Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dad the Brave

My dad has been battling cancer for several months. Recently he got another dose of bad news- the treatments he's been receiving aren't working, and the cancer has spread quite a bit. With both his initial diagnosis and this last bit of news, he has courageously accepted it. He was the one to tell me both times on the phone, "Well it's not good news." He is mostly concerned for us and not himself.
My earliest memory of dad's bravery came when I accompanied him as he worked as a blacksmith. He would shoe horses part-time in addition to teaching. I was very nervous everytime I saw him crouched beneath a horse, especially a huge draft horse. Nothing awed me more than watching him confidently squeeze the back of a horse's leg and lift up a hoof. I always marveled that his head was smaller than the hoof of a draft horse. And yet, he put himself in authority over the horse. The animal usually complied.
Now, I pray for a miracle for my dad. The cancer is more powerful than him, but our God is in complete control. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2 I pray that Dad will continue to know the certainty of God as his Rock, Fortress, and Deliverer as he continues to bravely fight.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Heartwarming Moments

This evening in the bathtub, Molly was studying an empty bottle. She asked, "Words say?" I smiled and replied, "Baby Shampoo". For the first time she expressed an understanding of the purpose written language. It was so special to observe this milestone of her little brain's growth.

After the bath we were dancing along with "Dancing with the Stars". We all dance because Molly commands us to. "Daddy dance. Mommy dance," she says. All of a sudden, she stopped mid-step, and folded her hands. "Pray, pray," she implored us. How sweet that she would want to stop and pray!

Molly loves learning new words and names. She'll point to pictures in her books and ask, "What's that?" or "Boy's name?" Last week, in Walmart, she'd point down each aisle and ask, "Lady's name?" I'd respond, "Honey, I don't know. We haven't met that person." I'm thinking that I'll become a lot friendlier with strangers because of Molly!

At the park this evening, she looked beneath the play equipment and asked the name of a metal support holding up a platform. I told her it was a post. She repeated that word a couple times. It struck me how trusting she is. She believes everything that I say. I am the expert on words and names. Ryan and I taught her almost everything that she knows. That is humbling and amazing! I was thinking about how our faith in God should be the same way. Some people ask how I can reconcile my religious beliefs with my scientific knowledge. I guess that I trust God's word the same way Molly trusts mine. There's a lot that I don't know, but I do know that God is entirely good, and I can take Him at His word.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Random Thoughts

  • We are potty training today. Molly is good about using the potty when I ask her at the right time, but she's not good at telling me when she needs to go. She's had two accidents in her Elmo panties and three successful pees on the potty. (She drank a lot of water this morning!)
  • It has been cooler and rainy for several days here. We got caught in the rain while out jogging this morning. Oops! Molly stayed mostly dry under her canopy, but I was pretty wet.
  • I'm thankful for the rain which was needed. It also helps us save on our utilities- no running the sprinklers or AC.
  • The cooler weather means that it is hot chocolate season (and hot tea and coffee!). We enjoyed some Abuelita this morning. If you don't know what this is, you need to check it out! (Click here.)
  • I love the drive home from Central Market via 30 and 199. This route passes through several very diverse neighborhoods. The upper class yuppie Chapel Hill shopping center, the downtown/hospital district, the Northside (Mexican town), Lake Worth (redneck-ville) and our little section of suburbia.
  • Molly loves to help push the buttons on the microwave. She has learned the number zero very well because we use it a lot. I'm going to have to start cooking things for unusual amounts of time- 44 seconds, 1 minute and 38 seconds, etc. so she learns a variety of numbers.
  • I'm off to quickly update my cooking blog- emilycooksintexas.blogspot.com !

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Eating Natural For Less

Like many people I want our family to have healthy food to eat without spending too much. Organic and natural foods are often pricier than alternatives, but I've developed some strategies to implement them into our diets without sacrificing cost.

1. Price Compare - Several times I've purchased a one pound bag of organic whole (not baby) carrots for less than conventional. At Walmart I've twice found the organic to be less expensive. At Super Target, I've found these on special for 79 cents on two occasions.

This week, our Kroger ad had organic raspberries on sale for the same price as the conventional. Make sure to check the fine print in the ad; that's where I saw that the organic was included in the sale.

2. Check "sell-by" dates. Recently I noticed that all of the Laura's Lean Beef (Lean natural beef, raised without growth hormones or antibiotics on an all vegetarian diet- from their website) at Kroger had sell-by dates on the next day. I found a worker in the meat department and asked if they could be reduced because of the date. He told me that they would be $2.99 a pound instead of $6.99. That is a great deal for 4% and 8% ground beef. I bought four packages and threw them in the freezer immediately.

Because organic products don't often sell as quickly as others, stores often have a supply that is approaching the expiration date. Look for reduced prices on these. I've also found organic cheese and yogurt greatly reduced that had expiration dates several days later.

3. Shop online. My husband has follows a gluten free diet, and Envirokidz Organic Crispy Rice Bars are a staple in his diet. I often order these in bulk from amazon.com. Orders over $25 ship free, and they have a program called Subscribe and Save where you get free shipping and a 15% discount for signing up for periodic deliveries of your products. A few months ago they had an Earth Day special where you could get a free reusable grocery bag and $15 off of your order of Natural foods over $45. They often have various specials on different categories of products.

4. Sign up for coupons. Mambosprouts.com sends out coupons in the mail and has printable coupons on their site for organic products. Check out the Earthbound Organic website and click on the Products tab, and then Free Stuff and More. Occasionally coupons are available here. On the bottom of their site you can click to join their newsletter list. On the Horizon Organic website, you can print out coupons and subscribe to their enewsletter.

5. Be Creative. In an attempt to move toward more natural foods, I enjoy finding healthier options to conventional foods that aren't as pricey as organic. I buy wild caught fish because it contains less mercury than farm raised. A local grocery store recently had wild caught mahi mahi advertised for $2.99/lb. I asked at the fish counter for several frozen filets. The worker brought some from the back that was still frozen and individually wrapped. These are great keep frozen for future meals.

I'm also trying to avoid sodium nitrite in processed meat products. I noticed that Kroger had packages (Kroger brand) of uncured bacon that was all natural. The meat isn't from organically raised pigs, but it is free of nitrites and nitrates. It costs just a little more than conventional bacon. Similarly, Hormel Natural lunch meats are 100% natural and are often on sale for prices comparable to other lunch meat options. It is also easy to find coupons for these products.

As more people attempt to eat naturally, the costs of these products should fall. In the meantime, be a smart shopper as you move toward organic.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

2nd birthday party

The theme of Molly's party was Sesame Street. She loves everything Sesame Street. She wants to know the names of all of the characters, even the very minor ones. We got her a book about Zoe, a female character. In the book, Zoe's ballet teacher is pictured. Molly points to her and asks her name every time we read it. "Girl's name?" she says.

She loved her 2nd birthday party. She was happy and well-behaved. She ate and ate and ate, especially when her daddy kept giving her red frosting from Elmo. The frosting on the cake was an inch thick in most places! She got help opening gifts from her friends, which she didn't mind. All of her gifts were perfect- books, puzzles, clothes, a few small toys.