...with a husband and 5 sons, I am truly outnumbered....stories and thoughts on life from a mom in a houseful of little men!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This Time of Year

I'm so thankful God made seasons--times and seasons of the year and times and seasons of life.  This time leading into Thanksgiving is one of the best times of the year for me.  I love the crisp, fragrant, blustery (or even tempestuous, as it is at the moment!) days and how cozy it feels to be inside.  I can't help but smile as I see the all the lovely shades of brown in the form of mature, "pregnant" grasses dancing roadside and across fields.  I love the awe-inspiring sunsets and flickering candlelight.  And you know...just being honest....I really, really love the food!

Apples & Cider
Nuts & Seeds
and finally....POMEGRANATES!

What beautiful food!  I never tried a pomegranate until last year.  These fruits are surely a little taste of Heaven.  Perhaps I just don't get out much, but pomegranates cure a bit of the wanderlust I tend to experience this time of year.  There's something about them that seems so ancient, so exotic.  

I did a little research, and apparently there's a reason they seem that way.  Pomegranates were one of the first cultivated fruits, and have greatly impacted many civilizations for thousands of years.  Historically, they've been extremely symbolic in Middle and Near East, the Mediterranean, Asia, Europe, and North America.  Ancient Egypt revered pomegranates as symbols of afterlife, and there are numerous depictions of them on tomb walls.  They were required food in the pharaohs' residence, and had many other purposes as well.  Ancient Greece included pomegranates quite prominently in their myths.  The fruit came to signify a change of seasons.  

My favorite history of the pomegranate is the Biblical significance and Jewish tradition.  They are referenced in Exodus 28, Song of Solomon 7, and 1 Kings 7, among other places.  Tradition teaches that they symbolize righteousness, as they are said to contain 613 seeds, corresponding to 613 mitzvot (commandments) of the Torah.  It is said that pomegranates symbolize fruitfulness, knowledge, learning, and wisdom, and they are often enjoyed in celebrating Rosh Hashanah. 

In addition to being exotic, lovely and delicious, they're very healthful.  They're jam-packed with antioxidants, giving all those free-radicals a run for their money.  But the question remains, how do you eat them, and how do you do it without squirting yourself, your cat, your children, and your entire kitchen?

Let me share this wonderful trick with you (that was my original purpose of this post anyway, before I digressed...)  

  • Wash the pomegranate and chop off the end, enough that you see the outer seeds inside.
  • Cut through the outer peel only, beginning at the chopped end, all the way down the the other end.  I do this four times, quartering the fruit as I would do to peel an orange.  
  • Place the pomegranate cut-end down in a bowl of very cold water for ten minutes or so.  
  • Keeping the fruit submerged, break the fruit apart into quarters.  The seeds, called arils, will break easily out with your fingers under water and sink to the bottom of the bowl.  The white stuff will float to the top, and you can skim it off.  
  • When you've loosened all the arils out of the peel, dump out the water and you've got yourself a lovely bowl full of pomegranate!  You can give them a final rinse in a colander, if you want, but I find that's not really necessary.  

Eat them plain, add them to salads, swirl a few into water or other drinks for flavor and color.  Enjoy, and give thanks to God for the creativity He used in designing our food!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Decade of Our Eaglet

Ten.  10.  T-E-N.  1-0.  
It's been one decade since Eaglet and I made that laborious birth journey together. 

He came in with adventure, and he still seeks it.  This guy is full of dreams and ideas.  This year, he planned to hike Gold Cord Lake Trail on his birthday, with lunch at the lake, "no matter how much snow there is!"  

So, on that 20-degree, sunshine-filled day, that's what we did.

The lake was frozen, of course.  Wish we'd have had skates along!

 What an amazing day!  In the mountains, I always find myself overwhelmed with the magnificence, and yet the simplicity.  Somehow priorities seem so much clearer when you are held in the very cavern of creation.
 Things I will remember about ten-year-old Eaglet:
  • his energy--up at the break of dawn and ready to tackle anything
  • love of outdoors--he needs fresh air and wide-open spaces
  • flannel shirts and camo
  • one-of-a-kind tree forts
  • his heart for others--especially those younger and weaker 
  • dreams of becoming a farmer
  • truck artist
  • lists for everything with creative spelling
  • a giver--we routinely find artwork under our pillows as love offerings

 We topped off the day with gift-opening, moose burgers, and apple-raspberry pie. 

Before he was born, God gave me these words for our Eaglet: 

" I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from?  My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip-- he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you-- the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.  The LORD will keep you from all harm-- he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore."  Psalm 121: 1-8

May he always know Who his help comes from.