myviewonthetrail

Everyone is on a the trail, here's my view.

Brothers Gotta Hug!

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There is something so heart-meltingly irresistible about one of my boys being sweet to the baby… Girls are naturally more nurturing. I see that in our two older girls. However, I think boys have a soft spot too. I also think that sometimes in the process of “toughening up” our boys into men, we loose that gentle side that loves babies and is not ashamed to show it.

So what do I do? Easy! When I need to go to the bathroom, or answer a phone call, or help another child with something, I ask the boys just as often as I ask the girls to hold or play with the baby. Our oldest son knows how to change diapers (even if he complains the entire time). I am training all of our children to be parents one day – not just the girls to be mothers!

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He really brought down his books and just started reading them to her. It was one of those special moments I had to capture on film because they are both too young to remember it.

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Our girls know the names of Thomas the Tank Engine and all of his train friends!

“Brothers Gotta Hug!” It is a line from a movie. Do you know which one? It is a comedy. It really does make me laugh, but I have always loved the phrase. Brothers and sisters DO need to hug. They need to hug each other. They need hugs from their parents. There is nothing as sad as someone who feels alone in a house full of people. Humans need to touch – lovingly. So whoever you are, go hug whoever is in your house! Brothers gotta hug!

 

 

 

Faith vs Religion

I haven’t written about Faith yet. In my initial blog planning, I thought I would write about it once a week. Somehow, I haven’t been able to get a daily entry like I had hoped… life happens. So I thought today would be a great day to talk about faith. And the difference between faith and religion…

Religion is the organization of people and their beliefs. The church you attend. The group of believers with whom you identify. The morals that guide our daily decisions. I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some times we are referred to as “Mormons” because we read The Book of Mormon along with The Bible. My parents raised me a member of the LDS church and am grateful for such a strong, religious upbringing. I know it is the restored church – just as Jesus organized during His earthly ministry.

Faith is something that is often talked about when you talk about religion. You have faith that God lives. You have faith that Jesus is the Savior. You have faith that through repentance we can be forgiven. You have faith that we will be resurrected. All topics of discussion in most Christian Sunday School classes.

But to me faith is even more than this. It is a POWER that takes those beliefs and turns them into answers to prayers. It is that step from “I hope my child gets better” to “I KNOW my child will get better.” The power that allows you to take a new job, buy a new house, get pregnant again, reach out to a lost soul – all with the brain telling you that you should not.

One of my favorite talks on faith is by an Elder in the church, Richard G. Scott. If you have a few minutes, you should study his words. And see how faith is power that helps us become a better son or daughter of God.

Sometimes it is that hard – that first step of faith – and our religion helps us make that step. It teaches us to go ahead and believe and try and do the things the Lord asks us to do. Then the more we believe, the more we use faith to follow the Lord, the easier it is to see His hand in our lives.

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Last night half of my Littles were sleeping somewhere else. The two oldest girls were at Abuela’s house. My oldest son was sleeping under the stars at a Scout campout. It was unusual to only have three! Strangely enough, the noise level was about the same…

This morning, I went to the kitchen to get breakfast for the two little boys and noticed in the back of the fridge two cartons of strawberries! Perfect for making pies!!! This is my go-to recipe for pies. It comes from Lion House Classics cookbook. I really haven’t made too many other recipes from this book, but as the title suggests, it has many classic recipes. It would be a great gift for a new bride!

Fresh Strawberry Pie

3 c water

1 c sugar

1 package (3 ounces) strawberry gelatin

3 TBSP cornstarch

3 c fresh strawberries, washed and hulled

1 baked pie shell

In a large sauce pan, bring water and sugar to a boil. In a small bowl, mix gelatin and cornstarch. Gradually add to boiling mixture. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Stir constantly! The mixture will turn clear and slightly thicken. Let stand at room temperature until just warm, about 15 minutes. While mixture is cooling, wash, hull, and slice strawberries. Place in large mixing bowl. Pour gelatin mixture over the berries and fold. Mound into baked pie shell. Chill for at least an hour before serving. Top with whipped cream.

My adjustments…

I always use 4 cups of strawberries. I like having more berries in each bite. Plus, if I use the regular size pie shell (not the 2 extra serving one) I can get two pies. I also mix in 1/2 c dark chocolate chips. If the mixture is too hot, they will melt too much. If it is just warm, they will melt a little, but won’t change the color of the gelatin. My hubby is a “chocolate only” kind of dessert guy, with the exception of this pie!

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Anyway, the recipe is quite simple, however I don’t let the two little boys use knives or do the cooking at the gas stove top, so all they were able to do was lick the spoon!

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Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Happy Friday!!! To celebrate making it to the end of the week (and to use the 4 overripe bananas in my fruit bowl) we made Double Chocolate Banana Bread!!!

I bought the recipe book Chocolate Never Faileth by Annette Lyons a few years ago, and I am SO glad I did! Don’t get me wrong, I love Pinterest and the ability to search for and see which recipes my friends are preparing, BUT this book has so many yummy chocolate recipes and I don’t have to put my computer on the counter. 😉

My helpers… always ready to assist in the kitchen!

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I never pre-mash the bananas. The mixer can do it!

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The mixer just about shook his arm off!

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Here are my two main bakers and the recipe book.

P.S. Thanks Nat and Pat for the BEST loaf pans in the world!!!

Truth be told, I let the Littles eat it for breakfast. It is better than cereal or donuts!


Double Chocolate Banana Bread

1/2 c sour cream

2 tsp baking soda

1 1/3 c sugar

1 stick butter

2 eggs

3-4 ripe bananas

1 tsp vanills

2 1/2 c flour

1/3 c cocoa

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease the bottom of 2 loaf pans. In a small bowl, combine sour cream and baking soda (it will puff up). In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter. Add eggs, bananas, and vanilla. Mix well. Add sour cream and soda mixture. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Add chocolate chips and mix on low until incorporated. Split the batter between the two loaf pans. Bake for 55-60 minutes. Test with a tooth pick. Remove loaves from pans right away and cool on racks.

Enjoy. You might want to let a few bananas get too ripe!

Here’s my FROZEN post…

All around BlogLand, people have been posting their thoughts on the Disney movie, Frozen. There have been all kinds of posts: the design of Elsa’s ice castle, the cameos, the supposed gay agenda, how it relates to autism, or the subtle teachings of right and wrong – just to name a few. Here is my post…

I did not see it in the theater. My wonderful sister-in-law took the kids. They loved it so much! I bought the soundtrack so they could keep singing the songs. I learned the songs and appreciated the beauty of each one. I pre-ordered the movie and it arrived in the mail the day before it was to go on sale in the stores. We literally stopped everything and watched the movie.

So while I don’t see (or try to see) any political agendas, there is a part that speaks to me and where I am in life.

You remember after the castle is built and Anna comes to convince Elsa to go back and unfreeze Arendelle? They sing back and forth until they are singing simultaneously. Anna pleads with her sister to work together. Elsa realizes that she is not “alone and free” after all. Then she sings, “I’m such a fool! I can’t be free! No escape from the storm inside of me!”

That is a glimpse into  the brain of this mother of 6. It is hard to explain, but it really feels like a storm in my brain. I am constantly battling the negative thoughts of, “You are not good enough,” “You are not the best mom for these kids,” “You can’t handle the needs of each one,” “You are fat and out of shape – how do you expect to keep up?” It is cold and lonely in my brain of negativity!

I know that God would not have blessed me with each spirit if He didn’t trust that I would do my best by each one. But there are so many opportunities for failure! In those cold, solitary moments, I have to force myself to think my way out of the storm. It is usually the touch of one of my Littles or a smile or laugh that reminds me they are happy and I can choose to be happy too!

After all, it was Anna who sang, “We’ll make the sun shine bright!” It is something that she knew they could do TOGETHER. I will never be the perfect mom. However, with the love and support of hubby, family, friends, and my Littles – I can calm the storm inside of me and feel the sunshine!

 

Traveling with your TRUE self

I just got back from visiting my sister that lives in Arkansas. (Why do we not pronounce it the way it is spelled?) It was a FABULOUS trip! I wanted to go and meet her new baby, and introduce her family to mine.

Completely necessary.

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I would NOT have made the trip at all, if it weren’t for my older sister who booked the flights and told me I was going…

 

I will post more on the trip later. Today I have to comment on a few observations at the airport. The place where stress runs hotter than someone about to lose their flight!

 

There was a family (dad, mom, pre-teen daughter). They appeared to be flustered trying to determine if they were at the correct gate. He hollered at her. She rudely questioned him. He barked. She barked louder! When they finally found out they were at the right gate, they sat down – the daughter at a different set of chairs. They continued to bicker and make a scene.

The second couple I observed was also in a stressful situation. After leaving the plane, the wife realized she could not find her glasses. Agitated, she set her belongings in a seat close to me. She began the frantic search of pockets, books, bags – she even touched her head several times to see if they were up there! The entire time the husband stayed calm and supportive. He held items as she pulled them from her bag. He kindly offered suggestions on where they could be. He did not accuse or use words like: you should have or I told you.

After they decided to go back to the plane and look, I started to think – how traveling brings out your TRUE self. You can see how someone acts in a stressful situation, or reacts to a difficult person. Each person had a choice of how they were behaving. It was an honest, candid snapshot of these peoples’ lives.

Which brings me to my older sister. She KNEW I needed to get a break from my Littles at home. She sweetly helped me obtain boarding passes, carry bags, tuck my blanket behind my back so I didn’t flash everyone when I nursed my baby. She paid $8 for small bag of trail mix and three crackers because we didn’t get lunch and she was worried about my milk supply. She showed me her TRUE self during lots of little moments and the really stressful ones as we ran through the terminal with just minutes to make our connecting flight. And when my bag didn’t make the flight, she offered to lend me her clothes – even though NO amount of force could get my post baby body into her weights instructor/super model outfits!!!

She is constantly showing me who I want to be. Thanks, Dea, for always being my example!

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Nuts and Bolts

I like to think that I am an organized person. I really feel like life runs more smoothly if there is organization. So naturally, I will post in an orderly fashion… under one of the following topics:

Faith

Family

Fun

Fitness

Food

Not everything in life fits nicely in just one category, but hey, I have 5 categories and 5 week days, so it works!

The first step

This is my first entry on this blog. Obvious, but important.

hiker

I have chosen the name, “My View on the Trail” because I have been thinking a lot about life in terms of a long hike. Some of us are on the same path, just different spots along the way. Some of us are on different paths, but going in the same direction. Some of us are taking a break, checking the view, picnicking under the trees, or wondering if it is worth the effort.

Writing (and baking) is therapy for me. So I will start by saying that this is for me. Call me selfish, but I am at the point, where I need an outlet and baking is making me fat! Hopefully somewhere along my trail, you will laugh with me, cry with me, or learn from my (many) mistakes. After all, hiking is better with a friend…

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