Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's a Small World After All

Tonight I was able to see up close and personal how God put four woman together in one Starbucks at the right time. The perfect set-up.

It started with several weeks ago when I was suppose to go to the chiroproactor. Even though I go every week, I wasn't planning on going because there was a substitute as my regular guy was on vacation. But I tweaked something...So off I went. (God uses all things for good.) I usually go on Tuesdays but because of the vacation I went on Thursday. She was a bit behind so I ended up chatting it up with a lady named Cindy.** She has some health issues, I said I would pray for her and we went our separate ways. Something told me I should get her number or email- but I didn't- because that would have been strange. right?

Yesterday I was meeting a friend at the bookstore for coffee. I have known her for about a year but never really had the chance to sit down and chat with her. Funny- we have a ton in common. We are both the oldest of three and married the youngest of five. We both struggle with self esteem issues. We both card cataloged our books when we were kids. Our husbands are similar...our moms are similar. Her mom's name is Cathy, mine is Carol. Her dad's name is Joe, mine is John. There is more... but I won't bore you with it. Let's call her Sue. On the way into the bookstore, I was thinking that I should invite her to our new small group Bible Study we were starting. But I forgot. Somewhere in the middle of the conversation she mentioned how she'd like to find a woman's small group. Thanks for the reminder God :) So she planned on joining us tonight.

So tonight was suppose to be me, Sue and two other friends. One ended up not making it and three of us met at Barnes and Noble. I didn't know they close on Sunday at 8 pm. So we tootled our way down to Starbucks to continue. (If we hadn't met at B&N first we probably would have met at a totally different restaurant and stayed there.) Me and my friend B went to get a coffee and we looked back to see Sue talking with someone. Sue talks with everyone and makes friends easily..but as I got closer I noticed it was Cindy from the chiropractor!!! Apparently she noticed we were reading Captivating, and Sue noticed she was reading the Bible. So we invited her to join our conversation. And it was sooooo all about God. The women in the group are all married with kids and Cindy is single. It is exactly the right perspective. We provide insight to her and she provides it to us. Yet we are all WOMEN and in need of the Captivating study right now. It is amazing that although I had met these 3 women before, they did not know each other. And 48 hours ago our group of gals was different. But God arranges things as he sees fit and when we listen to Him great things happen. And he can even MAKE interactions happen even when we don't listen to Him. You can say it was all coincidence, but these ladies will testify that there was NO coincidence in any of this. The funny thing is that I have been in groups where it takes MONTHS if not YEARS to open up but tonight amazing things happened and we were able to minister to each other in the moment. So I am looking forward to the rest of our reading and study.

Another interesting thing that dawned on me later is that just that morning I was praying that God would put 'life-givers' in my life and that I would be that for others. The prayer came from a book I am reading called, Blessing Your Spirit by Sylvia Gunter and Arthur Burk. It wasn't that I didn't have friends who were life giving but my spirit was asking for something different. And He provided exceedingly abundantly above all I asked or imagine.

Oh and Cindy has her own story on how she 'happened' to be at Starbucks right at that time. But that's not my story to tell. Just know that it is woven into the entire picture.

*** I am not sure the women in my group would be fine with me telling their real names seeing as I just met one of them so I will change them to protect the innocent.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Whose Fault Is it Anyway??? aka...Saturday Night Ramblings....

I watched with great attention all the episdoes of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. And I was in agreement with it all until the last episode when the whole thing did a 180 in my brain. Jamie touched on the subject of parents and their involvement. He trained many individuals in the community but the bulk of the episodes involved around changing the schools. In the last was mostly the parents who decided to pull their kids out of the school lunch and let them brown bag it. And the brown bag-it's were terrible!

It really did get me thinking- who SHOULD be responsibile for our children eating right? I think that there can and should be vast improvements in the school lunch program but at the same time there certainly shouldn't be any limitations put on what parents send with their kids. Jamie mentioned that some of the foods sent border on child abuse if you were to do it every day. Hmmm... I guess it all got too "big brother" for me. I do think the whole country has, over the past 50 years, revolutionized itself into poor health. And it will take some top down decisions to change that. But as individuals we need to have the right to take that responisbility into our own hands. I think there could be answers such as taxes on junk food, for example, which still leaves the CHOICE in the hands of the family. But the changes should reflect our choices.

Fed Up with Lunch recently had a guest blogger who talked about how more homework, less recess and bad lunches are all leading to childhood obesity. But in reality, whose fault is that? Parents want a 'good education' and in many circles more homework = good education in their minds. I know that isn't the case with everyone. Parents support behavior modification such as taking away recess. I know that the schools may suggest it but I can't imagine a teacher saying to a parent they wouldn't be OK with a more active type of punishment such as restocking the library shelves vs. sitting on your buttocks for an hour. But all that takes parent involvement.

When we decide on therapy for Andrew I often consider drive time. For sports much is spent driving to and from practice and games vs. being in the activity? And on those drives to practice, how many more drive thrus are seen? In the 'olden days' afterschool activites were primarily pick up games and bike rides at least through elementary school. They didn't require any drive time.

Like I said, I know the schools / govenrnment can improve in this area of food and they should. But I like being free to drive through McDonalds on occassion. We are typically in the minority when we meet friends at the park who have brought their fast thru drive thru bags...but I certainly think they should have the freedom do to that.

And I am not paranoid that my freedoms are all going to go away overnight but it was just a strange 'feel' when I watched Food Revolution last night. We should lead by example, inviting folks to healthier eating, and certainly be able to tell our own kids how to eat but in the end, we choose what we choose and that will drive the change or it just won't change. I still love the show and am thankful for what Jamie and folks have brought to the public eye. Just something 'extra' to think about.

A final note... kids will be kids. For most days in high school, I ate a cinnamon roll and a tab. I know..gross. (I wonder if my mom reads my blog and if she knew this??)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Kelly the Kitchen Kop E-book Reviews

I was given the opportunity to review two e-books from Kelly the Kitchen Kop. These included Real Food Ingredient Guide and Real Food Party Planning Guide. At this time, as indicated on her home page, the Ingredient Guide is $5 and the Party Guide is $8. They can be purchased together for $10

I'm not a nutritionist and I don't play one on TV, but I consider myself pretty well read in the world of healthy eating. However, I learned so many new things in the Real Food Ingredient Guide. The best part of the book is that there is so much information in one neat and tidy little spot. There were some basics such as..which is better, Velveeta or 'real' cheese? But it takes it further to what are the better and best choices. You could literally go down the list and pick one thing to improve on each week...or even every month!

The Ingredient Guide also details what 'organic' means, which oils and fats are healthy, and what the heck GMO's are all about and why we care...and much more. At the end she details 10 tips for eating healthy on a budget. This is a good guide for someone just starting out to eat healthy but also chock full of information for someone who has been at it for awhile.

Of course there is one 'con' to this book. If you like your convenience, packaged and fast foods, this book will not encourage you to continue in that endeavor. But it also doesn't beat you over the head and it offers an avenue to take yourself to better eating.


Now on to the Real Party Planning Guide. I was really looking forward to reading this because, truth be told, when I throw a party, I am ALL about convenience. I do the Costco deli tray run! The thought of whipping up healthy stuff for the family is tough enough- but to do a PARTY??? This book is so helpful for outlining how to do this. I did not get to give this book a 'trial run' and actually have a party but I sure do want to. Kelly outlines the organization of the party from several weeks before up through after the party giving tips along the way on how to plan for the best real food without breaking the bank. Real food is more expensive but there are ways to help keep the costs down. She helps you think through all the details from 'soups to nuts.' How many people, what type of food, other activities, how can you enlist help etc..

The e-book also includes food pictures and recipe links to her website. The recipes have instructions on how to make the food ahead of time, or what to pre-prep to make it simple for the party host. It appears from some of the recipes that Kelly also shops at that is not forbidden! (WHEW!) Many of the recipes had either gluten or casein in them so I would need to adapt when making them but that is not unusual. They did give me ideas on what to serve. In fact one of the recipes for sloppy joes is what I ended up making for Christmas last year. I know..most people make ham...but I was making it easy on myself! There are a bunch of salad and dressing ideas at the end as well that look very tasty. She did not neglect desserts!
These are both super books and an affordable price!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One Word Wednesday..

Tell me in one word...your first thought at each picture. Leave a or FB. More thoughts to follow.

Tell me in one word...your first thought at each picture. Leave a or FB. More thoughts to follow.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Another Proud Unschooling Moment.....

Andrew and I were playing with his little plastic toys yesterday and he said, "This donkey's name is Jack A---." I discussed with him that perhaps that wasn't the BEST choice in names as that, in a certain context, is not a nice name. He then informed me that it was an OK word and was in fact the name that Andrew Jackson was given by the opposing party and it was then adopted by them as their symbol. Mark was in the other room on the computer and quickly googled it. Sure enough. Apparently, he had "read it in a book." Guess we got our history and social studies in for the day.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Social Stories Only Get You So can't TEACH social skills.

We went to the park today... a real park..with real kids....first venture out since fall. If you have a kiddo like Andrew...Can I call him a sizzler?? That is Carol Barnier's word for kids like Andrew. Well if you have a Sizzler, you know what I'm talking about. The first few minutes we were waiting for friends and Andrew went up to a boy who we didn't know.

Hey! I like your hairstyle.
(strange look by boy which continues throughout conversation)
Hey! Kid! I like your hairstyle. (It was stylin.)
Hey! Don't you talk kid??!! I said I like your hairstyle.
Do you want to play tag?
Hey! Kid! I'm talking to you!!!!!
Didn't your mom teach you any manners? You are suppose to answer someone when they talk to you.

This is just one example of how you can't TEACH social interaction! You just can't... RDI is getting at it and that too was seen at the park. Once the friends came, a game of 'tag' was started...kind of...Andrew wouldn't be 'it' but no one seemed to care. Kids don't talk. They just do. We had one social skills class where the kids were taught to shake hands with each other. Um....i'm pretty sure that is kind of setting up a poor kid for failure from the get go. Talk about being different. Anyway, we are seeing great gains in Andrew's ability to read other people in order to join in. Even the interaction with the boy showed this. He didn't just stand and continue saying the same thing over and over. He read his reaction (or non-reaction) and responded appropriately, even if the initial interaction wasn't exactly on target.

He is also getting better at knowing his own limits. We stayed at the park for 45 minutes. After about 30 minutes he started 'tapping' another little girl we knew. He said he was trying to help her learn to walk. I clarified that 'tapping' (hitting) was not allowed. He did it again and his behavioral consequence happened. I told him if it happened again we were leaving and within 10 minutes he said, "I want to go."

So first day out...not bad.
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