know exactly what I'm talking about. Actually, you don't need to have taken my class to have seen me role-playing a woman in labor. Now that I think about it, I guess I do it at will random times throughout the day.

Anyhow, this morning it occurred to me for the first time why I so thoroughly enjoy performing this little skit of a woman working it out as she labors.

No, it's not that I get to strap on the fake belly — though it is fun to remember when my babies were always so close.

Nor is it the thrill of performance. Between you and me, I have been told that I could take my labor skit to Broadway. Shhhh.

When I really get down to it, I realize that it is the opportunity to represent labor for what it is.

A time to get primal.

A time to sing my birth song.

A time to embrace the power of the mantra, "My Body Rocks!"

A time to move and rock my body as I respond to some of the deepest body sensations I will ever have the privilege of knowing.

To paint the picture for you, my labor skit includes strapping on the fake belly, closing my eyes, finding my rhythm, changing position, moaning and groaning. And the beautiful part of it is... there are fourteen sets of eager eyes sitting before me realizing that all of this is normal in labor. There is nothing weird, spooky or scary about it.

The walking, the pacing, the pelvic rocking, the swaying, the hip circles... all of these responses to my labor are positive. This is how I respond to the profound message my body is giving me. Keep moving, shift the baby down, more pressure on the cervix, greater release of oxytocin, stronger contractions, larger movements with my hips, deeper groans with my voice. All of it is normal. All of it is beautiful.

This is labor. It is a treasure. And boy do I miss it.

(And special thanks to the Science and Sensibility blog for the impetus to write on this topic today!)

Trace Adkins - You're Gonna Miss This

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Swedes

I have a Swedish friend who has spent the last several years indoctrinating me with the 322 national celebrations of Sweden. It does not cease to amaze me week after week, all throughout the year, as she relates the joys of yet another Swedish holiday.

In fact, we were just over at her house the other day celebrating "the throwing out of the Christmas Tree" festival, somehow I forgot the Swedish word for this. Anyway, this cheery celebration includes dancing around the tree singing silly Swedish songs, removing all the decorations, eating the ornately designed gingerbread house, and the whole event is then capped off by throwing the tree out the door.

If you don't believe me that there is a national holiday every other week, check this out and you will know that I'm not pulling your leg. Not only do a thousand of these festivals exist, but the Swedes are pretty serious about celebrating them. At least that's what I observe from my one Swedish friend. She does represent all of Sweden doesn't she?

Whether or not she represents the whole nation, I gotta say, I love the Swedes.

They are a hearty and kind people.

They love to be naked.

They make magical buns of delight. But instead of bacon, theirs are sweet buns filled with all kinds of nordic surprises.

And as described above, they love to celebrate. It seems to me that it doesn't really matter the reason.

It's dark eighteen hours a day... let's gather around the bonfire.

The light is returning... let's party.

Time to say goodbye to Christmas... let's join in with the neighbors as we all toss that big bristly bush out the door.

All this to say, my Swedish friend has taught me a thing or two about winter, cold and carrying on.

It's a good thing too. The other morning it was somewhere in the realm of negative ninety degrees outside. My husband called on his way to work to report that I had left the interior lights on all night in the car. He wished me luck on getting it to start.

It didn't. After much cursing and dumbfounded acknowledgement of how I could possibly do something so dumb I accepted the fact that we were walking to school. Despite the children bundling up into puffy little snowmen, about halfway there I became increasingly concerned about all of us turning into icicles. The children pulled the baby sled in an attempt to keep the blood flowing. We began running. The baby's hood wouldn't stay on and his hair was flapping in the wind. I don't think we've ever run so fast in our lives, on snow that is.

And after warming up in the school building for a few minutes we regained sensation in our extremities Bubba and I embarked on our run home. When I turned around to make sure the baby was still hanging tight in the sled I saw this bluebird sky.

And I knew there was reason to celebrate. The joy of having legs that run. The fantastic sensation of lungs that breath. The great and mighty sun that shines. And babies that say "WOoHoO!" all the way home.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chili for a Chilly Day

Chili is my run-to dinner when the temperature outside drops into the single digits. It's hot, hearty and hella good. 

This weekend I made a batch to welcome home my two favorite skiers after a long day on the slopes. 

Chili for a Chilly Day

1 lb ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 sweet green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
(2) 14 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
(2) 15 oz cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz can tomato sauce
4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried crushed basil
1/4 tsp black pepper

The Preparation Method:

Chop onion, garlic and sweet green pepper. You'll need to use your imagination for what a chopped sweet green pepper would look like here. When it came time to cook my chili I didn't have one because I used it in another recipe earlier in the week. Doh.

In a large soup pot, crumble the ground beef and begin browning over medium-high heat.

Add the chopped onion, garlic and sweet pepper. Time to use your imagination again. Close your eyes and picture little specks of green in this photo.

Saute this mix until the meat is throughly browned and the onions are tender.

Add all of the remaining ingredients - diced tomatoes, kidney beans, tomato sauce, chili powder, basil and black pepper.

Stir to combine. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The flavors in this chili come together so nicely in such a brief amount of time. Enjoy with a cool crisp salad and some cornbread. You'll be in heaven in a hot, hearty and hella good kind of way!

This chili is also easily adapted for the crock pot. Ol' Bessie loves going to work on this first thing in the morning. Mama is extra happy in the evening when all I need to do to get dinner ready is grab a ladle and start dishing.

Crock-Pot Method:

Brown meat, onions, garlic and green pepper as described above.

Place in the crock-pot with all of the remaining ingredients.

Mix well to combine.

Cook on the low heat setting for 8 - 10 hours or the high heat setting for 4 - 5 hours.

I found this video when I was googling how to spell "Hella Good". One 'l' or two 'l's? That was the question. It's two 'l's. Thanks for your help Gwen.

No Doubt - Hella Good

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Stock Show

I lost track in December. 

I lost track of how much money we were spending on food. Between the out-of-town guests, Christmas parties and special holiday food, I threw in the towel. One thing I do know, those Lithuanian Bacon Buns and pounds upon pounds of Heavenly Burnt Sugar Almonds don't really fit in well with my $150 week budget. But it was the holidays after all. My "Why not?" motto kicked into high gear. 

I lost track of time. I have no idea how many weeks remain until my dear hubby walks across the stage to receive his diploma on that glorious day in May. When he's on break from school I guess I don't really care. 

I lost track of all sense of reality. I had a short holiday break from teaching my childbirth classes. I did, however, have the special privilege of attending a beautiful Christmas night labor and birth. These all night doula jobs always throw me into a time warp. It's hard to know which end is up after welcoming a new life into the world. The experience is gloriously otherworldly, no matter which way you look at it. 

But the biggest shift over the break was my dear husband finishing his finals in mid-December and not having to return to his schoolwork until mid-January. Somehow I forget during the semester how much life really changes when he doesn't have school to contend with. A schedule of full-time work, family, socializing and climbing almost feels slow paced.

Take for instance our family outing yesterday.

On a whim we decided to spend the afternoon at the stock show.

It was easy breazy going to a huge event like this with two adults and three children. There were a million people there, a hundred thousand wild animals (make that one hundred thousand and three when you add my rowdy bunch to the mix), and ten places to be all at once.

It felt so good to experience all the new sights and sounds as a family. After all, God did only make this woman with two hands and two eyes. I swear, during pregnancy with the third child God should have made a special provision to grow a second set of arms and a third eye for us ladies.

But that's not needed when all five of us are together. Thank you God for not answering my pregnancy prayer. That would look weird.

Just look at these youths. So calm. So serious. So invested in the advertisements selling horse semen. I can't blame them for being captivated. The horses in those catalogs are drop dead gorgeous.

If you study those catalogs long enough, you could order semen from a horse that looks like this. I suppose that would make sense if you had a mare to inseminate. We don't. So we won't be ordering any semen today. Shucks.

Or you could order the semen from these big guys. Take a close look at that man standing next to these beauties. He was not a small man. In fact, he was a huge man. Good thing, because these were the biggest dang horses I have ever seen with my two eyes. And they were majestic. I don't want their semen. I want them. For my backyard. You better believe my four year old was begging to bring them home. Sweet girl. Daddy said no.

And when the day was done and it was time to head home, the children were so exhausted they crashed within minutes of buckling into their seats. And this, my friends, gave me the greatest gift of all - time to talk with my husband uninterrupted all the way home.

So here's to the beginning of my sweet husband's last semester of this four-year journey towards a diploma. It's been long and tiring. But I think we're all ready to get 'er done. Only 18 weeks to go, in case you're counting!

I about fell over when I first heard this Auctioneer start singing his song at the stock show last night. I've never heard anything like this before, but it made me want to dance. Clearly I don't frequent very many auctions.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Every Other Month - Mexico

There are days. There are days, my friends.

Days when all I want to do is eat Heavenly Burnt Sugar Almonds.

Gorge on potato chips from morning 'til night.

Have a tall gin and tonic at 10am.

And take off to a far away exotic place, stat.

Today was one of them. Seeing as it's 10pm and I haven't given into the urge for the divine sugar coated almonds, resisted touching a single chip to my tongue, haven't yet broken into the gin, and am not yet waiting in the airport to fly far far away, I thought I'd browse through the photos from my dear husband's most recent Away Weekend.

These Away Weekends were designed to give The Dancing Cook and her dear husband an opportunity to clear the head, move slowly, sleep-in, sit on the toilet without interruption, and revive passions from the past - all in an effort to remember the ME in Mom-me and Dad-de. As the years tick along the ME is so quickly forgotten - thanks to the unending needs of the little people day in and day out.

December was his Away Weekend. January will be mine.

The rules:

Leave. Leave fast. Run if you have to. Don't look back.

Go alone. Go with friends. Just don't even think about taking any of us with you.

Unabashedly enjoy your independence.

Do activities that will revive your soul.

Try something new.

Plan in advance. Or be spontaneous.

Close. Far. It doesn't matter.

If it fits the budget, do it.

So a couple weeks ago he took off on a plane to a far away exotic location and slept in a tent.

And ate breakfast, lunch and dinner on Coca-Cola folding tables.

And got really close to frightening large arachnids.

And found joy in climbing up rock faces with nothing but a thin rope and a few hefty paper clips.

Steep rock faces, mind you.

Oh boy. Did I say steep? I meant SHEER.

That's the lower half of him. Just "hanging out".

He really enjoyed pointing out the palm tree growing on the side of this rock. Now that's just unnatural. Just as I suppose seeing human beings on the side of this rock is unnatural as well.

But this is his peace. This is his soul sport. God love him.

And now time for a tune. My nerves have been rattled a bit by the absolute sheerness of those cliffs. So we turn to MC Solaar. This music is so smooth. The way I feel when I listen to MC Solaar is how I imagine those dancers must feel out on the rock.

MC Solaar - La Belle Et Le Bad Boy

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...