Big Families, Food, Guam, Ranting & Raving About Island Living

Reduced-Guilt Ice Cream

When my kids text me, “Mom, plz buy some ice cream on your way home! Pleeeeezzzz!” I think, “Hmmm, college education, or ice cream, college education, or ice cream?” If you live on Guam and shop off-base, you know that anything resembling creamy decadence is a sheer luxury. A typical 1.5L container of ice cream could set you back $8.99! Fortunately I have found a way to serve yummy ice cream to my familia, without staying up at night feeling guilty! Okay, if I eat some of it myself, I might still be up at night feeling guilty, but that is a whole different story.

ice-cream-700523_640

At a cost of roughly $2.70, I can make the same amount of ice cream that costs $8.99 at the market. I haven’t ventured past plain vanilla yet, but my savings tastes so good that I am feeling quite satisfied in all its simple glory.

Vanilla Ice Cream (Using a Vitamix, but a Nutri-Bullet should work too)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
  • 4 cups ice cubes
  • 1/3 cup powdered milk
  • 1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
  2. Select Variable 1.
  3. Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
  4. Use the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades. In about 30 seconds, four mounds will form in the center of the mixture. Stop machine.
  5. Serve immediately

I’m sure you can try non-dairy substitutes as well. Use mint, chocolate chips, or your favorite flavor to make it your own special treat. You know I’ll be throwing ripe mango in once the season is in full swing! Substitute maple syrup, or honey for the powdered sugar. Use a fresh vanilla bean instead of extract. If serving later, pre-portion ice cream into bowls and place in the freezer. Allow bowls to sit out 5 minutes before serving. If your frozen dessert is not setting up well, just add more ice cubes (or frozen bananas:) to your blend. 

I’d love it if you’d share a tip about how you enjoy a treat without breaking the bank.

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Big Families, Children, Christianity, Daughters, Faith, Follow Jesus, Guam, Prayer, Ranting & Raving About Island Living, The Act of Motherhood

A Labor of Love

If you know me, you may have heard of how my second daughter practically came out running and hasn’t stopped since, or how I was induced with my fourth, sent my husband to get the other kids from school while I waited to have even one labor pain and proceeded to give birth, all within a fifteen minute span! I’ve told my stories many times over. I’m referring to the retelling of the “labor day” stories. We all do it–rehash the blow by blow of each experience with new moms, old moms, moms-to-be (albeit with small omissions to save them from sheer panic).

I know when I tell about the birth of each of my five kids, I get quite animated. Arms flail, voice quickens, eyes widen, volume escalates–and then the sigh of relief. Done. Some long and exhausting. Others short and, well, exhausting. I had all natural labors and deliveries which is quite the norm here on Guam because local women supposedly have “easier births.” Pshhhh! But I, like most women, enjoy telling the stories mostly because it is a Herculean accomplishment that is in the past.

Now that my oldest daughter is on the brink of her sixteenth birthday and my youngest is almost eight, I find myself reminiscing about those years bringing new lives into the world. (It doesn’t help that I’m also listening to soothing French cafe-type music that just brings tears to my eyes anyway).

Kids3 Kids2

If you’ve raised a child for any amount of time, you know one fact for sure. “Labor” doesn’t end once that little bundle of blessing arrives in the world. We labor every day to take care of our babies. We labor to provide for them, to keep them healthy and relatively clean. We labor to teach them and guide them. Along the way we also make many mistakes and we labor to become better moms. We tweak things. We figure things out. We watch others. Some of us pray and lean on God’s grace.

No, we don’t get constant applause and thank yous. We don’t get a 15% tip on the table after we’ve cleared it for the 6,402nd time. We don’t get a stellar review on our annual performance report. We don’t even get paid leave! In this season of my life; however, I’ve come to the realization that I spent more time than I should have on looking at the “don’ts” of motherhood.

I am profoundly grateful for the “dos” these days. I do get to see these young people develop into creative, young individuals. I do get to share in their dreams and hopes. I do appreciate the many lessons I’ve learned through the tough times that inevitably come with raising five kids with very different personalities. Most especially, I do get to experience a little bit of what Jesus did when He walked the earth. Agape love. Given but not always reciprocated. The truest “labor of love.” And this has drawn me so much closer to the Lord. How could I not be thankful for that?

Happy Labor Day fellow Mamas! Go ahead, rehash those stories that are such a part of our motherhood story. And let God be a part of your Labor Day because He made the biggest, sacrificial labor of all and continues to pour out all we need to refresh and be ready to labor on in our roles as mamas. Be Blessable!

Christianity, Diet, Food, Health, Ranting & Raving About Island Living, Self-Improvement, Uncategorized

The Thief’s Purpose is to Steal, Kill & Destroy–Even with a Donut

When I first read 1 Corinthians 6:19, I really had a feeling of conviction. The verse reads, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” I knew how important my mind and heart were to my spiritual life, but my actual, physical body? I would say I was getting a C- at best in this area. I was definitely not honoring God by being such a slacker in this area.

In Sheri Rose Shepherd’s book Fit for My King, she mentions a verse in the chapter titled “God’s Temple or Our Trash Can.” John 10:10 says, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” Wow! Okay, maybe I’ve watched too many food documentaries, or maybe as I walked down an aisle filled with shiny, foil-covered potato chips and preservative-laden cookies, but this verse really hit home. This “thief” will use any way possible to crumble a person, a community, and even a whole country. Yes, we are a fast food, sugar-addicted, white bread, white rice, soda-drinking country! Satan steals our self-worth, our self-image, and our motivation to do big and great things for God when we are mired down in an unhealthy body.

Sheri Rose Shepherd
Sheri Rose Shepherd

So I had to man up–okay “woman up!” Was I going to let the thief win? Will I be a slave to a donut?!?  Uh, NO! 2 Timothy 2:21 says, “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” I am clinging to this promise. Yes, for some, the “dishonorable” thing might be stealing, adultery, lying, blasphemy…and for some, it might be that dishonorable dish of ice cream that is actually three portions and not one. They are all bad.

As of today, I have almost lost 10lbs in two weeks of my Medifast diet and almost one week of vacation in the Philippines. (Aside, that was a little challenging as there are many delicious food options and we were on vacation. I surprised myself with my resolve and did well with portions and eating clean despite the occasional temptation).

Praise God for His promises!

Christianity, Guam, Prayer, Ranting & Raving About Island Living

A Picture of Us

There is an elderly woman who walks the streets of Hagatña—homeless. She stands outside of McDonald’s or Winchell’s, Payless or Yogurtland. Pacing. Sometimes she’s quiet. Sometimes she’s yelling frightful profanities at an invisible person or at the world in general.

 You know her. Many of you have stopped and given her a dollar or two. Some of you have given her food. As you hand over something that you hope will satiate her for a while, a sandwich, a bottle of water, some money—she spats out anger. “Is that it?” she demands (and I’m putting it mildly). I’m not being judgmental of her. She may have some psychological issues that have led her to the streets in the first place. I don’t know.

 But as I watched her cross a busy street this morning, carrying what is likely, all of her worldly possessions in a bag slung across her shoulder, I looked at her face. She is filled with bitterness, hopelessness, anger—and realized something. The old homeless lady is us! God faithfully gives us what we need—sometimes a lot, sometimes a little, but always enough. Yet we spat upon his hand and say “Is that it?” or we look him in the face and say “I don’t need you”. We are often the bitter-faced homeless person grasping at more with perpetual dissatisfaction.

A person who has been rebuked for “only” handing over two dollars instead of five will likely walk back to his car saying, “Fine! Never again!” I know that’s how I felt. But our Lord doesn’t give up so easily. He patiently waits, likely saddened, but always forgiving when we say, “Please forgive me”.

Please pray for the woman on the street and all those who do not know Him.

2 Timothy 2:13
2 Timothy 2:13
Children, Christianity, Daughters, Guam, Ranting & Raving About Island Living, The Act of Motherhood

Modest is Hottest on Guam!

Maybe it’s the feeling of impending doom with four daughters of my own who, in five years, will be 19, 17, 15, and 13. It might be the baggage I carry from my own teen years. It could be that today’s cultural icons for teens quite frankly scare me! It’s likely a combination of all these things that makes me whole-heartedly welcome the message that Christian musical artist Jaime Jamgochian is bringing for girls on Guam.

Her ministry is called “Modest is Hottest” and her message is that today’s young ladies can still be cute and fashionable while not giving in to cultural norms. Girls can say, “I’m confident with who I am and how I look because God made me just the way He planned.”

Jaime’s hope is to promote a positive self-image in girls. We all know that there is a lot of room for positive growth for girls on our little island and all over the world really.

Jaime’s message and her music should be an inspiration to moms, daughters and single young women across our beautiful island. We don’t need to conform. We can look great while being modest–because MODEST IS HOTTEST! 

Children, Food, Guam, Ranting & Raving About Island Living, The Act of Motherhood

What’s Better for You–Aliens or American Food?

My husband posted this alien-looking picture on Facebook this morning. He is on a business trip in Hong Kong. I showed the picture to my kids and said, “Look what Daddy saw hanging in a restaurant window–isn’t it scary?” I was surprised when my 7 yr. old daughter replied, “Not as scary as all the chemicals in our food!”

She’s right on so many levels. Of course, her response may have been prompted by the fact that I have been binging on documentaries about organic foods, the “Slow Food Movement”, eating local and the dire condition of the average American diet. Movies like “Forks Over Knives,” “Food Matters”, and “Fresh” have really made a big impact on my thinking as of late, primarily because I realize that people who live on a remote island like Guam may have it even worse. Many grow up thinking food is something that comes out of a can! A peach is something you find in a pie. A sale on a case of corned beef or Spam is like striking gold. A fresh snack is opening a large bag of Doritos and it’s not stale!

After taking some time to really think about what we have been doing to our bodies as a community, I committed to making a change for myself and my family. I’ve had my kids reading the labels on their favorite processed foods (which is a basic food group in most of our homes). I leave a “produce plate” on the table with a variety of fruits and veggies so there’s something for even the pickiest eater. We will go on a field trip to a local organic farm soon. This can be fun!

Medical fundraisers for diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer are sky-rocketing. For most, diet is the biggest game changer, but changing the way we look at our plates is not easy. I mean, I won’t be slapping a roasted squid on the table any time soon. But ensuring that fresh fruits and vegetables make it on every plate is a great start. Teaching our kids the realities of what we’re putting in our mouths is vital. Watch some of these documentaries together. They are really life-changing.

We may not get a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s any time soon, but we can start where we’re at. Walk the periphery of the grocery store and start with fresh produce (organic if you can afford to). Don’t go all hog wild (pun intended), just because there is a “5 for $19.99” sale on meat. Be knowledgable about proteins and good sources aside from red meat. Buy local! Visit our local farmers on the side of the road and maybe even Google recipes using their seasonal offerings. Not too difficult!

RANTING & RAVING MOMMY TIP: I occasionally use media and mama-drama to persuade my kids. Many of you have seen the infamous “pink slime” pictures that eventually become a McNugget. I showed that to my kids and proceeded to explain the gory details about how the whole chicken was strained to get the goo. I know that seems kind of cruel, but I don’t think it’s that far from the truth. So now, if anyone offers my kids a McNugget, you’ll see them shutter at the mere mention! I’m good, huh? (Have yet to conjure up terrible images for french fries though).

Periodically, I will post some yummy recipes and food pics so we can share some slow, chemical-free, locally-grown, delicious food.

Now back to that picture. What is that freaky poultry next to the squid? A turkey with crazy goosebumps is my best guess. Ewww!

Christianity, Guam, Ranting & Raving About Island Living

We the People

Guam is so entrenched in politics and government that I almost find news like white noise. I do subscribe to Twitter feeds for most of the local news stations though. I don’t want to be totally clueless, but a daily paper seems like a horrendous soap opera that just gets my  hands black.

In recent weeks, I have been particularly curious about this new candidate for the congressional election, Karlo Dizon. Young, well-educated, progressive and Filipino. Very interesting. I listened to a radio interview today and was impressed by much of what he said. He took a stance at times and noted that he would rely on the wishes of “the people” at other times. So, who are “the people”?

Unfortunately, if you listened to today’s interview (and most radio talk shows for that matter), you’re going to hear a kind of people that is sadly disrespectful, pompous, and basically close-minded. I’ll call them the “I-Know-Club”. I was saddened by the constant reference to the fact that Mr. Dizon is not “indigenous”, or does not speak “our language”. I don’t speak our language. Does that mean I cannot represent our island? What is the significance of being “indigenous”? I can appreciate a beautiful palm tree or flower that is not “indigenous,” but has been transplanted and has developed strong roots in island soil.

This young man has grown up in the village that has one of the lowest socio-economic populations, the same village I grew up in. He has gone to local public schools which seem to be failing so many. Despite this, he has forged a path of accomplishments that few ever achieve in their life times. I don’t know Karlo Dizon, but, as I always do, I’ve done my homework. I think it would be a travesty if we let ethnicity be the determining factor. In my eyes, he represents the people. Guam is a mix of so many ethnicities that racial lines should have been erased long ago. Moreover, as a Christian, I don’t see compartments and barriers that keep one group from another. We are all “the people”.

Let the man speak, put fabot.