Saturday, March 30, 2013

Battle of the Secret Ingredient Cakes

Or,'s cauliflower cake vs.'s black bean cake

Both looked fabulous in pictures, and had gushy reviews, so we gave them a shot and had a taste test, before handing out the blood red velvet not healthy at all cake for my 3rd son's birthday. In a survey of 10 voting children and 2 voting parents, the bean cake won 11 to 1.

Sorry to say for Katie, we threw most of her's away. It is possible I didn't add enough stevia, so it was pretty dark, but it just honestly never stopped tasting or smelling like cauliflower. She said her boyfriend said it was the best chocolate cake he'd ever eaten, but I'm thinking it must have been a new boyfriend, or something. Normally, I really love the stuff on her website. (Homemade larabars!!)

H.I.'s bean cake was good, it's half gone. However, it is a case in point of the concept that not everything called 'healthy' is equally healthy. Katie's cake contains spelt flour, cauliflower, flax, and xylitol, frosted with almond butter and pure maple syrup primarily. Although too much nut butter has a lot of fat, it also has protein and therefore some nutritional value. H.I.'s cake had, in addition to the black beans, 5 eggs and 6 tbs coconut oil, with a STICK of butter in the frosting! Not something you can really feel good about eating. Katie says 'healthy' and means vegan and of nutritional value, H.I. says 'healthy' and means low carb and gluten free. For the long run of life, I know Katie's cake is healthier. But it's cake, and cake has to taste good.

I've been trying lots of healthy foods. Some you eat because they're good for you. Some you eat because you're hungry. But cake has to be something you eat because it's delicious. I might try Katie's frosting on the bean cake sometime, because it was finger-lickin' good.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Hobbit

A review from a homeschooling housewife who almost never watches movies

My children have forgotten that this is the day they've been waiting for, the day The Hobbit comes out on DVD, and I will forget to remind them until such time as we have a good opportunity to do something about it. For my part, I am also excited to see it and have it, because I never really enjoy any movie the first time, perhaps even less one that undertakes to represent a beloved book.

Granted, I should have written this review when I first saw it, or I should wait till I see it again, but hopefully my memory holds from the impressions I had then but neglected to write.

In so many ways, The Hobbit was the second cup of tea from a very good bag. Still delicious, but not nearly as much as the first. We have the same wonderful scenery, many of the same actors, some similar musical themes, the same feel. This also shoots us in the foot a little, since some of the players, notably Gandalf, have aged in real life. That cannot be hidden. But I don't think any of us could imagine another Gandalf.

Bilbo, on the other hand, I think we accept almost seamlessly. He is Bilbo. He doesn't like surprises or adventures and did they leave without me?? I don't like the trifling with his motivations, why he did what he did, with the whole, going so the dwarves have a home business. Whatever. They went for the treasure, for pride, for greed. Let's don't try to redeem it. Bilbo didn't go to give the dwarves a home. He went because something rose up in him to be more than he had been, to see if he could be more, or die trying. It was about him, not them.

I didn't care for Agent Smith (from The Matrix) as Elrond in any of the movies. Hugo Weaving is NOT the master of 'The Last Homely House' pictured in the hobbit, nor is it necessary to forever pound on the Elves vs. Dwarves theme at every opportunity. We get it. Dwarves and Elves have issues. K. Thanks. Move along.

I know we need Galadriel to visit because there has to be at least one girl action figure to sell, but, I, yeah, what? Nah.

I loved the trolls, even if they did it without Gandalf throwing his voice.

Main beef, main problem, big deal: in the book, Bilbo happens upon the ring before knowing Gollum exists. In the movie, he is truly a thief. The problem is that Gandalf says later that the reason Bilbo (and later Frodo) is able to give the ring up is because he did not come by it deceitfully. Here, Bilbo does knowingly take what belongs to someone else. That's a big deal.

Who? Jabba the Hutt? In Middle Earth? I know we have to create a series of villians to justify the 3 movies, and have to develop them enough to hate and fear them and wish their demise, but this goblin king was not my fave. I guess I think of the Hobbit's goblins as dirtier, battier, more demonic dark sooty things that would get you inky and dirty if you touched them. These fat white albino goblins with big eyes are just weird.

I love the variety among dwarves. They are not all the same after all. I was surprised to really like a too young Thorin and a too old Balin. But Bombur was not believable, and many of the dwarves cutesy hair was too, too much.

The 'battle' scenes felt like a video game and the whole thing was geared for the 3D glasses I didn't wear. In short, I think the market being pursued was the younger, gaming crowd that hasn't read the book and wasn't old enough to see the trilogy in theatres, knowing that all the rest of us suckers will show up because Middle Earth feels like home to us and Gandalf reminds us of our old Gaffer.

It was ok. Not great. But ok, and I get it. They're making money, that's why. That is why hollywood exists, afterall. It was a good piggyback. My hopes are low for the second and 3rd installment of the piggyback, but I can't wait to see what they do with Beorn, and I look forward to more of Radagast - what fun!

And that is my review of the Hobbit, 3 months or so overdue.

Schmoopy and springing forwarder

I am awake, at 6:24 a.m., courtesy of my son, who decided today to spring even further forward and get up at the nearly magical hour of 4:46. Nearly magical, because if it would have been 4:44, it would have been a neat reminder of Isaiah 44:4 and how I belong to the Lord and crap like that. But it wasn't. (Though, in his defense, and His, I'm sure the baby was, in fact, awake at 4:44. I was just hoping he'd go back to sleep. He didn't.) And now, I predict he will go back to sleep right about the time the other babies' internal alarm is set to begin their conquest and destruction of the planet.

I'm pondering, of all things, the whole grace/law mystery. Is it possible that God, and Jesus, and let's throw the Holy Spirit in there too, is it possible that He/They really like/love/accept/see me the same, at the end of the day, the same if I am good as if I am bad? That whether I read my whole Youversion Bible allotment and am kind to my children and they get all their stuff done and I make homemade soup and bread and walk the dog and he actually poops and I use cloth diapers (on the babies, that is) and rinse them right away and make my bed and run on the treadmill and lose 60 lbs, or I'm a slacker and don't do any of those things, He likes and loves me the same?

Because I trip on the verses that say things like (and I'm honestly quoting an old Petra song here, not the actual Bible, but THEY were quoting the Bible, so that's almost the same) how can (how can) we who are dead to sin live any longer therein. The real verses are in Romans. I grew up hating Romans. I don't get it. Or when I do, it's for a fleeting moment. Then it's gone. This is obviously not one of those moments, now, is it? No.

I've always, I think, been addicted. So happens I'm addicted to eating now. At least I think I am. I have these triggers. When I eat one of them, sweet things or bread mostly, I forget completely that I ever wanted to eat healthy or be thin or strong or a good example to my children, and all I want to do is eat everything in the world, or at least within walking distance. Hence the fatness.

And I really do think it's a spiritual issue. I am supposed to be dead to sin, but I'm walking therein! There are lots of verses, Old and New Testament, about the appetite and the god of our bellies, (end of Phil. 3), and I believe I have heard abundantly clearly from God to KNOCK IT OFF, stay away from the triggers, and eat healthy and glorify Him with my body. If I don't do that, it's sin, right? If He tells me what to do and I don't do it, I'm pretty sure that's sin.

So how can He like me?

(the baby is back asleep, other babies still asleep, but hubs is up now, opportunity for snuggles is gone, besides, I'm in the middle of a ponder here)

My sin continues to separate me, although I know and He knows and you know He already done died on the cross for it. I know (we all know) that it's me that does the separatin'.

I just can't understand how He can like me!!! I can't. I don't. Why does He want to be with me when I screw up every day all the time? Why does He want to be my friend? I wouldn't.

I am reading the book Wild Love by my friend Chris DuPre. (He really is my friend, not just on Facebook). He says, roughly, that our capacity to love cannot go beyond how much we perceive God's love for us. I think maybe I perceive His love. It's His 'like' that I struggle with.

And so I struggle with everyone else's like as well. My husband, my friends, whoever. I don't like me, I don't know why God would like me, why the heck would you?

I think you find what you look for in people, and that may be the key here. It is possible that when He looks at me, He is not looking for the sin. It's there. It's just not what He's after. What I imagine He is after is my heart. Funny, we sing that to Him, "I am after Your heart, I'm after You." It's like that old (stupid) Seinfeld episode (which, maybe I didn't see but only heard about) where Jerry has met his match, Jeanine with-the-long-last-name-like-Galapogos-turtle-but-that's-not-it, and they make googoo eyes and have mock arguements about who loves who the most, saying over and over to everyone's annoyance, "You're schmoopy, no you're schmoopy."

I am after His heart, only to find He's after mine. It's a mystery. A big fat schmoopy mystery.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Already waiting

I have this in my heart for a family who recently lost their baby boy, and so many others who have lost their little ones during this season. I'm not saying I know how it feels. This is just part of my heart's response to the grief I feel for them and imagine for my own son.

My son you will never know hunger
My son you will never know pain
My son you will never be lonely for anyone in
The beauty of the Lamb

My son you will never know sorrow
My son you will never feel shame
My son you will never be addicted to anything but
The light of Jesus' face

And though it breaks my heart each day
Since you left my empty arms
Still it would be worse to have to face eternity without you
I know that I'll see your face
Forever when I come home
You'll already be waiting there

My child so many things I wish for you
Now will never ever happen
But the thing I wish for you more than anything else
That thing you already have

And though it breaks my heart each day
Since you left my empty heart
Still it would be worse to have to face eternity without you
I know that I'll see your face
Forever when I come home
You'll already be waiting there

How great is the loss, having had you in my womb, my heart, my hands
All empty now without you
How desperate my sadness, if any that I have here breathing with me
Live lives full of years but empty of their Savior

My son, I am jealous for your laughter
My son, I am aching for your smile
My son, I am lonely to hold you in my arms but I know I will
I just have to wait a little while

And though it breaks my heart each day
Since you left my empty heart
Still it would be worse to have to face eternity without you
I know that I'll see your face
Forever when I come home
You'll already be waiting there
Until then
You're already waiting there

Friday, March 15, 2013

Super hard week

It began last Thursday. No, Wednesday. Wednesday night, Dad painted the kitchen in preparation for the new floor in the kitchen and dining room. Our dining room is really our school room. Every child has a cubby and a shelf where they keep all their school books and things. We moved everything from the kitchen and dining room to the living room, including the fridge and the first floor toilet, and moved to the attic for a couple days.

The next thing that happened is that people started to get sick. In particular, the three big kids were sick and all had a paper to write from the same reading material and a test to take and speeches to give. There were places to go or not, decisions to make (in some cases I made the wrong one).

But then there were the particulars of what kind of sick everyone was. There were fevers, there was coughing, there were people laying around everywhere. And then the smallest of people had the kind of sickness that requires diaper and pants to be changed every few minutes. 3 people, non stop liquid nasty down the leg.

So no one can find anything, everyone laying around coughing, some puking, fevering, down the legging, and then the dad got sick. And he's pretty much dead with fever. Completely incapacitated. And then the dishwasher broke. Again.

Did I mention that I ordered the wrong amount of flooring in the smallish not enough kind of way? Linear footage or something. So it didn't get done, and all the upside downishness never got undone. I still have a fridge and toilet in the living room.

I am desperately clinging to my health. There are only 2 of us, out of 15, who have not been sick yet. If I can just hold on till the dad and big kids feel all better, that will be a win for our team. And if we can get through the Awana games without giving our horrible sickness to our teammates. And it is so hard to eat any thing like healthy when all the helpful people are sick and all the stuff we can't find and the nasty gross diapers to change and the mostly dead hubby to care for. I am absolutely certain that a pbj or a cookie would solve all these problems. Ok, that isn't true. But it is truly hard to eat right on a hard day, or for a week full of hard days.

Bright spot: one of my sons says, "Mom, how can I help you?" Don't be impressed. It is on his chore chart to ask that. I say, "Can you get a towel and dry off these pans and put them away." I forgot to say DISH towel. I also forgot to say CLEAN towel. Oh well. So I washed them again. :)


Today is a special day for me.

I am celebrating a child's birthday. My second son. This is the day I became the mother of sons. Boys. I remember sitting on the couch in sheer ecstacy, watching March Madness WITH MY SONS. (I'm from Indiana. That means basketball. I rarely get to, but always enjoy watching college hoop in the early spring.)

But it goes way beyond that. Today I celebrate the beginning of trusting. The beginning of letting go. The beginning of knowing that what God wants and has for me far supercedes anything I could have imagined.

It is in the Word of God, so I don't know why it surprised me: Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we can ask or think ...

Anyway. I had a plan. The number of kids, the spacing. This child's arrival put the final nail in the coffin of my carefully thought out plan for the future. In a good way. In the best possible way.

In the movie, Hook, there is a line that I like to quote when I think about my children and family planning: What would the world be like without Captain Hook?

What would the world be like without this boy? This expressive, funny, thoughtful, know-it-all boy. This fantastic treasure of blue-eyed, freckled, boy-becoming-man full of passion and thought and opinion and strength and heart. He is simply magnificent in every way. What if I had said no? What if I had had my way and skipped that particular batch of sperm and waited until a less overwhelmed season of life? I would have missed this amazing human, this beautiful soul.

Am I saying people should just throw 'caution' to the wind?

Yes! If you have faith for it. If your body isn't broken. If you are willing to take God at His Word, call every child a blessing, (if you are MARRIED), if you are willing to work hard and let go of what the world values for the sake of what God calls good.

Because this is what I celebrate on March 15th. I have in my world a spectacular son that I would have chosen not to have, and God gave him to me anyway, and I could not be more thankful. And we have received in the years since then, 10 such extravagant bestowments, 10 more wonderful gifts.

I know what you are saying, or at least I could guess.
"You must really love children."
"You have more patience than I do."
"I don't have enough money."
"I wouldn't be able to be a good enough parent for more kids."

I do love MY children. Who doesn't?
My patience has increased, by the grace of God, with each child's arrival. The person I was 10 years ago would not have made it through this past week.
I don't have enough money to do everything I want, but God provides everything I NEED.
Again, I would say, if you say yes to the Lord, every day, He gives you everything you need to do everything He gives you to do.

I know it is a crazy idea. But for evidence, I present to you this day, my second son, my lefty, my stunning, handsome, bellicose, cocky, wreckless, crazy, compassionate, eavesdropping, nibnosing, worshiping, writing, dancing, drumming, constantly learning and fact spouting son.

I could go on for days about this boy. About each of them. Because he is so unique, so special. But so are the other 12.

Will we have more? Oh, I hope so. More of this exquisite deliciousness. More of this brilliance. Because I don't know what I would be missing if I were ever to say no to the Giver of gifts, and He does know. I can trust Him.

Happy Birthday 3rd Blessing.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013


I weighed less this morning than I have in more than 17 years. It's still not that impressive. I am still, I think, considered morbidly obese. Just over five feet tall and just under two hundred pounds is nothing to brag about, to be sure. But better is good. Less is better than staying the same and WAY better than gaining. Do I feel good? Yes, but I'm still really overweight. It's ok. But I am.

It is hard to imagine thin, hard to picture me that way. I study myself in the mirror now, marveling at my collar bones, trying to find the rest of my neck. The good news is that kids are already used to the nearly 60 pounds less version of me. Old (fat) pictures of me already look wrong to them. That's cool, because maybe the littles won't remember a fat mom at all.

I have ideas about what I'll do when... One thing I want to do is have a "Hundred Pounds" party, and invite everybody I know to come and bring a healthy food to share. But that's still 42 lbs away. In the mean time, I'm about to passing another milestone and I'm not sure how to celebrate. An extra smoothie, perhaps? I don't like shopping, so buying new clothes is more punishment than reward.

I am celebrating with thankfulness, that's for sure. Thankful for my sisters, encouraging me, friends supporting me, husband and older children putting up with my moods and inconsistencies, and especially the steadfast love of the Lord, which never ceases.

So here's to another quart jar of green slime, another bowl full of cold vegetables on a chilly winter day, a comforting bowl of soup that hits the spot that used to be hit by a cheeseburger, a cup of tea that smells better than it tastes, and a piece of thawed out carrot cake that really is completely good for me, and is also completely delicious. Thanks God for good food to eat, the money to buy it, the time to make it, and the good it's doing my body. Help me lean on You more tomorrow than I did today. Amen.