Sunday, July 20, 2014

A FUN NIGHT WITH FRIENDS

We spent Saturday evening with Michael, Sachi, and their boys. It was a fun evening of archery, a trampoline, swinging, climbing, sliding, playing with sprinklers, shooting Nerf guns, getting pedicures and spa treatments, chatting, laughing, and eating a bunch of good food.

Oh, and getting presents.

A long time ago I gave away some fabric on Facebook. It was a bunch of random corduroy that Granny had given me years earlier, fabric I kept because I thought I'd eventually do something creative with it. Then one day I remembered that I don't get creative with fabric and decided to pass it on to someone who does. Sachi claimed it, then I forgot about it.

Until last night.

Check out what she made.  Here is a purse she made for herself, which made three random solids and a crazy print turn into something super cute (which says a lot for this non-purse girl).



And here is a big library (or whatever I want to use it for) bag she made for me.



The solid corduroys are colors I wouldn't have chosen myself and the paisley one is really fun, but I never do prints. Or at least I don't wear them. Now, however, I have a useful bag that reminds me of both my grandma and my friend. I love it!

This is the second bag a friend has surprised me with that is made from fabrics I'd never have chosen, but that I absolutely love. I think my friends are better at getting me out of my proverbial ruts than I am. I love how we're all wired differently and I'm thankful for the people in my life who are creative in artistic ways. They impress me!

Anyway, enough about handmade bags.

The guys shot arrows.


One daughter of a tomboy mom got some post-(very minor) injury pampering from a daughter-less mom who likes to do girly things.


These two struck a pose.


The moms shot arrows.


We made the kids pose for a picture and got one with all six kids looking at the camera and smiling on the first try. Miraculous!


We tried a fun shot of the adults, but Tim's the only one who came out clear ... and he looks sorta crazy. It was fun to take anyway.


Then we took a more mature, subdued picture of the adults. One that I didn't realize was photobombed until this very moment. Ha!


I love this family and hanging out with them was a perfect way to end the day! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

MENU: 7/17/14 - 7/23/14

We only tried one new recipe last week, but it was good.

sun-dried tomato turkey pasta salad - This is another version of pasta and that sun-dried tomato turkey we were given, but this time it was a cold pasta salad. The little Ws all loved it.

BREAKFASTS
* doughnuts (we have these at church, though we always have some dry roasted almondsfruit, and/or cottage cheese at home or on the road first)
* oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon, milk, peanut butter, maple almond butter, raisins, dried cranberries, fruit, huh-koe-pee milk, and/or energy mix as optional toppings/yogurt, fruit, & spinach smoothies x3
* egg, potato (I often bake an oven rack's worth once a week and pop them in the fridge for breakfasts,other times I dice them right before cooking), & spinach or kale scramble x2
* maple cluster granola as cold cereal or over yogurt

DINNERS
* leftovers
tacos (seasoned meat and crockpot beans from the freezer) 
* spicy pesto chicken/rice/spicy Asian zuke slaw
* coconut chicken (crockpot)/rice/squash
* rice, kale, & eggs
* dinner with friends
* fruit and/or veggies for a potluck

SNACKS & DESSERTS
* produce 
* nuts - pistachios & dry roasted almonds
* popcorn (kernels from the Winco bulk department & a West Bend Stir Crazy to pop them in)
* zuke cookies


(This post contains affiliate links.)

7/17/14 - THANKFUL THURSDAY

I'm thankful that we haven't had one late or missed bill in two years of unemployment and underemployment.

What's one thing that you're thankful for?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

7/15/14 - TEN ON TUESDAY

Clean towels - We have white towels that get grubby pretty quickly from little hands that didn't get washed thoroughly and I recently found a way to get back to super white. We wash laundry in cold water and neither bleach nor Oxi was getting them totally white. Now I toss in a cup of vinegar and a cup of baking soda with the detergent and they come out white as snow. I'm not sure if it's more of a bleach alternative or a stain remover, as I haven't tried it on any non-white laundry, but I'm happy with the way it's working on our towels!

Dad & Debra - These two came up to celebrate the big boys' birthdays last month and we enjoyed having them here. I'm pretty sure God wants them to move near us, but they're in denial. Or something. It couldn't possibly be that they prefer living where they're at. Nope, not possible.


Father's Day - I know I posted a picture of Tim and the little Ws on Father's Day, but you didn't see how many pictures it took to get that one. It was a lot. We started with one in tears over something ridiculous and ended with one hamming it up so much that they were never looking at the camera. It was hysterical! I present Evolution of a Father's Day Picture.

Abortion signs - Some person or organization put up anti-abortion signs along the freeway in our neck of the woods. Some other person or organization cut all the text out of them and/or wrote comments over the top. I am confident that both groups have good intentions and truly believe they're doing the right thing, but I'm pretty sure that few, if any, people are going to determine their beliefs about abortion because of a poster a stranger displayed on the freeway or because another stranger destroyed the posters. I'm all for standing up for what you believe is right, but neither of those approaches seems like it would be particularly effective. I could be wrong, though. Have you ever changed your views on an issue, not necessarily abortion, because of a poster or someone's response to a poster?

Last birthday - My 38th birthday was last month. That's the last birthday my mom had. I'm not emotional about it or anything. In fact, my neurotic junk that's related to her death stopped once I passed her diagnosis age. I find that's how most things related to it go - the anticipation of a milestone is often harder than the milestone itself. Anyway, I'm fine, but it is a little strange to wonder what it would be like to know this was my last year of life. Perspective.

Garden flop - We had a huge (well, at least for a residential lot) garden when we lived in Beaverton and I've missed it. Our current lot is smaller and doesn't have such a big sunny spot, but I planted a small garden this year. Twice. Things either didn't grow or got eaten by critters shortly after sprouting. So frustrating! We do have some tomatoes, thanks to a friend who had three starters she didn't need and some volunteers from the compost that I transplanted, one zuke that survived, some pumpkins from a friend's starters, three wimpy kales, three wimpy basils ... and that's it. I'd planted tons of cukes, zukes, basil, kale, spinach, lettuce, beets, and green beans ... but they flopped. I don't know what we'll do next year, but I really miss having a nice garden. Maybe I'll just make my own starts.  Meanwhile, we've been given some goodies from friends' gardens and that's been a treat!

Hedbanz - Some friends recently gave our family Hedbanz. We've had fun playing, but it quickly became clear that the game can't be played with Teebs in the room. In case you're unfamiliar with the game, you stick a card in a band around your head. Everyone can see each other's cards, but no one can see their own. The object of the game is to guess what card you have.  Like this.


Unfortunately Teebs thinks it's great to answer everyone's questions by identifying what's pictured on their cards. Stinker.

Humility - It's good to remember that no matter how powerful, knowledgeable, experienced, or influential that we are, the world wouldn't stop revolving if we were to drop dead.

Sometimes, when you're feeling important,
Sometimes, when your ego's in bloom,
Sometimes, when you take it for granted,
You're the best qualified in the room,
Sometimes, when you feel that your going
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow this simple instruction,
And see how it humbles your soul.
Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it, up to the wrist,
Pull it out, and the hole that's remaining,
Is a measure of how you'll be missed.
You may splash all you please when you enter,
You can stir up the water galore,
But stop and you'll find in a minute,
That it looks quite the same as before.
The moral in this quaint example
Is do the best that you can,
Be proud of yourself but remember
There is no indispensable man.

~ Anonymous, quoted in Finish Strong: Living the Values That Take You the Distance, written by Richard G. Capen, Jr.

On the roof - Devon had to get on the roof to clean off some things that were up there. Dream fulfilled.



My thoughts - Your difficult circumstances can explain your feelings, but they don't justify your bad behavior.


(This post contains affiliate links.)


Sunday, July 13, 2014

THE POST WITHOUT A TITLE

I thought about titling this post "NINE WEEKS", but then you'd all have thought I was announcing a fifth pregnancy.  

I thought about titling this post "FRAUD", but then you'd all have thought we were the victim of a crime.

I thought about titling this post "PARTNERS IN CRIME", but then you'd all have thought I was a criminal.

I thought about titling this post "SHOCKING NEWS", but then you'd all have thought we'd decided to become eggplant farmers.

I thought about titling this post "HOORAY!", but then you'd all have thought Tim had signed a contract for the upcoming school year. 

None of those things would have been true.

I'll tell you what is true, though. 

NINE WEEKS ago I made a spontaneous decision.

I chose to commit FRAUD, to deceive most of my family into believing I was doing something that I wasn't actually doing.

I included Devon in my plan and we became PARTNERS IN CRIME.

You may want to sit down to hear our SHOCKING NEWS.

But I'm confident you'll say HOORAY! when you hear what we did.

Ready?

Are you sure?

Ok.  I'll give you some hints through pictures we took tonight.

First clue.


We put on shoes.

Any idea what we did?

Second clue.


We used a stopwatch.

Figure it out yet?

Third clue.


We worked up a sweat.

Got it?

If not, then I'll tell you.

We completed C25K. That's Couch-to-5K, in case you've never heard of it. It's a program that takes you from being sedentary (hence the couch part of the name) to running three miles or thirty minutes in 9 weeks.

I told the fam that Devon and I were going for a walk one night, then sat him down on the curb and told him my plan. Neither of us were runners. Both of us would benefit from aerobic exercise. I wanted to spend more time with him, as he was still in public school when we started. He loves being sneaky and I didn't want anyone to know we were doing the program until we'd completed it. So, in heat and rain, mornings and evenings, and in various neighborhoods in our town, we did it.

Each workout starts with a five minute walk and by the end of the program you're running a solid thirty minutes after that walk. We were so incredibly pathetic at the beginning! We could hardly run our 60 second intervals, which included 90 second breaks after each one, without feeling like we were going to go into cardiac arrest and have our legs fall off. For the last week, though, we've easily run for thirty minutes straight. Devon is running about 2.50 miles and I'm running about 3.00, as I run a little bit faster and will sometimes go ahead of him for a while, then loop back and rerun a section of the course with him, then run ahead again and repeat the process. 

Devon has been a champ, reminding me to slow down sometimes, particularly in the beginning when I'd think I was a female Prefontaine and start picking up speed early in the run. He's powered through on some hot runs, kept going on a couple runs when he was tired, grumpy, and would have rather been doing anything else, politely told me when he didn't want to talk, chatted with me about all sorts of stuff on most of our runs, and helped me find as many sprinklers to run through as we possibly could.

We set three goals to keep ourselves going. At the end of the first and second three week periods Devon was rewarded with the candy of his choice. Skittles and Starburst, respectively. The reward for completing the entire program is going to be for both of us - a Cold Stone date where, thanks to gift cards, we will each order as much ice cream as we want.  

We showed the pictures in this post to the other Ws as soon as we walked in the door tonight and confessed that we've been deceiving them for the last two months. They were totally surprised and impressed, especially Tim and Silas, who are both naturally athletic and can randomly decide to go run a couple miles when they haven't exercised in months, yet know that Devon and I aren't wired like that. Such a fun surprise!

I think the best part of the whole thing was a couple of weeks ago when I overheard Tim say something to Devs about how they should run together, even though the only way Devon's gone with him and Silas in the past is if he got to ride his bike while they ran. Without missing a beat, Devon said, "I hate running!"  I was in the other room and just chuckled, giving him a sneaky wink when I walked by a minute later. The fam had no clue that Mr. I Hate Running had been running for almost two months. Ha!

Anyway, we're going to keep running, but we'll make it be about distance, rather than time, from here on out. I'm going to come up with a few different routes that I know are three miles, then we'll just run them in whatever amount of time it takes us.

And that's that.

One person who hates running and has tried unsuccessfully to do it a few times in the past ... and one person who hates running and has deliberately avoided it in the past .. have faithfully run three times a week ... for nine weeks ... and aren't going to stop.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

MENU: 7/10/14 - 7/16/14

I had a couple dessert and snack recipes that I wanted to try last week, but it was just too hot to spend time baking. We did try a couple new things, though.

* pasta with sun-dried tomato turkey & veggies - Someone gave us sun-dried tomato seasoned turkey, so I threw together some warm pasta, sauteed veggies, and turkey for dinner one night. It turned out pretty good!

* roasted mushrooms with garlic, thyme, and balsamic vinegar - I don't think I've met a roasted veggie I don't like (and, yes, I realize mushrooms aren't actually vegetables ... but whatever) and these were a yummy addition to our collection of roasting recipes.

* Maria Lo Pinto's pizza dough - This is a recipe my mom had written out, but I don't know if Maria was someone she knew personally or not. Whoever she was, she made a good pizza dough, our second homemade crust recipe. We used it for pesto chicken pizza last week.

I've been trying to eat from the cupboards and freezer as much as possible the last few weeks in an attempt to use up our stockpile and spend less at the store, so here's what we'll be starting and ending our days with for the next week. 

BREAKFASTS
* doughnuts (we have these at church, though we always have some dry roasted almondsfruit, and/or cottage cheese at home or on the road first)
* oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon, milk, peanut butter, maple almond butter, raisins, dried cranberries, fruit, huh-koe-pee milk, and/or energy mix as optional toppings/yogurt, fruit, & spinach smoothies x3
* egg, potato (I bake an oven rack's worth once a week and pop them in the fridge for breakfasts), & spinach scramble x2
easy cranberry granola as cold cereal or over yogurt

DINNERS
* leftovers
tacos (seasoned meat and crockpot beans from the freezer) 
tuna lettuce wraps (in the form of a salad)
* tortellini salad with pecans, cranberries, and feta
* chicken salad sandwiches/carrots
* Cuban black beans & coconut rice/cuke & tomato slices

SNACKS & DESSERTS
* produce & hummus
* nuts - pistachios & dry roasted almonds
* popcorn (kernels from the Winco bulk department & a West Bend Stir Crazy to pop them in)
* vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce


(This post contains affiliate links.)

7/10/14 THANKFUL THURSDAY

I'm thankful that Tim left at 6:00 this morning for a full-time summer job!!!! I'm thankful that it pays more than minimum wage, which is what a lot of summer jobs pay.  I'm thankful it will cause us to not only meet our financial goal for summer income, but to exceed it. I'm thankful that the extra money can be put aside for holidays, inservices, furloughs, snow days, and all other days that sub jobs aren't available, just in case Tim doesn't land a full-time job in the fall. I'm thankful for the friend who helped connect us to this job. I'm thankful that someone covered the two meals Tim ended up working through, as he hadn't known he'd be working for 12 hours when he left the house in the morning.

What's something that you're thankful for?