Saturday, January 31, 2009

Grace in Small Things TEN

1. The need to tap things when your nails are long

2. Back rubs

3. A husband who cleans

4. Good sermons

5. The smell of an indoor pool

Friday, January 30, 2009

Grace in Small Things Numero Nueve

This story was all over the place yesterday. Watching this video last night we could not. stop. laughing. My favorite part, "the hacked signs...traditionally warn drivers of construction ahead. Not zombies."

1. Hilarious hackers on the lam

2. A quiet afternoon watching Sleeping Beauty all the way through

3. Scented candles. Especially when meat goes bad + baby has diarrhea

4. Getting something in the mail from a friend I miss. Opening it to find a magazine with a close-up of Elliet on page 25!

5. Baby chihuahuas

For those of you who care, Elliet's in Christian Standard along with a bunch of our friends from our old church. You can even catch her in a promo video (she's about 7 seconds in, shaking her head)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Grace in Small Things 8

1. "Cookie pants" a new name for yesterday's #5 from an episode of Scrubs

2. Having the means to throw a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party. Even if it is the last thing we want to do

3. Knowing it's true when friends call your sister an angel

4. Having a husband around for the 4am feeding

5. Having a husband around

So I've completed the first week of Grace in Small Things posts and I'm really enjoying it. I go through the day looking for things to post. This can only be a positive thing. It got more difficult yesterday and today but GOD. snow days are only good for about a day and a half.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Grace in Small Things 7

1. Snow boots

2. Infant tylenol

3. Dreaming about our next home

4. Dule Hill

5. Elastic waistbands

After My Own Heart

Not much to say today. There's snow falling. On top of ice. On top of snow. The baby has her first fever so she's sleeping with daddy. I just made my first successful omelet! Ham and cheese, yummy. I'm not drinking coffee because I've been promised a nap.
Jetta is a little bitch. If you know what I mean then we've both seen too much PBS kids.
The bloggers are all worked up over circumcision and I'm glad I have all girls.

And I've watched this video three times so far this morning!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Grace in Small Things #6

1. Snow days

2. My crock pot

3. Finally getting around to putting a new belt on the vacuum only to discover that someone already did it

4. Realizing that the garbage can wait another week, it's frozen anyway

5. Watching LOST online so I can pause and rewind

Monday, January 26, 2009

Grace in Small Things #5

1. A whole day with everyone in pajamas

2. Oxy Clean

3. A little girl who wants to take her nap

4. Internet friends

and because I can't get through one of these without a mention of food or drink:
5. Frozen shrimp

Recipe Review

I've been trying lots of new recipes lately. I guess I've grown tired of the usual and it's been a while since I've found something really great. I have a good lasagna (VERY basic), a great pot roast I might share here, chili that isn't as good as it used to be (can't figure out why) and the best meatloaf you'll ever eat. I need something new.
First I tried this chicken recipe. I love one-dish meals and thought this would be a slam dunk. Nope. The potatoes didn't cook all the way but the chicken was already overcooked. The green beans were really sour from the lemon and, worse still, bitter from the rind. So my first new recipe was a letdown.
After this I tried Swistle's muffin recipe. We made two varieties, one mostly banana with a little pumpkin and chocolate chips. The other were pumpkin spice. The kids liked the chocolate chip ones. I thought both varieties were a little too dense for my taste. I'll still make them again because they were easy and the kids loved them.
Then I tried Beer-Braised Pork and Black Bean Soup from the Real Simple website. I wouldn't call it soup but you could if you added some broth. If you don't read the recipe right and so omit the water it won't have any broth at all. I'll probably leave out the water next time as well. I'm eating it for the second day right now and it's really very good. I used a pork loin because it's the only cut I've ever purchased so I know what to expect and I know when I'm getting a good price. When you serve it you'll need sour cream at the very least. Cilantro and lime is optimal. You could also scoop this into corn tortillas (if you make it thick like I did).
Let me know what you think if you try this one!

This recipe was tested in a 6-quart slow cooker. Because different models cook at different rates, the cooking time below is presented as a range. Check for doneness at the low end of the range (but not before, as the escaped heat will significantly slow the cooking). If the food is not done, cover and cook to the end of the suggested time range. If using a slow-cooker smaller than 6 quarts, the cooking time may take an additional hour or more, and results may vary.

2 12-ounce bottles of beer (preferably lager)
1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound dried black beans, rinsed
1 1/2 pounds boneless pork butt (pork shoulder)
Kosher salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup store-bought refrigerated fresh salsa
1/4 cup fresh cilantro

In the bowl of a slow cooker, combine the beer, 3 cups water, the chilies, adobo sauce, cumin, onion, beans, pork, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Set the slow cooker to high and cook, covered, until the beans are tender and the pork pulls apart easily, 4 to 5 1/2 hours. Using a fork, separate the pork into large pieces. Divide among individual bowls and top with the sour cream, salsa, and cilantro.

If You Don't Have a Slow Cooker: Heat oven to 300° F. Follow the recipe above using a Dutch oven or large casserole. Bake, covered, until the pork pulls apart easily, 4 hours.

Yield: Makes 6 servings


CALORIES 609(37% from fat); FAT 25g (sat 10g); CHOLESTEROL 94mg; CARBOHYDRATE 55g; SODIUM 599mg; PROTEIN 36g; FIBER 12g; SUGAR 5g

5 by 5

There's this meme going around facebook. If you're tagged you HAVE TO do a list. Or maybe it's just a suggestion. This is the 25 random things I posted on FaceBook after being tagged by Jennifer and Christie

1. I used to LOVE raw green peppers but ever since I had kids I've not been able to eat them without getting nauseated
2. I am a closet romantic (it's hard to even write that!)
3. One summer when I was a kid I watched Stand By Me every day
4. In elementary school I regularly cheated on tests. I was home schooled
5. My sister still owes me Lee press-on nails for eating her fried liver
6. I just went back and deleted the periods after each statement because I am super anal about weird things
7. I kissed a frog when I was little. but not that little
8. I fell down the steps of the Capitol building in D.C.
9. I often wish I could read my life like a choose your own adventure book
10. I think God called me to work with orphans in Romania
11. Tupac's Still I Rise is one of the best albums ever
12. I want to but I just can't trust the police
13. I do have great respect for them
14. I've been fired three times
15. One of my favorite jobs was at a BP. It's one of the places I was fired from
16. If I've been in your house, there's a good chance I've looked through your medicine cabinet
17. I'm still holding out hope that there will be a safe cigarette one day (PLEASE GOD)
18. Turning 20 was harder than turning 30. I blame Neil Young
19. I enjoyed catching and playing with crickets when I was very little but was TERRIFIED of grasshoppers as an older child
20. I prefer the forest over the beach
21. I think that if I didn't have kids I might enjoy cooking
22. I told my sister in law that hers was the least tacky wedding I'd ever seen. In the receiving line. She still loves me.
23. I really wanted to be Natty Gann
24. I still get my oldest daughter mixed up with my youngest sister
25. I feel really smart when I recognize an actor after several years (or even just a few years. hello, Xander, you look so different on Criminal Minds!)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Grace in Small Things - 4 of 365

1. Killian's Irish Red

2. Kids who are at the right age to rat out their grandparents (say, when they get lost and have to tell the grown-ups-they-don't-know what grandpa's name is so they can call him)

3. A nice buzz

4. Exploring new neighborhoods to find where we belong

5. Vacuuming

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Grace in Small Things - 3

1. The Bucket Boys - like a drum line without the silly uniforms

2. Feta on pizza

3. Dreaming up future tattoos

4. Fighting a headache with a mocha

5. Finding out you love a show that's in its third season (entire weekends spent with DVDs of said show!)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Grace in Small Things - 2

1. Bacon with breakfast and lunch

2. Friday icees

3. A clean kitchen

4. Memes

5. Caffeine

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Grace in Small Things - Part the First

1. Raspberry mochas

2. Starbucks inside Krogers for raspberry mochas WHILE YOU SHOP!

3. A baby that laughs at you when you are yelling at the older kids

4. Kindergarten sight words

5. Well-behaved dogs

Grace in Small Things
is a project started by Schmutzie. It only took me (carry the one...) 60 days to commit. Join in. It's good for you.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Giving Up The Milk

Ziva's not nursing anymore.
My milk all but disappeared when my gallbladder started acting up. A natural pain response I guess. I continued nursing and pumping. Then I had surgery and had to do the old pumping and dumping. My milk never really came back in after all that. I think the biggest factor was that Ziva got used to eating from a bottle which doesn't require as much work on her part.

Elliet nursed for a full year. Kenai, however, struggled with her latch. Combined with my surgery two weeks post partum and we only trudged along for about six weeks. Once the decision was made to stop nursing, I felt nothing but relief. This time is different. For some reason this time is harder. I feel sad, like crying real tears sad. It took me a while but I figured it out. (Yeah, not the sharpest nail...)
This is the last time. This is it. No more babies to nurse. If I could keep going I probably would but Jt's done. I feel like I'm barely getting by with three, I don't know what makes me think I could handle more. It may just be that it's the end that makes me sad. Someone on another blog said there will always be a last baby. I guess Ziva is mine.

At least this way I can cry in my beer!

Maybe it's the fart jokes

blog readability test

Movie Reviews

Thanks to Popehat for the link. And while I'm at it, thanks for getting me hooked on Spin the Black Circle (it's not just a Pearl Jam song!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Teaching FAIL

This year I've been feeling pressure to make Elliet more aware of social issues. We talked a lot about the election. Both girls know who Barack Obama is and love pointing him out when they see him on tv or in the paper. We talked about poverty and hunger around Thanksgiving because of the food drives at school and church.
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. day. This has been the hardest conversation we've had yet and I'm afraid it served no other purpose but to point out that we look different than some of our friends.

We have lighter skin and some of our friends have darker skin. Do you know what I'm talking about? Who do we know that has darker skin?
Jayden! Isabelle!
Right, like that.
Umm, no.
Anyway, we're all the same inside.
We're all people, human beings. Our friends may look different than us but we are the same, right?
Well, Flipper...
Whoa, whoa, whoa, Flipper doesn't count. Flipper is different because she's Flipper, not because she's black.


I think I saved it and we talked about slavery and Dr. King. Time will tell.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Official Apology

I did the 30 Day Shred. And now I must make this my public apology to Joelle. I'm sorry Joelle. I totally judged you. I watched you on tv and I thought you were totally wussing out. I judged your performance based on what I remembered of exercise. But it's uh... been a while. I was on swim team for several years and I remember how it felt to keep pushing when my body said I was done. I loved that feeling. That feeling is not the same as what you were doing on the tv. I realize that now.

It's not fun to push yourself when your raspberry mocha keeps making it's way back up into your mouth.

I'm going to alternate workouts. 30 Day works on a circuit so you are mixing strength and cardio (it's a great workout). But those big muscles on the front part of my legs? They won't let me walk down stairs. Or sit down. So I think they need a day between floggings Shreds. If we join the Y I'll just stick to cardio on the days I'm there but if not I'm...well, I'm looking into Richard Simmons DVDs. He's just so excited. He's passionate about fitness, and fitness for every person. In fact, I'm thinking maybe I'll get his workout for seniors. It might be more on my level.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Take a Break

Wednesdays suck.
Take a break and get your Obamicon from Paste magazine. Here's one of mine.

(link found at Friday Playdate)

Yes, Really

It's time. I've finally crossed the threshold from "skinny person carrying extra weight" to "fat person." I no longer feel like my skinny self dressed up in a fat suit. I feel like a fat person. I don't know what it was that got me here, I weigh the same as I did a year ago. It may be all the huffing and puffing I do just getting the kids in the car. It may be the way my throat feels all closey and my snoring is waking ME up. Maybe it's the plantar fasciitis (that shit HURTS!) Maybe it's the diabetes scare and all the needles involved with this last pregnancy.
I have made half-(and even three-quarter)hearted attempts at weight loss before. But see, I LOOOOVE to self-sabotage. You know, just in case I was going to fail anyway.
So there are a few little things I'm doing:
Keeping healthier foods around
Jt and the kids don't need doritoes any more than I do. I love fish and I love vegetables but I HATE cooking. That is, I hate cooking with two kids underfoot and another who won't take her naps. I'm finding new recipes which has been fun and I'm trying to do more cooking ahead and prep work on the weekends. We made the big white flour switch a couple years ago. We only eat brown rice (except when I need basmati) and whole wheat pasta. For the pasta I like Bella Terra which I've found at local Biggs stores.
Drinking more water (and less other stuff)
Last year I swore off bottled water. I bought a PUR pitcher and (BPA-free) water bottles for the family. The bottles took some experimenting. I first bought Sigg bottles but I can't stand the feel of the metal. Jt liked his so I just switched me and the kids to Nalgene. They were great but mine broke (to be fair, it was dropped. A lot). So I've been drinking out of cups *gasp* and buying the occasional case of water. And feeling really crappy about all that plastic. I ordered a new bottle, this time a Camelbak (without the bite valve). I really did drink a lot more water when I had my Nalgene so I hope having a special bottle again will help.
Focusing on my crazy what I'm feeling
As much as I hate to admit it, I'm thinking about something Oprah talked about during her Best Life series. It was something about how when you want to eat (out of stress etc) you need to think about what you are really hungry for, what's missing. Someone else told me recently that she experiences anxiety as hunger and that made so much sense to me. So in the afternoon when Ziva won't sleep, and the other two are all, "moooommmmyyy, mooommmmmmyyyyyy, MOOOOMMMMMYYYY!!!" and I sit down with their Halloween Christmas candy, I ask myself if there is something else I need. Could this "hunger" be satiated with a quick shower? Calling a girlfriend? Getting those dishes out of the way? Locking the bathroom door and flipping through Real Simple for a few minutes? (NOT a reference to How I Met Your Mother! "Why do you need to read a magazine while a magazine?")
This is the hardest one for me, as evidenced by the microwave burrito sitting in front of me right this very minute. This was my problem as a smoker as well. There was a certain time of day when I would sit down and smoke a whole pack in one sitting. Every day.
Here's the thing. I really enjoy exercise. Once I get started. I think that's probably the case with most of us. I like when things start to get uncomfortable and I have to really push myself to keep going. What I hate is all the putting on the sturdy bra, finding the gym shoes, getting all sweaty, making sure I have time for a shower before I have to be anywhere... But I'm feeling motivated and I'm excited to try out the 30 Day Shred that all the bloggers are doing.
I'll have to start tomorrow. My arms are sore from pumping up the fitness ball.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Year-end Clearance

Survey from All and Sundry

I recommend this one even if you don't publish it. I feel good about last year but motivated to do better this year.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? give myself injections

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don't do resolutions. Not for any legitimate reason, I just don't like 'em.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Annette, Emily O. and Susan

4. Did anyone close to you die? Not really, Jedd's grandma passed away right before Thanksgiving.

5. What countries did you visit? Hahahahahahahahaha...ha

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? Patience, self discipline

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? February 20th was Kenai's surgery. I actually thought..."Am I wrong? Was her surgery in 2007?" It seems like a lifetime ago. Ziva arrived on September 17th.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? choosing the right kindergarten

9. What was your biggest failure? multiple miserable failings every day. did not read to the kids much or pray with them every night

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Gall stones and the surgery to remove them

11. What was the best thing you bought? Jt got me this Macbook and I loooove it

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? volunteers from the Vineyard who stepped up to help at Crossroads

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? John McCain. Sorry folks, I just thought he sold out and I felt sorry for him

14. Where did most of your money go? House, debt, medical, food

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Ric and Brian playing with Over the Rhine, having another baby

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? I'm Yours by Jason Mraz and Disturbia by Rihanna because we hear those two songs every single day just taking Elliet to school (okay, and we like them!) Oh, and the song from Martha Speaks

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? happier not facing surgery for Kenai
b) thinner or fatter? maybe fifteen pounds lighter
c) richer or poorer? richer

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? just laughing and playing with the girls

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? eating

20. How did you spend Christmas? a couple hours at home just us, then Dayton with my family, then back home with Jt's parents

21. Did you fall in love in 2008? Super-intense love with Ziva, she rocks

22. What was your favorite TV program? we watched all 7 seasons of Buffy which I had never seen before, I also liked Weeds and Saving Grace

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? I can't think of anyone

24. What was the best book you read? Twilight was the most fun, I also liked The Memory Keeper's Daughter and The Lovely Bones

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? Liam Finn thanks to Dooce

26. What did you want and get? new computer

27. What did you want and not get? new couch

28. What was your favorite film of this year? really do not have one...the only thing we saw in the theater was Indiana Jones

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? turned 31, got a pedicure at the pregnancy spa and I think Jedd got me Breaking Dawn.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? losing weight

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? Sweats can now be worn outside the house. Yep, moving backwards I guess.

32. What kept you sane? pregnancy hormones believe it or not

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? fancy? Angelina Jolie and the guy from The Mentalist. He's pretty

34. What political issue stirred you the most? Had it not been for the presidential election, it would have been gay rights issues

35. Who did you miss? At times I missed my sister and her kid, the Lesters and Jt's family (esp. sister-in-laws)

36. Who was the best new person you met? Ziva and the women at Mother Talkers

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008. God will get me through it

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. I was born to laugh/I'm gonna learn to laugh/through my tears