Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A scientist in the kitchen...

Remember the veggies I roasted a couple of days ago? I said I might use them in a soup and tonight I did just that. 

I knocked it out of the park! The soup was so good. ( well, according to the parents- Caleb said it was too healthy) 
The roasted veggies consisted of chopped rutabaga, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and turnips. They were dusted with herbs, salt, and pepper. 

Today I put about 1 cup of them into my vitamix with about 1 cup of homemade chicken broth, and some red bell peppers and blended. I added them back into a heavy bottom pot ( I used my dutch oven) and warmed them up. 

In a separate pan I cooked a few pieces of bacon that I already chopped to about a 1 inch size. When they were chrispy I drained the grease and added some left over chicken that I cooked yesterday. This picture was before I cooked the chicken. It had fresh and dried herbs and some butter. 

I chopped the chicken then added them into the hot pan with the cooked bacon and a bit of the bacon grease. 
I chopped some garlic ( about 3 cloves) and some red peppers and heated them all up together. 

I then added about 1/4 cup of heavy cream to the pan and another 1/4 cup of the broth and heated it up. 
Meanwhile I was heating up some corn and green beans with some chopped jalapeño, salt, and oregano. I used canned because that is what I had on hand. Fresh is great but you go with what you have and don't stress. I added about 3/4 of them back to the vitamix and about 1/4 cup of heavy cream and blended. You could add some broth or water for the liquid if you didnt want to use the cream. I imagine you could use coconut milk too.
 I also added some brown rice/ quinoa pan. I got it from Costco, It is one of those that all you have to do is heat it up. It's perfect for soups because it warms up as the liquid does. 

ended with added all it it back to the Dutch oven and heated it all throughly. 
A dopple of sour cream can be added to the top of you would like.
 I like. ;)  

Tonight I am thankful for being in my own kitchen and having a pantry full of food. I am thankful for the ability to try new things and to be creative. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Saying no

I wasn't going to write a blog post tonight.....not because I didn't have any thing to be thankful for, but because I just didn't really have a story. I was good with not writing one. I was good with saying no. I then decided to write a quick post about how even though I said yes and I am writing, I am thankful for the freedom to say no. 
I am a rule follower to a Tee and I like to keep my commitments and not let others down. For example, i do not like being late because someone is counting on me getting there and we set a time so therefore it becomes a rule. Even with this blog I stated that it would be a daily post on thankfulness. I am not fooling my self that people will be let down if I don't post daily but it is a goal that I put out there and want to keep. 
I am thankful that I am not held down by that promise. 
Don't get me wrong, I am all for keeping commitments and not quitting but for me I keep doing some thing even when it cause stress to myself and family. I was choosing to not write today because I had no topic and didn't want to stress over picking one. I thought "man, I am happy I can say no and not be anxious over this" Then I thought " hmmm that could be my post" 
So here I am - writing a post about not needing to write a post lol

Are there things in your life that you still do because of a commitment even if it causes you stress or anxiety? How do you get through it and stay true to your word? 

Random fact for you: this picture doesn't go with what I wrote but I post it so something nice shows up  :) 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

16 years in the making.

I remember when my sister and I first moved out on our own. It was the day after high school graduation and we knew enough about being an adult to make it. What we didn't know much about was cooking. We took a picture of our first thing we cooked in our apartment and it was a simple can of pop open biscuits. I am not sure what we ate the next couple of years but I know there was lots of Taco Bell since we worked there and I know that I never looked at a cookbook. 
Jerry and I met when I was 19 and when I got to know his mother I learned a few things...she was amazing at cooking and she could sew anything in the entire world she wanted. 
Jerry never put a single amount of pressure on me to cook well but I knew that I needed to step up my game. I wanted to step up my game.  Early on in our marriage I did make home made chocolate chip cookies and I made lasagna...one time. 
After that it was simple things Kraft Mac and cheese and chicken. If I was being super fancy I would marinate the chicken in BBQ sauce. I had some go to meals of the boxed noodles with canned spaghetti sauce and pre boxed casseroles. I was 20 yrs old and just barely off baby food myself and here I was trying to feed my own family. The awesome thing was that I was doing the best I knew how and that was great. My family was being fed and I could only go up from there. 
Fast forward to 18 years later and I have done a 180. I adore cooking. I love everything about it and I have read a billion cookbooks.

-All of those books are cookbooks-
 I love being "taught" about cooking by reading different techniques in all the books. 
In 2006 I was brought to a crossroad and forced to make a decision because of my diagnoses of MS. I never ate much vegetables and really could care less if I ever added them in. 
Tonight I am sitting here being very thankful for my many cookbooks. I have so many options to pull from when prepping for the week's meals. I am very thankful that my best 18 years ago had tons of room for improvement. I am also thankful for Netflix. I am loving all the food shows on there and tonight while I look through a couple of my favorite books I can watch Top Chef Masters. 

I want to be know for a few things years from now. I want people to say that I loved Jesus with all my heart and I want to be know for being an awesome cook. 

Will I ever write a cookbook? Most likely not, but I will continue to read, continue to learn, and continue to share what ever random recipe I might come up with. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

I slowed down instead...

   Have you ever woke up in a cranky mood? It's a new day, you are alive, kids are good, and you are feeling bratty.  Well, that is actually what happened to me about 15 mins upon putting my feet to the floor. Like many other families we are very busy and this means that things get put to the side when life goes full force. For me that is usually house work and just walking to the kitchen set me off this morning. I stepped over Ava's ponies....for the third day. I saw Caleb's cup on the coffee table from playing games last night. There were shoes on the floor....right next  to the basket they go in. I ended with seeing a sink full of dirty dishes because the dishwasher was already full since we are off schedule with our chores. 
I woke up with a SUPER Power that no one wanted, the ability to see everything that needed to be done.....all.....at....once. I saw my garden that needs tweaking, bills to be paid, laundry to wash, fold and put away, shelves to hang, walls to paint, people to call, food to prep, bible to read, children to teach, weight to be lost, money to make, porch and rooms to clean, and even an art room to de-clutter. Seeing this meant Jerry was in for a heap of trouble because I need his help to do some of it. My heart was full of discontent and frustration over us not getting it done. I was already mad at jerry for not reading my mind and having it done before this point. I was aware of the crappy mood and there lies my thankfulness. Seeing my stinking attitude meant I could hit it head on. I had to do some serious prayer and I,on purpose thanked God for things in my home. I, on purpose, thanked God for my husband and for his awesomeness. I have learned years ago that focusing on the bad will only make it worse. It NEVER fails, a bad attitude can go away if we choose to focus on things we are thankful for. 
Years ago I was out of town with Jerry and our two kids, at the time, for our anniversary. I was at the hotel all day waiting for him to get back so we could spend the evening together. He was exhausted after a full day of working at the factory ( electrical engineer at Saturn) and he went to sleep soon after getting back. I was so hurt and angry. I literally felt heat coming from my ears. I was in the sitting area feeding Caleb, who was about 8 months old, and I was just "praying" about my rude husband. I felt like the Lord told me to be thankful. I said I have nothing to be thankful for. He impressed on my heart again to just be thankful. I was like "ok, I am thankful for ........( many moments passed by as I had nothing ) his...legs. He has nice legs and a nice butt" That was it. That is the only thing I could say to God. The amazing thing is that is all He needed. So many times when God wants obedience and we want to give him perfection. He does not want that, he just wants to see your heart and that you are willing to give your best, how ever crappy that is. Once I obeyed and said the only two things I could see past my anger then God stepped in. My heart broke and I cried. I automatically saw all the amazing things my husband does for his family. I cried because I was so thankful for him and so ashamed of my selfishness. 
The point to that is you can give your best even if your best is a bowl full of crap and God will meet you there. 
Today that is what I did, I gave God my best, which was a ungrateful, I want it done now, attitude and exchanged it for, Thank you for our house, thank you for our kids and their toys. This took awhile and I had to pair it with worship music but it worked. I still see all the things I want done and I still want it done now but it is not causing the anxiousness I felt before hand. I was able to clean my room I was able to dust and clean the kitchen and I was able to slow down and catch lighting bugs with two of my kids. 

I am thankful that I have a choice. I get to choose if I stay in my funk or I can make choices that help me get out. This is a great lesson because somehow today an explosion of blankets happened in Caden's room this afternoon ( It was clean yesterday ) and I found this while writing the blog and pausing to go tuck him in. 

I am not even sure what happened.  I choose to be thankful that he has a room and obviously plenty of blankets. I am thankful that he is safe at home with me. Tomorrow we will tackle that. Today he sleeps on a folded blanket. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Vulnerability and confessions.

In light of my post a couple of days ago about my daughter and the doctors appt today, it has sparked a few conversations with friends. Each talk this week and all of them in the past, after a melt down, share a common thread of confessions, sadness, and hope. I have yet to talk to a mother who has not felt madness at a child, hopelessness for how to help, and shame on how they responded. I have learned that because we are all human we all make mistakes, we all respond in ways that is less than stellar, and we all want to pull the "do over" card a few times. I have learned that we all feel alone and we feel like we are the only ones who can act like a total jerk to the ones we love. 
As parents we have this standard that can be impossible to get up to and for most of us, not reaching that idea of the perfect parent, can make us feel like failures. We carry shame with us and shame can cause silence. We don't speak for fear of what others will think. We don't share our challenges because no one will understand. 
This is a lie. 
This is not the truth. 
Talking to others can bring healing, it brings hope, suggestions, answers, and peace. 
I am grateful and so thankful that we are not alone. I am thankful for friends that love me through my confessions of bitterness and pain. I am thankful that when I am open about my trials it allows others to be open. Shame is broken when we speak. Forgiveness happens when we talk. Hope starts when we share. For this I am thankful. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Family, High fives, and Jamie grace.

Today I am super duper thankful for my church family. I love that they teach the Word of God. I love that they do not back down and water down the Word just because it may go against what the world is teaching today. I love that the leaders are creative and fun and always praying for new ways to reach the lost. 

On Wednesday night I have been serving up stair with our youth group. 3 of my 5 kids are in there so it only seems fitting that I would help out. Tonight a young man named Bryson spoke and he did an awesome job. He was funny and got his point across by using silly examples like pretending his sin was high fiving everyone. It was great! I am so thankful when speakers do a great job on keeping the audience awake and interested.  

I am thankful that I go to a church where famous people can come and not be ran over by fans. They are respected and treated kindly and normal. Tonight Jamie Grace was upstairs in the youth service and then joined my small group. She was down to earth and was able to talk with  the girls about our group question. Back in May she was here and was we got a picture with her then. Now we are old friends. 😜 

We live in a world where it is all about filling our own needs. We are always asking " what about me, what do I want, what do I get?" Going to a church that serves others is wonderful. It is a family that looks out for each other and has got your back. The enemy wants people to feel alone. He wants us to feel exposed, like no one has our back. I am thankful for where I am in my life and for my church family. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I get to choose.

I live in a free country where I get to decide just about every avenue of my life.  I have the option to choose where I want to live, what doctors I want to go to and what subjects I want to learn more about. Today I am thankful that I get to choose what foods I can eat. I am so thankful that in just about every town there are many different grocery stores to choose from and inside there are thousand of options for which to feed our families. 
Today I chose Costco and Publix. Before we left on our vacation we ate all of our main food. We did not have any eggs, milk, bread, fruit, cereal, or even oatmeal for a quick meal. Jerry picked up some of these items when he came back in town but today I am thankful for the chance to go full grocery shopping and I am thankful for a full fridge. 

I get to choose this. I get to choose to buy foods that feed my body, that heal me, and that make me feel good. 
When I was juicing before we traveled I felt great. I wrote about how my back had very little pain. Today, after two weeks of not great eating choices, I feel a lot of pain again. Today I bought veggies for more juicing. I get to start feeling better again. 

I also got to use the juicer my friend Rachel let me borrow. I am in love I tell ya!! 

I have written about how my old juicer was so loud and I posted a short video clip of how I had to bang on it to get food un-caught. It is awesome 😏 
This new juicer was so quite that no one knew I was using it. Now that was truly awesome. I am very, very thankful that Rachel saw my video on Instagram and offered her juicer to borrow. I love social media. I am thankful for that. Each day is new and each day comes with victories and trials. You have to take a pause and choose to be thankful in all situations. 


Monday, June 22, 2015

Tears. Travel. Talking.

Yesterday when leaving my dad's house there were a lot of tears. Not for why you think though....but it was from a HUGE melt down by my middle child over seating arrangements. This is a common thing with her but this was the worst yet. It was me wanting to leave her there, I don't care what happens, type situation. 
It was heart breaking to see my child in such a pit of hate for such a simple situation and be so stuck in her selfishness that she can't think straight. The whole thing was so emotionally painfully I felt like I was recovering from a gaping wound that wouldn't stop bleeding. I am still recovering. 

Here is a back story. Before she even started school I was very concerned with how she would handle the day to day changes. She seemed to get so upset over changes at home and would have a melt down. I thought there is no way she will survive kindergarten, but she did...and she thrived. 
Kindergarten was perfect for her because it was structured. She knew what to expect. We knew that her inability to cope with change smoothly was not just a bratty child it was more. It was different.   
Wearing new socks, or finding new pants would have her cry and scream as if abuse was happening or her arm being cut off, when in fact she had been only sent to her room alone to calm down. We  have been late to school a handful of times in the 2 and 3rd grade because of socks and clothes issues. I am thankful for her teacher that she had both of those years. Mrs Ginter was her 2 nd grade teacher and then moved to 3rd grade and we chose to keep her again. She was always very understanding about my child not being able to calm down in time for school and that she would be there soon enough. 
About two years ago I talked to my childs pediatrician about it and we set up an appt to talk about Aspergers. I had googled some info through a friends suggestion and she had about 5 of the 7 quick check off symptoms. Well, for what ever reason I was not able to make those appts and never rescheduled them. 
I believe that yesterday drama was as the saying goes, the straw that broke the camal's back. She had three melt downs in the two weeks of us traveling and of course a big part is because we are so far out of our normal routine and she craves structure. 
Once we left my dad's I was fully in tears, Caden was in tears, Kori was screaming, and the other two were silent. Kori cried for a full hour and finally stopped about 1:15 mins after leaving my dad's. I am so thankful for worship music and prayer. I was able to fully Praise Jesus with a broken heart. I was broken because of the hate I felt for my child and her attitude. I was broken because of the sadness I felt for how this changed our friendship. I felt abused by her angry. I am thankful for prayer because without it I would have left my daughter there and I would have given up. Without prayer she might have gotten punched in the face when she threw all the toys from the back to the next seat and hitting ava with them, or when she over and over and over again said she hated Caden and it was his fault, that she called the special seat first. Without prayer I would hate my self for the hate I felt for her. No parent wants to feel that about that child. Without prayer I would be defeated. 

With prayer I cried out to God for help, for peace, for comfort, for forgiveness. With prayer I asked for Kori to learn the skills to adjust when things change and don't go her way. 
Our trip was 7.5 hrs to get home and about 5 hours into the trip she apologized. She had seen my crying and it made her very sad to see me so upset. I thanked her and said that meant a lot. I told her though that this can never happen again. I told her it was so painful she can never respond like that again. 

Today we talked. I asked her to tell me her point of view. She realized that this is the worst she has ever responded. She understood that had she of just stayed calm she could have gotten the special seat until bham, but she had now lost that privilege forever. I told her that I loved her forever no matter what but if a friend did that to me I would not be friends with them anymore. I said I love her but if she could not get that under control i could not be friends with her. I even explained as best as I could ( which was crap) about Aspergers and told her that I was going to get her tested. If I explained the symptoms to her she wouldn't get it. She doesn't see that she can't read body language very well. She doesn't see that she has certain patterns to things or that she is very passionate about certain topics and will only talk about that one thing...forever. 
I am so thankful for being able to talk. She is am amazing child and is one of the most creative people I know. She has big plans for her future and will do amazing but first we focus on what is in front of us and that is learning to cope with change. Tomorrow I will set up the appt again and we will talk. We will look at options and we will pray and I will love on this child that God has blessed me with. It is not an accident I am her mother. God gave me her therefore he gave me the wisdom and strenght to raise her with His help. I am thankful for that. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Home in two places.

Home for me is in Alabama and in Tennessee.
I am thankful for all of last week to spend at home. In Alabama. It is always great to go back and see how much it has changed over the years. I love how our brains can have a mental picture of our past and we are always comparing our present and future stories to this mental picture. So many times though it doesn't even compare. 
We stayed at my daddys new house and on Friday my twin joined us with her family. The kids had a blast visiting cousins. Papas cabinets were the perfect spot for an intense game of hide and go-seek. I am thankful for the chance to spend the morning part of Father's Day with him. 
Poor daddy though, he will need a vacation after our vacation. His new house is a loud, hot mess of Turneys and Nicodemus'. 

Today we traveled back to our now home 

And we are thrilled to be back. 

We had a very rough start getting out the door to travel but with some worship music on and kids not allowed to talk we headed out and we survived. It was me and four of my five kids making our way back and I am thankful for perfect weather and traffic the whole way back! 

Being home is an amazing feeling. I love my home and because I am a huge fan of cooking, I am thrilled to be back where I can cook what I want. 

More than anything else, I am thankful for my family. We were stocked to see everyone again and have the whole Turney clan back together. 

I  thankful for my husband who is a great daddy and does the hard work to provide a safe home for us to live in. Happy Father's Day to him too! 

Being home in Alabama was great but being home where MY family is, well there is nothing that tops that. 



Friday, June 19, 2015

Do not make a moment a habit.

I am so thankful for the things I have learned about health. I have had my own personal testing going on purely by accident. The week before we traveled I did all juicing. I wrote about how at the end of the week most of my pain was gone. I still had some localized pain in my lower back but for the most part I was waking up feeling great. Fast forward to two weeks later and I am hurting in my back, hips, and legs and my stomach is hurting. I have had things like ice cream, pop tarts, gummies, soda, more soda, and more ice cream. When traveling it is very hard to be part of a large group and stick to a certain eating pattern. Whenever possible I had salads and I ate fruit if it was there. At a park like universal I got a salad at one of the restaurants buy it wasn't that great so it became more about ordering something that wouldn't be wasted. 
I am thankful for moments of letting go and eating cake but I am more thankful to see a connection between how I eat and how I feel. Because feeling great trumps eating cake any day in my book!

I think so many times people have their moment of a sweet treat but the problem is that moment continues on and on and on. It becomes a life style instead of a moment. Bodies get sick when we put things in it that it can't process. If we could simply take a good habit and do it for a moment and continue that on and on and on, we could making a good move in the right direction. 
I am thankful for baby steps because even tiny steps are moving. We just need to make sure they are moving in towards the right goal. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Our moment of country life.

Today we got to hangout with our cousins and the kids got to do a little country living for about 2 hours at "Two Cracked eggs 

I grew up in the country and would move back to that life in a heart beat. I love the open space and quite sounds that country living can bring. 
My cousin Kasey is the same age as my twin and myself. We have know each other our whole life and I am thankful that we are friends. Having her and her sister along with so many other cousins all live around the same town was amazing. It was so great to grow up with my mom's family on one side of town and then dad's family live on the other end of town. My kids jokingly say that all of south Alabama is related to me. That is prob. not far from the truth. I am so thankful for a huge family. 
Today at Kasey's house the kids got to go help gather chicken eggs. This is something Kori loves to do at our friends Brittany house and does it everything we go there and get our hair cut. 

Eli, Kasey's 3 yr old was showing us the ropes with raising chickens. He even taught us how he catches one. 

We watched as her older son and his friend cleaned the catfish they caught today. Some of my kids touched guts, others felt a little nauseous, and some wanted to see brains and hearts. 

We always have a great time with our friends, who happens to be a relative, and today we are so thankful for our play date with them. Thank you for our small moment in the country life. 

Do you live in the city or country? Would you change your location if you could? 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Off the clock

That is what today was...we were off the clock. We dropped off Caleb and Jerry to get the rental car so they could head back home to Nashville and then we had no schedule. It was wonderful to have no pressing meeting to get to, no hotel breakfast we had to get to before it shut down, or even a park to get to before the huge crowd got there, it was just do, just live. We met my mom for lunch at a park by her work and hung out for the hour and then the kids wanted to walk next door to the church and walk through the cemetery. 

We found a grave the was cracked open because of a tree root or because they were raised from the dead....we went with the latter reason. 😉 
Kori, my animal whisper, caught a lizard/salamander. They loved the bright rainbow colors it had.

After visiting with my mom we drove all the way to where I grew up and I showed them so much of my memories. I am positive I enjoyed it more then they did. We even went by my middle school and drove through some back roads near there. It was awesome to have no idea where things were but through that second nature habit I was able to get places and remember things. I accidentally came upon a pier/park area that I went to a lot as a kid so we stopped there and played for awhile. 

We ended up in fairhope and went antique shopping, drove around the pier, and then stopped at my mom's house and visited with my granny. 

We ended the day with dinner at my dad's home and then ice cream at The Marble Slab Creamery.

Gabi even met some new friends. She is always so friendly and can talk to anyone. 

Having a schedule is great for getting things accomplished but it was wonderful to unwind in true form and have no need for the clock today. We just took it as it led us and went from adventure to adventure. I am so thankful for days like today!  
When is the last time you were able to unwind with no use of the clock? Is it something you do often or need to put in your schedule to get off schedule? 


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The fifth and final...

That is what we call our sweet ava. 
She is a joy to everyone she meets. She is everything we are trying to teach the other kids morphed into one darling child. 
She will pull us aside to have private conversations. They range from asking for candy or to letting us know we hurt her siblings feelings and asking us to apologize. 
As a baby she was a terrible nurser. I quit and started back up every week for months, yet she was my fattest baby. I am thankful I kept going. She ended up doing great and she is my only child who did not use a pacifier or suck her thumb. 

Ava is sassy and she is all into fashion. She says she wants to be a fashion girl when she grows up 

After we lost Caden's twin we didn't really want to get preg again but did not have the feeling of being done yet. So many people said they never had that feeling but I think God understood me and knew i need to know I was done. Toward the end of my pregnancy with ava I knew I was done. I am so glad we had her. She is the perfect ended to our family, the icing on the already great cake. 
Tonight while face timing my mom miss ava crawls into bed with me. She lays there talking, playing, and interrupting for awhile and then falls asleep. I am thankful that she sleeps so well and for the huge blessing that she is.