Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Deliberate gratitude

I could fill a page or two with complaints right now.  We've had some form of illness passing between the four of us for the last few weeks.  With this comes many, many sleepless nights and 4am Tweets.  Many days of walking through fog and keeping sleep-deprived, irrational Mommy emotions in check.  Just when we thought we were clear, my dear husband, who had been relatively spared the last time around, got hit with a fever and then we all went down.

Yesterday the furnace was blowing only cold air.  Then the toilet clogged up.  I hadn't slept much at all in 3 nights at that point.

See where this is going?  I could continue, trust me.  But I won't.  Because I've slowly begun to realize that in each situation, if I choose to find something to be thankful for it's less likely that I'll find myself wallowing in whatever the situation is.

For example I have a sick 3 year old who is demanding that her nose be wiped ever few seconds because a) she won't take medicine and b) she refuses to do it herself.  Tempting to complain, but then I look at her and realize that she's here.  I have a beautiful daughter.  There was a time when I wasn't sure I'd ever have children, and now, through coughs and tears and snot and laughter, I have two wonderful children. 

So rather than venting, here are some things I'm thankful for.

*We're sick with colds.  Nothing serious.  Annoying, but not harmful.  This will eventually pass.
*While sitting up at night, either coughing or with a sick child, I have a roof over my head and a wonderful husband I can (eventually) crawl back into bed with.
*There's a lot of snow on the ground.  But we have a large yard to put it in when we shovel.  And lots of space for the kids to build and have fun.
*That same snow will be melting soon (and quickly), making quite the mess.  I am thankful that we have a dry basement in this house.
*My father was able to come by yesterday and sort out what the furnace was (and was not doing) so that when I spoke with the company we bought it from, the guy was able to tell me what  he thought the problem was.
*My husband, who is wonderfully handy, was able to take care of the furnace himself after that, saving us roughtly $120.
*My father has a drain snake and was able to unclog the toilet that he, um... someone clogged up.
*Both my father and husband were available to take care of the crisis yesterday before the house ever got cold enough to be uncomfortable.
*I have many friends who are so supportive and amazing.
*Money is tight, but we're not starving and my husband has a job not only with a company he likes, but doing something he truly enjoys.
*Spring will arrive eventually.  I have many people on Twitter who are so inspirational and make me look forward to the mild weather all the more.
*In all of this, God is in control and cares for us so much.
*And as for all the rest of the stresses and frustrations... this too shall pass. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Soup Therapy

So after a dud blizzard that produced more snow after it was declared officially over and gave us a snow day for hubby mid-week and a lot of cold whiteness, I wanted something comforting and colourful for this weekend.  The only condition is that it must be made from what I already have on hand.

Scanning my fridge, I see beets and butternut squash.  Hmm, seems to me I've seen those ingredients used together recently, and not in some strange salad with Thai chili paste.  Where was that recipe?  Oh yes!  Over at Dinner With Julie!  Recently she posted a recipe for a Roasted Beet and Butternut Squash Soup that sounds like it will fit the bill nicely.

Oh, it calls for orange juice.  Hmmm, I have none.  But I have blood oranges.  Those should work nicely.  It also calls for chicken or veg stock.  I have beef broth.  Not going to work.  So I'm currently roasting the beets and squash while simmering some veggies for stock.  I may even toast the squash seeds later for a nice snack.

After a week of all of us being sick to some degree (the kids bearing the brunt of it) and wonky eating habits all around, it's nice to be planning a meal.  I can tell you, there has been a lot of "breakfast for supper" happening around here.  And by that, I mean cut up fruit and bowls of dry cereal.  I'm a firm believer in the ability of the body to let us know what it needs or can handle while sick, and the kids have largely only wanted these very simple things.  Finally the other night they ate some veg chili.  Tonight we'll have pork chops.  We're on the mend.

And it feels good to be cooking again.  To smell stock simmering, to be mindlessly peeling and dicing vegetables, to be roasting squash and beets.  There is something therapeutic in cooking.  Even more in going beyond just preparing food to creating nourishment for loved ones.  Last night I'll admit it, I heated up chicken nuggets and french fries (never claimed to be perfect LOL).  Technically I guess I cooked them.  Kind of.  But making this soup is truly doing me some good.  I'm making something that's filling the house with a lovely, comforting, homey smell.  Something that will fill our fridge with a few meals.  Something that will fill our bodies with all manner of wonderfully healthy things to nourish us.  Sometimes I wonder if there's almost as much healing in the preparation of some meals as in the eating of them.