Weekly Menu a bit late

I wrote it out Monday but just got to post today! Busy week.

I started the 80 Day Obsession program today and the meal plan is totally doable with what I cook for my family. I just have to measure my portions.

M- Steak, mashed potatoes, broccoli

T- salmon, sweet potatoes, salad, grapes

W- meatballs, sauce, whole wheat pasta, salad

Th- burgers, salad, pineapple

F- pork chops, rice, butternut squash, applesauce

S- frittata, English muffins, fruit salad

S- Pot roast, potatoes, carrots

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Fun with the kids

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Winter Wonderland

Photo credit to my mom for the last one!

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Weekly Menu for January 8-14

I plan our menu every Monday. This way I know what to pull out of the freezer and don’t end up with nothing to cook! I am really careful about what I eat (most of the time) and will have to be mindful about my eating for the rest of my life. I watch my portions, cook from scratch and make healthy versions of our favorites. I make my weekly plan based on what’s in the freezer, what’s in season, what the weather forecast says, and our weekly schedule of work and school events. I try to get ahead on weekends, too. Here’s my plan for this week.

Monday- Instant Pot chicken and brown rice.

Tuesday- Steak, sweet potato, bulgur and kale salad for me, regular potatoes for the boys

Wednesday- Pork tenderloin, Brussels sprouts, applesauce

Thursday- Breakfast for dinner

Friday- Homemade pizza

Saturday- Grilled chicken, roasted beet salad with cheese and nuts

Sunday- Roast beef, potatoes and squash

On the weekend I’ll also make a batch of yogurt and a big pot of minestrone soup for lunches next week.

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What we have been doing all this time…

I never planned to stop blogging, I just got busy. Here’s a quick look at what we’ve been up to.

What’s changed?

We welcomed two children to our family (I did write about David when I posted on my own domain, which I’ve since let go… so here we go!). Big brother Josh welcomed David in October 2012. He’s a happy, mischievous, spunky, smart little boy and he makes us laugh every day. Here he is yesterday after I asked him to put on shoes.

Anna Rose joined the family in April 2017. We are so happy to have a baby again, and I’m savoring every sleepless night since I know she’s my last baby. She’s in awe watching her big brothers, she loves to eat and pull up to stand. She’s all over the house! Here she is with Joshua. I think she looks just like he did as a baby.

Those are the big answers to “what’s new?” but there are smaller answers too. I moved jobs to a new school, where I teach more sections of physics. I love it there and I believe this is the best decision I’ve ever made for my career and my family. But that’s not what the blog is about of course! It’s about what happens at home.

What’s the same?

Ed and I are still happily married, we still spend a lot of time with extended family, and we still do a lot of the same things. He’s gearing up for maple syrup season and thinking about this year with the shellfish business, while I’m daydreaming about our garden and all the fun we will have as a family in 2018. I still cook and make things and enjoy canning and shopping at the farm market. We still have a freezer full of meat from animals Ed and his family raise, and I still cook dinner almost every night. We still live in the same house and plan to stay put forever. We had a great Christmas.

Why come back to blogging?

I’ve always thought of my blog as a digital scrapbook of our life. I missed writing it but I was busy. I do still look up recipes here, and I love having it as a resource. The Other night I was looking for my seared pork chop recipe and came here and thought… I wonder if I remember my password? I wonder if there’s an app now that would make it easy to post from my phone? Yes and yes! It was snowy so I thought go for it! And here I am.

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I’m coming back…

Been thinking about it for a long time. First step- I remembered my password today! See you soon!

Love,

Abbie

PS- I had a baby girl 8 months ago…. and a baby boy 5 years ago. It’s been a while!

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Fighting for Clean Air in Oklahoma ~ An Interview with Lisa Sharp

Lisa Sharp is a freelance writer, social media marketer and environmental activist, living in a small town in Oklahoma. She has a blog called Retro Housewife Goes Green and runs a website called Green Oklahoma.  Lisa and I have been online friends for a few years, which in internet time equates to forever.  So when I saw Lisa talking about a local cement plant, air pollution, and the subsequent health effects on Facebook, I told her I’d love to interview her for the Moms Clean Air Force

How did you become interested in and first learn about the pollution coming from the local cement plant?

Around 1992, I would have been five, the cement plant tried to get a permit to burn hazardous waste and my grandmother was very active in fighting it. They won that fight so I didn’t think about it much until I became more active in the environmental community. A few years ago I was at a sustainability conference listening to Earl Hatley and I ended up talking to him about the cement plant and it turned out he had been apart of the fight against the plant in 1992. The things he told me sparked my interest and I started researching cement plant pollution more. 

Please give us a summary of the environmental problems caused by the cement plant.  What pollutants are released? Are current emissions standards being exceeded?

After the cement plant lost the battle to get a hazardous waste burning permit they started burning tires. As of a few years ago there were only nine wet-process cement plants burning tires in the U.S. Seven of the nine are in violation of the pollution limits, set by the Clear Air Act. Three are high-priority violators. One of these three plants is the plant in my town. In 2005 they violated the pollution limits more than 1,000 times in one year. They were only fined $321,000. Last I checked they were currently in violation as well.

Some of the toxins the plant puts off include ammonia, benzene, certain glycol ethers, chromium, diethanolamine, dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, ethylene glycol, lead, manganese, mercury, sulfuric acid, and zinc compounds. Cement plants are the third largest contributor of mercury emissions. 

How has your own health and/or your family’s health influenced your environmental activism?

I personally have asthma, as do my mom and brother. My mom’s asthma was very severe when I was young and we were living 0.7 miles from the plant. While many things played a role in her asthma being so bad, we believe one of those things was the cement. Since they have moved from that house, out of town, she has been much better. My asthma was better when living outside of town as well and once I moved back to town, now 2.5 miles from the plant, my asthma has gotten worse. 

I also have many friends that are quite young but already are battling cancer. My town’s cancer rates are above the state average, which is above the national average. I’m tired of seeing my friends sick and dying and knowing there is this plant pumping tons of cancer causing chemicals into our air.

Has the pollution from the cement plant been linked to local health issues?

Officially, no. But as I said our cancer rates are high. I also believe our autoimmune illness rate is high but haven’t been able to research this yet. Many doctors in town have commented on Ada’s cancer rate and citizens are starting to also question this. Benzene is one of the toxins that the cement plant puts off in large amounts and it’s been shown to cause cancer so it’s hard not to question a link. And benzene isn’t the only cancer causing chemical the plant puts off.

Have your local politicians become involved in this issue?

No. There is a city council member in Tulsa that is fighting the cement plant there on burning hazardous waste but that is the only politician I know of. And he is not being well received by others in Tulsa. That will be a very big fight.

What are you hoping will happen? What would be your ideal outcome?

Many people have this idea that I’m trying to get the cement plant closed down, but that’s not the case. I know they are one of the largest employers in my town and that it was cost the city jobs and money that we can’t afford to lose. Also at this time we need cement, I don’t want to close our plant just to end up with another city polluted to make the cement we were making. 

I would love to see the plant follow the current laws and for the laws to be made stronger. I also would like the burning of tires and hazardous waste by cement plants made illegal. This is where a lot of the emissions come from so this would cut them a lot. More scrubbers and other improvements that would help pull out the toxics would be nice as well. The biggest thing for me though, is to first get them to follow the law.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in becoming an environmental activist?

Don’t do it! Just kidding. It is a very hard job and one that is often thankless but it can also be the most rewarding job you can do. You don’t have to take on a big company like I’m doing. I started by joining my local recycling coalition, I’m currently a board member. Simple things like that can really help your community be a better place. 

More about cement plants from Lisa:

I’d like to thank Lisa for sharing her fight for clean air with the Moms Clean Air Force.  As Lisa said, her goal is to have the cement plant follow current emission standards and she thinks emissions standards need to be strengthened. 

Please join the Moms Clean Air Force in our fight to strengthen clean air standards and protect our children’s health.

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