Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Books I've Read and Want to Read . . .

I just finished reading Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury. As many of you know, I love reading. Sometimes I post a book review on this blog, but the best place to catch up on what I've been reading is at My profile name is Christie Belly Acre Farm.

I just finished writing up the recent books I've read and also added a few books to my "to read" shelf.

If you're a goodreads user and I'm not your friend yet, I'd like to be. Send me a request to hook up or let me know your user name. I find that books recommended by friends are often the best.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Thoughts on Swine Flu

Here are some possibilities of what you might look like after catching the swine flu . . .

Actually, I'm taking the whole swine flu outbreak pretty seriously. Earlier today I bought the remaining medical masks at a local medical equipment supplier. The man before me bought the only remaing full box of 40 masks. He said he was scheduled to take a 17 hour flight this week.

Now, before you go out scouring your neck of the woods looking for medical masks, I'll tell you what my husband, Safety Man, told me during our daily lunch time phone call today. Keep in mind that he has extensive training in blood bourne pathogens and biological hazards. (He was the go-to guy for answering questions about the dangers of Anthrax at our local university when that scare was on everyone's minds.) Basically, he said that the medical masks are more effective at keeping someone who is sick (and wearing a mask) from spreading the illness than they are for keeping healthy people (wearing a mask) well.

The fine print on the back of my box of masks says, "Intended Use: This product is intended for infection control practices in the healthcare industry. When worn properly, it will help minimize contamination caused by exhaled microorganisms and reduce the potential exposure of the wearer to blood and body fluids. Warning: This mask does not eliminate the risk of contracting disease or infection. Change immediately if contaminated with blood or body fluid. This mask is not a respirator."

Wearing a medical mask does NOT guarantee that you won't catch an air-borne illness.

So, just in case the swine flu does spread to my state, and we have to shelter at home, I thought it would be a good idea to round out our family's "year supply" of food. I bought:

150 pounds of flour (3, 50 lb. bags)

24 cans of cream of chicken soup

8 boxes of onion soup mix

enough powdered milk to make 5 gallons, reconstituted. (Which is pricey!)

If the swine flu continues to spread, I'll be asking my two children who wear contact lenses to stop wearing them until the threat of infection passes. Rubbing your eyes with germs on your fingers is perhaps the easiest way for infections to enter our body. I'll also be sending each of my kids to school with a full bottle of hand sanitizer. And I might even have them wear the masks. After all, what if someone coughed right in their face?

At the moment I'm hopeful that a pandemic isn't on the way. I'm not panicked, but should the worst happen I'm prepared.

Friday, April 24, 2009

My Hubby is 40!

As I type, homemade carrot cake is baking in the oven. It's my hubby's favorite. I've tried different recipes, but keep coming back to this one:

Best Ever Carrot Cake

Preheat oven to 360 degrees

1 c. oil
1 3/4 c. sugar
3 eggs
2 c. flour (or tad more)
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
2 c. peeled, grated carrots
1, 8 oz. can crushed pineapple
1 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Beat together oil, sugar and eggs until well blended. In a bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves. Add to egg/sugar mixture and mix well.

Drain pineapple. Add carrots, pineapple and nuts to main mixture. Blend to mix well.

Pour batter into a greased and floured 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 360 degrees for about 45 minutes to 1 hour -- until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Let cool. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. pkg reduced fat cream cheese at room temp.
1/2 c. (1 cube) butter at room temp.
1 tsp. vanilla
4 c. powdered sugar

In addition to his favorite cake, I also took Hubby a ballon bundle that included four black latex ballons and one mylar one. Attached were two of his favorite snacks: Ranch corn nuts and Flipz yogurt covered pretzels.

If, like my husband, you're getting on in years, here are a few things to do to reconnect with your inner child:

draw a picture with crayons

give it to your mother

get out the play dough and make something

play hopscotch

try to come in while two people are turning a jump rope. (Warning to women who have had more than one child -- incontinence is common when jump roping.)

buy some bubble solution and go to town filling your house/yard with bubbles! (Try not to acknowledge that you enjoyed the bubbles at the end of the Lawrence Welk Show.)

Choose a cloudless night to lie down on the grass and look up at the stars.

Next time you see really great fluffy clouds, lie down on the grass and try to identify recognizable shapes.

Sing the ABC song while washing your hands.

If it's raining, go for a walk and jump in the biggest puddles you can find!

Make mud pies.

Invite a few friends over and play school.

Climb a tree. A really sturdy tree.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hike #6 -- The Wind Caves

Here are the photos I took on my hike to the Wind Caves today. I'm scheduled to take a hike on Saturday, but the weather looks bad, so I went TODAY!

This is the trailhead -- submerged in spring run off.

I had to cross this drainage stream at the beginning of the hike. And, yes, I got my shoes wet. But it didn't seem to bother my feet. They stayed nice and happy the whole time.

This is, from left to right, Caitlin Campbell and Anna Sharar of the Conservation Corps. There were a number of other Conservation Corps employees also scattered along the trail constructing water bars to prevent trail erosion. Thanks for all your hard work! They deserve the credit for well maintained trails.

This is the view from a top the Wind Caves looking south. Love those mountains!

And this is an actual photo of the wind caves. True to form, it was windy as well.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Meeting fitness goals when your health takes a dip

I've been working on writing up my next "Hiking to Health" article for my local paper. It starts off by exploring how to meet fitness goals when your health takes a dip. If only writing about health could make it happen. Here are some thoughts on getting through health challenges and returning to health.

The advertisers at Nike tell us to “just do it.” While getting out and moving can actually help make one feel better, I object to the models that Nike uses in its commercials. It’s not surprising to see young, fit men and women out running and sweating. Real people struggling and overcoming real health issues motivate me to keep going. Instead of looking to Nike’s brand of motivational models, I’ve found a few of my own – friends and neighbors whose courage and persistence set an example that says, “If I can do it, you can too.”

I have a neighbor who suffers from degenerative bone loss that leaves her in near-constant pain, but you’d never know it from looking at her. A smile and cheery outlook are her trademarks. The closest I’ve heard her come to complaining was when she expressed a desire to be of more service and help to others. Those who cheerfully persevere through unremitting pain and challenges can never know the extent that their examples help to lift and encourage others.

No doubt you have similar friends. I also admire a mother of six children who goes swimming in the wee hours of the morning. She goes because she has found that she’s more patient with her family on the days she goes swimming. Another woman in her 90s goes swimming three times a week and has been doing so for over three years! Pretty much I admire anyone who enjoys swimming -- anyone who will 1) put on a swimming suit and 2) get in chlorinated water. (You can see that I’ll never be known for not complaining.)

Pretty much I found that during the past few months of sluggish health I had to focus on climbing hills and not mountains. Mountains overwhelmed me, but hills seemed doable. I lightened up on my expectations for myself but didn't let myself quit entirely.

I like the quote that says, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." When you're facing health challenges, focusing on single steps keeps you moving forward on your journey.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fablehaven Fever . . .

If you were to drop in at our house, you'd probably find a number of us with our noses in a book. A Fablehaven book, to be specific. It started when Beans bought the first book in the series at her school's book fair and had it autographed by the author (Brandon Mull). She loved it! And soon Hubby started reading it. Followed by Loula Belle, myself and then Bug.

When Beans was finished with the first book, she wanted to buy the second one. So I took her shopping and we got it! And the third one too. Ever since then it's been a bit hectic scheduling time with whichever book each of us is currently reading. (I'm ready to start the third one. But Beans took it to school. Probably a good thing, allowing me to actually get something done today.)

Today Loula Belle is ready for book number four. So I bought it! After redeeming my Deseret Book bonus points, I paid a grand total of $1.95. Whee!

If you've yet to read any of these, get started! Our whole family is devouring them.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

No More Dieting!

I'm a little more than half way through "Health at Every Size." I must say that it has been great having someone say that diets don't work. That diets, in fact, aren't healthy. To have somone say emphatically, "Don't diet!"

Since January I haven't been following any certain diet. And I haven't gained weight. But until I started reading this book, I felt like as soon as my tummy started feeling better and my thyroid levels got back to normal I'd return to some sort of diet. But not anymore! No more diets for me.

I feel liberated!

We're a biologically diverse people. We're not all meant to fit into the same cookie cutter shape that the media portrays as "healthy" or desirable. I'm me. I weigh what I way because of who I am. And I'm not going to try to be anyone but myself ever again.

I'm not going to exercise because I have to. I'm going to move and sweat because I want to. I'm going to walk, hike, dance, mow the lawn, work the wheel hoe, and garden up a storm because it makes me feel good -- makes me feel alive.

Food can't make me feel guilty. It's meant to nourish my body and to provide enjoyment. By listening to my body, eating when I'm hungry and stopping when I'm satisfied, I can stop eating for external reasons. No food is off limits. I can savor and enjoy every mouthful of what I'm eating. Chocolate. A crisp apple. A baked potato. Red licorice. You name it, I'm going to enjoy it.

Blogging is a guilty pleasure!

Here are the things I should be doing:

Writing up an entry from the Friends of the North Logan Library for May's North Logan Newsletter.

Typing up the Young Women acitivies for April to post on the bulletin board.

E-mailing those activities to Sis. Robinson for the ward newsletter and Sunday bulletin.

Distributing the new food items for our 72-hour kits. (We rotate them at General Conference in the spring.)

Taking a nice long walk with the dog.

But what am I doing instead? Blogging! And it feels great!

As you've probably noticed, I haven't been a very consistent blogger lately. But I'm getting the feeling that I'm about to make a comeback.

Earlier in the week while walking the dog I saw a young cat on a porch spying on a flock of house finches twittering in a nearby bush. I wanted to write a poem about it. I WANTED TO WRITE! It's been far too long since I've wanted to write. Just for fun. To stetch my flabby neurons and get them firing again.

Because, here's the thing, I love to write. Sometimes as I'm going about my day I find that I'm thinking my thoughts as a mental composition -- rearranging words, adding a little more description. The grocery list and weekly menu is no longer enough. I need to return to blogging.

It just feels good!