Monday, December 3, 2012

Lamb Soup

I had some leftover roasted lamb from the other day so I wanted to make it into some soup.  Turned out delicious, if a bit spicy.  Looks like my dad will be eating this one ;)

Lamb Soup
Equal amounts of chopped celery, carrots, onions - approximately 2-3 cups each
minced fresh sage
minced fresh rosemary
1/2 bulb garlic, minced
approx 4 cups of diced lamb
4 cups red potatoes, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
bone broth from previously made stock and saved broth from roasts
1 bunch of kale, chopped
Siracha sauce, kosher salt

Saute the mirepoix and garlic in a bit of bacon fat for a few minutes and then add the sage and rosemary.  Saute for a few more minutes and then add the remaining ingredients, minus the kale, and simmer till potatoes are tender. While soup is simmering, add a bit of freshly cracked pepper and kosher salt.  Toss in the kale at the end and wilt; add siracha sauce to taste.  I accidentally overdosed the sauce and it's still delicious, but too hot for my tastebuds!  Thicken with a cornstarch slurry if you like it a bit thicker; or leave it brothy.  

I made a white bean soup as well with the seasonings of anise, thyme and bay leaf.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Yesterday Amelia woke at 445 from what she later told me was a bad dream.  She didn't cry or whimper, but she told me that she wanted to turn the lights on and get up.  She wouldn't tell me the dream... actually, she refused.  She said she didn't want to talk about it so the details would not stick in her mind.  So, up at 5am we were.

Off and on all that morning and afternoon, Amelia would mention how she didn't like the lights in the house, the open doors, the curtains not being drawn on the windows, the bedclothes.  She was extremely clingy - literally not letting me out of her sight and most of the time walking a step beside or behind me, holding on to my clothing.  It made it a very difficult day to accomplish much.  She was very, very anxious and fearful in general.  I finally asked her if she would like to talk to Martha, a friend of the family and a retired family therapist who specialized in childhood trauma.  She was obviously relieved and said she would talk to Martha.  We tried calling, but she wasn't there, so we went to bed.

I can not emphasize enough how unusual this behavior was for Amelia, especially in light of how well she has been doing since this move.

Today we were fixing a late breakfast, and she asked me what time it was where Daddy was at.  I told her, and she said he was getting ready to go to bed.  I mentioned that he was probably still at work because he would be working late nights, and she told me again he was going to bed.

5 minutes later, Rafe called.  He told me he was on his way to bed, had gotten about halfway down the hall and decided to turn around and come back.  He mentioned how odd that was for him because he usually doesn't change his course of action to go back and make a phone call; he normally would have just made it the next day.  I asked him when he thought of turning back... it was 5 minutes prior.  We chitchatted about how ironic that was, the day, how the kids were doing, and he talked with everyone.  At the very end, I casually mentioned what happened to Amelia the day before.


"Laurie, what time did you say she woke up?"

After doing a bit of logistics, he is silent again.  Then he hits me with this:

"At that time yesterday I was in the heart of an area known for XX strikes.  The recent group just before us was attacked and our vehicle had bullet holes in the windshield.  The night before I left for that place, I audio recorded a message to you and the kids.  Just in case.  I was there the whole time she was uneasy."

Next time Amelia is that anxious and uneasy, I'm stopping everything and praying for his safety.  And I told her that the lights she saw were Angel lights, telling her they were watching over Daddy.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rafe's girls

Black Bean Soup and Cranberry Scones

2 lbs of black beans, soaked 24 hours
1/3 cup bacon fat
6 sm. to med. onions, diced
1 bunch celery, diced
equal amount of carrots, diced
3 bay leaves
2 tsp chile powder
2 tsp annato, ground
2 tsp ground thyme
1-2 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 lb. diced ham
several swirls of molasses
6 cubes chipotle bouillon 
home made chicken stock
canned chicken stock
juice and fat from breakfast sausage

Cook till tender and mash with a blender in the pot.  Served with cornbread muffins and garnish with cilantro, cheese and greek yogurt.  The amounts are approximate on most items...I didn't really measure.  The soup didn't need salt or pepper because of the salt from the other ingredients. The molasses really mellowed the soup; I blended it in the pot with a hand blender when it was finished.  

 Amelia and her little friends making cranberry scone dough with me. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Olivia's Morning Chores

Olivia is one of my best little helpers.  She loves being useful around the house and doing chores.  She also helps with laundry and cleaning up her toys.  

Amelia's first fried egg

Amelia wanted to make her own breakfast yesterday, so we had a lesson on fried eggs.  I like mine 
without the browned edges, but she knew what she wanted and went for it!  She says she likes the face her eggs made.  So proud of my little 6 year old chef!

Imagine my surprise...

to walk into the living room and see this:  

I never thought when I had a girl that I would have a house full of rocks, leaves, dirt, clay, sticks, bugs and lizards, and jeans with holes in them after only a few months.  She found this outside and brought it in.  Just left it laying around.  Niiiiiiiiice.  I love my nature girl, but this will take some getting used to!


I was in another room and heard Olivia say very distinctly, "UH OH!!! OOOOPSIE!"  I laughed to myself, thinking how clear and cute it sounded, so appropriate, as if she had done something wrong..... oh... wait, where is she?!  So I went and had a look at what she was doing. 

Dad was painting the downstairs bathroom for me and Olivia was diligently watching him all day.  She managed to contain herself until almost the end of the night.  She snagged one of Amelia's pencils and decided to climb on top of the ladder and do a little decorating herself.  

Looks like we'll be repainting again.  

Friday, November 23, 2012

Bundle of Energy

I took these videos the night Rafe left for deployment.  We sat around the fire all day escaping from the cold and wet rain outside. Looking at Olivia running around made me think of how much I wished I had seen a video like this when she was born.  I could not have imagined at that time how much she would be able to do.  Not only was she born with Prader-Willi Syndrome, but the additional birth trauma left her so motionless for so long that it was a celebration if she just turned her own head.  Now sometimes I can't catch her if she decides to run around the "loop" of the kitchen/dining room/livingroom/hall of the house!  

Emotionally Exhausted

This is the first thing the girls did when we came home after dropping Daddy off.  
They both stayed there for quite a while.