Recipe Time! Low Carb Chili

This week two friends I haven’t talked to in months contacted me, out of the blue, about going low carb. So, I thought I’d share one of my favorite low carb recipes with you!

This is the Little Rilla Homemaker version. If you don’t have an instant pot and don’t want to chop veggies, the next version is easier. I made this recipe while we were in Boston.

* I’ve posted my Mexican seasoning recipe here. You can substitute a taco seasoning packet for the Mexican seasoning. I make my own seasonings is to reduce preservatives, msg, and processed oils in the food I serve my family. (Yes, I packed my seasonings and took them to Boston with us.)

Let me know in the comments if you’d like more low carb recipes!

Boston, and Why I’m So Glad

This summer, our family took a trip to Boston. If you’d asked me two years ago if I thought making a trip with the kids to Boston was a good idea, I would have said no. And that was before the pandemic travel measures. I am praising my Heavenly Father and thanking Him that I’ve experienced such a difference in my ability to function since I learned about the impact of healthy keto chemistry. Our trip was not only possible but enjoyable and memorable.

Three years ago, we made a family trip to D.C. We loved D.C. (even though I dealt with vertigo the whole time). And now we love Boston. We soaked in the history and were as touristy as you please.

Blogs abound with advice and tips on how to experience Boston. Guess what! I have my own experience to share. First, I’ll tell you what the experts say to do, then I’ll tell you what we did.

Use the Boston Transit System The MBTA is highly recommended because of traffic in the city. So… we rented a car. I am so glad we rented a car! The plan was to spend two days in the city itself, so we had very little time to bebop around town.

My tips for Parking in Boston

  • Search discount apps, like Groupon, for vouchers that give you all-day parking for the two-hour price. Parking is ridiculously high, but not using public transportation easily cut our travel time in half.
  • We are not used to big cities and parking protocol. We almost learned the hard way the necessity of keeping a picture of our parking pass upon leaving the garage. There is no internet reception in the bowels of those parking garages. You have to scan that barcode to drive in and to reenter the garage.

Stay in the City “Stay in Boston if you can, especially the North End, because you can walk anywhere from there.” I looked and looked for a place I thought would be comfortable for us to stay in the city. The apartments were astronomical to rent in town. Five grown people sandwiched in a hotel room is not in a family’s best interest if they wish to remain a loving family.

My tips for Accommodations

  • Find a rental away from the city. We stayed in a suburb. I’m so glad we did! I really hope the hotel industry does not kill VRBO and AirBNB. (I think that was attempted during the pandemic.) We need those cute, renovated old houses right in a residential area. They give you a taste of local living. Realm made walks around the neighborhood, finding great local food options that we wouldn’t have known about if we’d just searched for online eats.
  • Some rental owners are gracious enough to allow you to drop off your luggage before check-in. Because our rental contact was so accommodating, we were able to see the beach, eat at the Original Kelly’s Roast Beef, visit the Marblehead Tower, and see Carcassonne Castle on the day we arrived.

Follow, follow, follow, follow… Follow the Freedom Trail! The consensus online for tourists is to go in numerical order along the trail, first to last, leaving the last sites, the Bunker Hill Monument and U.S.S. Constitution, for another day.

My tips for the Freedom Trail

  • Visit the sites in the opposite order. We started with the U.S.S. Constitution, then made our way over to the Battle of Bunker Hill Monument and museum. Then we drove into the city and walked to the Old North Church and Paul Revere house. This put us in Little Italy around lunch time. The Old North Church and Paul Revere House are, I’m convinced, essential to grasping the importance of what happened in Boston and in Lexington.
  • Visit Concord/Lexington before Boston. We spent the first full day of our stay in Concord and Lexington to immerse ourselves in the history of what occurred before the Battle of Bunker Hill. (We also toured Louisa May Alcott’s house, Orchard House, which I loved!) The Battle of Lexington happened before Bunker Hill. The Battle Green tour, the Hancock-Clarke House, and the Buckman Tavern really put you in the moment of what happened during that confrontation (or “skirmish”).

Additional Tip for Lexington

  • Use Lexington By Foot & Phone. The Lexington Historical Society has an amazingly informative tour by phone as you walk the green at your leisure. It’s free (donations appreciated) and we were able to take our time and pick and choose. Some of us were a bit teary-eyed on listening to what happened to those brave men and their families.

Eat at Little Italy Per the advice of many articles I read on Pinterest, we saved our tummies for the North End. There were tons of Italian places to eat. (Actually, most of the region around Boston is this way. Turn a corner, and there will be a little shop with “Somebody’s First Name’s Pizzeria and Roast Beef.”)

My tips for Eating in Little Italy

  • Having bipolar disorder, I wanted to sleep well, have plenty of energy, and avoid anxiety and mood swings on this trip by staying in keto chemistry. I was willing to be flexible with a few carbs, but pizza crust is not worth my trouble. I thought about just ordering a pizza and eating the toppings off, but—honestly—the abundance of pizza places made the thought of pizza a bit meh. So, while some of the family ate pizza, the rest of us waited and happened upon a place with mouth-watering, authentic Mexican food. I have never had salsa like I had at Villa Mexico Cafe. It was a beautiful blend of flavors. Momma King fed us and saw to everything like we were her children. So, I guess my tip is that you don’t have to eat in Little Italy. There are so many good places to eat in Boston! (I’m also a fan of B.Good now. Fresh avocado slices on a juicy, bunless burger? Yes. Just yes.)

Visit the Boston Tea Party Ship & Museum I knew the Tea Party was going to be crowded and highly commercialized. It was the most crowded place we chose to go on our trip, and it was such a highlight! If my obsession with tea has been insufficiently expressed to my dear reader, let me just inform you that Abigail’s Tea Room lets one buy the cup to taste five different teas that were popular during that time period. It’s lovely.

My tips for the Tea Party Attraction

  • Save the tea party for last. The museum presentation circles round to what happened at Lexington. My three kids, as they watched the ending film, were able to piece together the events and solidify the purpose of what went on in Boston and Lexington, and how that changed the future of our country. Another teary-eyed moment followed. So, my evil plan as a homeschool mom succeeded! Muwahahaha.

There’s a possibility that this is our last family trip. This was our last senior trip. My babies are growing up. As they embark on other academic journeys and interests, I will no longer get to be their educational guide. I’m so glad I spent these years of my life teaching them and being to them

A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,

A word that shall echo forevermore!

Paul Revere’s Ride

Under Construction

When I first walked into our house, I told Realm, “This is doable. We can work with this.” Those probably aren’t the words most people say when deciding to buy a home. The words were full of meaning, though. They meant more about our marriage than they did about the house. Realm is a craftsman at heart. He’s always loved to design and create. He looks at a potential project and says, “I bet I could build that.” In the first years, I responded, “I bet you could, but please don’t.” But things change, and really nervous, perfectionist people—who can’t stand for a project to sit in a corner for years and years waiting to be finished—can change, too. Okay, I still hate the projects unfinished and sitting in the corners, but I have more confidence now that they will get finished. Or, maybe, I’m more confident that I won’t die of insanity if they aren’t completed. (Probably that one.) So, we took on a big, hundred-year-old project that happens to be my house. It feels old. It’s just a baby when compared to many aged structures, but it feels old to me.

Part of my house was a small store built in the 1910s. It was moved onto the property and added onto in the 80s. There is one room I really love because it gives me the impression of walking onto the lower deck of an old ship. A dark, wooden beam crosses the ceiling, and a window takes up the back wall of the irregular-shaped room. We call it the study now, but one day it will become the captain’s quarters.

Sometimes I think we haven’t gotten very far with our house project. Realm, with the help of his dad, added a bedroom and bathroom in the garage. With the help of friends, he and Magne installed a French drain and pump to stop the foundation from moving and the floor beams from sagging. This past spring, we embarked on a family project of pulling up the uneven kitchen floor and adding sturdier sub-flooring. I got to pick out the new flooring for that!

One wall of my kitchen is covered in a large, dry-erase board with item after item of future things to work on. In a way, it’s a constant reminder of who I am. Over the years—especially through this time as a home educator—my life has been under construction. I have learned to embrace the spirit of improving and fixing and growing when I wanted to be established and completed. I’ve had to swallow my pride a million times and accept that I make mistakes all the time, no matter how right I think I’ve got things. I’ve also had to accept the blame for actions I didn’t do or even cause. I’ve been misunderstood regardless of how I want to be understood. That’s part of life. There are many road markers that remind me my journey isn’t over. This project—my life—isn’t over. With all of my shortcomings and my fears, my Creator keeps reminding me, “This is doable. We can work with this.”

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