Friday, April 30, 2010

Out of the Mouths of Babes

One of the things I pride myself on is eating and promoting healthy food. In fact, I'm a bit obsessed with it of late and maybe a little snobby. I eat chocolate but only dark chocolate. I drink alcohol but prefer red wine. The last time my granddaughter had a sleepover, I made stuffed peppers. Of course, I used ground turkey and added bulgar wheat, spinach, onion, carrots, tomatoes, and squash. Feta cheese melted on top while they cooked. I was sure my 4-year old granddaughter would turn up her nose to my healthy stuffed peppers, so I made her, although it killed me, Sponge Bob mac-n-cheese in a box :( I bought the boxed mac-n-cheese just for her because, once, several months ago, I took a long time and some expensive ingredients to make homemade mac-n-cheese and she hated it. So, boxed it was! To my astonishment, however, while the dehydrated Sponge Bobs were plumping up in the pot on the stove, my granddaughter looked at my turkey meat and veggie pepper sitting on my plate and announced, "I'd like some of that." "OK," I thought "but I bet she'll hate it...too many veggies." Her grandfather barely gags down my ground turkey and veggie stuffed peppers. He's looking for the nice greasy ones stuffed with beef, sausage and white rice. Love him deeply but we are are different planets when it comes to food some times. Anyway, after eating two servings, my granddaughter clearly loved my healthy stuffed peppers.

As she got ready for bed after her tub swim (see previous post), the book of her choice was, Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food. Mama Bear, noticing Papa and Baby Bears are getting a little chubby, locks all the junk food away and forces the family to take up jogging. Delighted, I read this book to my granddaughter with much enthusiasm. The educator in me is hard to contain sometimes. After all, I recently joined Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution to transform school lunches and I never join causes.

The next morning I drove my sweet granddaughter to preschool. I had given her a candy cane before we left the condo. She was quiet for a little bit and then announced to me 1/2 way to school, so she had been thinking about this for awhile, "Grandma, isn't this junk food?" Oh my....called out by my own little granddaughter. "Well, yes. Candy canes are junk food. But, we can have a little junk food now and again." Guess I should have acted like I preach and given her a banana :) Humbled once again by youth :)

Swimming in the Tub

So, here is my granddaughter the last time she spent the night. She loves the giant bathtub. I have no idea why she did this but she would lay flat under the water, holding her breath, repeatedly. She was having a ball. I stood nearby hoping mouth-to-mouth would not be required but it was all fun for her. What crazy memories this girl will have of sleeping over with Grandma and Grandpa!

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Art with My Grammie Joy

So, the first thing you do is put on Grandma's shirt to cover up your beautiful clothes. Do you think I'm fully covered?

Next, you take florescent paint and get crazy with the wooden flowers. Don't you LOVE my painting.

What'd ya think? These flowers stand up!

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Younger Next Year....We'll see!

I've read this entire book...well, I skipped a lot of pages as I was eager to get to the meat of it...but I "read" this book, pretty much cover to cover, over my last two vacation days. I'll go back later and read some of the chapters I skimmed just because it's so much fun to read and so full of information. OK. I know I sound like a commercial but I'm taken by this book and all it's advice. Finally I understand WHY I am supposed to watch what I eat (nothing white, little red meat and lots of fish along with tons of veggies, fruit and grains), exercise like an athlete six days a week, watch stress levels and keep a healthy family/social life going. Makes so much sense. After my workout session with my trainer this morning I am good to go with exercise (well, I will try, anyway!). I spin twice a week, run once a week, workout on the elliptical once a week (all for 45 minutes) and now I'll add in twice weekly sweaty weight-lifting workouts.

I'm getting older by the minute. Fragile bones, weakened eyesight and even more wrinkles on my half-a-century face. Yes I see that all. But, perhaps, at least now I have a good chance of being much more healthy and happy in the upcoming second half of my life (right...I'm going to live to 110!).

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


So, this year, vacations have been.........interesting. By the end of Christmas/New Year's vacation, I was exhausted. So much leading up to the 25th. And then, it was just so subzero outside that it made me tired. During February vacation I was recovering from Fifth Disease and felt like crap much of the time we were in chilly Florida. I had no energy and the joints in my hands made me feel like I was 107. I now completely understand the constant pain my husband suffers from. Got it. April vacation, right now, seems the best of all. I feel really, really good physically, emotionally, spiritually. And, I have a lot of time to myself. Well, pup is nearby but she's perfect company for me in this state-of-mind. And, I love it when my husband comes home in the evening. But, during the day....I am free! Honestly, I love being busy and I am happy and extremely grateful for my very full and wonderful life but I crave long stretches of alone time. And, that's just so hard to find working full-time. When I work full time, all my other time is spent getting ready to go back to my full-time work.....and on, and on, and on.........

Today I think, hmmm, I can paint, make jewelry, read, write, workout, do yoga, just sit and look out the window and I don't have to talk to anybody or solve anybody's problems. I don't have 75 balls in the air, all at random heights. I can stay in my pajamas all day and drink tea! I can meditate all morning on the beauty of a single green leaf! This is definitely the perfect vacation for me.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Healthy, Delicious and Low-fat Homemade Yogurt!

Oh My God! My husband has been experimenting. And the result is the most delicious, low-fat, inexpensive yogurt you can imagine. This is one of the many things I love about my husband...he's so clever and creative! Here's his recipe...take a gallon of 1% milk and pour it all into a Crock-Pot that has a high, low, and warm setting. Bring it up to 170 degrees (we use our dual probe meat thermometer to monitor the temp!). When the milk reaches 170 degrees, turn off the Crock-Pot. Let it cool until it is 115 degrees. At 115 degrees, take a cup and 1/2 of warm milk out. Combine this with 5-6 Tablespoons of yogurt and mix it with a fork. Then put that milk/yogurt mixture back into your warm milk in the Crock-Pot. This time he used some yogurt from a previous homemade batch, some non-fat greek yogurt, and Stonyfield plain organic, fat-free yogurt. This was clearly his best batch yet! Now, put the Crock-Pot on "warm" . Keep the mixture between 110 and 120 degrees (our thermometer has an alarm that goes off if the mixture gets too hot) for 12 hours (manage the temp by moving the lid around). Voila! For around $2 you have 3 quarts of DELICIOUS and tangy, healthy and smooth homemade yogurt. Put honey in it to sweeten. Add fruit to make it even better. I use a cup of this fabo yogurt every morning in my smoothie. Love it! And, we have found his yogurt, eaten daily, keeps us "regular"! Voila, again!

Ken says, "My next culinary adventure is 'cutting the cheese' under sista outlaw Marj's guidance :P" Looking forward to that!

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Grilled Peaches!

Ken and I swept and polished and cleaned and planted, visited both Home Depot and Target and pretty much ran around like crazy people all day. We were even interviewed by a freelance reporter with the Union Leader. We are on the upcoming Kittery Kitchen Tour on May 1 (a benefit for the Portsmouth Music Hall) and our kitchen will be featured in the paper which is why we had to mop and shine and straighten up every inch of our house. Come dinner time, Ken grilled for the first time this season without having to wear his winter coat. Love it. Here my wonderful husband is getting ready to put the heat to pears halves....he briefly grilled each sweet and luscious piece of fruit and then we drizzled the warm pears with a creamy vanilla honey sauce! Work hard and then enjoy a wonderful, healthy, home cooked meal. That's a good day :) Oh, and the fact that we have our flowers on the deck...woohoo...time to enjoy the outdoors again!
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tub Time

Ok, how cute are my two little granddaughters? Last time my daughter-in-law cut, colored, and highlighted my hair the whole family came over...and we all ended up in the bathroom! These little angels splashed in the tub while I ws styled and beautified. Life. The good things are so simple!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Do You Make Up Your God?

One day some 10 years or so ago, Jed, a young student of mine, told me as we were sharing lunch together that he was a Catholic and then he asked if I was. "No, " I told him. "Well, are you Jewish?" he followed up. "No," I told him again. "You know the only difference between Christians and Jews is that God is coming for the Jews and God has already come for the Christians." Jed informed me. "Interesting," was my comment. "Do you believe in God?" Jed went on. Hmmm, I found myself thinking. Here I am sitting in a public school discussing religion with this vulnerable student. A student who I eat lunch with once a week. A student who comes from a cerebral family and seems to struggle with peer relationships. "Well, I think I do but I don't go to church," I finally told Jed. "Oh, you just make up your God?" he innocently asked me. What do you say to that? I am spiritual. I do think there is a God but I don't call myself religious. "Well, not exactly," I answered his question with as much seriousness as I could gather. In the bubble over my head I was laughing and marveling at how this smart little boy was trying to understand my beliefs. Later that evening as I lay in bed, I thought about our conversation. Do I believe in God? More and more the older I get, I do, I thought. Do I make my God up? I don't think so, and I hope not, but then again maybe we all do.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Coffee Cake for Breakfast

A week or so ago I asked a lunch lady what she thought about Jamie Oliver's school lunch initiative. She didn't speak too positively of him. That was after I had spent my morning duty overseeing kids eating coffee cake and sugar-ladened chocolate milk for breakfast in our school cafeteria. I have been a fan of Jamie Oliver since the Naked Chef days... Several years ago he started a restaurant, Fifteen, in London, which "employs" young people trying to make a difference in their lives. Some time later, I watched a show chronicling how he was trying to transform the London school lunch program. What a brave soul...but he was successful. Now, he is in Huntington, West Virginia (supposedly the fattest city in the fattest state in the fattest country), revolutionizing the school lunch program. You have to give him credit for his enormous and contagious passion and concern about the health of children. It's not all passion, he is certainly trying to make money (check out his website where he sells kitchen and bathroom items) but I fully support his agenda in the schools... and bless him for trying to make a many fight him even though you know they know he's right....

Jaimie Oliver's website

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Hoof Boot and More

OK, am I just getting old or are these 10-inch babies downright hideous? I think Alexander McQueen (God rest his soul) was designing for the wrong species. I mean, really....

Monday, April 12, 2010

Yoga Weekend

picture from

I had a very interesting, inspiring, thoughtful, and exhausting weekend. It started with a yoga meeting with my yoga mentor on Thursday night and ended with a yoga for kids workshop, yesterday, Sunday, at 5:30. The best part of the weekend was meeting up with a bunch of people, some I knew, some I didn't, and instantly feeling comfortable with them, no New England sarcasm or critical eye (well, mostly not!). One of the few places, other than home for me, where I don't have to play a role or be ready for somebody to react in some crazy way to something I've said or done. I also love the depth of my 500-level yoga training (my Friday night event) which I don't see so much with kids yoga. The kids yoga that was presented is mostly fun and relaxing. The adult yoga is spiritual, soulful, ageless. In my kids yoga classes I try to bring some of that traditional, peaceful yoga and the kids seem to love it. It's so great to step out of my life for a few days, be around new people, and learn new things...ommmmmmm.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Our Fun Family Easter

Dan getting ready to blow some giant bubbles....Tinkerbell and Brisla looking on...., THOSE are bubbles!

Bethany and her dad.

Bethany and her mother-in-law...can I be THAT old????

Guys and their beer...

Lazy dogs..

And dogs obsessed with tennis balls...

And dogs just happy to be free! Fiona is finally recovered from her broken back :(

Father and son and the littlest of the Markleys.

The old people :P

Enjoying Easter...ah...Tink, get out of the photo!

Brisla certainly enjoyed Easter!

Gabe, you're such a dad now...nice happy face salad.
It was even tastier when Bethany ground up all the fruit and added rum!

Bethany expressing her feelings :)

Dan with a smile.

And the beautiful Markley girls...this is what Easter is all about!

We hope you enjoyed your Easter :)