Finding My Happiness: Perspective

This morning I read the article and watched an interview with the¬†the mother daughter duo who survived the Boston Marathon Bombing. They held hands throughout the interview, and the mother was so positive (after losing her legs mind you) and thankful to be alive. She was not complaining and was smiling even when in tears. I cried like a little girl, something I seem to do a lot lately. As my kids reminds me everytime I say that, I am a girl ūüėČ

It got me thinking about happiness. In our world today we are so focused on self and fulfilling our own needs but yet it seems to me that there is a dissatisfaction with life and a desire to find more. I understand that this is normal and even good in some ways, but I also see that this can cause such an introverted perspective that we forget how much we really have to be thankful for.

This last year has brought changes to my family. In August I closed my business, which I LOVED. Then in September, after many emergency calls from the school, doctors visits, and ER trips, my seven-year¬†old was diagnosed with epilepsy. Even after that uncertainty, it doesn’t compare to the terror we felt when she overdosed¬†after a prescription error and ended up in a hospital with wires and tubes everywhere. Since then she has undergone¬†multiple MRI’s, EEG’s, EKG’s, and blood tests, some to monitor the epilepsy, and some to monitor for damage from the overdose. She has faced it with the sweetest, bravest face that has taught her momma a lot.

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facing the tube

Now through all of this, a lifestyle change and income change and a health scare in the family, I have realized this has been a really happy year for me and my family. I have pondered all of this, trying to pinpoint why.¬† What I came up with is the shift in perspective. You stop caring as much about inconsequential things when the things that are most important to you are threatened. I enjoy the little things so much more in life now, and I don’t have this dissatisfaction and focus on¬†the things I don’t get to do. I used to really be bothered by wanting to travel, or go out more with friends, or to buy this or that. Suddenly, I’m excited for my kids to get home from school, the house is clean and we can go to the park. My husband and I play board games with our children, and my husband yells hysterically or laughs maniacally depending on¬†if the game is in his favor, much to their delight. I have to admit this makes me love¬†him just a little more.

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card shark, look at that smirk!

I get this weird satisfaction from the mess that’s left after they go to school (I call it the before and after), because it means they were healthy and happy enough to make a mess. I have time to plan healthy meals, look for free events in our area, and learn new things while they are at school.

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Swimming!

We have taken to calling the trips to the specialist Mommy/Daughter time, we stay in a hotel with a pool and swim and eat out and wander around stores, something we don’t normally get to do. This has changed what could be scary into something she looks forward to, with the doctors visits and tests just a small part of the trip rather than the focus.

I look back now and am thankful I closed my¬†business because it gave¬†me the¬†room to be my daughters advocate, and to focus on giving her the environment and structure that she needs to lessen the chance of¬†seizures.¬†I have found joy in being a homemaker, and found joy in nurturing a peaceful environment for my family.¬† My kids are only going to be in my care for a little while, and I will have lots of time, the rest of my life in fact,¬†to do what I want to do.¬†My life is much simpler without all the “must-have”¬†but so, so much more satisfying now. I am good with that, I am focused on what is truly important, the life I have RIGHT NOW.¬†So it’s not about how much money you have, or about how perfect everything is. True happiness comes from recognizing the blessing you have been given, and from making the most of¬†your¬†life, whatever that is for you.

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Loves of My Life

The Treacherous Mom Strikes Again: Mexi-burgers

The treacherous cook has struck again! Yesterday I got stirred up to make burgers but to put to work some of my ideas. I defrosted three pounds of lean hamburger (discounted to $1.49 early a.m.!). I shredded 2 zucchini and one bunch of celery, then put the blade in and added 1/2 package of turkey bacon and pureed it together.

Pureed zucchini, celery & turkey bacon

Pureed zucchini, celery & turkey bacon

Then I mixed it into the hamburger and added seasoning (I mixed applewood, hickory maple¬†& steak seasoning, cumin, dehydrated onions¬†& garlic powder, along with a spoonful of salsa…YUM!) I cook with my nose so on this one go according to taste!

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mixed into meat, estimating 1/2 is veggies!

Tossed it to cook, put mexican cheese on it, spread homemade guacamole on a tortilla to make it a mexi-burger! It was a hit that was ate with seconds by¬†all with blissful ignorance. You can see the carnage below ūüôā

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one of the victims ūüôā

This made about¬†11 servings (extra for¬†dad’s¬†lunch) at a cost of $0.94 cents per serving! Go Mom!

My Fast Food Freezer

My family has a love/hate relationship with fast food.¬† We love it because its yummy, (mostly) cheap, and of course fast. We hate it because we know how seriously bad it is for our tummies, wallets, and overall health. When I stopped working last year I began to really look into ways to save money and knew that this was something I had to address. I kept coming across freezer meals, a concept I ADORE!¬† But while that helps mom on busy days and cuts money since you are cooking in bulk, that still did not address my problem on what to grab in the mornings (I am worthless till about noon), or when we are flying out the door somewhere, or when mommy is to busy (or lazy)¬†to throw a snack together. My husband does seriously believe that it is easier to drive the two blocks to¬†McDonald’s than to make¬†himself PB&J so I had to do some thinking here.

What I came up with is my fast food freezer, stuffed full of fast and (mostly) nutritious food that takes on average 1-2 minute for the fam-bam to microwave.  I rotate a variety of usually four choices at a time: breakfast burritos, meat burritos, green chili & cheese corn dog muffins, mini quiches, waffles, individual slices of banana bread or zucchini bread, and I always have pre-portioned bags with different combinations of fruit to make fruit & yogurt smoothies. I organize them with magazine holders and it works like a charm. Here is an idea of what it looks like right now:

Mommy's Quick Fixes!

Mommy’s Quick Fixes!

This is quite a project so I took to doing a little at a time, usually adding to¬†it¬†stash one or two nights a week.¬† This also keeps a variety so they don’t get burned out. Last¬†week I cooked two nights. Tuesday¬†night I made up 3 dozen Green Chili & Cheese Corn Dog Muffins which are super yummy and a hit with my New Mexico crew. Friday night I doubled up and made 30 breakfast burritos & 3 dozen mini quiches. Sometime this week I will be¬†making waffles. ¬†I usually make 3 dozen of each item in my family since that seems¬†to make everything last through the month. I wrap¬†most things in foil in individual servings, with the exception¬†of the waffles¬†(gallon size freezer bags) and the slices of banana¬†and¬†zucchini bread¬†(Saran wrap).

I tell you folks, this has saved my budget and has helped I don’t know how many mornings when I would have ended up hitting the drive-thru before school or church or whatever thing I was running late for ūüėČ And I couldn’t be happier about how much kinder this is to my lovies tummies!

Here are my recent project recipes:

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Green Chili & Cheese Corn Dog Muffins

Preheat oven to 400′

Mix together 5 c flour, 3 3/4 c cornmeal, 1 1/4 c sugar, 3 Tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder 2 1/2 tsp baking soda and  2 1/2 tsp salt.

Mix 3 c milk , 28 oz can green chili sauce, 5 eggs, 1 c applesauce

Combine above ingredients,¬†stir in¬†2 c shredded mexican cheese, 2 pkgs hot dogs (cut in 4 pieces long ways then diced for little’s safety! Huge choking hazard!) and diced green chili’s to personal¬†taste/tolerance.

Spray muffin pan a little heavier than you normally would (gives it that corn dog taste, you do not need papers), put about 1/4 c batter per cup, and cook for 15 minutes.

Die with happiness ūüôā

Makes 36 servings, cost approximately $0.28 per serving!

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Yummy Healthy Mini Quiches:

Choose your fillings and adjust the recipe accordingly, this is how I made mine this time. My combinations change according to what is on sale ūüôā

Preheat oven to 350′

In a skillet brown 1 pkg turkey bacon, 1 can diced tomatoes, 3/4 c red bell peppers, 1/2 c mushrooms, 1/2 c diced onion, 1 clove garlic (minced) 2 tsp italian seasoning in olive oil. In large bowl, beat 2 dozen large/jumbo eggs w 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup green chili sauce, 1/2 tsp ground mustard, 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper. Mix in turkey filling. Add 1 bag prefered shredded cheese (I use a mexican blend). Line muffin cups, cut pie crust to fit bottom of cups, or cut bigger to come up sides. I prefer to buy premade crust and use a small biscuit cutter and line the bottoms. Then pour 1/4 c egg mixture into each cup, bake for approximately 30 minutes, pull out when tops become golden, but before they brown.

Now your tummy’s¬†healthy¬†and happy!

Makes 3 dozen, cost approximately $0.31 cents per serving!

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New Mexican Breakfast Burritos

In a large skillet (you might need two depending on how large yours is), cook 3 large potatoes (peeled and diced) in 2 tsp oil on medium high w lid. Assemble ingredients. Add two pounds sausage, 1 large onion, 1 can rotel (tomatoes & green chili), 1 can diced tomatoes, 1/2 tsp taco seasoning, 1 tsp italian seasoning, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper. Cook until sausage is browned and potatoes are done. In bowl, mix 3 dozen eggs w 1/4 c green chili sauce and 1/4 c milk, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt. Add to sausage mixture, cook until done. Mix in two cups preferred shredded cheese (I use mexican on  this as well). I buy tortillas (come in ten counts) from a local taqueria here that makes them better than mama! They are the most expensive part of this but worth it.  Laying tortilla on top of foil, sprinkle desired amount of cheese, scoop approximately 3/4 c egg mixture and fold into burrito, wrapping foil around when you are done. Voila!

Makes 30 fat breakfast burritos, cost approximately $1.65 (about half of this cost is the wonderful tortillas!)

Procrastinator’s New Years Resolution “My Perfect Life”

Ok so if you know me this is nothing new. I THINK about things for a long time before I get around to doing them. I’ve been throwing around ideas of what my perfect life would be. I struggle a lot with frustration at failing myself and my family and knowing that I do know what to do, but as usual I put it off. So here goes…

Linda Helen waaaay back in the day

#1… I HAVE to get healthy! My weight and my body is a torment to me right now. I am willing to throw myself out there because I know others suffer as I do *sigh*. As of today I weigh ….237.2 at 5’4.75″ ¬†ūüė¶ I am a classic yo-yo dieter.¬†Eighteen Months ago¬†my weight was 236, and after nine months of healthy eating it was 214, now it has shot back up. I know how to eat right, I know how to exercise, but I just don’t follow through. This is a HUGE area of discontent to me, and I know that I am not going to feel good until I conquer this. I am a fan of Lysa Terkheaurst’s book “Made to Crave” and know that I am fully capable of being consistent, but just have to make myself do it. This is step one to my “Perfect Life”…getting healthy!

#2…My House! Ok I admit I want to call it My “STUPID” House because I do not understand how on earth it gets so messy! I am not the most organized person (but I do think about it a lot!) but it is cleaned quite often, almost daily, and messy again by night fall, always daily. This drives me BONKERS. I have two beautiful kiddos who know how to clean, my seven-year old daughter can get on a mission and clean better than I do, with free organizing services depending on her mood. My thirteen year old son is your typical teenage boy, willing to help depending on what consequences and rewards will be put on the table. My point is, it should not get this messy! Also, I make about 3 pots of coffee a day, and drink 2.5 of them so what the heck? I should have a spotless, very well-organized house. One day I am going to be organized! LOL ok you get the point¬†but this is definitely step two to my Perfect Life…keep a clean house!

#3…It’s all about the Money, Honey! I feel like at this point in our lives we should have our act together. I am really good with couponing, and can remember numbers and basically know what I need to do, but I SUCK at it! I am pretty rediculous at going over budget, I am chronically late paying bills, and we can’t even really say we live paycheck to paycheck, because¬†we are usally¬†usually broke shortly after we get paid.. I am always scrambling looking for a way to make a quick buck to pay for whatever emergency situation I have found myself in.¬† I have been reading alot lately, trying to find answers to this and have really been learning alot, but again it comes back to actually doing it. I am DESPERATE to stop this unhealthy and dangerous cycle, I live in fear of a real emergency. This is step three to My Perfect Life…become financially responsible!

#4…Fashionably late? I am always rushing to EVERYTHING and have to just about trick myself to get places on time. I sometimes feel like mean old Mr.¬†Murphy has a personal vendetta against me. If I lay out the kids clothes and they are dressed early, someone will spill something on themselves three minutes before we are suppossed to¬†BE THERE. If I have everyone ready on time, I get to the van and realize I CANNOT FIND MY STUPID KEYS! I am just a mess in this area and it drives me nuts. On the other side of the coin, I hate, hate, HATE waiting. I cannot stand to get the school 15 minutes before the bell rings when the good moms show up because I don’t know what to do with myself. I feel like I wasted my life just sitting there. I have brought books with me if you are going to recommend that, so don’t :). I know it probably says something horrible about my character, but there it is. This would be step¬†four to my Perfect Life…being on time!

So I know that I have a lot more that I need to fix about me and my life, but that’s where I am going to start. I know I will not be perfect, but want to at least start heading in the right direction. Health, House, Money, Time! Lets see if I can get somewhere.