Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Wednesday

6 Years

As of today, we have officially lived in Austin for 6 years.  That June of 2005 was something else.  We married, honeymooned, moved, and started new jobs within one month.  And survived.  Here we are still calling ATX home.

I found myself in culinary school.  We found some amazing friends. We've hiked.  We've eaten with delight, seen some great shows,  danced, laughed, cried, fought, hugged, and forgiven.  We found the dog of our dreams, had ourselves some babies, remodeled every room in our house, ran some races, and learned more about each other.  Here's to another 6 years (or more!), Austin.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's Just a Piece of Glass

I've been reading a lot lately about the minds and character of girls.  It has been insightful, to say the least, since I am raising two really wonderful little ones of my own.  I adore them and think they are beautiful and want to teach them healthy self-image.  I want them to understand that in Christ alone are they fulfilled.  I want them to be able to discern lies and wickedness when they see it.  I want to teach them so much and while processing all this, I discover the dirt that's in my own heart.  How do I raise daughters in this world and protect them from all the crap?  I don't know the answer to that, but a glimpse of hope is that since my little girl watches every move I make, I know that I am able to influence her world.  "Because of that, I will resist ever speaking negatively about myself, especially in front of her.  I will be a size 12 or 8 or 4 proudly and confidently, proving that it's sexier than hell.  I will not tug at my swimsuit and will walk tall in the body God gave me.  I will easily change my clothes in front of their dad, proud of my stretch marks that gave us a family, of the breasts that nourished his babies.  I will eat dessert and raise my glass and laugh my way to deeper smile lines.  I will do my best to praise my girls for their mind, heart, and motives, as much as I praise them for their beauty."  I pray for God's help to help my daughters overcome all the struggles that lie ahead in a world that thinks you're only as good as you look.  After all, the mirror that we're all obsessed's just a piece of glass.


File This Under "If I Were Single"

Wrap burlap around some picture frames, hang them on a wall, and display your pretty things.  I would have never come up with rocks on a platter to show off finger jewelry.  All I wear are my engagement and wedding bands anyway.  But I love these ideas!  I can totally picture the wrapped frames in a single lady's home.  Not so sure my husband would be a fan of it though.

How do you organize your jewelry?  I've cleaned out recently, so I have much fewer pieces than I used to own, but I hang my necklaces on some belt hooks in the closet.  On Chris's first business trip to Singapore he brought me back a jewelry box which is one of the most thoughtful and best gifts he's ever given me.  I keep earrings in it along with some bracelets, ponytail holders, bobby pins, my high school class ring, and other costume jewelry.  What's your storage solution?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Currently Snacking On...

I love the Just Tomatoes company.  They package freeze-dried fruits and vegetables.  NOTHING ADDED.  And by nothing, they mean nothing.  The concentrated flavor and crunch are so yummy and the nutritional value is equivalent to just the fruit or vegetable, so if you are counting calories (who does that anyway?), it's easy math.  I've also tried the Just Strawberries, which are great.

Food-Related Thoughts

One week down of no sweets!  If you know me, you know this is quite the victory.

Here are a few food-related thoughts from this week:

* nonfat Greek yogurt + unsweetened applesauce + chopped pecans = almost as good as ice cream!
* I've had a caprese salad everyday for the past 4 days and I don't plan on stopping any time soon.  Ah, summer time.
* I'm really missing out on having a grill this summer.  Ours died and we are saving up for another, but it will probably not be until the end of this year.  So I've brought out the grill pan, which is hardly a substitute, but at least I can pretend.
*I'm trying out Costco to find a few quick go-to meals to have during the week.  I plan 2 ambitious meals a week now (quite the change, but that's what kids to do you, I guess) and fill in with a few other easy menus.  I'll let you know if I discover anything good.  This week I bought their felafel and naan but will still be making my own tzaziki and chopping red onion, tomatoes, olives and greens.  This is a pretty good compromise and I'm hoping the felafel tastes okay.
* Made a loaf of this bread yesterday.  It's a little more dense than I'd hoped, but it's super fast to make and is satisfying our bread needs for the week.  Talk about on the cheap.  I'm going to make another loaf today using bread flour, butter instead of oil, and molasses instead of honey.
* Adding a mint leaf or a slice of lime or cucumber to water makes me feel fancy.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Those Fingers

Monday, June 20, 2011

Favorite Top 5 Food Blogs

Yesterday I mentioned that I follow 37 food blogs.  From the comments, (Imaginary, that is.  I like to make believe that my readers communicate to me every now and then on here...ahem.) I read that several of you were interested in knowing what some of those blogs are.  Thus my post for today:  my favorite top five food blogs that I follow.

Eat, Live, Run - Jenna is a Christian (like me) and an alum of Le Cordon Bleu (like me), she enjoys running, and she just turned 26.  Okay, so I'm a year older, but other than that we're pretty much the same person.

Smitten Kitchen - I love, love, love that this lady has conquered the challenge of cooking out of a small home kitchen, like myself.  She's got one counter space and an oven.  We also have kids the same age.  And I have to mention her mad photography skills.  Eye candy.

Joy the Baker - Joy's also a Christian and likes to drink the Bourbon.  Can I be your friend, Joy?  I love her quirky sense of humor and her wittiness.  I've just recently started following her podcast.

Bitchin' Camero - She uses whole grains, lots of vegetables, and confesses to hitting up 3+ markets a day.  That was me in my pre-kid life, so I totally get it.

A Cozy Kitchen - This blog is the collaborated effort of two self-taught gals.  They post often, which I like because I'm kind of a stalker.

So check 'em out and let me know what you think.  Or else I'll imaginate our conversation.  :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

2 Days Down

It's been 2 whole days of no sweets and I'll be honest, I'm feeling the pain.  I've heard it said that it takes 2 weeks to rid your system of craving sugar but I'm hoping it's less than that.  One of Chris's Father's Day gifts was a 3 pound bag of gummy bears, so that's not much help in the temptation department.  I've found myself grabbing handfuls of dried cranberries or almonds throughout the day to satisfy my snack attack.  It also doesn't help that I follow 37 food blogs that post almost daily.  And this certainly doesn't help either.  When you want to detox from your sugar intake, what's your strategy?  Cold turkey or do you somehow wean yourself?  I'm finding drinking lots of water helps, too.  And chewing gum.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Currently Snacking On...

In an effort to lose this last bit of baby weight (ha!), I made chipper sandwiches today.  Leftover chocolate chip cookies that I didn't want to eat right away, so I softened some vanilla bean ice cream and put a few scoopfuls inside and sandwiched them together.  Now they are individually frozen to eat another day.....right??

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

There's 5 gallons of boob milk in my freezer and it needs a home.

I know this makes me a complete weirdo, and some of you might altogether stop following my blog after this, but I am excited that I'm officially a milk donor!  Maybe I'll never donate an organ, but at least I can donate this excess milk supply that I've got.  The best part is that it goes to benefit fragile and premature babies in Austin--that is something I can definitely get behind.  I also have a friend who is adopting and awaiting her baby.  It would give me so much joy to be able to help provide some milk for that precious one, too.  I figure if I've got enough to share, I might as well.  I remember hearing on the news that breastfeeding Red Cross volunteers were serving orphans in Haiti by nursing them after the earthquake.  Oh my gosh, I could totally do that.  To look into the eyes of sweet little babies who need nourishment and to be able to provide that for them?  Absolutely!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Moby Wrap Fun

Vera cracked me up today.  She is such a little observer and often times I don't even notice until she imitates something she's seen me do.  I borrowed a Moby Wrap and often wear it around the house with Lydia inside.  I love her snuggled up to me and it's pretty easy to clean, cook, and get things done with her in it.  Vera was playing with it this afternoon and I had the brilliant idea to stick her 22 lbs. inside.  What a little monkey she is.  She looks so dang big and I love the scowl on her face.
After wanting out, I soon realized that she really wanted to wear it herself carrying her baby.  Of course!  So I wind the fabric around her and tuck it in to fit her.  She LOVES having baby in the wrap and thinks it's so neat to look like mommy.
It amazes me how natural it is for this little girl to be so motherly and nurturing.  Chris really scored buying her her first baby doll.  She's obsessed and baby has to be swaddled all the time with the pacifier in her mouth.
She brings me so much joy. 

Currently Snacking On...

I haven't been able to get enough of these lately.  I eat them for breakfast, lunch, and snack time.  They are also great for a sweet fix when you're trying to curb your sugar intake in the evenings.  I'm a huge fan of Greek yogurt and usually just add honey or agave nectar, but I love the convenience of the fruit being included, too.  What are you snacking on lately?

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Baking With A Toddler

In culinary school, I learned the French term "mise en place," which roughly translated simply means "everything in it's place."  Prepping all ingredients before you start is setting everything in it's place.  When baking, this just means having each item measured and portioned in their own little bowls.  I've learned that this is essential when baking with a toddler.
I like doing it this way because I don't have to worry about following a recipe.  For a simple drop cookie recipe, which we were making here, I know that the wet and dry ingredients are combined separately before added together.  Having everything portioned ahead of time makes it easy for a little person to help.  You just have them dump, stir, and taste.