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Cassandra McCoy Uncategorized

Healthy Loaded Potato Soup

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Healthy Loaded Potato Soup

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Healthy. Simple. Filling

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Servings

4+

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Ready In:

 45min

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Good For:

LunchDinner

 

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Inroduction

About this Recipe

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By: Cassandra McCoy

Honestly, I had never made a potato soup. But after the cool weather moved in this year, it just sounded yummy. I have never been a big recipe follower, so I just decided to make something up and see how it turned out! Definition of winging it *fingers crossed*. 

Let me tell you, it turned out AMAZING! It was a hit for the entire family so I made sure to write down the ingredients and wanted to share it with you.

 

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Ingredients

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  •  4 medium sized steamed potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped celery 
  • 1 bag cooked riced cauliflower
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups ham bone broth
  • 5 slices chopped turkey bacon 
  • 1/2 whole onion
  • 4 stalks celery
  • Any other veggies you like
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 4 fresh cloves
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

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Steam the potatoes and mash them up.

Start a soup pot with the broth, coconut milk, sour milk, ham broth while the potatoes steam.

Cook in the liquid or stir fry the onion and celery until soft. 

After potatoes are mashed, mix all ingredients together and cook for 5 minutes.

 

Serve hot with crackers!

 

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Step by Step Instructions

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Step 1

Steam the potatoes in a microwave or stovetop steamer.

 

 

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Step 2

Start a soup pot with the broth, coconut milk, sour milk, ham broth while the potatoes steam.

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Step 3

Cook in the liquid or stir fry the onion and celery until soft.  You can mash them with the potatoes if you like.

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Step 4

After steaming the potatoes, mash them and extra veggies, mix all ingredients together and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.

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Step 5

 Serve hot with crackers and freeze nay extra for later!

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Enjoy and snuggle up!

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Categories
Intellectual Health Jackie Badger

Education Options for Families During Covid and Beyond

by Jackie Badger, MA Ed

Are you finding yourself stressed and frazzled, trying to figure out the best learning scenario for your family?  You’re not alone!  So many families who are not satisfied with the “distance learning” or hybrid models offered through public school districts are seeking out alternative scenarios for their children.  

Now more than ever, the hot topic being discussed is educational options and alternatives for families.  Once reserved for the homeschool community, families are now considering learning environments outside of traditional school settings for a variety of reasons. The current situation with Covid 19 has families looking for safe and healthy opportunities for children to learn, that opt out of the “distance learning” typically offered through school districts.  

Whatever the reason you have for seeking something outside the normal box of public or private school, congratulate yourself for wanting the best possible situation for your family!   You can do this!  Let’s consider the following alternatives for providing education for your family.  Public School, Distance Learning, and Homeschooling.  

Public School

Tried and true, it’s what most of us grew up with:  getting on the big yellow bus and going to school.  Pros are it’s easy, it’s free, and it’s reliable.  The curriculum has been chosen for your children, and the teachers and staff hired.  If any of your children have special needs, your school district will provide services for them.  Nobody is going to say to you, “What about socialization?”

With Covid 19, parents are concerned with the transmission of the virus and the effects of masking, social distancing, and isolation on students.  Other common concerns regarding public school include large class sizes, behavior both in and out of the classroom (bullying), lack of control of curriculum, and amount of time spent in school versus the amount of actual instruction time.  

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Distance Learning

You may want to consider enrolling in the distance learning program provided through your local school district or other online classes.  Distance Learning provided through your school district is tuition free, as are other online schools (ie Connections Academy or K12.com) which operate under public school “umbrellas” and receive state and federal funding.  These virtual schools operate much like public school, following a typical 6 hour/day schedule, employing teachers to teach curriculum, report to, take attendance, and issue report cards. 

Some drawbacks to Distance Learning are the lack of flexibility in scheduling and curriculum.  Students are required to attend during school hours, and are required to complete the curriculum and assignments chosen by the Distance Learning program.

There are virtual schools that operate independently of public school.  Some are tuition free and some charge a fee.  Think of these courses as “cafeteria style” classes to pick and choose from, and create your student’s individualized education plan.

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Homeschooling

Homeschooling is no longer the stereotypical isolated family; it is gaining huge momentum and popularity with mainstream, regular people.  There are plenty of options to meet your children’s schooling needs, whether it’s for a year….or for the duration.  Homeschooling enables families to “jigsaw” the perfect educational program for their child/children and families, and allows them incredible flexibility in terms of freedom and time.

There are many approaches to homeschooling; from creating a schedule similar to traditional schools, facilitating unit studies or project based learning, or abandoning “managed” education for a student led unschooling approach.  

Homeschooling can absorb a substantial amount of parent’s time, planning and implementing curriculum and activities.  It can create financial implications for families in that one parent may have to give up their job in order to oversee homeschooling.  Some homeschool curriculum, also, can be costly (although it doesn’t have to be).

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Options to Make Your Choice Work for Your Family

Take time to consider what your family values, and what aspects of your family life need attention.  Perhaps this is the year to focus on time with family and nurturing sibling or extended family relationships.   Is this year an opportunity to focus on academic skills?  Do you have a family business that your children could potentially help with?  

It’s important to surround yourself with a support network of like minded friends and family.  If enrolling in some form of public school is the right fit for your family, it’s important for students to continue to see friends and participate in activities.  If you have a student who gravitates towards athletics that are not offered this year, encourage them to consider other activities, clubs, or lessons your school or community offers.

There are plenty of opportunities to connect with other homeschool families.  Homeschool co-ops offer incredible support for families.  Some offer classes, recreational activities, sponsor field trips, or sponsor social activities (ie board game day, seasonal parties).  Search your local social media pages to find groups that align with your family’s needs.

The current situation with Covid 19 is certainly challenging and merits thought and planning.  However, there is no need to agonize and overthink what is best for your family.  It’s easy to get caught up in “analysis paralysis” as each situation has pros and cons.  Make a decision based on the best knowledge of your unique family and children.  No decision is permanent and if you make a choice that isn’t working, rest assured that you can always change your plan.  

This pandemic has a silver lining in that it has given families an incredible opportunity to slow down and do life at a less frantic pace.  Whether you chose public school, distance learning, or homeschooling…..you have the gift of time to do life with your family the way you want to.  Slow down and take time to read the books, take the nature walks, and essentially “smell the roses” with your family.

****Jackie Badger is a former public school teacher and longtime homeschool mom.  Having worn many teaching “hats” through the years, she is currently employed by her school district’s Community Education program.  Jackie resides in Minnesota with her family.   You can learn more about Jackie at her website, jackiebadger.com.

Categories
Mary Holtrop Mental Health

Finding the Hug We Need

by Mary Holtrop

During these past few months I was not feeling the stress of COVID-19. I was going about my business, going to work most days, getting caught up on projects that I have been meaning to complete for several years, organizing my work space and taking care of long overdue work issues. 

At the library where I work we were having some major building projects completed and I had some of my own projects to work on as well.  Most days it would just be myself and whatever workers that were here.  I didn’t mind coming to work and I felt good about my accomplishments.  I live alone and I am new to my area so I don’t know many people. At home I was feeling an emptiness, but nothing that significant. For exercise, I walked daily, and with extra time on my hands I added yoga and stretching to my routines. I started to pray and meditate more. I felt all this helped.

By mid-May my library started talking about opening our library book drops for returns and starting curbside services. But with the return of the rest of the library employees came many discussions about Covid-19; what we should do, what should we not do, what is right, what is wrong. Everything we addressed started to become a lengthy discussion with so many different opinions.  It was then I started to feel anxious and depressed. I can feel myself being irritated, angry, and frustrated. I know I am testy and I do not know why.  So I decided to change my personal goals for May and I told myself no tv during the week, add another walk, read a book, do a crossword because anything is better than just sitting and festering all these feelings.  

Then I got sick. Not the Covid-19 virus but something else. I still had to get tested for Covid-19 and I was scared and stressed until the results came back negative. My brother invited me down for the weekend. I talked myself into going and told myself a relaxing weekend is what I needed. Where parts of the weekend were relaxing, I felt every single conversation came back to Covid-19. By the time I left I told myself I am just so done with this. 

And here is the thing. I should feel blessed. My family is healthy, I still have my job and getting paid and I have no reason to feel the way I do. Many people have it much worse than me and I feel so deeply sad and sorry for them.  I started to ask myself why I was feeling the way I do. I think it’s because of all the conflict. All the difference of opinion and endless discussions about this and we still know very little. I knew I wasn’t alone in my feelings but rather than we all just address the elephant in the room we continue to pretend we are ok. 

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And then George Floyd happened. I am just so despondent about this situation. But more than that I am just so sad and angry over all the reactions that are just hurting all of us even more. We as a country are trying to recover. We are bringing businesses back and making attempts to recover from this pandemic and now all this immense anger. I understand and accept the anger and the feeling is justified but what I don’t understand is why people are making all this worse rather than coming together and try to make things better? I don’t have the answers. I have to remember to be kind and soft to others because we really need each other. After I got home my sister in law wrote me and said “I feel awful, I just wanted to give you a hug.” And I realized, I really need one right now.

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Categories
Cassandra McCoy Intellectual Health Keli Kirwin Mental Health Physical Health Social Health

What Families can do for Newly Postpartum Moms

by Keli Kirwin

“What should I add to my registry?”

“What gift should I buy for my best friend’s baby shower?”

“Top 10 baby shower gifts!”

“Most useless baby shower gifts”

Etc, ad nauseam. 

Let’s get straight to the point: the most powerful gift you can give to a new family is to care for them. Mow the grass to give that time back to the family. Bring meals to them. Drop off some coffee. Love on the family. Your gift of time and service is immeasurably valuable. This includes gifting a cleaning service or having food delivered. Give without judgement and without expectations. 
-unknown source

New parenthood is beautiful and poetic. It is also raw and really, really difficult. Even the “best” pregnancies, labors, and births are hard work. The smoothest birth is preceded by months of round the clock work, typically unacknowledged until well into the third trimester when others can finally see significant evidence of pregnancy with their own eyes. Before then, mom receives scrutiny for her exhaustion. Surely her body is not working that hard, she has only been pregnant for 9 weeks or 18 weeks or, or, or… 

Postpartum is also ‘invisible’ work. Mom changes thick pads and breathes through after-birth pains as her uterus shrinks. Her bottom hurts and she struggles to choose between sitting to rest and literally getting off her sore rear-end. Her nipples are sore and cannot see beyond the exhaustion. Her hormones are shifting dramatically. She attempts to stay level-headed and logical whenever she feels the changing tide. Can she tell anyone that she cannot sleep because of her irrational anxiety? 

Was she respected during birth? Does she feel that she was supported? Does she have access to appropriate care postpartum? In addition to the initial 6 weeks with her midwife or doctor, are chiropractors or physical therapists accessible? Are there other providers she could benefit from? Support can be given here; child care for older children, accompanying mom to appointments and watching the baby, perhaps monetary gifts to ensure these appointments are financially sustainable.

We care for others the best whenever our needs are met. Meet the needs of the parents so that they can better care for their home and their family.   

What can you do to enrich this time in their lives?