Thursday, April 29, 2010

Is Competition Healthy?

As I have stated before, I am competitive. I was raised that way.  It is part of my personality. It's my Dad in me. 

On Saturday I am running a 5K with 2 of my friends.  At first we started out saying that we were just going to do this for fun.  That lasted about 5 minutes in my head.  If I'm going to run a 5K, I'm going to run a 5K, not jog, not walk, not talk. 

So what started out as a healthy fun thing to do has turned into a major competition in my head.  My friends are planning on doing the fun talk and walk and run thing.  I'm planning on running.  I have set a goal in my head and I'm not sure if I can do it or not.  I had a great run last week and thought that my goal was completely reasonable.  This week I've had a really bad run and an average run.  Neither gives me the confidence to say that I will meet my goals.

So here I sit on Thursday contemplating and picturing my race in my head.  I have another whole day to think about it, picture it, run it in my head.  Right now I go from doing well in my head to doing horrible.  Why does it really matter?  Why am I putting myself through this? What I really need to do is let it go and try to just do my best on Saturday. 

Any advice?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

When the Weekend is Over

I love my weekends.  Every week I get a 3 day weekend.  It's wonderful.  And then Monday comes and I dread it.  It's not that I don't like my job because I do.  I love it.  It's made for me and it helps me use the skills and talents that God blessed me with.  It's that I have to leave my little girl.

This past weekend was especially fun.  We drove up to DC to visit my oldest friend and her new husband.  We had such a great time.  We saw monuments, we ate, we drank, we laughed, we talked, we napped, we watched a movie, we were awake at 2:30 listening to Ainsley scream.  It was fun.  Well, not that last part but everything else was.

And then we got home and the crazy began. The fridge was empty.  The laundry had piled up.  The home business had 7 orders to pack.  The garden needed to be attended to.  Dinner needed to be made.  Dishes were dirty.  You get it.  It was nuts. 

Last night while I was making this dinner and thinking about all the things that I needed to be doing, I had a little girl who was over tired and grabbing on to my leg.  I got to a stopping point and took 10 minutes to sit on a chair with her.  She put her head on my chest and I sang her a song.  If you dont' know, I'm a horrible singer.  But it didn't matter.  I sang her a song about our weekend.  I made it all up and we rocked and cuddled.  And it was sweet.  And it gave me what I needed to get to my next block of time with my loves and that's worth celebrating.

And today I'm linking up with my friend Emily over at Chatting at the Sky. She celebrates the small things every Tuesday and today I felt like celebrating with her.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Monday, April 26, 2010

Love of Food

I have talked about food on here before, but mostly in terms of trying not to eat it.  I have never talked about our lifestyle in regards to food or my love of baking and cooking.  I did do one recent post with a couple of recipes but that doesn't scratch the surface of this area of my life. 

I love to bake and I love to cook.  It's not that I want to do it all the time, but when I get a new recipe it's like a dollar burning a whole in my pocket. This is a trait that my mother instilled in me since I was a little girl.  I hope to pass it on to Ainsley as well. 

Although I learned a lot of what I know from my mother, I have taken that to a different place.  All my baking skills are still pretty much what I learned from her, but when it comes to cooking, my life has taken a different path.  13 years ago I became a vegetarian.  That seems like a life time ago.  My reasons at the time were to win over this awesome guy and let him know that I was serious about a relationship with him. 

Now my reasons are totally different.  When I look back over my life, I have always loved vegetables, not all of them, but a lot of them.  At this point in my life, I can look back and say that my life is much happier living without the consumption of animals.  I am in no way an animal activist.  There are things in my life that have a definite right and a definite wrong.  This is not one of them.  One of the reasons I like being a vegetarian is because it forces me to be creative.  It forces me to think beyond chicken, steak, and fish. 

I do get in ruts.  I have been in one lately.  Over the past few weeks, I have made a deal with myself.  I am going to try a new recipe every week.  I think it's too much to try a new one everyday.  One a week is enough.  The rules are (since you know I love rules) that the ingredients must be fresh and the vegetables not always the same old same old.  I'll post some of the recipes of the good ones on here.

Here's this week's recipe taken from  I loved it because it seemed like a bunch of really good fresh ingredients.  Lots of green and healthy goodness, plus we are growing Brussel Sprouts in the garden and I needed to find a recipe for them.

Brussel Spout and Cabbage Pasta
1/2 lb Brussel Sprouts, trimmed and quartered
2 Leeks (white and pale green parts)
3/4 lb Cabbage cored and chopped
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Tbsp Butter
4 cloves Garlic
2/3 cup Dry white wine
4 cups water
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp thyme
3/4 lb pasta
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Cook leeks and cabbage in 2 tbsp oil and 2 tbsp butter with salt and pepper in a large pot over medium heat until soft (5 minutes).  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the wine and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated (2-3 minutes).  Add water, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp thyme, and remaining oil and butter.  Simmer covered until the cabbage is tender and the liquid is reduced by half (about 15 minutes).  Stir in the Brussel Sprouts, simmer, cover and cook until tender (about 10 minutes)

Cook the pasta in another pot and save 2 cups of the water when you drain it. 

Put the pasta in with the vegetables and the reserved 2 cups of water.  Simmer for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and toss with the parsley and remaining thyme.  Serve with lemon wedge.

Happy cooking!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Win

I love to win.  I need to win. 

You could say that I'm competitive.  Well, today I won at something that I didn't want to win.  I've won the Worst Mother of the Year Award.

Here's the story.  Ainsley has a cold.  She's been coughing a bit but not much.  It's really not that bad.  So last night we put her to bed and she was doing ok.  Then when we were going to bed, we went in and checked on her.  Again fine.  Once we got in bed, she started to cough and cough and cough. 

I decided from my bed that she was fine and that I didn't want to listen to the coughing over the baby monitor.  So I turned it off.  I could still hear her coughing from her room so I figured all would be ok.

Fast forward to this morning.  I went in to get her up and there was my sweet girl, lying down in a pile of puke.  Apparently during that coughing fit she had coughed so hard she puked.  And then she laid down in it and fell asleep.  IN HER OWN PUKE! 

We quickly threw her in the tub and removed the vomit from her hair and got her as clean as you can in 2 minutes.  We are on a schedule in the morning and this was going to throw it off.  I got her dressed and brushed her hair.  It still smelled like puke.  So instead of putting her back in the tub, I sprayed her hair with my gel spray and sent her to the nanny. 

Just call her slick

And so the award truly belongs to me.  I will put it on my desk at work where I am sitting to remind me that my sick child is with her nanny after having had a horrible night with no mommy in sight. 

Oh and it's my nephew's birthday today and I am just now thinking I should buy him a present and send it to him.  But this is no surprise because I'm a week late with every one of my 6 nieces and nephews birthdays.  Guess I win the Worst Aunt of the Year Award too.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Slightly Inspired

As you know, I had my kitchen redone this year.  I love it.  BUT, I have been using it to cook the same meals I always have.  You would think that a new kitchen would inspire new recipes.  It should have but it didn't.  3 Nights in a row last week we had some variety of pasta, brocolli, cauliflower, and carrots.

Then I found this blog. Now I'm inspried. Kendra loves her kitchen and loves to cook.

So this week I have made 2 new meals.  Here they are.

Chickpea Vegetable Soup

1 package sliced mushrooms  (I'm into pre-sliced....makes it easier)
1 Red Onion diced
1 Red Bell Pepper - diced
1 Cup Frozen Corn
1 bunch of Fresh baby spinach (I used a bag of prewashed...again easier)
2 cans tomato sauce
2 cans chickpeas
6 cups water
2 bouillion cubes
Garlic - as much as you can take
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Basil or a bunch of fresh if you have it
1 pinch Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste
Parmesean Cheese
Crusty Bread

Start by sauting the mushrooms in the butter until they are mostly cooked.  Add the onions and peppers and cook until the onions are soft.  Add in everything else.  Simmer covered for 30 minutes.  Serve with Parmesean Cheese sprinkled on top and a slice of crusty bread. 

Easy right?  And it was so hearty and yummy.  Plus it yields A TON so there are plenty of leftovers for another day.  And it freezes well for an added bonus.

White Bean Pizza

1 Package Pizza Dough
1 Can White Canellini Beans (drained)
1 small Can diced tomatoes or fresh if you can find them
Couple slices of Red onion
Fresh Basil
Salt and Pepper
1 Clove Garlic - pressed

Spread out the pizza dough in a baking pan.  In a bowl, mash the white beans.  Add the salt and pepper and the garlic.  Spread that on the pizza dough.  Place the drained tomatoes on top of that sauce. Top with the onion slices and fresh basil.  Bake according to the pizza crust directions.  Mine was 20 minutes at 450.

This recipe isn't new but it's one I haven't used in a really long time. 

I hope you are inspired.  Let me know if you have any fun recipes I should try.  And remember, we are vegetarians!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Is it Really About Me

I have been upset for years.  Years.  Our church has a Women's ministry board and I have never been asked to be on it.  And I have been upset about it for years.  I have vented to my husband.  I have vented to my friends.  Why don't they value me as a possible contributor?  Don't they see my awesome skills?  Am I just not cool enough to be on their stupid board?  Bitter much?

Then on Saturday night, I was reading my friend Joy's blog.  She wrote about the new team of women who are forming for the purpose of Women's Ministry at our new church plant.  Again, upset.  Why wouldn't Joy ask me to be involved?  What's wrong with me?  I thought Joy was my friend.

And then I had a vague recollection of an announcement in the bulletin that if anyone was insterested they should volunteer.

And there in that recollection, it hit me smack in the face.  Ministry isn't about people seeking me out.  It's not about my feelings.  It's not about people thinking I would be good at something.  It's about serving.  Not being served.  It's about sharing Jesus with others. 

Hello Sin.  Thanks for revealing your ugly head in my life again.  Now excuse me while I go repent.

So I have spoken with Joy and I'm really excited to be serving on the new team.  I can't wait to use the gifts that God has given me to minister to others.  And I can't tell you how freeing it's been to realize this sin and move on from it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Moving On

Today I spent some time helping Ryan's grandmother pack up her apartment.  We are moving her to the next level of care, assisted living.  I volunteered to help pack some stuff because it's one of those random skills that I have in life.  I pretty much can pack anything, be it a car, a box, a house.  You name it and I can pack it.

It's hard to put a lifetime of stuff in a few boxes. It's hard to fit all the love and memories of our earthly treasures into a one bedroom apartment.  While this is the right thing to do for her, it's hard to watch as she sees all of her stuff being packed and put away. 

This got me to thinking. What will I have at 90?  What will Ainsley be packing up of mine?  What will she be saying "This is so 2010"?  What will I value and not want to part from? 

But then I thought, this next phase of Grandma's life brings her one step closer to heaven.  We don't know when that will happen, but more than likely it will be sooner rather than later.  But what we do know is that she will be spending eternity with Our Creator.  And He will have lots of stuff for her.  He will have the beautiful flowers that she loves.  He will have Norman Rockwell paintings.  He will have tons of frog trinkets.  He will have everything that she loves.

And that's what I want too.  A God who knows me and is able to give me exactly my perfect eternity. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What Are the Odds?

Ryan and I have purchased a potty seat for Ainsley. She's only 21 months old but we want her to get used to the idea of the potty. We put her on it right before baths. She sits, wipes, and says good bye to the "pee pees". She never has gone pee pee before but she says good bye to the pretend pee pee.

She recently started doing this thing where she is pushing and grunting. It's really cute. We decided to take a video tonight. She was just finishing up the routine, and Ryan was just getting ready to get her off the potty when she really went. She actually peed.

I know it was a fluke but it was really exciting for these first time parents. Just another sign that our little girl is growing up!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

From the Mouth of a Toddler

I love Easter.  I love everything about it.  This year my parents came to visit.  They arrived on Thursday night and left on Monday morning.  It was a wonderful visit. 

We enjoyed some of the traditions of Easter and made some new ones.  We made our hot cross buns on Friday, and since we were at my house they didn't have raisins in them.  Perfect.  We spent Friday night at Ryan's dad's house with Ryan's siblings.  We went to the zoo on Saturday and enjoyed the animals. 

On Sunday we had Ryan's mom and siblings over for Easter brunch.  It was a new tradition that we will do again.  In the past we have always gone out to brunch and fighting that crowd is really ridiculous.  Ainsley had her first Easter Egg hunt in the front yard.  With each egg she picked up she said..."Its an Egg" (or something like that in 20 month old speak).

But my favorite moment of the whole weekend came on Sunday.  How fitting.  We have been bringing Ainsley into the worship service for the singing and then bringing her to the nursery for the sermon.  She loves it.  As we were leaving church and my mind was going towards all I had to do to get brunch on the table in an hour, Ainsley looked up at me and said "I wanna sing". 

It melted my heart.  You see, I love the songs on Easter.  I love coming to church on Easter Sunday knowing He is Alive!  And nothing says He is Alive more to me than singing Christ the Lord is Risen Today!  And now my daughter loves it too.  And that's a tradition I pray will continue for her whole life.

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