Friday, December 28, 2012

Yummy Smoothie Recipes

Okay, so these are three smoothie recipes I've come up with using the Arbonne Vanilla Flavored Protein powder. I love the powder as it has the perfect level of sweetening with stevia and rich vanilla flavor. And the protein is derived from peas so its totally vegan, non dairy and non soy. So much of vegan food is soy based so it nice to have a protein alternative and it tastes better. Plus Arbonne products are made exclusively from organic, non GMO botanicals (in this case veggies). So here they are:

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
In blender add:
8 oz cold water
3 ice cubes
2 scoops Arbonne vanilla protein powder
1 banana
1/2 to 3/4 c canned pumpkin
Handful of fresh baby spinach
1/4 c ground flax seeds or wheat germ
3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Blend until ice cubes are pulverized. Enjoy in a tall glass.

A Berry Good Smoothie
*I use frozen berries in this because they are so much less expensive and keep longer but fresh berries work fine too.
In blender add:
8 oz cold water
2 ice cubes
2 scoops Arbonne vanilla protein powder
1/4 cup frozen berries to blender
3/4 cup frozen berries - microwave 1 1/2 min to thaw. Add to blender
Handful fresh baby spinach
1/4 c ground flax seed or wheat germ
Blend until ice is pulverized and berry and spinach particles are very small. Enjoy!

Carrot Apple Protein Smoothie
This is not a real sweet drink but its jam packed with healthy components
In blender add:
4 oz apple juice
8 oz cold pressed carrot juice
Handful fresh baby spinach
2 scoops Arbonne vanilla protein powder
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1 inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled and coursely chopped
2 ice cubes (optional)
Pulse blender 2-3 min to ensure ginger is pulverized.

Any of these smoothies can replace a full meal. You have your protein, healthy natural carbs, vegetable and fiber. Also they have a low glycemic index even though they are sweet. Thank you stevia and natures sweet fruit.

Where to find the Arbonne Vanilla Protein Powder? Visit my stepdaughter's website at the protein powder also comes in chocolate flavor and was developed as part of their detox and weight loss line of products.

Enjoy! And let me know what you think or if you have other suggestions for recipes.

Peace be with you and all that jazz...,

Copyright (c) 2012. Chardale Irvine. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 24, 2012

About Kissing and Licking

I know, I know!  I is an enticing title but read along and you'll find it is appropriate for my lightbulb of insight that I got yesterday.

The day started rough.  I awoke with a backache and with my right leg, the one with the recently repaired ruptured superior quad tendon, numb and quite painful.  This happens every several days or so in the, so far, seven week recovery process (with months and months of physical therapy stretching in front of me).  I laid in bed trying to massage the back of my right leg with my left foot.  It was marginally successful but I really did need the whole leg massaged before I got up and started moving around on it.  So I called on my dear husband Walt and he came to my rescue.

I laid on my right side with my left knee bent in front of me so I was almost lying on my stomach.  Lying like this made it so I could completely relax the muscles in my right leg and made it possible for Walt to have access to the entire leg at once.  The brace and restricted movement has really affected my circulation so he worked on the muscles down the back of my leg and as he got closer to my foot I could feel my foot "waking up" as the nerves started firing or the blood started circulating or whatever.  It felt amazing and was such a relief.

Just as Walt finished, Bruno, our 6 1/2 pound yorkie mix began licking the back of my thigh.  Walt and I stopped talking to avoid distracting him.  He slowly and methodically licked his way down the back of my leg towards my foot.  He stopped and licked in a certain place for a little bit at the several places that I had asked Walt to work a little more on.  Walt was not showing him where those places were - he just knew somehow - those were the places where I felt surges of life coming back into my foot and those were the places that Bruno found too.

When he got down to my ankle he stopped licking and went over and laid down.  I rolled over onto my back and called him over to me and cuddled and petted him.  Mostly I just thanked him for being my little angel dog.

I know, I KNOW!  Some of you are dog people and that kind of situation is probably normal  and totally accepatable and expected.  Some of my readers in other countries like Turkey, Iran, Syria, etc. don't even HAVE dogs for pets. For many people, myself included up until just recently, like maybe today, that would seem hideous and icky.  The feel of saliva in general, regardless of the kind of mammal it is coming from, generally grosses me out.  The sound of licking also is creepy to me.  And, as such, I have trained Bruno to not lick me or kiss me.   He also has been encouraged to only lick himself when I'm out of earshot.  Walt, on the other hand, does not have those boundaries, so Bruno routinely kisses him on the lips and the ear and likes to lick Walt's wrist every now and then.

Bruno is 13 years old.  That is a lot of years to NOT kiss me and then to all of the sudden decide a whole leg needed attention.  But it really isn't all of the sudden because he has been ever so attentive to this knee injury ever since I had surgery.  When he's on my lap he insists on draping himself over that leg and resting his head right on the top of the incision. At first this was painful so I couldn't have him on my lap because he refused to lie anywhere else.  Since it is mostly healed I can tolerate him on my lap but he is very focused on that leg. This is not his normal lap sitting position.  I can move him off the leg and he moves right back onto it.

Here is Bruno working his healing magic on my knee.

So that happened.  And the day went on.  I was checking my Facebook and my second cousin K. had posted a new profile pic of her with her fiance'.  She's in her early twenties and we have never met but I've found her to be edgy and interesting.  I've met her dad P. only a couple of times but know her grandparents quite well as they are my mom's brother and sister in law.  I was a "server" at their wedding which at the age of 11 was such an honor.  The bride, my new aunt, was stunning with long auburn hair and a big, easy smile.  I thought she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.  And I realized today that one of the reasons I enjoyed visiting K.'s page so much is because she looks now SO much like her grandmother did when I first met her.  It's like leaping back into time.

So, I made an awkward attempt to explain all that to K. and her dad P. I apologized for the weirdness but they were very gracious and then other cousins jumped in and backed up my observation so it ended up being a marvelous way to connect with some family that I don't know well at all.

It really never occurred to me until several hours afterwards that there was a link between Aunt B. and my licking boundaries.  It wasn't her per se that tipped the balance but she did represent for me a time when I drew a certain and definitive line in the sand:  No More Relatives Were Going To Get To Kiss Me.

It's like this you see:  The Griffiths family are a whole bunch of kissers.  I say "are" because I'm assuming they still are but I really haven't kept track since I stopped participating- so we will just stick with the term "are".  They love to wrap you in their arms, hold you to their chest or breast, then pull away and kiss you smack on the lips.  Right.on.the.lips. And this is a family well endowed with lips.  They have voluptuous lips which turn into big, much too loving smiles and beautiful teeth as well.  These peope are way, way nicer people than I ever thought of being.

I spent quite a lot of time around this side of the extended family for a variety of reasons so there was a certain amount of familiarity expected.  Aunt B. came into the family fully endowed with her own set of full,voluputuous lips and was a kisser just like the rest of that darned bunch but the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back was when she, complete albeit beautiful,total stranger, kissed me full on the lips the first time I met her (or something like that).  It was then I put my foot down and noone was allowed to kiss me after that.

It is important to note that I did figure out that I DID like SOME people kissing me.  Apparently strange boys that I had barely met were acceptable but NO relatives. And I apparently like kissing feisty Irishmen because I've married two of them (not at the same time, mind you).

So I was 11 at that time.  I do remember informing my parents that I would no longer be kissing them goodnight when I was in the 2nd grade - so that is what - age 7 or so?  So the boundary setting had started at age 7 and then extended full circle when I was 11.

As I went to bed last night I just kept flashing on Aunt B's smiling lips coming in to kiss me and I'm like "What the heck?  Why am I flashing on this?  What is it trying to tell me?"  And then I realized that my boundaries with teaching Bruno not to lick or kiss me was based in the same place.

Now, I've had a therapist or two suggest this early no kissing boundary could have been based in some sort of inappropriate experience with an an adult at a younger age.  And my therapist in Denver, Phyllis, seemed very concerned and puzzled by my no licking boundary with Bruno since she saw it in action because he came to therapy with me (coolest therapy EVER).  I'm not sure. But I've done a crapload of work around it and I'm still just not sure.  So, I'll chalk it up to a simple aversion.  Well, simple in most families.  Not so simple in OUR family.

As I matured I was ever so happy to be given the thin lipped, small mouth that came from my dad's side of the gene pool.  Imagine my shock when I learned that voluptuous lips are seen to be sexy! (That awareness truly did not hit me until Angelina Jolie became popular - I was well into my 30s).  Its good I didn't get the Griffiths' lips.  They surely would have been wasted on me..

My grown daughter has a version of those lips and they look fabulous on her.  I have never kissed her or her brothers on the mouth though.  Lots of kissing people still try to kiss me and the errant kiss usually lands on the side of my neck which, truth be told, is actually creepier than if they'd just smacked one on my lips.

Just STOP with the kissing already!  And the licking - well unless you're MY dog and I have a hurt knee.  Maybe I would let the relatives kiss my knee. is worth pondering.  Now hopefully I can get to sleep.

Peace be with you and all that jazz....

PS.  My stepdaughter Amanda Falso is now an Arbonne Consultant.  I've tried several of the products and I'm very impressed.  The Vanilla protein shake mix has no dairy and no soy and is yummy and versatile in making smoothies.  I love the Baby Shampoo which I use as both a shampoo and body wash.  The BEST product I've tried so far is the RE9 Renewing Serum  Great stuff! Check out her website at Amanda's Arbonne Page  She has a couple of end of year give aways planned so it pays to check in and order now! 

Copyright (c) 2012- Chardale Irvine.  All rights reserved.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Who IS Santa Anyway?

My dad tells a story of when he was a little boy. That Christmas they were very, very poor. On Christmas Eve, though the cupboards were empty and there were no gifts under the tree, Grandma Chatterton gave him and his brother a dime each to go buy a Christmas present for themselves to put under the tree from Woolworth's Five and Dime. He and Uncle Jack went to the store together. They were ragamuffin kids, dressed in patched hand-me-downs and holes in their shoes. A nicely dressed woman stopped to talk to them in the store. She asked about what they wanted from Santa and what they were doing there that day. They told her Grandma had told them Santa wouldn't be coming that year. When the woman turned to leave she reached out and grasped Uncle Jack's 9 year old hand and squeezed hard as she wished them a Merry Christmas. Jack's hand was smarting from the squeeze after she left so he looked down at his hand and only then realized she had pressed a $20 bill in his palm. It was as though she had handed them a million dollars!

The first thing they did was to rush to the grocery store to get all the fixings for a fancy Christmas dinner- a big ham, potatoes, yams. They also bought a big sack of both flour, beans and rice. After that they bought Gma some warm wool gloves and a hat and for little sister Odena (Rosalie wasn't yet born) a new baby doll. Jack picked out a gift to surprise Dad with and Dad picked one out for Jack. The Five and Dime wrapped gifts for free so they had the 4 gifts wrapped. Those little boys went to bed that night happy and at peace. They would wake up and have a gift to open on Christmas and both felt as though THEY had been given the gift of BEING Santa.

Christmas morning everyone slept late. There was no reason to hurry. That one present wasn't going to take long to open. The boys woke to the smell of pancakes cooking. Gma had whipped up her familiar pan size flap jacks with the flour they had bought. As they were eating breakfast they heard a knock on the door at that house on California Avenue in Salt Lake City, Utah. Dad went to answer it and when he opened the door he found noone there but the porch was covered in boxes filled with brightly wrapped gifts. Six boxes in all. A card attached said Love Santa.

Both Jack and Dad got what they had asked Santa for earlier. Needless to say there was much hooting and hollering as little boys realized that 'Santa' had not forgotten them. They all got new warm hats and gloves and socks. there were Christmas cookies and candy canes. there were toys and new pajamas and slippers. there was a beautiful, warm bathrobe and slippers for Gma. And that is the meaning of Santa in the Dotson family.

And...that lesson was perpetuated when my own kids were young. It was Christmas 1989. Adam and Matt were 9 and Kaycee was 7. I was married to Kelly then and we were living in Lafayette CO. Our marriage was failing so it was a dark time. We were also very broke but we scrounged enough money to buy gas to make it to Mom & Dad's back in Lyman WY. We had no money for food on the road so we made sandwiches and koolaid. We only had enough money to get the kids two presents each. Kaycee was getting a Cabbage patch doll (whose name was Mindy Marjorie and whose name would forever become the infamous Mindy Margerine) from Santa and PJs from us. Matt and Adam were getting something from Santa each (I don't remember what) and PJs. The PJs would be opened on Christmas Eve so each kid would only have one gift under the tree on Christmas morning. Kelly and I had not gotten gifts for each other or anyone else.

The trip up to WY from CO was smooth and uneventful but very quiet and subdued. Our family was breaking apart and everyone in that car either knew that or could sense it.

We arrived in WY to a house also in despair as my parents financial situation was crumbling and they were getting ready to file for bankruptcy and to move from the house they had built. It was dark and quiet in all of our hearts but the gift of being together with family on Christmas when the earth was shifting in all our lives was lost on no one.

After opening the traditional Christmas Eve PJs gift we sent the kids to bed and turned in early ourselves. We were looking forward to Norwegian pancakes for breakfast but dreading seeing the kids faces when they realized how few gifts there would be.

We woke to the glorious smell of coffee brewing as three little kids shook us awake demanding we hurry and get up. Santa had come and they wanted to open their gifts. We all made our way to the living room and postponed the inevitable look of disappointment on the kids faces by pouring a cup of coffee for all the adults. There were a number of gifts under the tree. Shaun, who was a teenager, had some gifts and then each of our three kids had two, one from Santa and one from Gma and Gpa. Just as they were settling into realizing that the two gifts were the extent of their Christmas the phone rang. Gma answered it, listened for a moment and then hung up. Ten minutes later she asked the subdued kids if they'd heard a knock on the door. They had not nor had we. She insisted they check the door anyway which they did complaining all the while and when they opened the door they found the porch covered with boxes of brightly wrapped Christmas gifts.

Mindy Margerine made out best. She had a pink plastic stroller, high chair and crib. She had new clothes and blankets, plastic baby food, plastic baby utensils and plastic dishes. Everything Mindy Magerine related was pink. The boys got an Atari 2000 with several games. There were gifts for all the adults, for Shaun and lots for the kids.

Those were some excited kids I will tell you. 'Santa' Dotson style had showed up in the lives of our whole family once again. And it wasn't just presents 'Santa' brought that year. He brought hope and strength because even though we knew the things that were getting ready to happen would certainly happen we were infused with hope and the knowledge that we were loved and cared about. We all knew we would be okay.

That trip home to CO was treacherous. it was a blizzard the whole trip home and we must have looked a sight when we pulled up to our log house in Lafayette with a Topaz blanketed in ice and snow with plastic doll furniture tied to the trunk, caked in ice as well.

And that is what Santa means Dotson/Mackley style.

I will forever have in my minds eye tying pink plastic baby doll furniture all over the luggage rack on the back of our Mercury Topaz for the trip home from what had turned out to be our family's most memorable Christmas.

And that was Christmas Mackley/Dotson style. It's not really who Santa is but what Santa does.