Sunday, February 24, 2019

More {Keto} Food!

Anyone who knows me in person or who has been following my blogs for long, knows that food is a big part of our lives.   I guess you could even call it one of my love languages.   

I love to make it.  I love to eat it. 

I'm not a fancy cook by any stretch of the imagination, but I really do love trying to create delicious (and at least semi-nutritious) things for my family to eat.   I think that's why I was so surprised when we started our low-carb (keto) way of eating for Ellie's seizures.   I had gone into it thinking  that eating keto food was going to be a sacrifice for us and that we would just have to get used to eating food that was a "lesser-than" version of what we were used to eating.   

Don't get me wrong...changing our way of eating WAS a big adjustment, but it wasn't anywhere near as hard or as bad as I expected.   Eating good, wholesome (low carb) foods is actually very satisfying and helped me to feel better, as well as helping Ellie with her seizure control.  

And as time has gone on, Ellie and I are realizing that we don't really miss "normal" food anymore.   We still have lots of fun, delicious foods we can eat and we still have fun cooking!  

Like this lemon meringue pancake cake we had for breakfast recently!  
Emma and I came up with this idea one weekend morning.   It's our favorite keto pancakes layered with keto lemon curd and topped with stevia sweetened meringue!   It was absolutely everything we'd hoped it would, unique, and delicious.  All with no sugar and low carbs.   

And here are some chocolate covered strawberries that we made for a RS night that ended up being cancelled for snow.

We used stevia-sweetened Lily's chocolate, so they were not only beautiful, but also delicious and low carb, which meant my kids and I were only a little excited that we had to eat them all ourselves!   😋

Then there's my favorite breakfast (that I've mentioned before)...hemp seed porridge.

It's essentially a keto (low carb) version of oatmeal, made with hemp, flax, and chia seeds.  We love to top it with a stevia sweetened whipped cream topping that we mix up, as well as unsweetened coconut and cacao nibs.  Usually our whipped cream is some version of stevia, chocolate, and PB, but for Valentine's Day we did a stevia and berry version that was delicious too.  

Eating low carb does take planning and work, but it's a work that has been very rewarding to us and I think that we (at least Ellie and I) are doing this for the long haul!  

In other words, don't be surprised if you see lots more keto food posts (or at least references to keto food) here in the future.  😜


Friday, February 22, 2019

One of THOSE Weekends

With Glen only home for weekends now, our Saturdays and Sundays feel jam-packed!   This Saturday, in amongst all the regular kids' activities,  Glen and the kids spent most of the day working on the yard.  We're hoping that clearing away some of the leaves and branches might make it a little less inviting for our little mouse invaders.   While they were out working, I was doing a major purge on the inside of our house.  We've lived here for almost 18-years now, which means we've had a lot of years to accumulate stuff.  In other was a long day!

At the end of the day, we were all exhausted and ready to relax for a while, but the house had other plans.  Not satisfied with our efforts to make it a BETTER place to live, it opted to show us who was boss...and it clearly isn't us.   

Our plumbing line from the kitchen got clogged and our basement flooded.   It was gross.  It was expensive.  And it did nothing to improve the state of our home.  

One step forward...two steps back.   This fixing up the house stuff is clearly not my thing. 

And after that crazy weekend, on Monday morning I got shoved  into my place of abject humility once again when I heard a little mouse skittering underneath our sink.   I go to scare it off/see if it was caught...

Lo and behold, there was the vile creature right there in plain sight, running freely and happily as Mickey himself, in amongst the SEVEN traps we have set up down there.   He skillfully navigated around all of them and disappeared before I could think of the irony of it all.    And then I got mad.

How mad?  

I went to Amazon and ordered mousetraps in bulk.   In BIG bulk.  

I will prevail.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Where Our Brains Are...

I have more on my brain than usual lately and I've been feeling a little stretched.  And tired. And pulled in a 1000 different directions. 

What's on our brains, you ask?   

Well, here's a glimpse....

Glen's job (still in Philadelphia) has just gotten a bit more stressful.  It's still not a permanent job, but he does have new responsibilities that have allowed him the opportunity to make a bigger difference there, but it also means that he has more on his shoulders.  WE are exceedingly grateful for his job, but it really is stressful to have him so far away.   This is a picture of his office in PA, including the new calendar that Ellie got him for Christmas.  :) 

Spence is doing real life oil changes, balancing a budget, and figuring out what girls to ask out!    It's still weird to have him so far away, but we are proud of him and all that he is doing to take care of the "big boy" stuff on his own! 

Cami just started a new semester, just applied to attend the University of Texas next year, started a new job at the community college she attends, and is training for her first marathon next month.  On Valentine's Day her and Garrett got to see "Anastasia" there in Austin.  We gave them the tickets for Christmas. :) 

Emma just started a nannying job, so she's staying very busy taking care of two cute kiddos.   Mostly though she is very happy now that she's heard back from BYU.  

Adam stays busy with his school stuff, planning dates now that he is 16, and trying to determine philosophically what is a sandwich, and what is not.  

For instance, a quesadilla has two breadlike objects with cheese in the middle....does that make it a sandwich?    What about a taco?   Or two waffles with greek yogurt and berries between them?  

If you know the answers to these questions, please call me quick, because there are ongoing debates about this at our house! 

If you can't find Ellie writing a book online with her friends, then she's probably dancing, reading a book, drawing pictures of characters for her book, or playing with other words...she's in motion!   

And me?   What's on my brain? 
Well, thanks for you go!  

In addition to all the every day taking care of my family (spread out in four different states), taking care of myself (I need to do a post on this soon), and teaching my cute middle school earth science class...

My brain is really being overtaken by this kind of stuff...
 backsplash measurements 

 hearth measurements...

 entry way measurements...

and trying to pick out light fixtures, a range hood, bathroom vanities, railings, etc.  Pretty much we are just doing all the things we ever wanted to do to our house and were too lazy to do before....just in case we need to sell it this spring. 

Oh yeah, and there's this...


We've lived in our house 18 years and have never had them like this before (I think a certain teenage driver crashing into the garage door {though it was actually a pretty small crash} may have allowed an easy entry point for them to come into our garage).  We have 20+ traps set up around the house and they're still around.  Last week, after seeing live mice scampering boldly around our house for the third day in a row, I officially decided I was in over my head (especially with Glen not here) and we are calling out the big guns.   What are the big guns?   Steel wool, caulking, some yard work, and a new bucket mousetrap that's supposed to be amazingly effective.  Here's hoping the "Death to All Mice!" rallying cry coming from our house will be heard soon and I will get back a big portion of my brain again! 

 In the meantime, please send any pied pipers you know my way...


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Happy Day!!!

Happy Day!!!! 

We thought the decision day was going to be this coming Monday, but late last night Emma unexpectedly found out that she was accepted to BYU for this fall!  We decided a celebration was in order, so we did what any true blue BYU family would do....we all got into our BYU pajamas and stayed up until she got home so we could celebrate with her!    Unfortunately, I don't think Rocky is quite as excited as the rest of us. 

Way to go, Emma!  

Friday, February 15, 2019

Picking Up Where She Left Off...

Once upon a time, there was a cute little ballerina who loved to dance...
but, alas, her need for sleep (and a little sneezing fit one day that got her kicked out of her dance class) meant that her preschool dancing career was quite short.   

True story.

Shortly after that experience came the "CRAZY years" for our family and we Goolds don't do crazy lightly.   First it was Ellie starting to have seizures, and with that all the crappy side effects of the anti-seizure medications that sucked the life out of her.  Then it was Spence's cancer diagnosis, and then some more related craziness that sucked the life out of us.  Then came some PTSD/mild depression for me, and with that an unhealthy lifestyle that resulted in gaining lots of weight really quickly.    Throw in a  time-consuming calling that kept me busy as can be, but also gave me purpose and  just barely on the right side of sanity, and then the inspiration to start homeschooling the kids...and maybe you can start to sense that keeping the kids involved in lots of activities took a back seat for a few years.     

   Ellie did try some new activities here and there (like soccer, voice lessons, art classes, running, etc), but she never really loved any of them and we were stretched too thin to really encourage her to stick with any of them.  In fact, we were frankly relieved when the kids forgot to ask us to sign them up for something, because it meant that we had one fewer thing on our schedule.   

Fast forward a couple of years and we started to emerge from the fog.   I got healthy again...physically and mentally.  Spence moved out.  I got released from my busy calling.  Cami went on a mission.  We developed new healthy habits as a family.
(not necessarily in that order)

Somewhere in there Ellie decided she really wanted to try dance classes again.  

  A couple of years ago, my foggy PTSD enshrouded brain wouldn't have even considered it at all.   I worried that she was too old to start and the 1/2 hour drive each direction wouldn't really be doable with all the other things we had going on.   But with my life in a better place, I decided to let her try it for a year and see how she liked it.  

How did a 12-year-old preschool dance class dropout enjoy being in a class of 8-year-olds?   

She absolutely loved it!  

She was the "big sister' of the class and they all adored her, and I think she rather enjoyed that role too!  

And what do you know?   She really, really liked dancing too.   
And she's good at it.  

Now sights like these aren't uncommon at our house....
You know, just tying her shoes while doing the splits.  

Or practicing them against a wall....

Or trying out different contortions on the living room rug...

Or choreographing her own dances... 

And these kind of poses aren't just for home.  They're now her favorite new way to pose on vacation too!   

A backbend at the ocean's edge.

Splits at the ocean's edge...

Splits at a beautiful overlook along the Pacific Coast Highway...

Splits in a tree...

Leg extensions at the Golden Gate Bridge...

Leg extensions at the park in California and a sea lion pose with the sea lions...

And a backbend at Joshua Tree National Park 

Dancing is now a part of her life...and I'm pretty sure it would take way more than a sneezing fit to keep her away now!  

 (these pictures were from our 2017 Christmas card)😂

Sunday, February 10, 2019

A Pretty Unpleasant Commute

Glen got a new job this past year and now has a 145-mile commute to work. 

No, I'm not missing any decimal points there and, yeah, that's about as pleasant as it sounds. 

He spends all week in a Residence Inn and comes home for the weekends.   In other words, our weeks seem long and lonely and our weekends far too short.   But it's a good job that's giving him good professional experience, decent insurance for our family, and a paycheck...all things we were mostly missing in we are grateful!  

Right now he's in an interim position, so it makes no sense to uproot the family to join him yet, but after living 5/7 of the last three months in separate states, moving is definitely on the radar screen if his position becomes permanent.   We've lived here in the DC area for about 20 years, so moving  really is a HUGE deal that makes all of us pretty nervous.   My kids at home have never even lived in another house, yet alone another city or state.  

So this last weekend we decided to switch up the commute and instead of him coming home as he usually does,  he stayed there and the rest of us drove to join him!     What better way to get a feel for an area, than to be there and experience it for ourselves?   

I weirdly took very few pictures while we were there, but this is what the day looked like when we left... 
It was a very small snowstorm in the scheme of things, but it did make for more stressful driving.   And temperatures were pretty frigid, so nothing was melting fast and we had to bring lots of warm clothes!  

Our three main goals of being there {besides saving Glen 300 miles of driving} were to 

1. Drive through some neighborhoods....
{It's a cheaper cost of living in the Philadelphia area!}

2. Go to the temple together.... 

One of the best perks about working near Philadelphia is that Glen has been able to go to the temple almost every week.   This is especially nice because the DC temple is currently closed and will be for at least another year.  Me getting to Philadelphia has proved a little more challenging, so this was definitely one of the motivating factors to switch things up last weekend. 

And it was lovely to be there and have a little date in the city with my hunny.

3. Visit a couple of wards (church congregations)

{I didn't take any pictures of us at church, so this picture of me after church  will have to do here}
Let's just say that church-wise, it will be a pretty significant adjustment if we end up moving there.  We've been spoiled.   

All in all, it was a productive weekend.   And next time, I'll take more pictures!  

Thursday, February 7, 2019

A Fox and a Dog

We live squarely in the suburbs of Washington DC, near the freeway, near the Metro, and in a county with over a million people.   

And yet we regularly have wildlife wandering through our yard.  
It doesn't happen super often, but it is regular enough that it doesn't surprise us too much (even though our backyard is completely fenced-in).  Usually it's a beautiful bird and that isn't as surprising.   But sometimes it's a deer.  Sometimes it's a raccoon.  And sometimes it's a beautiful fox like this one.  

All I can say, is that it's a good thing that this lazy and not-so-wild animal didn't see that fox...

because he's getting a little old for conniption fits! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

One Winter Day

It was a gray and dreary day...

and I chose to wear one of my warmest, coziest outfits, which happen to be gray too...

so I figured a little POP of COLOR would make me smile all day! 

And it did.   

What else did we do that day?  

We read the longest chapter in the Book of Mormon and put our marking pencils to good use marking references to the Savior...

Then Adam and I gave blood again.
I try to give at least every January in honor of Spence (and the gazillions of blood donations he received during his treatment for AML).   It was Adam's second time giving and he did better this time than his first.   I'm glad to have a blood donating partner now.  Glen lived in the UK for too long and is barred for life from giving blood, and Emma's iron tends to be too low.   Now that Adam is 16 (and I take daily iron pills now), I expect to do this more regularly again! 

Then we came home to an afternoon of cancelled activities and a beautiful snowstorm! 
I love Virginia snow days.   It's nice to have a break from the routine in these dog-days of winter! 

So, what did your winter day look like?  

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