Monday, December 28, 2009

The Adventure, Part 2

Means Family, Beaver Creek, CO 2009
I know it may seem as if we have been on one huge vacation this year and we have been able to see some really neat things along the way, but the truth is we have very few "down days". The "down days" we do have we spend catching up on administrative things and cramming in as much home school as possible. I have lost count of our miles. I think it is somewhere around 30,000 and we have meetings and mission conferences straight through Feb 2010.
Then we were in Colorado and the mountains were calling. I had completely forgotten the amazing calm, peaceful quiet of a landscape blanketed in snow. Then a few people sent money they wished us to put towards some special family time. We were able to get a hotel in Beaver Creek for a great price and rent our equipment from the MWR (Morale Welfare and Recreation) at Fort Carson. We rented equipment for the entire family for next to nothing. Vail/Beaver Creek Associates gives amazing lift ticket discounts for the military. I intend to write them a thank you letter, because not a lot of people do that anymore and it really made the difference in being able to ski or not for us. So with the money provided and some deal hunting we were going to be able to take our kids skiing at Beaver Creek! I was in complete disbelief. It is something Sam and I never thought we would be able to do for our kids and God provided this opportunity at the end of a rather long year.

Powder!!  We almost didn't make it over the pass.

Enjoying the view the first morning.

The View!  Can't you imagine "swishing" as Hannah calls it.
We had planned on taking Haden up with us in the Kelty baby backpack as we have done in the past, but Colorado law has changed and prohibits that now. So, we decide to try some skis on him. While Sam got skis for Haden, I went ahead and took the older four up the small beginner lift, which is still pretty high. I wasn't sure if I remembered how to ski and I was going to have to get four beginners done the hill. We had worked on ski familiarity the day before and Sam had taught them how to stop (which is important), so I thought we should be ok. We got on and off the gondola ok and our skis back on. Then the kids looked down the mountain and panicked a bit. They started falling all over the place. As soon as I got one up and going, another would forget how to stand up. Where is my ski instructor? How did I end up on the mountain with four first time skiers? I was trying really hard to remain calm, but was pretty sure I was going to have to scoot them down on their rear ends. Sam got Haden’s skis and then up the hill he came. By the time he caught up with us we were about 1/3 of the way down and three were doing much better, but Lena was really starting to lose hope.

Please stay in a wedge and follow me!

Sam to the rescue, with Haden in tow!  This is Haden's only run this trip. :)
Haden didn't mind skiing as long as Dad was securely holding him, so Sam coached Adelina down while holding Haden and I took the other three down. After that all four of them just took off! Sam and I took turns staying at the bottom with Haden trying to get him used to his skis, while the other went up with the kids. After a bit we decided Haden would be better off at childcare. It broke all our hearts that he couldn't be with us, but he had a great day playing inside. At the end of the day the kids had smores on an open fire, mountain side, while Sam and I went for one more run that was a bit more challenging. We had skied from the time the lifts opened, until they closed. What an adventure!

The first day we just used the gondola and the beginner slope, but the second day we used the chair lifts.  I was really concerned about getting four children on the chair lift, but it went really smoothly.

Ski bunnies and lil' bro.
Now Sam and I enjoy skiing, as you read in the last post, but we didn't know what the kids would think of it. We were just excited to be able to have them on the slops with us. THEY LOVED IT!!! They are not your average children. They have been able to hike, rappel, camp, travel, hunt, and much more. In short they have a lot of experience under their little belts. We thought they would enjoy skiing the way they enjoy other things in life, with enthusiasm. But this was completely different. They loved it! I mean really loved it. When I suggested stopping to grab a bite to eat the first day they only wanted to keep skiing. I made them eat a little of course. As we sat to eat, Samuel declared he was almost as good as daddy.  That is just too good! ;) They really were becoming good skiers and in just one day.  I can’t even explain how much they enjoyed skiing. It was like dolphins enjoying jumping out of the water as high as they can. I have never enjoyed skiing so much myself. Watching the kids have so much fun was almost more than Sam and I could stand. Little 7 year old Lena would ski down the mountain singing at the top of her lung a song Sam taught her on the lift.
"Please help me I'm falling
Down the mountain again.
Close all the lifts quickly
Before I do it again.
All my friends say skiing,
Is the most fun of all...
I'm not so sure,
Oops, I'm going a' fall."
--by Sam's Aunt Joanne
(Sang to the tune of an old country song called “Please help Me I’m Falling”)

Lena singing down the mountian with me in the back ground.  Not bad form. :)
We knew we were a little “road weary”, but we did not realize how much we needed a few days with just our family. God is so good, He stretches us, and then He brings us in his fold to refresh us. My only regret is not having the video camera. The second day we skied all over the mountain from top to bottom. Sam led a lot and I bought up the rear. So, I got to see all my little skiers following their daddy down the mountain. It came almost as naturally as breathing for them, even on the steeper slopes. My skiing wasn’t too bad this year either.

In case you're wondering if Sam's still got it.  He did several jumps for us, including a back scratcher and cruzed down a double diamond at top speed. 

Monday, December 21, 2009

An Amazing God Given Adventure...but First the Back Story

In 1982 when Sam was 11 his Uncle Chet took him on his first ski trip. They skied at Beaver Creek in Colorado the second year it was open! You can call me a ski snob, but I am pretty convinced BC is the best place on earth to ski. Sam and I also think any day you get to ski is a great day, but more on that later. The next year Sam's mom saved up and took the whole family. Uncle Chet helped make it possible by helping with accommodations. So, started a ski tradition and many wonderful memories with cousins. Sam skied Beaver Creek without missing one season for the next 15 years. Even the year of Desert Shield/Desert Storm he was able to make it back to ski. What a contrast, the heat of the desert to a winter wonderland.  In fact, the top pictue is of Sam during his Marine Corp days. He doesn't have any ski poles, because his wrist is broken.

When Sam got out of the Marine Corp he tried out to be ski instructor and despite 12 years of bad habits he made the cut and spent an entire ski season out at Beaver Creek. For the next several years he returned between semesters and during spring break to instruct. One of those years, I drove out with Sam's family and joined them for ski vacation. I got to learn to ski and watch Sam work all at the same time. It was so much fun to be in his beginner class. As you can imagine, Sam is very good at teaching. After we married, we drove out together. Sam instructed and I worked at the children's ski school. What wonderful memories we have of that beautiful place.

Our first Anniversary picture taken by a sharpshooter photographer at the base of the mountain.

Our last year at Beaver Creek was the 1996/1997 ski season. We finished college, moved to Germany, and had five children. A few weeks before Sam deployed to Iraq in 2003 we were able to take a ski trip to Austria. The kids were small. Hannah and Josiah, ages 3 and 4, were able to go to ski school, but Samuel and Adelina were very young. We had a great week, mostly just thankful we could spend it with Dad before he deployed. We enjoyed the snow, sledding, lots of hot chocolate and a little skiing.

What a fun chapter skiing has been in our lives, but it is something we have never had the opportunity to share with the children.

Here is a picture of us.  We had skied and sledded at a small local hill near our friend's the Elkin's house near Hohenfels, Germany.  You can see how small the children were.  Sam is wearing his ski instructor uniform.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Is Your Husband Down with Your Crazy Diet?

Believe it or not yes! He just came up with a raw almond butter recipe and he's making super healthy chocolate shake right now. Recently a friend ask how to begin moving towards healthier eating habits with a resistant family. I am brain storming on some practical ideas and recourses.

One of the first things to do is drink water. It's not a huge thing and everyone will feel better instantly. Really, you would be surprised, just like a cool drink of water from God's Word does wonders for a parched, defeated heart, water will rejuvinate and revive. So go throw out all those sodas and flavored drinks. Now not only are you taking a good first step towards good health, but you are saving money by not buying all those drinks. Unless, of course, you're living in a country were you have to buy bottled water like we do in Mexico. So no more Dr. Pepper--you know who you are.

And Other Food Stuff.....

Starbucks Espresso Truffle

We’ve combined Starbucks espresso with our premium European-style cocoa blend used in our Signature Hot Chocolate and steamed milk, and topped it with whipped cream and a touch of chocolate powder. This sophisticated beverage delivers rich chocolate flavor with a velvety mouthfeel balanced with a smooth coffee flavor.
Sounds wonderful and yummy and it’s one of Sam’s favorites, although he never buys it. It cost a whopping $4.

My Truffle Mocha
One pot strong coffee-Starbucks uses expresso, so you could make the extra effort and brew expresso, but it turned out great with strong coffee.
Maybe three tbsp, I didn’t measure, will measure next time-Xylitol
Maybe three tbsp, again didn’t measure, taste and add more if you like-Coaco powder
Cream or milk….mmmm….enough to make it a tad creamy.
Top with whip cream, barely sweetened with xylitol, I whipped my from heavy cream in the blender on high.
Sprinkle coaco powder on top
I put the fist 3 ingredients into a pan and warmed them to almost boiling. Poured it into coffee cups leaving a little rrom on top for whipped cream and sprinkled with coaco powder. Tasted like the starbucks drink!
This drink cost over $4 at Starbucks and I made a whole pot for under $2. It is too sweet for me to drink very often, but on occation it is awesome. Oh and the xylitol is good for you and it’s made with sugar at Starbucks.

Thai Bubble Tea/Food Blog

I am sorry I have taken the food blog off for right now. I don’t have internet access enough to keep it going. I hope to resume it when we get to Mexico, along with plant a garden. We are still shooting for 50% or more raw. We juice almost every morning. It is very rare we eat anything cooked before lunch and our lunches are raw most of the time.

Here’s a fun treat, Bubble Tea. We made it with a packet this time, but it is easy to make with black tea, sugar or xylitol and cream or milk. Cook large tapioca pearls according to directions. Place in bottom of each glass. Fill with ice and pour tea mixture over pearls and ice. If you make it with green tea, xylitol and farm fresh milk it’s actually pretty good for you! A very fun treat. Oh yes, you need to grab some of the extra fat straws when you’re at the Asian market.

We have an obsession with coconut right now. We put coconut oil in everything and on everything. It is a super food, I mean amazing stuff. It actually clears bad cholesterol out of your system, it helps fight disease, and a mired of other things. It is even one of the best things to use on your hair and skin and since you shouldn’t put anything on your body, you wouldn’t out in your body I use it as my face and body lotion. It also works as a natural sun screen. It kept us all protected in the hot AZ sun this summer. We put it in our veggie/fruit shakes every morning and it makes them creamy and yummy. It has to be cold pressed. I hear Wal-mart is carrying cold pressed coconut oil now. I order mine by the gallon. Sam has had borderline high cholesterol for the past 2 years. This year after coconut oil and all our raw diet the doctor was floored by Sam’s blood work and physical. He said he was the healthiest patient he had seen in a long time. Then when he looked at the change from last year he was really floored. Sam had dropped his cholesterol 80 points or more! The doctor actually wrote down our green smoothie recipe.

Young coconut milk is also an amazing food. It actually can be used as a universal blood transfusion, being identical to blood plasma. It will balance electrolytes better than Gatorade ever thought about. So if you’re feeling a little run down grab some young coconuts when you get your Bubble Tea Ingredients at the Asian Market. I’ll try to put a tutorial on here for opening them soon.