Saturday, March 31, 2012

Weighing Out

We weighed out today... out of the weight loss challenge that we signed up for in January.  So - in three months, Jason and I lost more than the weight of Leilee!  A total of just over 39 pounds.  Jason took up the slack, losing 25.  I lost 14.  We were so stoked.  Neither of us thought that we would be able to lose that much weight in 3 months... but we did!  And then we splurged like maniacs today.  Eggs, cheese, chocolate pastries, coffee with cream and honey, ice cream, steak, mashed potatoes with feta.... we feel so gross and delicious today.  And already so excited and relieved to run and eat healthier tomorrow!

My current joke is that I am one stomach flu away from my goal weight.  I even wrote that on my "story" that they asked us to write for the challenge.  And then I wrote, in parentheses, 'just kidding, please do not print!'  It is such a good feeling to be able to button pants that I haven't been able to get into in 5 years (and such a good feeling to be justified in keeping them around for that long!).  I am also almost comfortably in my college/pre-Connor pants!  I had honestly almost given up hope.

We didn't do anything fancy to lose weight.  We just watched calories and got back into running.  I also did my best to not eat after 8 p.m.  I am a bad late-night snacker... so unless I have "earned" it (through working out... not having a bad day), I don't get it.  I know the Daniel Fast helped a lot too, even though I did my best to not let my desire to lose weight deter me from the real reason that we were fasting.

So - I am still high on motivation and the great number that popped up after the fancy digital scale beeped this morning.  Tomorrow is a 7 mile sloooooooow run.  Tonight I signed up for two half marathons and a 10k between April and September. I have another definite half and 10k left to register for in the next few weeks.  I am keeping the weight off this time, even if I have to out-run it!

What a great way to end the month of March!  It has been a great month, in all sorts of ways.  As far as blogging, I have slacked a lot on actually writing long, meaningful blog posts.  But I have kept up.  31/31.  All on time, except for the day I blanked out... Tomorrow I get to decide about another NaBloPoMo... maybe I'll think about it on my slow run.

In April, in addition to the things I already don't keep up on (like laundry, dishes, bills, etc) we have chickens hatching, piles (and piles) of branches and stumps to chip, a garden to get ready, plants to start, a chicken coop to build, a half marathon to run (and keep training for), spring break, and a far away baby shower for a best friend.  These are all great and exciting things... that I am mostly totally looking forward too.  The decision is whether or not I should add blogging daily to that list again.  The overachiever in me wants to.  The procrastinator in me is screaming... "noooooo, think about it tomorrowwwww, but noooooooooo!"  So tomorrow it is.  Tomorrow I will weight my options.  Quality versus quantity.  Consistent versus haphazard.  Lighter load versus heavier load.

All while I beam about being a load lighter myself...

Friday, March 30, 2012

It Is So AWESOME When I Clean!

I love reading old blog posts that I forgot I wrote!  My life is just a funny rerun.  The same things... the same things...  January 15, 2006... March 30, 2012... the same.  Haha!

"I hate to clean. If you know me or my family, you know that we don't like to clean and that there is a HORRIBLE gene that runs in our DNA. I am fighting it with every fiber of my being, but sometimes it remains firmly embedded in my mind not to throw the shoebox away, because you never know when I might need it.... Anyway, the second part of my horrible genetic curse is that I loathe cleaning. I like things clean, I just don't like to do it; pair that with never having a moment that is really my own, and you can understand how hard it is for me to keep my house looking respectable. Oh, and our house, by the way, is the size of one of those shoeboxes I can't seem to part with, so one thing out of place and the whole place is cluttered. So, those are all my excuses for my family's messiness.
The point I was trying to make is that I do clean, but I don't clean in a normal way. There are those people who know how to maintain cleanliness, and they do it very well. They dirty a dish and they wash it, dry it and put it away. Or they put clothes away while they are still warm! Crazy, I know.
I am not one of those people, and I can't blame it on my children because my husband recalls coming to visit me in Texas and having to wash my dishes or accompany me to the laundromat while I washed 10 loads of clothes. I save my cleaning up, dreading it the whole time. But, the kind of cleaning that I do that makes it awesome is when I get FED UP, like I cannot stand anything any more, so I move furniture, clean underneath it, rearrange it, reorganize everything and work like a single-minded madman until it is done. And I am so HAPPY when it is done. I don't know where the urge comes from, but once I get it, I can't stop. It is kind of like the nesting urge when you're pregnant, but it's a lot easier to move furniture not (pregnant).
Today, I got the bug. I was slowly getting fed up with laundry. It is so hard to catch up with two kids and a husband, especially when I couldn't catch up when I lived alone! So I had about 10 loads worth folded and hidden in laundry baskets and on top of the dryer and in the closet, ready and waiting to be put away. And in order to do that, I had to rearrange the bedroom furniture, vacuum everything, reorganize my shoes and both closets and clean off the nightstand and dressers. Our room is the cleanest and neatest and prettiest it has ever been! And, the clothes I have been loathing for weeks are ALL put away, an amazing feat for anyone. After I was all done, I realized, that this urge too, runs in my family. We wait and wait to clean until we are so fed up, we can't handle it anymore and we just go temporarily insane until the entire room is sparkling. I just realized that my mom did that throughout my childhood years! It is also her fault that I am afraid of spiders.
So, one room in my house is spotless. It is so awesome."

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ahh, Seattle

Thank you Lord and Subaru for the hill-holder clutch.  You ease my mind and lower my stress level.  I was overjoyed to remember, while sitting at a red light on one of the steepest hills in the world, that my wonderful little yuppie car has a hill-holder clutch.... whew!  No really. I shouted "Thank you Lord!".  I was so relieved.  Every time I sit on a hill in Seattle I picture my manual transmission just letting my car roll backwards into other cars and the chaos that would ensue.  If I knew blood pressure language, I would even tell you how many points mine went down when I realized that, but I don't. 
Tonight I am writing from a fancy hotel room in Seattle.  I really love Seattle... to visit anyway.  Even though my day was frantic, and I left a whole four hours later than I wanted to today... I had a great drive.  Lots of time to think and sing.  No traffic, no ferry wait.  My delay in leaving work on time today screwed up my chance to get a hold of friends that live here to make impromptu dinner plans... but oh well.  Here's what I did instead.

We'll start with the ferry... I think the people in the cars around mine might have thought I was on some sort of upper because I didn't stop moving the entire trip.  Instead of sitting and playing Word Search or Angry Birds on my phone the whole ferry ride, I cleaned out my car.  I climbed in back and re-organized my frantically packed bags so that I wouldn't look like a messy bag lady getting out of the car at the hotel.  I picked up all the wrappers and papers and random things.  I cleaned out part of my purse and wiped down the dash.  My car looks great.  I think I looked a little, um... high.
After I followed the directions the little lady in my phone gave me, I parked my car at the valet (yeehaw!  this country girl got valet money on her travel!) and grabbed all four of my bags/purses (I am a really bad packer).  This hotel really is super fancy, and I tried to act as unawkward as possible around all the well-dress people with shiny wheely suitcases. 

After I checked in, I changed into my running clothes.  I promised my mom that I would not run the streets of Seattle after dark.  Even though I teased her first that I was going to.  Instead I found the fitness center.  The workout room is two stories.  I'm not kidding.  The exact opposite of the gym in D.C.  I could hardly believe it.  And it was almost totally empty the whole time I ran.  I got to run for 42ish minutes and cool down for 8.  Great run.  I ran a 10:45 mile for most of it on a random incline.  I listened to my Dire Straits and Latin Workout radio stations on Pandora. I got to spy in office windows and see who was still at work at 9:00 at night (poor, unfortunate souls).  I also learned that an 8.5 minute mile is the exact pace at which I "almost" pee my pants.  Thankfully that was right at the end... my last portion of my last lap... or my run would have ended a lot faster.  And thankfully I was wearing black pants.  Ahem. So embarrassing and probably so TMI for all you folks.

After I refilled my water bottle and got some ice, I had a wonderful, long shower.  I pore-stripped my nose and contemplated purchasing $4 banana slices from room service.  Just contemplated.  My calves don't hurt that bad.  Then I just relaxed... and typed.  Tonight, I get to sleep peacefully.  Alone.  All night long.  Ahhh.

Tomorrow is a LOOOOOOOONG day of meetings, and then I get to chug back home, across the ferry, over the bridge, and through the woods.  Back where I run on a treadmill in a three car garage that is packed with everything but cars.  Back where I sleep interruptedly and with at least two other people in the bed.  Back where bananas are $.39/lb and I have to slice them myself.  Back where I will forget about my hill holder clutch because I never have to use it...  but tomorrow.  Tomorrow I will soak in some more Seattle and a lot of really good coffee. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Junk

New "dressers" for the boys.  Hoping this makes laundry easier for them.  Right now they share a dresser that Jason bought off the side of the road in Texas for me.  It is well worn and not kid friendly!  It is also tired from moving around so much.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Meal Plan Monday

This is our last week on the Daniel Fast.  I am running out of vegetarian options... even though I know we haven't come even close to exhausting what is available!  I guess a better way to say it is, this is another busy week, and I don't have enough time for experimenting!  So, you all might see a few repeats in here. 

Monday - Baked sweet potatoes (I'm cooking them right now in the crock pot), roasted asparagus and brussels sprouts and a yummy wild rice/quinoa mix.

Tuesday - Quinoa cakes, corn and salad.  This is the last of the batch I made a few weeks ago

Wednesday - Dinner at Great Grandma's. We have been doing this for a little over a month.  The kids love to see her, and she loves cooking for us.  I've tried to take turns, and she won't let me.  So she'll cook something great for them.  I think Jason and I will have hummus/veggie wraps and steamed broccoli.

Thursday - Veggie tostadas and stick salad (whole leaves of romaine lettuce with sun-dried tomatoes, olives and Italian dressing drizzled on top). 

Friday - The kids are eating dinner at Grandma's.  Jason has the Men's Conference, so he gets a huge, awesome dinner.  I am driving back from Seattle and will be stopping for squid salad and a sushi roll on my way home.  Yummy!  I will also be drinking coffee.  Lots and lots of coffee...

Saturday - We weigh-in this morning!  I am nervous!  Dinner is Jason's choice.  Something involving meat and bread, I am sure.  Maybe breakfast for dinner.  We will celebrate and cheat a little on our calories tonight.  We have worked hard this last three months!

Sunday - Chowder and sourdough rolls.  More cheating.  It just sounds so good.  I will also include salad or green vegetables to keep it healthy!  I will be doing a "long" (at least 6 miles) run this weekend, so I think I will have earned it.

Has anyone else been meal planning lately? 

I received a thank you from a friend/colleague the other day for giving her some recipes and tips (and kind of a hard time), because she said she hadn't been utilizing her crock pot.  She told me that it has really changed their evening routine for the better, and that her husband is super happy about having dinner ready when they get home.  It made me feel good. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Blank

My mind is entirely blank.  I have been sitting here for almost an hour in front of a blank post, and my mind can not come up with anything to write. 

We have been running all day long.  Leilee stuck a bead in her ear this morning, so we had an unexpected trip to the doctor because we couldn't get it out.  We had shopping to do, and we brought the kids' bikes into town and took a good long ride with them after we had run all our errands.  I had time to run when we got home and then had to clean out the fridge to make room for new food. 

We are so blessed and so busy.

And my mind is just straight empty.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

For Phoenix

Three weeks ago, I read a newspaper article about a family I know.  About a boy that I have visited with and given hugs and yelled at to slow down in the hallways of the church.  About his frustrating condition that I've known about and prayed about for a long time.  I've known about it all, but the article gave me chills. 

I immediately felt like I needed to write about Phoenix and try to help "spread the word".  Teresa gave me permission to dedicate a blog post to Phoenix and to link up to their website.  I wanted to link up to the article too, but it isn't online any more.  Their letter explains it all.

Right now my Missionette's class is working on the Healing badge.  We are learning how, no matter what our sickness is, God wants us to pray for healing and to have faith and hope that we will be healed (James 5:13-14).  We covered some sensitive issues around why people get sick.  Many people argue that God can't be good because He allows innocent people to be sick, to suffer, to die.  Many people think that God uses sickness and pain to punish us for the wrong things we have done.  We talked about those things that people think and about how the Bible tells us differently.  Sickness and death are part of the sinful and dying world we live in.  God only allows things to happen that He can use to bring us closer to Him.  Sometimes we might live our whole lives never seeing God's plan come to fruition, but it is about trusting Him and having faith that He is in charge.  My girls remembered the story of Job and used him as an example of someone who never lost hope, even in the darkest and most painful times of his suffering. 

We also talked about how God has the power to heal in a moment, that no injury, no sickness, no cancer... not even death itself... is too powerful for God.  Sometimes, when modern medicine hits a roadblock and we find out that there are things that no doctor has an answer for, we start to feel helpless.... like maybe God can't help either.  Or we get angry.  'Why?' we ask.

Throughout every line of the article in the newspaper and the letter that Vern and Teresa wrote, I had to continually remind myself... God has a reason for this.  Even in this little boy's suffering, God has a glorious plan for Phoenix.  God is opening doors that have previously remained shut.  He has provided in so many ways.  Vern and Teresa are fully embracing God's promises.  "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and the door will be opened for you."  (Matthew 7:7)

Doctors don't know how to cure his lymphedema, but God does.  Phoenix's parents still aren't sure how they can afford to get him to the specialist at Stanford, but God does.  None of us fully understand or comprehend why any child should have to suffer, but God does... and I guarantee it is breaking His heart as much as it breaks ours.

Yet God also promises us that He can give us what it takes to get through anything.  God provides "...beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified." (Isaiah 61:3).

Phoenix is already such a poetic example of this Scripture.  Out of the ashes of a devastating loss, Vern and Teresa received great news of their unborn child.  Phoenix continues to be a fighter, one whose life is a testament to perseverance and hope, which reminds me of Romans 5:3-5.   

"Not only so, but let us also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."

Please, click on the links to the Save Phoenix Foundation blog and read their letter.  Add Phoenix to your prayers and share his story. 


Strike 1

My greatest NaBloPoMo moment has been realized.  While making my kids' lunches this morning, I realized that I didn't post yesterday.  Nada.  Nothing.  Not even a photo for Wordless Wednesday!  And I never once thought about it.  Not as I was driving home or falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night to check on my sick Leilee girl.  Not once. 

Wow.

Yet, I also know that I probably shouldn't be surprised.  I am normally a forgetful person.  Maybe it should worry me, but it doesn't.  Even though, when I Google "forgetfulness", there are more links about knowing when to be worried and signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's or dementia than anything else.

So, Strike 1.  My first.  Hopefully my only. 

Here's to second chances.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Two Things Tuesday

Two things are keeping me from, yet again, typing a meaningful blog post. 

My adorable, cranky, whiny, two-year old who wants snuggled to sleep and the treadmill.

Tomorrow is another day. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Meal Plan Monday, etc.

Tonight we had veggie hash and Brussels sprouts.
Tuesday I am finally making the coconut curry and rice that I have been talking about.  Since we eat at the church tomorrow night, I chopped everything tonight and have the rest of the fixings in a bag to bring to work tomorrow.  Lunch break chef is my name.
Wednesday will be leftovers.
Thursday is "favorite food" potluck at the church.  I might bring vegetarian chili.
Friday is a 4-H meeting (yes, we have started one more thing) and it is taco night.
Saturday is veggie wraps with hummus.  And either fruit smoothies or fruit salad on the side.
Sunday is veggie fajita/tostadas, beans and corn.

This is the toughest year I have had fasting.  All I want is coffee.  I failed on giving up caffeine entirely, but have only been drinking black tea.  I am thankful we are on the downhill side, with only 11 days to go.  Praying that God will do great things at the men's conference.

I am also trying not to be vain and preoccupied about how giving up sugar and bread and dairy is helping with weight loss for the challenge we signed up for in January. 

So far my scale tells me that I have lost 12 pounds (first thing in the morning anyway). I am almost back into the pants I have been saving forever! That makes me very happy. 

Once I am not quite so sore (tomorrow), I'll be back on the treadmill.  First half of the year is next month!  Yippee! And yikes!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pinewood Derby

What a crazy, busy weekend!  Today was the derby.  This is the first year that Connor hasn't placed.  He was such a good sport about it.  Very proud of them both for their sportsmanship.
And also very tired.  Very, very tired.  And sore.  So, so sore.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Primal

My most recent book from Waterbrook Multnomah is Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity by Mark Batterson.  It has taken me a long time to get through this book.  Mainly because it wasn't what I expected, and the introduction put me off a little bit.  While I can't explain why, I have a negative connotation of the word "primal", and I struggled with that through the introduction. 

Yet, because I agreed to review this book, I have forged on through.  And I am very thankful that I did.  This is a book that really caused me to stand back and think.  Really examine myself and my spiritual walk with God.  Batterson's book has caused me to want to give more, to feel more, to spend more time in silent wonder with God.

He has a knack for explaining the basic precepts of Christianity clearly and then peeling back the layers of religiousity and ritual that we have somehow added to make ourselves "better".  When it's all flayed open, Batterson has brought us back to the heart of the matter.  What we think we are doing well as Christians, may not be what God intended for us to be doing at all. 

Batterson has broken the book into four parts:  The Heart of Christianity, the Soul of Christianity, The Mind of Christianity and The Strength of Christianity, based off of Jesus' commandment in Mark 12:30.  He also includes Discussion Questions at the end.  He uses real world examples and experiences to explain each of his ideas and convictions about what primal Christianity should look like. 

Batterson's book is convicting, inspiring and informative. I recommend this book to anyone.  But especially to those who feel like their faith is failing them or to those who really can't figure out what is so great about Christianity in the first place.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Waterbrook Blogging for Books Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Peanut Butter and Bananas

Growing up, my favorite sandwich in the world (when it came to peanut butter at least), was a peanut butter and brown sugar sandwich.  Crunchy peanut butter made it better. 

My best friend's favorite sandwich was peanut butter, banana, and honey.

"Gross!" I said.

"Gross!" she said. 

We both agreed that we wouldn't know until we tried it. 

So, one day in her kitchen, we made our favorite sandwiches.  She sliced her bananas as I wrinkled up my nose.  I sprinkled brown sugar as she looked nervously at me from the corner of her eye. 

We presented one another with our beloved sandwiches.  We had to try.  To understand one another a little better.  Just one bite...

That's all it took.  And we switched right back.  She finished hers, and I finished mine. 

Right now, I am sitting on the couch eating a frozen banana with peanut butter drizzled on top.  It is amazing.  Who would have thought that over twenty years later, I would be loving peanut butter and banana?  I haven't tried it since that summer day in my friend's kitchen, and I probably still won't eat it on bread.  But right now, fasting and sugar free, this is the closest I can get to dessert.

What's your favorite peanut butter sandwich?  Would you eat it for dessert?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Meal Plan Monday

Today we had Subway because we went in and did our taxes.
Tuesday is coconut curry and rice.
Wednesday is leftovers.
Thursday is BBQ/Picnic Potluck at church.
Friday and Saturday are up in the air. We are running a St Patty's Race and eating out.
Sunday will be something fabulous like quinoa cakes and fresh hummus and salad.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Backwards

I spent a good part of this weekend cleaning backwards.  Every few months or so I clean backwards.  And here is why.  Saturday or Sunday usually have at least a section of the day devoted to cleaning up the aftermath of the week's tornado.  The usual culprits: dishes, laundry, vacuuming, and picking up, picking up, picking up.... overwhelm and exhaust me.  They are insurmountable chores that dirty themselves faster than I clean.  I've read blogs about laundry piles that have the reproductive proficiency of rabbits.  Seen it.  It happens at my house too!

So, overwhelmed and frazzled, I go on strike.  And I turn my back on the dishes.  I waltz from the kitchen.  I sashay away from the living room.  I act as if I don't care about the crumbs in the couch or the pillows strewn across the floor.  I may step lightly away from my usual foes, but they don't see the grimace on my face or the beads of sweat growing on my brow as I walk slower and more carefully down our dark, dank hallway.

This is where cleaning backwards begins... at the end of the hall.  In the rooms that I rarely let anyone see. The master bath and the... (augghhhhhh) master bedroom.  This is where my mess lives.  MY filthy mess.  My piles of laundry and unpacked suitcases.  My dust bunnies and cobweb cities.  I can make the kids straighten their rooms every weekend.  But no one is around to make me straighten mine.

When I clean backwards, I usually start with the bathrooms.  Guest/kids' first, then ours.  The kids' bathroom isn't so bad.  My boys have good aim, and I usually do some kind of clean each week because I want them to have a pleasant and sanitary bathing experience.  I also like to keep friends, so I try to make sure the toilet and sink they will possibly see are cleaner than, say, a gas station bathroom.  So, it's easy to wipe everything down, change the Scentsy, and walk away unscathed.

But our bathroom is a different story.  When I clean the kids' tub, it usually looks the same.  When I clean our tub, the color changes from infested petri dish to an actual shade of white.  The bathroom brightens and invites cherubim to sing.  Cleaning the kids' bathroom takes about 15 minutes.  I scrub in ours for quite a bit longer.  Quite. Longer.

When the bathrooms are clean, I start in on our mess.  I pile ALL the unfolded, unhung, unhappy articles of clothing on our bed.  Then I put away "stuff".  This usually involves lots of trips all around the house, putting things in a better home.  I also usually find things I have lost, forgotten or wished I'd found sooner.  It's fun.  Really.  Vacuuming up yelping dust bunnies, lint, and cobwebs, I begin to breathe lighter.  Like, I am getting somewhere.  Like maybe my bedroom has a chance to be a refuge again.  This is an ongoing hope, by the way.

Then I get a step stool so that I can reach the top of Laundry Mountain.  And that adventure takes a whole morning.  I can assure you.  The cool part about the mountain today, was my new approach to tackling it.  I prayed.  I prayed for my kids when I folded their clothes.  I prayed for Jason as I folded his.  This isn't my own idea.  It was something our speaker shared at the Women's Retreat in February, and it has left a lasting impression on me and how I feel about the laundry.  Am I still behind?  Sure.  Laundry Mountain can attest to that.  But there is something precious in folding my son's pants and praying that God will guide his steps and his path.  I tear up when I smooth the wrinkles in one of my daughters t-shirts and pray that God will help her grow into a confident young woman, knowing how loved she is.  I am slightly digressing, but those prayers were the only reason that the mountain was dismantled and put away today.  In every drawer, on every hanger.  It's a miracle!

My cleaning backwards also got me thinking.  Why don't I do this more often?  Why do I always worry about the parts of the house that "people" see?  Why don't I take more care of my rooms? Those are the rooms that determine how well I rest and get ready for each day.

The answer is easy.  Because I can hide them.  I can shut doors.  I can keep visitors out, and I can make sure that the visible parts of my house are presentable (most of the time).  It's a facade that is easier to keep up than taking care of the innermost parts of my home.

I spent part of the morning reading Fierce Beauty by Kim Meeder.

"The truth is, we all have it backward!
God's definition of beauty is not from the outside in... but the inside out.  His Words says. "You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God" (1Peter 3:4).  Because of this truth, all our efforts to beautify our external facade can never fix or cure an inside ugliness.  If our inside is broken, no amount of exterior renovation will restore it. (pages 32-33)"

Now, I know that cleaning my bathroom and bedroom have nothing to do with making me a more beautiful woman or a more obedient child of God.  But her words resonated with what I was thinking.

Is the pattern of how I keep up my home mimicking the way I treat myself?

Yup.  Sure is.  A lot of the time.  But that's okay.  I'm not sweating it.  I'm asking God to help me deal with it.  One messy room at a time.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rock the Red Pump

I'm excited to support the Rock the Red Pump project this year.  Not only because I am a little bit of a shoe freak, but also because I support any project dedicated to educate more people about topics that we oftentimes keep "hush-hush".  Like HIV/AIDS, for instance.  When I was growing up, we didn't spend a lot of time talking about sex, STDs, or HIV/AIDS.  The only time I heard about HIV or AIDS was from hyped up news programming or what my friends told me after my mom opted me out of the those kinds of educational sessions at school.  I grew up not really understanding what it was all about and being kind of scared about it. 

Yet, even with all of that, I also made some pretty stupid decisions as a teen and young adult that put me at risk of a lot of bad things.  My life operated around the "it won't happen to me" principle.  Only now do I realize how truly lucky I was that nothing tragic did happen.  However, many do not escape unscathed.  The saddest stories are of the innocents.  We must begin to speak up and fight back, louder and harder than ever before.

My hope is that this project, along with others that help, can increase the number of those who are truly educated about HIV/AIDS.  There are so many facets, that I can't begin to touch on them in this post.  What I can say is that education and awareness are key to affecting change. 

Click the links and check it out. Educate yourself now!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Netflixation

I am so excited for the new Netflix design!  The Netflix for Kids option is making this paranoid, overbearing mama super happy.  Tonight we are snuggling and watching a documentary on underwater volcanoes. 

Tomorrow is the day I hope to give you all and good blog about The Red Pump Project!  Are you participating?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I Won

Thank you For the Love of the Run!  I told an embarrassing story and won this!

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Giant Cluster

It's Monday, and my brain is set on auto-meal plan.  But then I realized that I lied about sharing a picture of my nephew's cake.  And I had such a success cooking tonight, I wanted to share all of my messy cooking pictures.  So this is a cluster post.  I can't help it.

To begin, two days late...  Duhn, duhn, duhn, duuuuuuuuhhhh.















The Monster Truck Cake!!

I have pictures for a how-I-made-that-craziness post, but I am not even going to promise or give a timeline on that.  Just be pleasantly surprised.

Next, our meal plan for the week is a bit thrown off, because we have started the Daniel Fast.  Every year, before the Men's Conference at our church, leaders and their wives fast.  I was really ticked off about that the first year, and I didn't go into it as positive and supportive as I should have been.  My coffee withdrawals were almost as bad as withdrawals anyone with a drug or alcohol addiction would have.  I. Was. Siiiiick.  But it got better, and I learned a lot.  And I look forward to this time of year, because I know I need to cut back and focus more on God and less on what I want for a snack.

Today is our first day, and while I am giving myself extra time to cut down on caffeine, we are done with meat, dairy, sugar, and all the other wonderful foods that make life easier.  Back to basics and much healthier eating habits. 

A perfect time for quinoa cakes, sans eggs and cheese...

Now, I mentioned quinoa cakes a while ago, but I never gave a link.  I found the recipe online at HealthyChild.org.  Here are some links to other sites I found just Googling quinoa cakes. 

Handle the Heat -------------Whole Foods Market -----------------Dishing up Delights

The coolest thing about them is that they are almost impossible to mess up.  If you look at the recipes at all the sites, they are all slightly different.  My recipe tonight was even crazier.  When I try something new for the first time, I usually stick to the recipe.  But once it works, I let loose.  I can never make the same thing twice, at least not exactly the same way.

My challenge tonight was making these egg and cheese free.  So instead of egg I used refried beans.  Instead of cheese, I went without cheese (sad face).  And instead of white flour, I used maseca (natural corn flour).

I also added black beans for fun.

Here are a few photos of my cooking mess.




They disappeared so fast after I made them, that I didn't get an after picture.  But check out the after pictures at the links above.  They are prettier anyway. 

Most of the utensils, bowls, and dishes you see have been purchased at a garage sale or thrift store.  My favorite of them all, especially for this potentially time consuming project, is my $5 food processor.  I discovered today (I am so duh) that it chops carrots faster and better than any stupid grater.  (I broke the grating attachment on this one).  But I had never tried just chopping carrots with it. Please don't ask me why I hadn't thought of it before.


I am so excited. In fact, I made a triple or maybe quadruple batch of these suckers, I was so excited.

I make enough for our dinner and lunches the next day, and then I freeze the rest in patty form on cookie sheets.  When they are frozen, I Ziploc them up in portions.  I have enough for two more dinners and four more lunches.  Makes my life so much easier on the dreaded days of unpreparedness.

Okay, lastly, meal planning.

Tuesday:  Veggie burgers on thinwiches (ugh, I dislike thinwiches), fruit and salad.
Wednesday:  Bean soup and salad.
Thursday: Potatoes and carrots in the crock pot.  Veggies (more veggies) on the side.
Friday:  Veggie fajitas on tostada shells.

The weekend is undecided.  Probably leftovers!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sharing Some Love Sunday

Once again, I find myself overwhelming busy, yet committed to blogging everyday and struggling to participate in the positive and uplifting part of the blogging community that is reading other writing and leaving them comments!

So, even though I have two or three new ideas for posts, I am spending today reading the work of others and leaving them a nice thought or two. 

Here is who I have visited today (so far):

Emily

Melaina

Masked Mom

Cathe

Larissa

Naomi

If I get to more, I will add them.  For now, we are late for church.  Yes, I am THAT mom that walks into church late.  With no good excuse.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Scrabble Addict

Playing Scrabble with my sister-in-law instead of blogging tonight.  Priorities.  Addiction.  Call it what you will.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Making a Birthday Cake

Tires for a special boy's cake.  Monster truck running over spiders.  Pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Look Who's Talkin'

Have you ever been around someone who talked too much?  Too fast?  Too detailed? Too private?  Too ___________ (fill in your own experience)?

I have.  And I don't really like it.  Sometimes it's funny for a bit or interesting at first.  But usually, at some point during their one-sided conversation, I start thinking about how it's humanly possible for one person to talk so much or so fast, or about how I wish they would just stop because this is something that I so do not need to know. 

Where is their stop button, or a slow-down option, or their filter, for heaven's sake?!  Why don't they have one?!

It's funny because I have spent most of my life wishing that I was more outgoing.  Too shy to speak up in class or to say hi to someone who could have been my friend.  And I am now amazing myself by how I've grown and been able to function better in a group or speak up when I felt I needed too.  I am shocked that I am able to stand up in front of an adult audience and present, and even more astonished that I look forward to those opportunities. 

But oftentimes, I remain silent.  The times that I should speak up, I don't.  Things I want to say stay left unsaid.  Sometimes I bottle them inside and verbal fizz spews out if I get shaken too hard.  Usually my husband is the one left soaking in spilled sentences and pent-up paragraphs.  I have gotten better about that over the years too, but I know it's still an issue I have to constantly work on avoiding.

Tonight was a night that got me thinking about it again.  Jason and I are attending a marriage class/Bible study at our church.  In my usual form, I stay silent through the whole thing.  I just soak it in and fight back too much expression.  I can joke, but I don't get too emotional or serious.  Never in front of that large of a group. 

Jason, on the other hand, leads the prayer session, speaks up, and shares a lot.  He is the verbal to my nonverbal, the chatter to the box I hide inside.  But he's not any of the types that I named above.  He is just friendly, outgoing, approachable, and sincere.  

He knows the way I am and loves me anyway.  He doesn't pester me about participating more.  And I am happy about that.  But we did talk tonight about how I don't talk to him enough.  I do the same thing to my husband that I do with everyone else. 

One of my greatest fears is, that as a wife, I would nag too much.  That I would become critical or whiny.  It makes me shudder to think of my voice becoming as nails on a chalkboard to the ones I love.  I think of the Proverbs about the nagging wife.  Ugghh.  So, I stay silent.  Even when I should speak.  Even when my husband feels like our relationship is backwards and that he has a wife who acts "more like a man" (to use a huge, but widely recognized, overgeneralization) when it comes to talking and sharing feelings.  He shares way more than I do.  I use my counseling skills and listen.  I occasionally give advice, but I rarely reciprocate.  I told him tonight that I would rather type a million words to strangers about the emotional, blubbering mess that I am than ever share with or cry with anyone in person.  I think he sniggered.

I'm going to work on that this month.  Whether or not, I share more with friends or acquaintances, I am going to share more with my husband.  Whew.  Lets hope my sharing doesn't turn to whining and my speaking up doesn't turn to nagging!!