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FAMILY/ Kids/Family

A Quick Family Trip To Chicago To Visit Dear Friends & My Recovery Discovery

We just got back from a quick, 4-day family trip to Chicago to visit some dear friends.

We stayed with our dear friends, the Porters. Todd and I met them almost 20 years ago when we were newlyweds at our church.

I have written about them a couple of times on this blog, one telling about the miracle that they are even here, and another telling of the priceless gift of care my friend Sharon gave during my mastectomy.

We have made it a point to see each other every couple of years (at least) throughout the past 20 years, despite living in different states.

We have created precious memories during these purposeful trips, and so have our kids as they have grown up together. It is unbelievable that between the two families we have produced 6 teenagers!

In a perfect world, we would live in the same state and see each other WAY more often, but the closeness we feel with their family despite the distance reveals what a gift their friendship is.

I’ve been reflecting on this friendship. We are all wired so differently and have much scoop on each other—-as meaningful friendships with history usually do—-yet there is an acceptance and love that is quite remarkable, one that has lasted throughout the years.

Keep reading for a few glimpses of our trip, and my discovery of why I often need recovery after trips and life events.

Continue Reading…

Healthy Eating/ How-Tos/ RECIPES

Eating Healthy On Vacation–Or At Least Trying To!

It is interesting trying to eat healthy while on vacation.  We have been gone a week. 3 days at Florida’s St. Pete’s Beach and now we are doing the Disney thing. We are having a blast, and eating is a big part of that fun. Really, it has been much easier to find healthy foods than I thought it would be.

Now, don’t get me wrong–I have had my fill of sugar and treats that I normally would not eat, after all, we ARE at Disney.  Here is a sampling of some of the desserts we have had.  Oh. My. Yum.

But, my body is used to getting an abundance of plants and is now at the point where I crave them if I don’t get them.  Fortunately, I have been able to eat some type of green everyday.  We have been blessed to be able to eat at a sit down type restaurant at least once each day, and when we do, I make sure I order something leafy and green as part of my meal.  I also always get a side of vegetables.  I have been eating a lot of fish while vacationing.  No beef.  No chicken.  No pork.

Fast food and airport food has been a little harder, but I’ve been able to get creative.  Breakfast at the airport one day was grapes and a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and sliced bananas on it.

Fast food lunch & airport lunch have been wraps and rice with vegetables. I also had a bean burrito.

We were at a water park the other day and there was not a thing for vegetarians.  I got a chicken Caesar wrap and picked out the chicken.  Thank goodness it had quite a bit of greens in it.  I got hungry quickly after that but fortunately we had an amazing dinner that night–I ordered Roasted Carrot Ravioli–Carrot Silk, Fava Beans, Chanterelles,  Pinot Noir Syrup and Lemon Dill Foam.

It was one of the BEST meals I have ever eaten! It was a dark restaurant, so the photo does not do it justice, but it was delish & so pretty!

I ended the meal with Bananas & Caramel–Crispy Baked Phyllo Squares Layered with Banana, Mascarpone Mousse, and Caramelized Banana.  Yes, it made me feel sick due to the milk products in it, but it was SOOO worth it!

Breakfast is easy.  We have stayed in a room that has a little kitchenette, so we hit up a grocery store for breakfast foods and snacks on our first day.  The girls have enjoyed whole grain bagels because I bought cinnamon cream cheese, something they are not used to eating.  That has been a treat for them.  I also made sure they get plenty of fruit for breakfast–bananas, clementines, grapes and apples.  We also have oatmeal topped with dried cranberries & cereal with almond milk.  Eating breakfast in our room has saved us a ton of money!

Snacks at the parks are not to great, so we load our backpack with some healthier snacks.  Here are some of our favorites:

~Sabra Hummus Dip with Pretzels

~Cliff Bars
In the parks, I have been happy to see that they have these Edy’s Strawberry Bars.  They are high sugar, but they do not contain high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors or flavors.  They are strawberries & sugar.  They are colored with beet juice & turmeric. Much better than all the crazy colored Micky ice cream bars out there!  
What are your favorite ways to eat healthy on vacation?  Any snack ideas for me?