Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Groomed!


Lucy and Jack had an exciting day at the groomer today. I always think they look a little funny when they first come back, but I'd say that 2 weeks from now they will be the cutest dogs you've ever seen!
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Something New

My life needs some spicing up.  I am a SAHW (stay-at-home-wife).  While it's a long and complicated story, I stopped working last April in the hopes that the stress relief of not having a job would help us get pregnant.  It didn't, but I have enjoyed being home.  I spend a lot of time cooking, planning our weekly menus, reading, working out at the gym and playing with our dogs.  Recently I have started to get the back-to-work itch.  Going back to work for me is complicated and there are two major issues with why it maybe isn't such a good idea (at this time, not for ever). 
Issue #1: We are an Army family and expect to be here in VA for another 15 months, give or take.  Moving so frequently makes it almost impossible to have a career but also hard to find a job.  Well, hard to find a job that I want to do.  I guess I'm a little picky.  I had even entertained the thought of trying to find employment at a local Starbucks or Ann Taylor LOFT store because those are two places that I enjoy and would happily enjoy the employee discounts offered there.  When ever I seriously consider this option, let's call it the "time killer job option" I am confronted with...
Issue #2:  We are currently in the "waiting" phase of adopting our first child.  We attended an orientation meeting at the agency we're working with August 31st of last year, promptly entered our application and began the homestudy process.  Our homestudy was finally approved in the beginning of December and we were placed in the pool of families awaiting a match.  Now, we're waiting.  And waiting some more.  This is what it's like to expect a child with no idea of when you're "due".  We could literally wake up tomorrow and find out that there is a baby waiting for us, or that we have been chosen ("matched") by an expectant woman.  On the other hand, we could end up waiting another 6 months or more.  Because I don't know when we will be placed with a baby I cannot commit to working anyplace for any length of time, even if it is only a "time killing job". 
What's a relatively intelligent woman to do with time on her hands and high speed internet?  The possibilities are endless if only I would step away from the computer.  There is so much that can be done outdoors here in rural Southwest Virginia, if the weather would warm up, that is..  As far as spicing up my life today.  Hmm.  I'm going to start by making some guacamole, I'll serve my darling husband lunch and then I intend to spend at least an hour this afternoon practicing yoga.  Good, old, Vinyasa style yoga.  And maybe once I've completed that, I'll try something totally new and unexpected...like cleaning our carpets or refinishing the old changing table I bought off of Craigslist a few days ago.  Or maybe I'll take a bath and watch some HGTV.  Anything can happen today.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lucy's best friend


This weekend we went down to Abingdon to visit with the Rolls and while we were there Lucy adopted this gator as her own. She was very sad that we couldn't bring it home.
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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dog Yoga

I returned from the gym today energized and ready to jump into my yoga practice.  I rolled out my mat and then went to fill up my glass of water for some post-workout-pre-yoga hydration.  This took approximately 17 seconds.  When I returned, this is what I saw.
 
He is such a helpful puppy.  If only he could have hidden all of the wrinkles on my mat!  I guess I need to take better care with how I store my mat, but it's one of those "basic" ones that serve only as traction, not cushion.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kale Chips

The thing about kale chips is that they are SO tasty I eat them up too quickly.  We can agree that the picture does them no justice, but once you try them you will be singing their praises as well.  I got the recipe from here

It goes like this:
Preheat your oven to 350. Tear the kale leaves from the stems into bite sized pieces.  Wash and dry.  Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet (I don't know why exactly, except that it keeps my cookie sheet clean), spread out the kale and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.  Sprinkle lightly with salt (I use sea salt very sparingly because it would become too overpowering with too much salt).  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  ENJOY. 

It's really that simple.  The other thing I shouldn't have to mention, but will since I made this mistake the first time I made these is that the second you take them out of the oven is not the best time to grab a piece of kale chip to eat because the oil is still very hot.  Oops.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Clean Food FAIL!

Ugh!  I'm so disappointed in myself.  I've been making giant strides towards eating a clean "real" food diet.  We bought a dozen eggs from farm raised hens (direct from the farmer herself!) this weekend at the Farmer's Market this weekend.  They really are better tasting!  But the best part of the direct-from-the-farm-eggs is that I can feel certain that they were ethically farmed.  Concurrently, we are trying to be very budget conscious and I've been planning our weekly menu based on what's on sale.  This week turkey breasts were on sale so I bought 2, which I roasted tonight UNSUCCESSFULLY.  I kept taking it out to check the temperature, the temperature never reached the healthy 170 degrees so we ended up taking it out (after over 3 hours of roasting), my darling husband carved it and stuck his portion in the microwave so kill any remaining bacteria.  I was so disappointed that I had participated in the SAD (Standard American Diet) so I nibbled on one piece and I promptly stuck the remains of the bird in a stock pot and I am attempting to coax some stock from it.  Sigh.  Now I feel guilty that I bought two of them and I am wondering what to do with the 7 pound turkey breast I have in my freezer!  Maybe I can find a shelter that will accept a frozen turkey?  From now on I will only buy animals to eat when I can determine the provenance right down to the farm. 

Monday, February 22, 2010


Homemade Cleaning Solution! This stuff works great and it's free of nasty unpronouncable chemicals, better for the environment and relatively cheap to make. Eco friendly and affordable (well, cheap) are my two deciding factors when buying or making anything. The only issue I would have with this speay is that whatever surface you're cleaning needs to be rinsed afterwards because of the dish soap residue. I wrote the recipe on the side of the bottle so that I could have it handy when I need to make it again. It was dictated to me from my mother who transcribed it from an episode of the Dr. Oz tv show, so it's entirely possible that something got lost in translation! If you can't read it from the picture the recipe goes like this:

1 Tbsp borax (can be found in your grocery store Laundry aisle)
3 Tbsp white vinegar
2 c. water
1 Tbsp Dawn (or some other brand) dishwashing detergent
A few drops of an essential oil of your choosing (I used lemon because I had it and citrus smells like clean to me)

That's it, really! I use it for our lineolium floors, for counter tops and even for the bathrooms.
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Snowiest Winter in....

There sure has been a lot of snow these last few months.  One member of our family loves it more than the rest of us.  Can you guess who that might be?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oatmeal Delight.

I've been on a bit of a health kick recently, learning all I can about "Real Foods".  I put that in quotations because it's such a crazy thing to have to differentiate between food that is natural, nourishing, nutrient rich, literal food and food that is processed "edible food like substances" as Michael Pollan likes to say.  I'm currently reading Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and I'm waiting on his Food Rules and Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions from the library.  I've also been a crazy nutrition/health blog-hopping fool.  Yesterday I stumbled on this recipe from Kath Eats and made it this morning and the verdict is in: AWESOME.  I will now always make oatmeal with a banana whipped in.  It's just naturally sweetening genius.  I didn't have the flax seeds, chia seeds or any of the other fancy things she stirs in, so we added about 1/8 tsp of cinnamon and about 1/4 cup organic plain yogurt.  And speaking of organic plain yogurt, I have as I type this, a crock pot preparing my very own homemade yogurt.  It won't be ready until tonight so I won't get to try it out until tomorrow but I am very hopeful.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Huevos Rancheros

Yesterday was a snowed-in-cuddle-up day and it called for a nice warm breakfast.  When we lived in El Paso we became spoiled with the abundance of authentic, fresh Mexican food.  We ate Mexican food several times a week.  One of our favorite dishes is the breakfast staple, huevos rancheros.  This recipe that I threw together yesterday is not authentic.  But it is quick, simple and quite tasty. 

Here's what you'll need:
Tortillas (we used flour)
Eggs
Shredded cheese (we used Colby)
Refried Beans (we used vegetarian)
Salsa
Sour Cream
Cilantro

You will also need two skillets.  In skillet number one set about frying up two eggs (or three if your husband has spent the morning shoveling the neighbor's driveway and he's hunnry).
In skillet numero dos turn the heat to medium and heat up the tortilla, flipping it once after 30-60 seconds.  Once you've flipped it, spread some shredded cheese and some refried beans.  That will heat while the eggs cook to your desired doneness.  Once your eggs are done, slide them from skillet one onto the tortilla, slide the entire tortilla situation (fist pump!) onto your plate.  Top with salsa, sour cream and cilantro.  Or don't, it's your huevos you can do whatever you want with it. 
This is such a tasty morning treat that takes about 5 minutes to prepare.  My snow shoveling hubby was so happy with breakfast that he did all of the cleaning.  And that, my friends, is a success in my book.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dreaming of July


They're predicting anywhere from a simple dusting to 12" of snow this weekend and even though it's January and I should just accept that there will be snow in Winter, I keep fantasizing about taking a trip to the beach. This picture was taken last July in New York (Jones Beach). I can almost hear the waves...
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Breaking up with sugar. Part 927.

I'm trying it again.  Today is my first sugar-less day (in a few weeks) and already I'm feeling lethargic and craving something sweet.  I always find the first few days without sugar to be the hardest.  At least I don't have one of those hot-poker-to-the-eye sugar withdrawal headaches.  My plan is no white sugar and no corn syrup.  I feel like I should also add that I use no artificial sweeteners (with the exception of a diet soda several times a year).  The whole wheat bread I bake has molasses in it, so I give that a pass.  Fruit also gets a pass from me.  As will the honey I intent to add to the pizza dough I make every Friday night.  Now that I'm outlining this, I guess I'm not exactly sugar free, just sugary-snack free.  And that is a positive step in the right direction.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gratitude

For the last two years I have been lost in a haze of infertility induced self pity.  Actually, it has been honest to goodness depression, but sometimes it's hard for me to distinguish between depression and self pity.  For some reason, about a week ago I was inspired to begin my gratitude journal again and it has been an eye opening experience.  Every night, right before bed, I open my journal and write down 5 things that I am grateful for today.  That has been hard for me.  Even though I am, by all accounts, very blessed, it's been hard to think of 5 different and specific things to feel gratitude for.  Genuine, toe tingling, universe appreciating gratitude used to come to me naturally and often.  I used to fall asleep fantasizing about all the wonderful things in my life and all of the amazing things to come.  During this first week of my new gratitude documenting experiment I have learned that it is a habit of mine to obsess as I fall asleep about everything that is wrong in my life.  Now it is a challenge to not only think of 5 things to be grateful for, but to keep my mind in an appreciative place as I drift off to sleep.  I feel good about keeping the journal, even though I think my darling husband would rather the light went off a little sooner than it actually does.  I have also noticed that in the past week it is becoming easier for me to come up with my 5 things.  My hope is that the renewed focus on being grateful for what I have will snowball into a more positive minded approach to living. Something I've been lacking for the last 26 months.  Give or take.

Here are some things I am grateful for today:
1) My gym membership.(and the fact that I use it).
2) I got a CVS advisory panel survey today and earned 5 ECBs in just about 5 minutes. 
3) Husband came home for lunch and we had a nice time chatting together without tvs or computers distracting us.
4) I have a loaf of whole wheat bread rising on the stove.
and last but certainly not least...
5) White Collar is on tonight.  ;-)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tomato Sauce



Earlier this week I read this post from the smitten kitchen and I've been thinking about it ever since. The sauce is simmering on the stove rightthissecond and it looks divine.