Small moments continue to make me smile…

I found a reflection from a few years ago.  So sweet.  Brought me right back to the day at the zoo with Jeffrey’s class.  Must have been 4th grade.  The same boys fill his time these days, mostly. And they are the same way – adorable, and so human.  It was Jeffrey that made me realize so many years ago that the three most critical needs to fill are: hunger, rest, and bathroom breaks.  LOL that day showed it all.

Finding this and enjoying it reminded me of how writing things down really helps the moment slow down to be appreciated.

I’ve continued the practice of early rising this week.  It is getting easier and I am growing to enjoy the time in the morning and the luxury of early bedtime more and more.  I’ve finished listening to the book Off the Clock, by Laura Vanderkam – Laura is one of the bloggers I started following through the Working Out Loud book.  I’m listening to it a second time now.  I love the ideas that Laura shares – one being to slow time down by lingering in special moments and taking the time to plan and make special moments happen.    Good reminders.  Here is to lingering, planning and appreciating the little things in the week ahead.

 

 

Be it resolved that…

Man, it has been a long time since I wrote a blog post here.  Littlebluehouseonthehill was started when we lived in a little blue house on the hill :), then I transitioned the name to B.O.B. (big old brick), then mom passed and I just couldn’t get myself to write much, then graduate school and there was no time to write at all LOL.  But now, now…I’m back to finding writing helpful and I have/am making the time for it again.  So one resolution for the new year is to write again about the things I’m thinking about, reading about, and doing…

book coverI’ve started reading Working Out Loud a book about helping to set and reach (personal and work) goals.  I was introduced to the concepts in grad school and have been talking about it for a couple of years.  Actually reading it and sharing the ideas with others at work this year (takes me a while :)).

An intention I’ve set for myself for this year is to get up at 5am each morning – so that I don’t feel so rushed to get out the door, but can slowly own the day.  For me this is not easy – so following some of the Working Out Loud ideas for developing new habits has been helpful.

Get to know who is writing/talking about what you want to do.

As a step 1, and I’m paraphrasing, John Stepper encourages readers to explore what others are saying and writing about related to the reader’s intentions.  So – so for this little self-improvement project,  I started googling “waking up early”, “waking up” and “how to get out of bed”.  What do you know – much has been written.

Here are the tips that are working for me:

  • set three alarms – 5 minutes apart from each other – turn off the snooze.  Snooze allows you to go back to sleep…so it often doesn’t work in helping you to wake up.  5-minute alarm increments is not enough to fall back to sleep – it is just annoying.
  • have something that you do in the morning that you like doing –  I have a cup of coffee, turn my plant lights on, and let the dogs out.  All things that make me happy.
  • go to bed earlier – hard for me to do, but getting up at 5am makes me tired by 9:30 so this is getting easier.

I’m astonished to report that after one week of putting these ideas into practice – I’m up by 5:15am every day, giving me a full hour to get acclimated to the day before getting ready.  Delightful.

On reading what others are saying – I’ve found some tremendous blogs and social that I’ve been checking in on regularly that others might find helpful as well.

  • Millenial Boss – who writes mostly about debt management and personal growth but she has also written about waking up – and I find her wealth growth experiences fascinating.
  • Jessica Lawlor – who tweets and writes about getting out of your comfort zone (including rising early) to get ahead.
  • Laura Vanderkam – a writer, speaker and author who is a time management specialist.  I actually ordered her book Off the Clock on audible – it is really interesting to listen to and have started doing something that I never thought I’d do – tracking my time – to see if my plans and actions are related.  I suspect there is work to do there 😉 – time will tell.

Nothing wrong with missing your mom.

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Friday marked two years that Mom had passed. We went to the cemetery and weeded and mulched the little garden that I had planted there last fall.  I know that all of that is for me – but it is the only way that I can show a little caring for her still.  After that we went to Zeb’s for a hamburger – one of mom’s favorite places to eat…and we told stories.   She would have loved that.  She certainly was a character.

Mom has been heavy on my heart this last year – maybe more than the first. Funny, when my mom lost her mom, I looked on at her long grieving period with a raised brow.  I may have even said – “it is time to move on Mom”…but I get it now.

And – it is okay.

I do think it is okay – not to wallow in the sadness but to reflect on Mom, find light in her contagious laughter, and to let her continue to shape me and my family.

Miss you Mom.

Super Smoothies

Tonight at the Moravia Summer Community Garden – after weeding  the raised beds and planting mum plugs we made up some delicious smoothies. Mr. Killian aptly named the smoothies “Super Smoothies” because of all of the antioxidants in them.  The recipe below is as flexible as they come – but keep the nutrient rich items in as you change it up!

Ingredients

  • 4-5 leaves of kale (okay to use the large leaves)
  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • handful of blueberries
  • handful of strawberries
  • squeeze of honey
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of almond milk, iced tea, regular milk or OJ

Personalize it:

    • any fruit or most veggies can also go in
    • some people like to add a few ice cubes to make it very cold

Directions

  1. add ingredients to the blender.  Blend on high until smooth.

Note:

  • You might have to close your eyes when you drink this green smoothie – but they taste good and they are super healthy and perfect on a hot night.

Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic Scape Pesto

– Made with Moravia Agriculture 2016 Summer Community Garden

Ingredients

  • 1 pound garlic scapes, cut into 2-inch pieces (stems and flower)
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • Personalize it:
    • blend in basil (up to half of the scapes)

Directions

  1. Blend the garlic scapes, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper together in a food processor until smooth.

Note:

  • You might find this to be too strong to eat on its own…but add it to sauces, salads, dressings for sandwiches. Very tasty!
  • Can be frozen. Try freezing in an ice try and then popping them into a baggie – drop in one cube to your soup or sauce – instant flavor!

Cucumber/Tomato Salsa

Cucumber/Tomato Salsa

– Made with Moravia Agriculture 2016 Summer Community Garden

Ingredients:

1 large cucumber
3 tomatoes (about 1 lb)
small handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
juice from 1/2 lime or more to taste
salt and freshly cracked pepper

Personalize it:

  • Swap Italian dressing for olive oil and lime
  • Swap lemon for lime
  • Swap parsley or basil or mix for cilantro
  • Add kidney beans or red onions…or anything!

Directions:

  1. Wash and peel the cucumber if it has a lot of wax coating it. Cut into small dice and place into a non reactive bowl.
  2. Wash and dice the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes and chopped cilantro to the bowl as well.
  3. Dribble the olive oil over the salad and start off with a small amount to freshly squeezed lime juice as well as a bit of salt and pepper. Toss the salad and adjust the quantities of lime, salt and pepper until you are happy with the balance and taste.
  4. Allow to the salad to sit for a few minutes or more before serving. This gives the flavors a chance to meld a bit.

Enjoy!

Miss you Mom.

cayuga lake in the morn

I woke up this morning and thought “I’m cancelling”, then smiled.

One year ago today, my mom left this world which for her was full of pain, immobility, and frustration.  I do think that the events leading to her death (kidney/lung failure) were sudden and took her by surprise as they did surprise (though they shouldn’t have) us.  It has been a really sad year for me.  For years I never quite understood why my mom grieved the loss of her mom for so long, I get it now – nothing can replace your mom.  I have missed her every day.  The pain isn’t so fresh at this point but it is still very real.

As for cancelling…my mom had this frustrating (to me) habit – of just not wanting to push herself.  I never quite figured out if it was fear, depression, health issues or what exactly prompted it – but she “cancelled” all the time.  She cancelled going to the Drs., coming to visit her grandchildren, going to parties, going on vacation, she even cancelled going the casino (a place she loved).  It drove me crazy  but I never figured a way to change her behavior.

A year ago my family was on vacation in the Outerbanks, SC when we received the call that mom had passed.  It felt like there were so many obstacles to get home that day (if you’ve ever been to the Outerbanks – there is not a “quick” exit, or a close by airport for that matter).   My memory of the next few days is surreal – I imagine that is quite typical of what happens when any of our loved ones pass.  The months that followed I concentrated on isolating myself, keeping busy and then busier, and once in a while allowed myself to really be in a place where I could be somber.  I’m beginning to work my way back to “me”, but I think I would have just stayed in bed this morning…and “canceled” today if I could.  I’m thankful for my Faith, my family, and friends for not allowing me to wallow in isolation too terribly long.

Photo credit btw goes to Anna.  This is Cayuga Lake in the morn…I believe in June.  Beautiful.  Thanks Bee.