I missed breakfast, grabbed a croissant for lunch, ate a rice crispie treat and then another, then skipped dinner, and ate a rice crispie treat and a couple of those fudge covered graham crackers. Somewhere around 8p I sauted fresh spinach in BACON GREASE and topped it with balsamic vinegar - dinner. With a hawaiian roll slathered in apple butter. and then ate another rice crispie treat. I didn't even make those rice crispie treats, I know better!
AND then I decided that chicken nuggets and tostitos with cheese dip would be great before bed!
Not the healthiest of my eating days.
I'm not on a diet, just a quest to eat HALF what I normally eat, in order to get down to pre-medium weight (in case you are wondering that's 30 pounds away!)
Hardly a "half" day, more like double.
and I did have 2 cups of coffee (it's really half Vanilla Caramel Coffeemate and half coffee) and then water.
Oh, I probably won't post anything on those "good" eating days. Just the ones where I whip out bacon grease for supper.
That, by the way, is my recipe for a quick Wilted Lettuce salad, minus the onion and bacon.
over gumdrops and icing icicles already "missing" from gingerbread houses,
over ornaments hung askew,
and over pretzels & cookies decorated with waaaay too many sprinkles for one person.,
over a bible story my toddler prefers over others,
over a new tradition, the nightly Jesse Tree scripture and ornament,
I am blessed to be celebrating our Clausen holiday traditions together.
Tree - decorated ... check.
Gingerbread houses - completed ... check.
Pretzels - dipped in chocolate and sprinkles ... check.
Precious dreaming blessings ... check.
Christmas carols blaring in my car ... check (and thank YOU tall)
hmmm, I still have things to get done... driving around to see light displays, canning Apple Butter for gifts, more cookies to bake and give, presents to wrap, stories to read, fires to sit by, children to play with, husband to snuggle up to.
This ornament was my "White Elephant" Gift at a Christmas party friday night.
Friday was my day of Hope.
so God sent me a lovely reminder...
in a most unexpected place ...
a place where, due to many tears that just won't stop coming,
I almost did not go... (I am glad we did, we needed to laugh and hang with friends.)
This christmas party is renowned for gag gifts... really good white elephants, like the coconut bra, a rainbow propeller beanie cap, a mounted piece of driftwood (and who knew that a VHS collectors set of Red Skelton could be so highly coveted, changing hands 5 or 6 times), music lessons with a distinctly non-musical Scott Joggerst, a singing jerk-dancing rein-dog thing, lighted collector Christmas town pieces and the occasional yummy chocolate gift pack.
yes, a very unlikely place for my daddy to give me a hug...
and yet... He did.
"Hope" will be hanging on our Christmas tree this year and every year.
and Hope will be hanging out within our hearts eternally.
and on a lighter note...
This was my mother's brooch. I wore it on purpose to the party!
We have many good friends who are pregnant. In many various stages... M is 20 weeks with a sweet little girl!, E is 12 weeks, and L is 14 weeks, and now S is 5 weeks pregnant! I also have a few friends via blog that are expecting. Pregnancy all around me and it has been this way for over 3 months! LIFE! LIFE! LIFE! It is a blessing to have this much expectancy of new life surrounding me.
Now, miraculously, we have friends pregnant who never expected to be pregnant again. Our friends have a beautiful daughter, adopted a beautiful daughter from China and are in process of adopting a child from Ethiopia ... and now against medical odds, are expecting their second biological child in July of next year. (she had ectopic pregnancies, so this is powerful) Truly an answer to many prayers that have been sent forth on their behalf, prayers that looked like they were returning void for over 8 years... and yet... He is God. His ways are not our ways. Truly miraculous. Now to become a family of 6... sweet dreams fulfilling. also ... for me on a very personal level ...
Truly HOPE inspiring.
Because, after this recent ectopic pregnancy, I am left with too many questions.
Another pregnancy could be ectopic again... or worse.
My tube was sectioned to remove our precious tiny ... will it scar completely closed OR will there be an opening into my abdomen?
Am I still fertile? Does my other tube function?
So, HOW am I to ever hope for pregnancy? HOPE for another child.
Not to sound dis-satisfied with my current blessings... they are Fabulous. We simply believe we are not yet finished having children... have believed it for over 4 years.
so, in the midst of doubt, dispair, general emotional attack ...
I have been crying out to God ... HOW do I HOPE ??? HOW do I rest in YOU ???
Well, I know I believe my scripture Jeremiah 29:11
and I can look to my miraculous God ... who is still performing miracles and giving hope
and now after a couple of weeks of hopelessness, with small bursts of hope obliterated thrown in... my sweet ABBA sends me new hope in a very unexpected way...
In a friends miraculous pregnancy! (Note: we believe all pregnancy is a miracle, this particular case is a miracle within a miracle, defying medical expectations)
Even if we never get pregnant again...
I CAN still HOLD HOPE in my heart for miraculous possibilities AND gain joy in the miracles occurring around me, especially for those in friends I know and love. I have many blessings. Rejoicing for friends is definitely one of them. It is difficult to explain that amidst our own mourning, we still take joy in gift of Life that God blesses others with. We simply do. without question. God blesses those whom He chooses. and we are not left wanting. period.
Besides, have you seen the cute faces I see every day at my breakfast lunch and supper table! :)
Last year for Christmas, I made a batch with a friend and we gave it as gifts. This year, I want to make it again to give to different friends as gifts. I only found a few of the above bottles last year, not sure if I will find any this year. I have managed to save a few bottles of various types throughout this year that might work for vanilla. (Like wild organics olive oil bottles, rinsed and dried prior to use)
So, in all fairness of telling you about it and even showing how gorgeous it is. I will now share my recipe for it!
How to make homemade vanilla:
You can use new bottles from the store (world market carries some like the ones I used last year OR you can save and re-use those cute little dark brown glass vanilla bottles that used to have the store-bought kind in them.) Make sure if you are re-using that you scrub off the labels and wash the bottles in hot soapy water before you begin!
Next step - find Vanilla beans. You want Madagascar vanilla beans. Again, World Market carries them or you can find them on amazon.com.
For EACH 2-ounce bottle :
1/4 scant cup vodka (Any kind will do, I prefer the smirnoff) 1 Tablespoon Dark Rum 1 vanilla bean
Using your kitchen scissors, cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, leaving about an inch connected (not cut) at one end. Now your bean looks like a "Y".
Combine the vodka and rum in a glass measuring cup.
Push cut vanilla bean down into jar.
Using a funnel add combined alcohol to your clean and dry vanilla jar.
Close lid tightly. All done!
Store the bottles for one to two months in a cool, dry place. Once a week, reach in and gently shake each bottle.
The extract will be completely ready in two months, and will remain good for years. (you can give the vanilla prior to the two months, simply instruct your friend to gently shake the bottle each week until ready)
Tie a pretty ribbon or some colored raffia onto the neck, adding a cookie cutter and recipe card using vanilla if you like, and "Viola" you now have a lovely gift for a friend.
Make sure you keep 2 bottles for yourself. This way you always have one ready to use while another is maturing.
Things to remember:
1. Shake the bottle prior to each use.
2. The flecks that come out in the Vanilla are pure baking gold, like the little brown flecks you find in your true vanilla bean ice cream - yummy!
3. You can easily add vodka when your bottle gets low and it will steep while you use up the other bottle!