The other day, my sweet little four year old said,"Mom, I am a big girl! I am growing and growing everyday!"I have been thinking about that as I am sitting here watching one of my faves, Julie and Julia for the 100th time. It's funny, Julie is a blogger and that is what made me think: "Wow, I haven't written for a very long time!" A movie about blogging inspires me to blog. Who would have thought? I started out writing because I wanted to share what I love, which is my love for being healthy-not for any other reason but for the pure and simple joy of it. I thought about my whole view on being happy, since I started making better choices, eating healthier and exercising. It made such a difference to actually think about it and plan ahead. There really is a connection: being healthy IS being happy. I have been modifying my menus, finding new recipes and new ideas that I like. It's a constant work in progress. I guess what I have discovered is that being healthy, like everything else in life is a process, it is work, it is changing, growing, modifying and molding things into my own creation of happiness. It has taken me a while figure out the best way to make these healthy changes a constant part of my life. Finding a way I loved, is what makes it stick. I know I say that all the time, but for me, it's true. Over time, it becomes easier and easier to not stray from what works for me, because of how good it makes me feel when I am doing it. It's hard work I know I can be proud of. Whenever I get frustrated or tired of doing it, I remind myself WHY I am doing this, and I say a little prayer to have the strength to stay disciplined and not let my negative emotions get the better of me. There is a picture of me and Ron in Moab taken a few years ago that I absolutely hate and when I get frustrated at how long it takes to plan a weekly menu, Ron says, "Do you want me to go get the Moab picture?" Its a good reminder, not only of how happy and good I feel now, compared to how UN-happy I felt then. I read once that you should exercise and eat right to feel good, not just to lose weight.
In about a month, it will be my second baby girl's first birthday. I think about how much she has grown this past year, how her sassy, yet gentle, personality has started to bloom. My four old, Cadence, has also grown this past year. When her little sister was born, Cadence did not know what to think. Now she loves to help me take care of her baby sister, any way she can. She even gives up a favorite toy to cheer her up. She is very protective and loves to make her laugh. A few years ago, Cadence was afraid to be left alone in Nursery. Now, anywhere Cadence goes, she makes friends. She talks to everyone and accepts everyone. (Now we just need to have that talk over and over about strangers) She has truly grown in so many ways. Just a few weeks ago, with the help of her Dad, she gave her very first talk in Sunbeams. She was afraid at first, but after giving it some thought, at the end of primary that day, she wanted to give her talk. I am so glad that life challenges us to constantly grow and change for this simple fact: To be happy and to experience true joy.
One of my latest finds, from The Hungry Girl author, Lisa Lillien, is "Growing Oatmeal bowls." To me, (and as Lisa has said) Oatmeal servings are so tiny, it's a joke to think that will be a satisfying breakfast. These recipes use almond milk which literally makes them grow and expand. I like to use Silk Vanilla Almond milk, it gives it that perfect touch of sweetness. Plus, she has some cute and fun recipes like: S'mores Oatmeal and Apple Pie Oatmeal. For me it is all about modifying and substitutions. Eating healthy should still taste good and it does not have to be boring! Can eating healthy actually make you feel happy and excited? Yes, it can! So, here is one of my favorite Growing Oatmeal Bowl recipes:
(you have to use a nonstick pot)
Entire Recipe: 299 calories (if you use sweetened almond milk, just adjust the calories)
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
One 25-calorie packet hot cocoa mix
1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze
2 tsps. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips,divided
2 Tbs. mini marshmallows
1/4 sheet (1 cracker) low-fat honey graham cracker,crushed
Combine oats,cocoa mix, and salt in a nonstick pot on the stove. Add Almond Breeze and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes,stirring occasionally, until very thick and creamy. Remove pot from heat. Add 1 tsp. chocolate chips and stir until melted. Transfer to a bowl and top with marshmallows,crushed graham cracker, and remaining 1 tsp. chocolate chips. Enjoy!