An old tradition gets new life…

A long time ago on an island semi-far away, our family started a Christmas tamale tradition. My hubby had begged me for years to learn to make them, and we stumbled upon the perfect book while shopping, so… a new tradition was born.

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Three years later, our family moved away from that magical island, and life got busy. Work, school, shopping… life just seemed more complicated and tamales got put on the back burner. But this year, I’m not sure why, tamales seemed super important. Maybe they brought back a feeling of normalcy during such a complicated time. It seemed to be just what we needed.

So I cooked the pork…

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Made the sauce…

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And after throwing together the masa, we assembled those tamales assembly line fashion and an hour later had a steamer full of delicious tamales. And there is nothing better in this world than a tamale straight from the steamer.

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A tamale straight out of the steamer is proof that sometimes the best things in life taste better because they took a little planning and a little bit of hard work. A fresh tamale is also proof that great things come from good team work.

Enjoy the Dance! ;D

Rebecca Ree

P.S. Did I mention how good tamales are for breakfast? Ya. Mmmmmm…

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The cutest snowmen of all…

It’s a big bummer when your computer is spazzing out. A bummer with a capital B. It makes it really hard to keep up on the blogging that you love so much. Typing on my iPad just isn’t as satisfying. My fingers miss the feeling of flying over the keyboard. It’s the difference between finishing a post in a few minutes vs. a post in closer to an hour. Boo. Gotta get that thing back to healthy. It’s cramping my style!

A few great things happened today. I got the sweetest email from one of my students, and we created the best craft! I think parents are going to love their gift this year. Snowmen lanterns. If you are a pinned on Pinterest, you’ve most likely seen them, but when kids get involved, they take on a personality all their own.

Here is my little guy.

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And here is my little guy all lit up.

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But look at all the great personalities created in my room today!

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Do you want to build a snowman?? I bet you do!

Enjoy the Dance! ;D

Rebecca

Name them one by one…

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You know when you want to do all these amazing things and then you get so bogged down, just keeping your head above water so nothing ever gets done? Ya. That’s how my life seems to be going right now. So I decided it was time to count my blessings, and at the same time, kind of update the world about what is going on in my corner of it.

1. I am thankful for my health. Seriously. Things have not been going very smoothly lately, but I can only imagine what it would be like if I was having trouble functioning myself. I am grateful for all that I have learned about keeping my body healthy.

2. I am thankful for modern medicine. Even though I gripe about doctors, (let’s face it people… some of them are just there to make a quick buck) I am thankful for the technology and new studies in the area of medicine that allow for people to get better. My husband is on the mend, and my granddaughter is growing up into such a lovely little girl. Yes, she will have more surgeries along the way, and yes there are conflicting opinions and information that her parents are going to have to navigate through, but overall, she is healthy and alive. Just like a almost three year old should be.

3. I am thankful for family. Sometimes having a houseful of people is hard (just imagine ten people kicking around in a three bedroom), and yes, sometimes I want Calgon to take me away. (That’s the OCD part of me kicking in. In no way, shape or form can a house full of ten people be somewhere for a person who micromanages every little thing.) But, overall I am very blessed to have so many lovely people to spend my time with. People who can pitch in and pick up the slack… even if it isn’t done exactly how I would. (That’s the hard part for us OCDers.) And I hope that they don’t get offended when sometimes I have to hide in my room for a night…

4. My friends. I could just include them with my family, but I sure enjoy having someone to talk to when things get tough. Someone to go shopping with. To go out to dinner with. A shoulder to cry on. I have to include my hubby here. He is the best friend I have. Ya. Friends are the best!

5. My job. Can I just say how happy I am to get up each morning and go to work? I just love teaching my students and I love that they have just as much to teach me as I have to teach them. I hope that what I give them is more than just an academic education. I hope that I teach them to do good. To be good people. To make their life a wonderful adventure, full of kindness and happiness.

It’s funny how the more you focus on your blessings, the more they just keep creeping in, but I won’t bore you with them all. This post was more for me. Reminding myself that no matter how difficult life gets, we always have something to be grateful for.

Enjoy the Dance! ;D

Rebecca

Sometimes you have to be thankful for the little things…

You really do. If you didn’t, you heart may fail, and your mind might be blown! You might even give up. I have spent 8 of the last 17 days in the hospital, trying to help my hubby as the doctors try to figure out how to fix him. It’s all guess and check… this doctor stuff. Still no real answers, but while I waited, I kept my hands busy. We may not have any real answers, but I have a really cute hat. :)

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11 people and counting…

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So our house is full to the brim. We can’t even all fit in the kitchen to enjoy a meal together. Eleven people, two high chairs… and don’t forget the 120 pound dog. He’s still there too. That is some serious food. Eating paleo with 11 people can be challenging. It’s some serious prepping and cooking. We go through 42 eggs a day. Forty-two! I need to get some chickens! Seriously. How many chickens would I need to get so that they lay 42 eggs a day?

Not to mention that all the adults work. How do we make meals easier? I mean, we are all pretty pooped at the end of the day. I was back in the classroom all last week getting things ready, attending inservices. This week will be the same. So I thought about freezer meals. Freezer meals for eleven people. Hmmm… Easier or harder to prep all the meals in one day? I’m not sure, but I will keep you posted. Next Friday is shopping day. Saturday is prepping day. It’s gonna be interesting to say the least.

So how am I doing this? I stumbled upon Once A Month Meals. I am excited to say that they have it all figured and planned out. I think the scariest part is going to be the shopping trip. I am talking about hours of shopping. It’s gonna be real. Real. Scary. How many shopping carts am I gonna need? Seriously.

All hard work aside, it has been a blessing to have my grandkids here with me. And my daughter-in-law has just jumped in with both feet. Learning this paleo thing. We may not have enough room, but it’s all gonna work out great in the end. :)

Enjoy the Dance! ;D

Rebecca

Exciting News!!

10364442_10154451979350381_1062680186_o-2Hi friends in the blogging world!

I just got some exciting news!! Cupcake is coming up here to have her surgery done. It’s kind of a big deal!! (Insert squeal.) This will make it financially easier on her mom and dad as they try to figure out how to reshape their life around Cupcake’s needs. And I get to help out!

So… for the next five days (have to put my shop on vacation for a week after that) to try and help raise funds to help make Cupcake comfortable here, every last penny from my Etsy shop, 2ofUM will go toward that cause.

Click this link and stop by to see if there is something that tickles your fancy. :)

Don’t see something you like? Ask me to make something special just for you by convo-ing me. :)

Thanks so much for the help and support, the loving words, the healing thoughts and prayers. Every little bit helps.

With love, and as always…

Enjoying the Dance! ;D

Rebecca

Mmmm… Monday: Paleo BLT Salad

I think any time you attend a function that has food, and your diet isn’t the norm, you are going to have difficulties. If you can learn to just accept that ahead of time, things won’t seem as tricky.

One of the hardest things at my family reunion was that all the food being served was food that I really loved and could eat before going paleo. My sister-in-law even made sure it was all gluten free! She is the best!! The hardest night was the night I was assigned to help with dinner. My mom and I were fixing a dish called beans and bacon. Cooked pinto beans topped with mayonnaise lettuce, bacon crumbles, drizzled bacon grease, mustard, and onions… It is a traditional Dutch meal (Sorry, I don’t know the Dutch name for it.) that my dad loved. I loved that meal! And I felt kind of connected to it… emotionally. But I stayed strong, and I even walked away with a meal I can cook that is paleo and yummy. Paleo BLT Salad.

Basically, take out the beans, add some tomatoes, avocado, and voila! You have a yummy simple, easy, quick, paleo meal. :)DSC_0094

 

Start by cooking the bacon. I like to cook mine on a foil lined sheet in the oven at 425 or so for about 10-15 minutes or until done. My oven is spastic, so times and temps always vary. I think I mentioned I need a new one… You can even cook the bacon in the morning while doing breakfast and then save some for dinner. I would cook at least two pieces for each person. I mean, who doesn’t love bacon? We don’t want any fights over this dinner. :)

Next, you are going to want to make your own mayo. My favorite recipe can be found at nomnompaleo.com. Simple and easy. It’s even hard for me to mess up.

Slice your lettuce, slice or dice your tomatoes, and avocados. I place mine in bowls so people can choose what to have on their salad.

Right before serving, mix in enough mayonnaise to cover your lettuce like salad dressing.

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You’re ready to eat. Grab a bowl and fill it up. :) The first bowl contains bacon grease incase you were wondering. I know it seems gross, but don’t knock it until you try it. And if you are worried about saturated fat… don’t. Read up on studies about that, and learn that high cholesterol has nothing to do with animal fat, but that’s a whole other post in itself.

Enjoy the Dance ;D

Rebecca

 

 

 

Macaroni and Cheese and Miracles

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It started at girls camp. I started wondering about life, and about why terrible things happen to good, innocent people. (Not that I haven’t wondered it before. As I am sure you have too.) Good, innocent children. Why do horrible, painful, tragic things have to happen to good little children? Why my grandchild? What could she possibly learn from the tragic event of last year? What could a child possibly learn who is barely over a year old? What?

Then for some reason (the spiritual environment I am sure), I started thinking about all the good that has happened around this Macaroni and Cheese eating toddler. The support that has been given by family, friends and complete strangers… and I realize. Maybe this isn’t about what Cupcake can learn. Maybe it is about what all of us can learn. Adults who have survived serious burns are in a position to give back. To give comfort. We all are in positions to stretch ourselves. To give of our time. Our money. Our kindness. Our skills. We gain strength and value. No doubt this little spirit has come to earth to help strengthen us.

This hugging, loving, calm, determined, charitable spirit has come to teach us things that we need to learn about life.

So thank you Cupcake. Thank you for being willing to teach us things that we don’t already know about love, compassion, and tenderness. You are a miracle. I love you. And I am not alone in that.

Enjoy the Dance! ;D

Rebecca

Mmmm… Monday: 3 ingredient pancakes!

10296355_666067056795910_4686972766810618826_oI know I didn’t tell you this, but Cupcake is going in for another surgery. It’s a happy, sad sort of thing. Happy because she is moving closer to being a whole, healthy, happy little girl, but sad because she has to endure it all. She is an amazing spirit I tell ya! When we left from visiting this summer, I was amazed at all she could do, at her calm, gentle manner, but most importantly at her curiosity and willingness to explore. This girl is amazing!

So, because mom and dad will be busy with her, we brought Monkey and Raggy home with us. :) That is a plus side for sure! We get to play, eat, and explore with them. What could be better?

The first thing Monkey asked for when we got here was pancakes. I am the pancake queen. I am known for my pancakes and my cinnamon rolls. So what happens when you switch your diet out of necessity and you can no longer make those things? What’s a grandma to do? Thankfully I was able to find a recipe on Pinterest for pancakes with three simple ingredients. 1 banana, two eggs, and some cinnamon. This recipe was so easy, that Monkey could make his own. He sure was happy about that because he LOVES to cook.

So how to make this easy pancakes:

Step 1: Blend up a banana. The bananas taste best when they are a little on the overripe side. Yes. Another way to use those overripe bananas! We used an immersion blender because it’s quick and easy.

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Then, crack two eggs into the same cup and blend them up with the banana. After that, add some cinnamon… you’ll have to experiment with this part because I didn’t measure. I would guess somewhere around a tablespoon, but you could use more or less for taste. :)

Step 2: Pour the pancake batter into a hot oiled pan or onto a hot oiled griddle. I chose to make one big pancake because every kid loves a pancake that is bigger than their head. They would probably be easier to flip if you made them smaller.

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Step 3: Cook the pancake on a lower heat than a normal pancake, giving it time to set up. I don’t know what to tell you, because on my stove I have to turn it to simmer, but my stove burner is terrible! It has two settings. Simmer and burn. I can’t wait to get a new stove!

Flip the pancake and cook on the other side for a few minutes and then transfer to a plate. These pancakes are certainly kid approved!

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You can even experiment with adding other ingredients. Here is my blueberry pancake. :)

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Yum! We didn’t add anything to the top of our pancakes, but you could drizzle on real maple syrup or something. I enjoyed mine just the way it was.

So go impress your kids or grandkids with these simple, healthy pancakes.

Enjoy the Dance! ;D

Rebecca

And P.S. Pray for Cupcake!