Search This Blog

Loading...

Monday, February 3, 2014

5 Ingredient Flourless Banana Pancakes

One of the challenges of having a kiddo with a sensory disorder, is being able to find foods with the right textures and tastes that not only satisfy him, but the rest of the family as well. Superboy loves pancakes. Seriously. I can't explain the love he has for his beloved pancakes! So this morning I decided to try to make a flourless heart healthy pancake that isn't time consuming. I knew I would have to be diligent in getting the texture just right for Red. It's only 5 ingredients and if you haven't noticed yet, I am always trying to sneak flax seed into our food. So you can bet one of the 5 ingredients is flax! It was a hit in my home and I hope it is in yours too. Enjoy!

Photo By Laura Smith


5 Ingredient Flourless Banana Pancakes
 

Ingredients:
  • 3 bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 heaping tablespoons peanut or almond butter
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. freshly milled flax
What to do:

Mash all the bananas really well. Make sure there are no pieces left. You almost want it to resemble a puree. Then add nut butter and mix until smooth. Add the egg, flax and cinnamon and stir until well combined. Coat a nonstick skillet with a small amount of butter over medium heat. I poured each pancake at about 3 tablespoons full into the heated skillet. Cook on each side about 3-4 minutes. Top with warm syrup!

Serves: 3-4 depending on your hunger level

*Did you try this recipe? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment in the section below!*

God bless,
Laura

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Happy February!

 


Happy February everyone!


I enjoy February for several reasons. One is because I know we are one month closer to spring again, though apparently Punxsutawney Phil has revealed more winter for us first this year. For my area of the world that just means a little longer delay in the rise of skin scorching temps and humidity and that, my friends, is just fine with me! Also, I'm a sucker for Valentine's Day. The holiday itself is still widely up for discussion as to the meaning and origin. I don't have a strong opinion about any of it since it's all widely skepticized and based on legends. I do like to use it as a day to shower my family with an extra dose of love though! February also means we have hit the 100th day of school mark in our homeschool! Without fail, every year we have hit 100 days at some point between the beginning and end of February. It's a fun milestone for the kids and a small slightly-over-halfway-there victory for me. One thing I am supporting more strongly this year than in years past, is acknowledging February as Heart Health Awareness Month. The American Heart Association at http:/.www.heart.org has some really in depth information, videos and tools to help you understand heart disease and learn how to have better heart health. I love that their motto is Learn and Live. Seems pretty straightforward right? Yet so many of you will glaze over this and ignore it. Take a few minutes to check out the basics of heart health and you may save your life or the life of someone else. So, in honor of Heart Health Awareness month, I will be focusing my posts this month on heart healthy recipes, living a heart friendly lifestyle, valuable links to provide you with knowledgeable and crucial information and educational tools and activities to do with your kiddos to help them understand too! I even have a special guest interview with a top notch doctor lined up for you! So come back soon and see what's new!
Unsolicited Drivel: February is Women's Heart Health Awareness Month
God bless,
Laura


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Let's Talk Deployment Series: Homecoming

Hi friends!

Let's wrap up our Let's Talk Deployment Series with a look at homecoming!

When your loved one returns home, here are a few important things to know:
1. Likely, he will be jet lagged and exhausted. Coming from different time zones and flying hours or possibly days to get home is tiring to say the least. Don't be disappointed if it takes a couple days for your sweetie to get caught up on rest and clear the fog a bit.
2. Expect to do some laundry!! You think I'm kidding but I'm not! Every time The Aviator comes back from any kind of time away, he brings laundry back with him and though it's not always a lot, I still like to wash everything for him to get the smell of being wherever he has been out. Lucky for him, I like to do the laundry!
2. Don't expect him to be able to jump right into routine. Old routine or not, he has been away on a completely different schedule and mindset. Go about your day and do what you usually do and let him slowly ease back into normal life. However, if he offers to help or be a part of what you are doing, let him! You and I both know how resilient you are and how well you run things on your own. That's survival sister! He's home now though and if he is willing, then give yourself a little break and let him be a part of it.
3. Be gentle with yourself during this transition time too. No matter how long you have been together, homecoming always presents unique challenges. Just be patient and things will slowly work back into a rhythm.
4. If you have kids, you may find this to be an emotionally challenging time for them. They have had your undivided attention for some time and though they love their daddy a whole big bunch, they may find themselves slightly jealous that they now have to share their time with you. Just do your best to reassure them and shower them with lots of love! They may also have a hard time adjusting to routine with daddy involved again. This is where I always find it helpful to let The Aviator know what our days look like before he gets home. This way he has some time to look at it and get acquainted with it so when he gets home, he has an idea of what the kids do and what they need. 
5. Make sure you are taking time to be with The Lord each day. Pray over this process and pray for both of you and your kiddos to be able to come together and adjust without too much difficulty.
6. Don't plan too much right away. Without fail, when I ask The Aviator what he wants to do when he gets home, his reply is always "be home!". It can be tempting to want to go out to all the restaurants you love right away or hit up all the local places you usually go. Especially if you have been home with kiddos during the entire deployment. However, I can't express enough the importance of easing back into things. Take it slow. Take it one day at a time. Communicate closely and constantly.
7. Learn the signs of PTSD. If your loved one seems to be having a hard time reintegrating after a couple of weeks, it is possible he may be suffering from PTSD and he may not know it. Common signs are: sadness, anger, sleep disturbances or insomnia, excessive alcohol use, loss of appetite and difficulty concentrating. This is only a very brief look at the signs associated with PTSD. If you suspect your loved one may suffer PTSD, I urge you to seek help. Counseling services are available through Mental Health Clinics; and Family Advocacy Programs or through the TRICARE Service Center. You can also contact your base or post chaplain. 

As always, I am here for you! If you have questions or comments, I would love for you to leave them in the comment section below!

God bless,
Laura

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Let's Talk Deployment Series: Interview with The Aviator

Welcome back to the Let's Talk Deployment Series! In this post, you will get to see deployment from the other side. I interviewed my husband, The Aviator, to get his input and his insight into a few things. With his blessing, I have published it here for you!

1. What helps you get through a deployment?
A: The help and support from all of my family and friends, here and back home. From phone calls, email, letters, etc. All of these things allow me to know people are thinking of me. It helps knowing this.

2. What makes it hard for you to get through deployment?
A: Feeling alone and by myself. That's why I want to know all the details of what is happening back home, you know. This helps me feel close to you guys and allows me to feel like a part of everything.

3. What is the best way, in your opinion, for a family at home to show support to the deployed member?
A: Don't talk negatively about the situation. I know that it's hard and, to me, it doesn't show support when people are complaining about it all the time. I know there will be sad times, but look at the silver lining of the deployment, then when its over and I'm home, then we can talk about how hard it was being away for that time.

4. How can the deployed member show support to those at home?
A: Stay engaged with what' s going on back home. I know there are things I need to do to help you guys out back home and if I keep doing those things then I know that you will be happy and fulfilled and not think I don't care whats going on. I want you to know that I am in tune with whats going on there.

5. Can you stay connected besides phone calls?
A: Absolutely. Phone calls, emails, letters, packages, etc. can help everyone feel connected with one another. I like the "book club" idea though because it allows another aspect of connection with one another. (pretty proud of this idea ;))
*The "book club" idea is one that The Aviator and I do, and yes, it was his idea! We pick a book to read together, buy 2 copies, set a certain chapter to read and then discuss it during a set "book club" time. During deployment, one needs to remember flexibility with changes in the schedule however!*

6. Do you think it is harmful to the relationship to "live as a single person" during deployment?
A: I absolutely feel/think it is incredibly harmful to "live as a single person" when people are deployed. Then people get the idea that they can do what they want because their loved-one isn't there. I think its important to to stay connected and not go too crazy when people are deployed. I think there is a line there though. I, as a deployed member, am not going to sit around on my down time and wait around for my loved one to be there. I think it is very important to experience things in the area you are in (where ever the member is deployed to). This also goes for the family of the deployed member. They should go out and experience things in their local area too and possibly new areas outside of their area.  Again, this is a fine line.
 
So as you can tell, communication and positive support is essential on both ends. Living as a single person is a mentality I see all too often and always has a negative outcome and that is why I asked that question. You are not a single person. You are not a single parent. You take some responsibilities over temporarily but it's not permanent and your spouse can still be a part of your day. You just need to get creative! If you would like to chat more about any this post, please feel free to contact me or leave a message in the comment section!
 
God bless,
Laura

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Let's Talk Deployment Series: Adjusting to Deployed Life

Photo By Laura Smith
Since we have covered the "I'm deploying" conversation and what to do to prepare (see previous post), let's chat about what adjusting to deployed life looks like. For you it will mean finding a new but temporary normal. Most of your every day routine stays intact but some things do change. The time difference of your deployed spouses location will determine when you talk with him. One particular deployment for The Aviator and I meant I would get up at 5:30 AM to talk to him before he went to bed somewhere around midnight. Lucky for us, I am a morning person and he is a night owl! It did mean some effort though. At first it will be hard to find the groove. He'll be getting everything situated and trying to find his new and temporary normal too. Be patient with him and don't give him a hard time if he can't make a planned meeting for a phone call or Skype session with you. Things happen and schedules get changed a lot and that's not his fault. Frustrating and worrisome for you at times but it's not his fault.

One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to be constant in prayer. The Lord will see you through this.“Be strong and courageous, for the LORD will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). When I try to rush through any day, deployed or not and do not start my day spending time in prayer, I always come to a breaking point in my day. Why? I'm trying to claim the day as my own with my own strength. Guess what? It's not my day, it's His and without Him, I have no strength. It's important to remember to offer thanks for your situation (remember He has a reason even if you don't understand it) and to pray over your spouse as well. I always pray for God to guide The Aviator's heart and footsteps, to watch over him in safety and health, and to protect him from the enemy.

Another piece of wisdom is to maintain routine. Especially if you have children. Keep things going the way they always do and you will feel less out of sync with your true love. Trying to change too many things will not only be hard for you but for your spouse as well. It's hard for him to adjust to his new environment and try to wrap his mind around what you may be doing that's different than usual. I think there is some type of comfort for him when he looks at the clock and thinks about what you are probably doing at that moment because it's what you've always done. Why take that away from either one of you?

For me the hardest parts to adjust to were; one less person at dinner, falling asleep alone (except for the nights the kids and dogs pile into the bed and I just don't have the heart to make them go to their own) and the weekends. The weekdays were all pretty normal with teaching the kids, appointments, extra curricular activities, and so on but the evenings and weekends were difficult. Lucky for me, I have 2 sweet little kiddos to share this time with. So, we make new and temporary (have you seen this phrase enough yet?) traditions. Saturday morning stuffed french toast followed by board and card games in our pjs. Then we pick somewhere really fun to spend our afternoon. The art museum and gardens, the zoo, the frisbee golf park, a movie at the theatre..whatever sounds exciting that day. Sunday is early breakfast followed by church, then brunch, a walk and a movie with popcorn and drinks, then I let the kids pick our dinner. *Disclaimer: Should you choose to let your kids pick your dinner, I never said you'd like it or that it would accommodate all or any of the essential food groups.*Sounds simple but I have come to appreciate the expected routine. It keeps my mind occupied in a good way and keeps me going.

All of that being said, I still keep our traditional "movie night" and enjoy unlimited chick flicks and tear jerking inspirationals until The Aviator returns. I still sleep on the same side of the bed, I still go to the commissary on the same day, I still walk the dogs in all our usual places. I plan schoolwork on the same day, go to the same restaurants, and hang out at Lowes. There's comfort for me and for our kids in doing the same things. There's comfort for The Aviator too. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying never step out and do something a little different but I am saying don't get trapped in the mindset of being a single woman who does whatever she wants, whenever she wants while he's away. I promise you this will cause nothing but heartache and strife for both of you.  

Ok, I know that's a fairly broad post but as always, I encourage you to contact me either through the comment section or the contact me button at the bottom of the blog. I am here for you! If you have questions about something in particular or if you have your own words of wisdom, I'd love to hear from you! Please come back and visit soon for a rare deployment interview with The Aviator!

God bless,
Laura





Thursday, December 5, 2013

Let's Talk Deployment Series..First Stages

Hello friends!

*I want to open this series by first telling you that I, in no way, claim to be an expert on all things deployment. Certainly I have been through a lot of separations and deployments too, but my view points come from my own experiences as an Army turned Air Force wife (yes, same husband). I  encourage anyone who would like to offer positive words of wisdom to others, to please feel free to leave a comment in the section below and the same for any questions that arise. Also, I realize there are many husbands that are the spouses of active duty wives. The majority of my readers are wives with active duty or retired husbands so for the sake of this series, I am using the wives as my main reader but please don't think I don't appreciate the role of the husband spouse as well! *

Ok, with that out of the way, let's move on!

The moment arrives when dear husband comes through the door with a look in his eyes that tells you before his words do. He's deploying. For a first time deployment, this can feel  heart wrenching. Of course, we know this is what we are called to do as military wives but the sting of the word 'deployment' is still allowed to hurt. Often, the reactions range from, speechless, to disbelief, to anger (why us?), to a looming sadness. Eventually perhaps even numbness. None of us want to be apart from our husband, and we certainly don't wait with giddy anticipation for the day he gets to head out and risk his life in "the zone". This isn't to say we aren't more than proud of our men and that we don't recognize our distinct role in supporting him. We are human and we love our husband and we are allowed to feel all of the above and more one at a time or all at once.

Once the initial shock wears off, you will be able to start processing the information. There will be a briefing of some sort for you, the military wife. There will be a lot of information and you likely will not remember or understand it all. Take a notepad and a pen and write everything down that you can. This will allow you time to take it home and read over it for a few days until it starts to make sense. You will be given contact numbers for people waiting to answer your questions and you will also have a support group.  In the Army, we had the FRG or Family Readiness Group to help offer support. Our FRG group was more than amazing. We were a sisterhood of sorts and looked out for each other every day. I met one of my very best friends in this group years ago and to this day, she is still one of my favorite people. In the Air Force, we have A&FRC or the Airman & Family Readiness Center which is fully staffed and equipped to help you through the deployment. MilitaryOneSource.org is a must have tool as well.

Now that you have the information, you can start sorting it out with your husband. Take care of the checklists and "must do's" as soon as you can so it's not hanging over your head. Understand that your husband will be busy completing his many checklists at work too probably up until the day before he deploys. This can be hard because naturally we want as many of those precious moments that we can stock up on as possible, but he will need your patience. He will probably seem distracted and this is natural too. He suddenly has a lot on his shoulders (as you do) and he's trying to hold it all together and be strong for you. Give him some extra TLC and tell him how proud of him you are. Not just anybody is called to protect and defend their country, but he is and therefore you are by supporting him and that deserves some praise. This is the time when it is absolutely crucial to have clear and strong communication with each other. Pray together. Don't be afraid to cry and tell him you're scared. He is too. Be careful  not to only focus on the unknown and scary parts of this journey you are about to embark on. I have seen too often, the regret a wife feels after her husband has left for deployment because instead of trying her best to remain positive and lifted up in His word during the days leading to the deployment, she was trapped in the sadness and grief of sending her husband off which led to him leaving with a less than desirable memory. He doesn't want to leave you. I promise. It's his job. It's what he has to do.

When deployment day comes around pray together and send each other off in the most loving way you possibly can. You will cry. You will cry in your 12th deployment too. It's just the way it is. Try to send him off with a fond memory and lighten the mood. I always sneak something into The Aviator's bag. A picture, card, letter, or something homemade. I even do it when he just leaves for training. I know it means a lot to him and I even have a sneaking suspicion he looks forward to that little surprise! It's important that you maintain your normal schedule in the days right after he leaves. It will help you stay distracted in a sense and you won't be sitting around in your pj's for days on end with the blinds closed, bawling, wondering when he's going to call. He has a job to do and so do you. You need to be his support and you can't do that if you fall to pieces. So keep the home fires burning, go for a walk, pray for His strength and for Him to calm your heart and enlist the support of your friends and family. Since you are military, you probably don't live near most of your family but they can still help by keeping up with you on the phone or through Skype. This is when those friendships within your military community will really show their strength. Also, don't be afraid to call on your church family. That's what church family is all about. (If you don't have a church family or don't have a personal relationship with Our Savior, Jesus Christ, but would like to, please contact me!)

That's probably enough information for now. After all this is a blog post, not a book right?! I am looking forward to seeing the discussion this might bring forth. Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, Reserves..we are all in this together. I pray this is helpful to you and I hope to see you back here soon for the next post in this series!

God bless,
Laura

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Let's Talk Deployment Series

Hot Air Balloon in New Mexico
Photo By Laura Smith
The Grand Canyon
Photo By Laura Smith

Cliff at The Grand Canyon
Photo By Laura Smith

 




Hi friends!

I hope you are all well and had a most wonderful Thanksgiving! I know we did! We had the privilege of traveling to visit family and friends and stopped at some neat places along the way. I snapped the above pictures in hopes of capturing some of God's creation during our trip but I don't think many pictures can truly capture the splendor of The Grand Canyon.  By the way, in case I haven't told you lately..I am thankful for YOU!

Being in the military community, I am constantly surrounded by deployments. Our own deployments, deployments of family members, deployments of friends and deployments of our church family. The Aviator and I are not newbies to deployments and separations. I would like to open my blog to a deployment series and encourage you all to chime in! I am going to be focusing on everything deployment for the next couple of weeks. We'll talk about everything from the first send off to the day he arrives back in your loving arms. Deployments are not easy but they can strengthen your marriage and bring you closer believe it or not. Maybe you are preparing for your first deployment. Maybe you are in the middle of one and need somewhere to turn. Maybe you are on your 12th and would like some encouragement. Perhaps you are a retired spouse and would like to offer your own words of wisdom. Whatever your situation, I want you to know this series will be open to freely interact with each other. As always, I can be personally contacted (look for the contact me tab at the bottom of this blog) but ladies, let's use this as an opportunity to reach out to each other! Excited? Me too! I'll see you back here soon for our first Let's Talk Deployment post!

God bless,
Laura