Friday, June 20, 2014

Love of a Lifetime


                 (Picture by paulasserindipity.blogspot)

Love That Lasts a Lifetime

What’s the first thing that goes through your mind when you see a picture like the one above? Study it a minute. Do you wonder what they are talking about? What they are thinking looking out at the endless water?  If you’re like me the thought that follows is something like… “I always wanted a love like inseparable, unbreakable, Notebook kind of love”. How many of those loves do you personally know? Did you say not many?  I venture to say you know more than you think!

When I was a teenager, I think I dated three people before Kerry and got married a month after I turned eighteen. Not because I was pregnant or for any other reason, other than I couldn’t think of anything greater than being married to Kerry and waking up with him every day. I came from a time of when you were going to sleep with somebody, you better be married.  From the time I met him, how I felt about him was different from anyone else. He was and is the love of my life.

 I’d be lying if I said I knew how tough it was going to be! Not long after I got married and my friends were still going out, I was a little sad that I was staying home. When I found out what a temper Kerry had, I wondered how can he say he loves me so much,  but yet get this mad at me once a month or so? I’m sure I wasn’t all Kerry thought I was either. I think he had the idea the husband was the final say, the boss, the money holder and I was to be submissive. If you know me submissive is one word in the dictionary I missed! I am and have always been, determined to be what I believe I was born to be, and follow what I feel is God’s plan for my life.
                                    Picture from flickr

I gave my all to my husband and family. Kerry and I had our stereotypical gender roles and followed them. I being the woman, cooked all the meals, grocery shopped, washed all the clothes, minded the kids who were all my responsibility to bathe, discipline and tend to. He worked at one and two jobs at times to support us and did a good job of it. He had to be the handyman, the mechanic, and do the “man stuff”.

We were happy a lot of the time. We're either laughing, joking and having fun,  or screaming, fighting and not getting along. Fights seemed to come out of the blue. But after every fight came new promises of change and we both believed change was on the way. So we muddled on.

You have heard me say before that marriage is like thinking your going to Hawaii and winding up in Alaska…still pretty but just a whole different thing than your young mind thinks it was going to be. No map, no trail your just whacking your way through life with a machete! Not very pretty when you look back but you blazed a trail none the less.  

I know couples our age that have been married around forty years too that got to where they are with a whole lot less drama than Kerry and I. One couple has just kind of run parallel down the road side by side, all these years. She stayed in her lane and he stayed in his. They didn’t have all the trips to "Crazyville" we had, they just didn’t interact much at all. They went in their own cars and showed up at the same functions. They just didn’t communicate much. Their lanes are running a little closer together these days.

Another couple I know has survived years of infidelity. Just looking the other way at all that went with that. They too never had the crazy fighting we had. A polite topical on the outside, relationship that hid both peoples real feelings. In the end it was all put in the past and they had a lot of  joy from having stuck it out and the reward that came from from that decision. They were closer than ever at the end of their lives.

Another love I know was more fighting and struggling this time with alcoholism. She’d have to literally escape sometimes to get away from him when he was drinking, yet they are inseparable all these years later. He is her best friend and she his.

Other of our friends seem to have been each other’s half since they got together. But years of him not working and other issues nearly tore them apart at one point. They too are closer now that they are older. They have been left with no kids at home and who else but that person that’s walked the same walk as you, wants to talk about the kids like you do? Who else shares your worries, your pride and their kids now?

My own parents didn’t get to live their’s all out. My Dad passed away after thirty years of marriage,  and they had had their share of problems like everyone else. There had been infidelity and communication problems but when he lay in the hospital bed at the end of his life,  and he seemed to know his time was short. Believe me, he wanted to be with my Mom and would have been for eternity had he been granted that chance.


My point to this blog is that wouldn't it be great if we all stop feeling like we don’t have that love like the old people in the pictures? A PERFECT love. Maybe imperfect is perfect? I don’t know any that had no down times, do you? Kerry’s and mine is more like the couple directly above. She’s being bossy, and he’s wondering what the hell she’s talking about (even the bird seems a little leary of her). The relationship however is honest, real and both of us have the best of intentions to live peacefully, it just runs off the rails at times!  There really might not even be ANY perfect love stories, do you agree? I think it’s ok too,  if there isn’t.  It’s an incredible thing to have worked for the relationship, weathered the storms… the personal storms, that are unique to only that one love.  They’re still muddling through, whatever the struggles. Looking back at that path,  its not straight, it's not neat and surely the outcome was never well planned, but they made it. Now that is a testament to real love!

Some friends got into marriages that didn’t work, and one of them decided the struggles were to much, the price was to high.  They cut the cord and let the marriage go. That probably saved everyone a lot of turmoil, because every case is different, and every decision has pros and cons.  Today maybe they are lucky enough to be in love with the love of their lives. That’s their love story, that’s what worked for them. Everyone has a unique love story! The length of it is just that… the length of it.

I’m happy Kerry and I are still together. Still laughing and having fun one minute, only to fight about the radio five seconds later. Important stuff like that you know…after forty years!  We enjoy Easton and all that’s going on with our kids. Soon were going to be Grandparents again, and get a new daughter in law, who we love!  When I’m sick and I call Kerry…he’s concerned about me, he checks on me and just the sound of his voice gives me comfort. The kids gave us shirts for our anniversary that said, Married since 1973 on the back. On the front it says, “14,975 days but who’s counting”! We got so many people asking about our shirts as we were pushing Easton around in a stroller Hawaii.  

So next time we look at aged faces capturing perfect love, maybe if we were more realistic with ourselves, and took off our rose colored glasses we’d see struggle, lots of it, that led them to this place of facing the uncertain years huddled together with determination to get to the other side with dignity and trust you only have in that one special person! Let’s rejoice in our personal love stories, now matter how long they’ve been going on or how long they last. Give ourselves a pat on the back! Here’s to us! Here’s to love!  Cheers!


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Yummy in the Tummy

I have jotted down how Syd and I make Easton’s baby food for some of the girls’ friends who are asking me. I am just a Grandma, not a nutritionist so this is just how we did it, not thee way to do it. When the doctor said to go ahead and give Easton solid foods this is how we did it.

First of all we bought these trays from Amazon. There are cheaper ones on Amazon now but I haven’t used them. Some covers look like they slide on… I dunno about that.  



We bought organic fruits and vegetables when we could. Sprouts has a good selection, but any of the grocery stores and Wal-Mart has organic produce. We also bought a Nutribullet which was perfect for the job of pureeing.

We started with rice cereal and oat meal. After four days of each of them, we tried apples. I peeled, cooked and pureed about six apples in distilled water about half way up the apples. After freezing them we fed him one cube once a day for four days, (watching for any allergy symptoms like rash or breathing issues), to start out with. After four days we made carrots (organic baby carrots) the same way we made the apples. Only cook them until they are soft enough to puree. For example, we fed him apples and rice cereal in the morning and carrots and oatmeal at night after enough days had past. Next we added one fruit or veg every four days. In the stage one category are:











Green beans



Sweet Potato

He also ate bananas and avocados( he doesn’t like avocados much but we try it) which we didn’t freeze and fed mashed up


After the baby food is cooked, pureed, and frozen at least over night, we bagged them in labeled gallon baggies (dollar store) and put them in the freezer. I get the cubes out of the trays by running hot water on the bottom of the tray. The trays with the green lid just take a quick twist. The mumi ones you have to push one end of the cube with your finger and they come out. You can even freeze breast milk in these but we just used the little plastic bags for that.  I did use my microwave about twenty seconds to thaw them knowing cooking in the microwave might be not as good as heating on the stove but it was fast.

We added whole milk yogurt at eight months and he started eating three times a day- the recipe for that is on my blog too. He ate these foods until he was a year old, and the doctor told us he could eat whatever we ate. At that time we started mixing and adding to the list.

We are still experimenting as he is only fourteen months now. We don’t have a full menu but some of the things Easton likes, that we added are green peas mixed with organic black beans ( which I freeze in the cubes with a little water on the top, I don’t have to puree them for some reason and he likes them)! At fourteen months he eats two or three green pea cubes and one black bean mixed in. I also make him chicken pot pie, puree it and freeze it in cubes. We also buy organic rotisserie chicken, roast it a little longer with some water in the bottom of the pan, let it cool and puree it with some of the water for chicken cubes. He only eats one of those because it’s solid protein. I make cauliflower and broccoli and add some white cheese, puree it, and freeze. I make him whole wheat baby pancakes and freeze them in a gallon zip lock and take out what I need. He’s up to five little pancakes in the morning with some spiced apples (apples with cinnamon in them). I make pumpkin pie filling and freeze that. We have frozen mashed potatoes.  If I have left over bean soup I puree it. You wouldn’t have to puree it at this point but he has only certain things he likes the texture of. He could be eating macaroni and cheese and lots of things you will think of but he doesn’t like a lot yet. The doctor wants Easton to drink two cups of whole milk a day so he has yogurt every lunch right now, with a vegetable and a fruit on top and a little pumpkin muffin or raisin toast or something. If he has a green veg at lunch then he has orange at night or vise versa. I keep potato flakes and rice cereal handy and if whatever hes going to eat is runny or something I add tablespoon of potatos or a little rice cereal to thicken it.  

I could go into a long spiel about how much cheaper this is but I will leave it at this. Apples are 2.67 a bag and one bag makes about 40 cubes. That is .07 a cube. There are probably three cubes in a pouch of apples for 1.83 in some stores compared to .21 cents and you know what’s in it! When you are going somewhere you just put the frozen cubes in the bowls. I like these because the lids are good and tight.


When were home we heat in glass bowls only, like the ones below.


This is just a rough guideline. It depends on your children, your life, how busy you are, and how making baby food fits into your life. If you’re already doing a balancing act then it’s probably not for you because it is time consuming, which is the biggest drawback. For Sydney and me it was good because I am home all day, and she is a single Mom without a lot of money. I was asked to write this down for some of the kids’ friends and that’s all this is…what we did. Growing up all of my kids ate Gerber’s in a glass jar, drank juice etc because that’s what we did then so don’t beat yourself up if that’s what you want to do.
They all grow up! Speaking of that this is the cutest baby movie.
 It shows how babies all over the world have a different norm and all grow up fine!  Here’s to all the sweet babies in the world!





Thursday, January 16, 2014

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

My little grandson has been eating these muffins since he was about 8 mo old. They are one of his favorite things to eat so I decided to jot it down. Maybe there are other babies that would love them too. Wholesome ingredients are the best part.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins


8    TBSP coconut oil

1  cup sugar

4  eggs

2  cups pumpkin puree

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice

3/4 tsp salt

2 2/3 cups whole wheat flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line about 50 ( if that’s too many cut the recipe in half) muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the coconut oil and sugar until well mixed. Add the eggs, pumpkin and vanilla and continue mixing until smooth.
  3. Mix in the baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Add flour a little bit at a time until everything is well mixed.
  4. Spoon batter into the muffin cups, this doesn’t rise much so you can almost fill them.
  5. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
These muffins are dense and not crumbly for a baby to handle. Serve warmed up with a little butter on them. Keeps well in the freezer so you can take out one or two as needed.   

Monday, January 13, 2014

Home Made Vanilla Greek Yogurt


This is my recipe to make yogurt. I started making it for Easton, my then 8 mo old grandson, but I eat it too. If you have babies… it’s so simple, wholesome and cheap. Babies as you probably know need fat and are supposed to be drinking whole milk according to the AAP after the age of one. About 8 mos old they can start on whole milk yogurt because yogurt is digested differently than milk. The story behind this yogurt making of mine is that when Easton was born, Sydney being a single Mom wanted to feed him as cheaply and wholesomely as we could. We’ve been making his food all along.

You will need a crock pot, although you can follow the same procedure on the stove, I just haven’t tried it.

You’ll need a gallon of organic WHOLE milk (I use Shamrock here in AZ)

A 12 oz carton of organic (I use Stony field) Plain yogurt. (Nothing in it but milk and milk cultures). * I buy organic milk, and yogurt, because I don’t like the antibiotics in reg. milk but you can use any whole milk if you are comfortable or even raw milk.   

1 to 1½ cup sugar

2 TBSP vanilla

I start this process about noon on a day that I will be home all afternoon. It’s not time consuming but you need to be around to watch the temperature. Every crock pot heats up at a different speed, so for the first few times you make it,  note how long your crock pot took to get to the desired temp ...YOU DON"T WANT TO BOIL IT!


 Start by pouring the milk into the crock pot and heating it on high it until it reaches 180 degrees on a candy thermometer like the one below, to kill all the bacteria in the milk. This takes about 2 hours in my crock pot but it will depend on your pot, and the amount of milk you put in as well. If a scum forms on the milk while you're checking the temp just skim it off and throw it away.


 Once the milk reaches 180, unplug the crock pot and let it sit covered for a couple hours or so until the temp cool down to 110 degrees. You cool the milk to that temp so it’s not too warm to kill off the new cultures you are going to add when you add the yogurt starter to make the new batch of yogurt. 

At the 110 degree point you add 12 oz of yogurt and mix into the milk with a whisk.  No need to whip it just mix it in good. Make sure the yogurt you buy has nothing but milk and milk cultures in it (no pectin or stablizers), if you want to stay true to the nothing added for babies, although any yogurt will work. At that time you can add the sugar to your own liking, and pure vanilla and stir it all together throughly.  ( I tried other more organic sweeteners like maple syrup, etc. but I didn't like the taste so went back to sugar. Like I said this is how I make it, not how it is to be made, chiseled in stone. A recipe is just a starting place... mess around with it and make it your own like you and your family like it. Maybe you'd rather use a pot than a crock pot for example, or you like yours unsweetened. 
After you mix the sugar, starter yogurt, and vanilla in, put the lid back on the crock pot leaving it unplugged ( so no one messes with the knobs ) crock pot, and cover and tuck around three bath towels making a warm, dark environment for bacteria to grow. Let is sit there for 12 hours or so (overnight). When you open the lid there may be water standing on top. That is called whey and is full of protein and vitamins and a wonderful probiodics. You can drain that off, if you like a thicker yogurt and use it in something else.  I never do I just mix it back in to the yogurt and then pour the yogurt into a plastic bowl with a pouring spout to fill my jars neatly. I invested in some little jars just because I like them but it can be stored in any jar with a cover.  The jars I like are these from Amazon, although they will leak if tipped over in a lunch bag the reviews say, but I only keep them in the fridge so I love them.

The batch this size makes 24 6 oz jars of yogurt. I feed my Grandson one every day so that’s how long it last depending on how many I eat, it’s so good! It keeps in the fridge up to a month, however I’m always out by then. You can cut the recipe in half if you want to.

Now, do the math money wise. A carton of yogurt is on average $1.25 per 6 ounce serving. The home made yogurt was 3.83 for the milk, .75 for the sugar, .25 for the vanilla and 3.24 for the 12 oz Greek yogurt starter. That adds up to 8.07 divided by 24 = 33.6 cents compared to 1.25. It’s a little less firm, than the yogurt that has stabilizers and pectin etc... but not enough to make a huge difference and you know they are eating just milk, yogurt, sugar and vanilla, rather than an inch of stuff on a carton you don’t even know what it is. Easton likes it plain, or sometimes I put fruit in it. I have pureed strawberries ( after baby is a year) . Until then they can have blueberries, peaches, apples or many other fruits. It’s so simple, I hope you enjoy it.