Sunday, January 30, 2011

Napkin Notes

So to complete this week of honing my maternal instincts... the coupon for this week seems perfectly fit (as late in the week as it comes).

I.O.U..... your very own sack lunch packed by 'moi.'

Cute, right? Now some of you might think this one is just too easy. But then I might remind you that I am in no way, shape, or form, a morning person. As in hitting the snooze button 27 times, hair looks like Medusa, and can barely open my eyes until I've had my morning cup o' joe kinda person. (I'm actually currently trying to mend this problem... someday I'll update you on my progress when I see some.)

Needless to say, waking up in time to make a sack lunch is actually somewhat of a challenge to me. But it is a challenge that I gladly welcome... and am even a bit excited about. Mostly because I've recently gotten in the habit of cutting and preparing my food for easy grab n' go access in the fridge immediately when I get home from the grocery store. That, and the fact my mother-in-law recently sent me home a box of nabisco snacks.

So here's to tomorrow's earlier morning, and handwritten notes on napkins (yes, I'm actually gonna go old school elementary lunch style-- I feel it's only right).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pepto and Pedialyte

I have had a very sick husband this week.

Which is very odd, considering my husband is never sick. As in never. Comparatively, he’s normally the king of good health  throwing perfect football spirals outside while I’m stuck inside with a tissue box and a bottle of Benadryl.

But this week, fate was not so kind to him. And while I have been spending my days navigating the normal ebbs and flows of the work/school week… he’s been navigating the path between the couch and the bathroom.

Lovely, I know.

As this week has shown a shift in all things normal and expected… I have found myself learning a few new things about this ill-fated husband of mine that I thought I would share:

::1:: Like any sick 3 yr-old child, He remains attached at the hip to his blanket (what we call “softie”).

::2:: Being sick to his stomach doesn’t seem to affect his usual insatiable desire for Oreos. However, his stomach doesn’t feel the same.

::3:: Just as I expected, he is ridiculously stubborn when it comes to taking medicine and keeping stocked up on fluids if I’m not there to force them down his throat… so much so that he almost got dehydrated (Thank the Lord for Pedialyte).

::4:: And lastly—and the most nauseating might I add—he actually semi-likes the taste of Pepto Bismol. Sick.

Yet, even in all these things… I think I love him even more. Maybe it was spending a very wonderful weekend with our friends and their daughter Aniston, but I found my maternal instincts kicking into overdrive this past week—and it felt really good to be needed in a new and different way. I think that is one of the most beautiful (and sometimes a little gross) things about marriage… the openness… the vulnerability. The fact that you really can’t hide anything and shouldn’t try… because cuddling up on the couch together with your blankie and bottle of pedialyte is far better than going it alone.

Thanks for needing me, this week, sweet husband—even when you’re stubborn and pretend you don’t need the medicine I’m forcing you to take. Thanks for being open and vulnerable and laughing with me even when you feel like you’re about to toss your cookies. And thanks for not throwing up on me. Yeah… definitely that one too.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A little place called...

"What the hell are we doing here, Harry? We gotta get outta this town!"
"Oh yeah, and go where? Where are we gonna go?"
"I'll tell you where. Someplace warm. A place where the beer flows like wine. Where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I'm talking about a little place called... Aspen."




For those of you that do not know the genius that is Dumb & Dumber. Shame on you. Though I guess for this one occasion, I'll give you a pass. (Insert gratitude/walking to the front door, putting shoes on, and driving to your nearest family video) You see, the basic premise of the movie involves two best friends going on a somewhat unfortunate road trip because they need to little break from their normal lives--well, there's a briefcase, too, a guy named Seabass, and a girl named Mary... Swan, Swanny.... Sampsonite! But that's another post altogether.

The purpose of me sharing this little fantastic clip of dialogue is not because that "D&D" is my favorite movie of all time (though it is, by far... no other movie can continue to make me laugh out loud even after I've seen it 1,349,209,402 times). Instead, I share this with you to intro into this week's coupon "blessing," which I happen to be knee deep in right now. 

"I.O.U..... a weekend getaway."

Which brings me to someplace quite cold (what's new?). A place where the milk flows into sippy cups like the Mississippi into the gulf. Where cupcake, mediterranean food, and good friends all meet.

It's a little place I like to call.... Tulsa. 

Sure, it's only a hop, skip, and a jump away from home, but it's the perfect place for us to experience a little bit of rest and rejuvenation before diving head first into the rest of our LAST semester of undergrad. (Praise the Lord!) Staying with some our good friends, Ashley, Jameson, and their sweet daughter Aniston--hence, the sippy cups and milk-- we are in the midst of enjoying a wonderful weekend getaway (we drove in last night). First stops this morning? Watching "Cool Story" a.k.a. Toy Story 3, while lounging in our PJs and eating cinnamon rolls. Then on to "Helen of Troy" which has quite possibly the best Mediterranean food I've had this side of the Atlantic.

More adventures await us... so ta ta for now. I've gotta focus my utmost attention on "Cool Story."

image found at: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_5LHL54PO0vk/TRKm7Uxj8ZI/AAAAAAAAADQ/x_T6c47ma-g/s1600/jeff_daniels1.jpg

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Busy Bees

I am not one who typically breaks promises.

But today, when I look how this past weekend and early week has gotten away from me, I realize that I have yet to update you on our "I.O.U. Blessing" progress, let alone any other part of my crazy busy, and yet attempting to smell the roses life that inspired this little blogging adventure.

Please forgive me.

If my lack of posting was not unfortunate enough, I also have yet to fulfill last week's coupon. Now, many of you may think that this is simply because I have been avoiding embarassing myself with the whole no push-ups thing... but truly, it is nothing of the sort. Instead, it goes a little something like "wah, wah, my life is so busy, whiny whine, my professors love homework and therefore despise me, wah wah wahhhh."

Still not a good enough excuse, I know. But it's the truth.

But doesn't that become our excuse all too often? Business. The life of a busy bee. Buzzing around so quickly that we often find ourselves splat against a little windshield I like to call life. When really we ought to be taking a moment and thanking God for giving us the little wings that keep us going, the ability to create the honey that nourishes us, and the flowers that sustain our sanity.

Which brings me to the whole reason that I started the "I.O.U Blessings" challenge with my husband this year... because I had found that while buzzing between school and work and church and all of life's other busy blessings... I was beginning to lose track of the honey and the flowers. And I love flowers. (someday I'll post on just how great this love is... and how I'm building a career out of it!)

So I'm hitting the refresh button, getting my hiney back in the proverbial hive, and letting God remind me that He whom I serve is far greater, powerful, and more beautiful than anything I'm going to see buzzing my way around on my own.

I'm hoping to post soon about the 1 hour workout, and then will let you know what the other coupon is for this week... it's already picked out and on the schedule! Until then, stop your buzzing and take time to smell the ranunculus (my favorite flower)... or peonies or roses or daisies or whatever other plant analogy your little wings can wrap themselves around. Just watch out for windshields.

image found at: http://pioneer.utah.gov/research/utah_symbols/images/bee_flying_from_pdphoto.jpg

Friday, January 14, 2011

Meet Riley Mae

Spending an evening with family, our puppy, and a few of our favorite things: dinner by the fireplace, a good movie, and dessert-- butterscotch devil's food cake with cool whip and heath bits to be specific. (Delish... Thanks best friend.)

Tomorrow will come another post in the "I.O.U. Blessings" Series. It should turn out to be quite a humorous one (and potentially incredibly embarassing on my part), so check back if you want to join in the  fun.

'Til then, I leave you with a picture of my ADORABLE puppy (and Jake and I's only child), Riley Mae. (She's looking at "Dad" for a treat)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Recipe: Spicy Honey Stir-fry



So I've decided to take today to post another recipe... and what makes it even better is that this one is actually meant to be edible (as opposed to the potentially edible--but not sure I'd try it sugar scrub recipe I posted last week.)

Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures when I made this the other night, but it got the wide-eyed thumbs-up from my husband between mouthfuls... so I figured I'd share it anyways. (I'll try to remember to take pictures from now on so you can see the process and finished product!)

Spicy Honey Stir-fry with Chicken and Brown Rice

a bit of olive oil
4-5 raw chicken breasts, cubed
1-2 bags frozen stir-fry vegetables (I chose a bag with broccoli, carrots, bell pepper, and water chesnuts)
1 bag brown ready-rice
2 Tbs Thai peanut sauce
1 Tbs general tzo Sauce
2 Tbs sriracha sauce
1 Tbs ground ginger
juice of 1/2 a lime
4 Tbs Honey
salt & pepper to taste

(I purchased most of sauces either at the local Asian market or Target)

*Drizzle a little bit of olive oil in the bottom of a stirfry pan and add chicken. Cook about halfway to 3/4 then add bag of stir-fry vegetables.
*Use tongs to stir and toss regularly until chicken is cooked through and veggies have softened.
*Drain excess fat/liquids from stir-fry.
*Cook rice as per bags instructions, then add into pan with chicken & veggies.
*Right before serving, add remaining ingredients & toss well.
*Serve piping hot,  & garnish with a lime wedge or two. (add chopsticks to your table if you have 'em!)

Bon Appetit!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Here's to you, Richard Simmons.


There have been times in my life where I have been a super fit, workout queen. Unfortunately, now is not one of those times.

Sure, I appreciate and value a healthy lifestyle. I even love eating healthy foods (i.e. fresh fruit, veggies, whole grains, etc.) But somewhere between my breakfasts of oatmeal and apples, and my dinners of chicken and whole grain rice stir-fry (made this last night-- to DIE for. Will have to post the recipe later this week), I get stuck in the swirling pit of doom called sweets... I may or may not have an addiction to chocolate chip cookies.

And while I really do enjoy a good workout... It seems that between church, school, work, and attempting to be a good housewife, those workouts with my favorite trainer, Jillian, seem to go by the wayside. Anyone else ever feel this way?!?!

Often, when I explain this frustration, I'll hear a rousing and excited "I have the solution! Just go on a jog in the morning before you go to work..." to which I respond (internally of course), "Really?" Like it's suppose to be that easy. I seriously envy those who can wake up at ungodly hours and subject themselves to the torture of running as if it were fun or something crazy like that. However, I don't think I can join in their masochistic parade.

Yet, apparently, my husband has joined the parade... because this week for our "blessing," he chose the coupon that requires us to spend one hour exercising... together.

Neat.

Now I'm going to embarass myself with the fact (that I try to keep to myself) I am physically incapable of doing a single pushup.

While last week I began with an overall lack of excitement (though I changed my mind in the long run), this week I begin just a little bit scared. But then again, I love a good challenge. So here's to kicking it up a notch, conquering a few weights and maybe a treadmill (I'm extremely uncoordinated when I run... maybe someday if I'm feeling particularly brave I'll post a video to show you all just how ridiculous it is), and kicking my own butt (and my husband's--he has no idea what he has gotten himself into) Jillian-Michaels-style, while rocking out an attitude that is worthy of Richard Simmons.

Wish me luck... I'm gonna need it.

image found at: http://www.tampabay.com/multimedia/archive/00045/tbw_simmons111408_45784c.jpegl

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I wonder what they'll be like...

So I know I have already made a post for today...

...but moments ago a friend of mine posted this video on my facebook and it was just too perfect not to share with you. Because you see, this child is me. Except for that fact that I think her red hair is natural. But really, I would have done the same thing when I was six with Luke chapter 2 (the Christmas story) if there was such a thing as youtube back then. But alas, the only computer software my family owned was Pong, and I was thus forced to showcase my creative talents at our family talent shows. And now I realize just how entertaining I truly was. Except I'm not sure if that was the kind of entertaining I was going for. But hey, as long as people are laughing, I'll take it.

For those of you who wonder (which may be none of you, short of our parents) what Jake and I's kids will be like someday... Here's a very probable picture:


For those of you who are a little scared after watching that... I feel your pain. Please pray for us. :)

The Cold Shoulder

Let me begin this post by saying that I love the cold. It is clean, crisp, an invigorating. And it is waaaaay better than sweating the day away in the heat.

But right now, the cold and me... well, we're in a fight.

And it's really not the cold's fault. But when you leave your apartment key at work and have to sit on your doorstep for 30 minutes while the maintenance guy comes to let you in--and then find out that because you don't have your ID (I keep mine attached to my keys) you are going to have to continue to stay in the cold until they can get someone on the phone to ask you a million and one random questions about yourself to prove who you are... well you start not to care who's fault it is, and begin to care a whole lot more about the fact that your face looks like Rudolph and the rest of your body feels like you've decided to reenact a scene from Vertical Limit.

While my fingers were turning busy turning black from frostbite, I thought a bit about the nature of these sorts of moments. You know, the "I-don't-care-if-you-say-it's-not-your-fault-I'm-still-ticked" moments in life. I feel like we may encounter those way too often. And, whether we are lovers or fighters, yellers or stewers... these moments, and our attitudes in light of them, undoubtedly affect our relationships.

So this week, as I prepare myself for the "blessing" that my husband chose for us, I challenge myself (and any other lovely people who have come upon this blog and are up for it) to be aware of these moments... and kick their sorry behinds Jillian Michaels-style. Why give into something that will only ruin your mood (or maybe even your relationship with a very beloved season)?

I'll share tomorrow more about this week's "blessing." But for now, I'll just give you a hint...


(a great picture when I've been rattling on about attitudes today... ha!)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Recipe: Vanilla-Peppermint Sugar Scrub

There is nothing quite like using random ingredients you have at home to make something that would have cost you boo-cooze of money elsewhere (you can thank my mom for that phrase). The sugar scrub I featured in yesterday's post is just one of those items... super simple to make, smells delicious, and probably even tastes pretty good (though I didn't try it... and am not necessarily recommending it).

To make it, you just need the following:



2-3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 drops of peppermint essential oil

Stir all ingredients in a small bowl and VOILA! You have a sugar scrub. (I used this for a foot scrub, but you could also use it in the shower as a great overall body exfoliant.)

A few other variations you might consider trying... (in place of the vanilla and peppermint)

-adding 1/2 teaspoon of orange juice and the juice of half a lemon or lime... great if you need something to wake you up early in the morning! (especially if you are like me and are NOT a morning person)
-adding 1/2 teaspoon of coconut milk and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. (the perfect 'it's a lazy day and I feel like pampering myself' scrub)
-adding 1 teaspoon each of of honey and some very strongly brewed green tea. (very soothing to your skin and is great for undereye bags)

If anyone else knows any great home remedies... I would love to hear from you! Hope you all enjoy your Sunday day of rest!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Frodo & Footbaths

::my husband is going to kill me for posting this::

My husband has hobbit feet. (even though it's hard to really tell in this picture)




And yet, when I look at them, I don't see snapshots of Frodo Baggins.

I see the feet of a man who would walk a million miles to find me and to fight for me. I see 10 little chubby toes that I'll probably see attached to one (if not all) of my children someday. And above all, I see two feet that I know will always be leading me and our future family... as they themselves follow after God.

Now I must admit, when I had Jake choose the first coupon this week... I was a little disappointed in his selection. Not that I really mind giving him a foot rub. I guess I just wanted to see our first week into the New Year hold something a little more "exciting." Like stripping down naked, lighting your hair on fire, and running across a football field in a stadium full of people (Dodge seriously made a genius move having Michael C. Hall narrate their commercials this year... I still can't get this one out of my head).

Well, maybe not that. But something with a little more "ummmph." Maybe a weekend camping trip, or even a competitive game of sorts. Alas, the foot rub coupon was what he had chosen to redeem... and I told you how serious I was about my coupons.

But something changed a couple of days ago when I was reading in the book of John, chapter 13. In this chapter, Jesus washes the feet of his disciples (which, considering they had to walk everywhere virtually barefoot, was quite a task. Think cracked heels, callouses, and toe jam galore) before explaining the underlying significance of his actions.

 12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. 17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.


In the washing of the feet, Jesus sets an incredible example of humility that all married couples (or even single individuals in their friendships) should cling to. Because if we can humble ourselves enough to get up close and personal with the darkest, dirtiest, most worn-in parts of each other, then we can learn to love in spite of any circumstance or obstacle--free of the sin and shame that all too often bonds us to our pride and broken hearts.


So I rolled my sleeves up, made a bucket of warm, pepperminty water (we both adore the smell of peppermint oil)...




Made a little bit of homemade sugar scrub (recipe soon to follow in another post!)...
and got up close and personal with the weary travelers of my hobbit... er, i mean husband. 

What a simple and beautiful way for God to remind me how love and humility go hand in hand... 
or is it foot in foot?


P.S. Did anyone else try the challenge this week? Or has anyone participated in any sort of foot-washing ceremony? I'd love to hear any comments on your story... Also, check back tomorrow for the sugar scrub recipe!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Turning the Tables

Whenever you are preparing to get married, people tend to excite/warn you about all the wonderful and not so wonderful things that you will soon be learning about your spouse-to-be. While I was more than happy to have the prospect of further exploring my husband's psyche and strange habits, I often found myself thinking that there probably wasn't too many shocking behavioral revelations that we going to come crawling out of our laminate woodwork after five years of dating.

And for the most part, I was right. Fortunately, Jake and I had dated long enough that we had already learned many of each other's faults (I am incredibly prone to spilling liquids), bad habits (he almost never puts dirty dishes where they belong--a.k.a. the dishwasher), and skills (both of us have some pretty mad massage skills). It is the last of those that bring me to this week's task.

"I.O.U...

...a foot rub. Sit back and relax."

::disclaimer: all who are disgusted by all things feet may not find themselves able to appreciate the rest of this post::

Now let me begin this story by admitting something pitiful. Because while I still (and forever will) contend that our back rubs were equally traded amongst ourselves while dating, I have been seriously lacking in the massage giving trade since we got married. I know, I know. It's totally unfair that I get my shoulders/neck/back/feet rubbed 100x more than my sweet husband. But, as I've reminded him a million times before whenever he randomly decides to give me a hard time about this unfortunate deficit, I rarely ask for them. He just chooses to. And man, is he good at it.

Enter scenario:
I'm innocently leaning on his shoulder while watching grey's anatomy last night on the couch and he starts rubbing the base of my scull/neck (to those of you have never experience a scull rub, it feel something like this--> ::insert ecstatic and simultaneously completely relaxed sigh::)

I am incredibly thankful that of all the things I could have learned about Jake after we got married, it was that he is the sort of guy that freely and frequently does these sorts of things 'just cause' whenever he's around you (even if he can't for the life of him remember to put his cereal bowls into the dishwasher).

However, this week I am turning the tables.

This week I am going to give the most magnificently relaxing foot rub to have ever graced the feet of this earth. (I heard that mental accusal of my ever-present over-exaggeration--and I have NO idea what you're talking about.)

How do I plan to achieve this monumental task you ask? (rhyme not intended) I will utilize the gifts of one of my very best friends- Google. (One of my many nicknames is Google Queen (elaboration saved for another post.) Referencing resources such as this and that, I'm going to combine a few common household items with a bit of elbow grease and I should be set.
















Now, having provided you with my resources, I challenge any brave souls out there reading this to turn their own tables. Go out of your way this week to put hands to feet to show your favorite person (even if they don't feel like your favorite person this week) just how much you love them.

I'll let you know how it goes for me. Until then...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I.O.U. Blessings

When I was little, I didn't have a job, and was therefore penniless. Big surprise there. I was like six.

Hence, when Christmas time and birthdays rolled around, my present-giving capabilities were limited to things that I could make and/or do. Thus began the tradition of "the coupon book."

Almost every family member got one, each with a purposeful variation in content. Handmade with all sorts and bits of paper, glue, string, and an assortment of washable markers/colored pencils, (I was rarely allowed to use paints due to a so-called tendency to spill--I have NO idea what they were talking about...) they were the epitome of crafty. They were also cute, sincere, and above all ENVIED.

Especially the breakfast in bed coupon. (For those of you who haven't tried my breakfast foods, i.e. vanilla-cinnamon pancakes, stuffed french toast, etc., come over anytime to experience the magic--I don't limit the glories of breakfast to morning times.) When any family member wanted to redeem their coupon, they alerted me at least 24 hours in advance--as the fine print called for--and I would begin to plan and prepare the elaborate feast that awaited them. The following morning they would be presented with the works--toast, jam, homemade honey butter (one of my specialties), pancakes, orange juice, coffee, tea, fruit--give or take a few other gourmet delicacies.

Needless to say, I was serious about my coupons. Their content non-negotiable, I held true to my word.

This all goes to say that this year when I was Christmas shopping for my husband and I's very first Christmas and I saw a coupon book in the mall's bookstore, I nearly died. What better way to celebrate our first Christmas and new year together as our own little family than to continue some of the traditions that I had started as a child.

I think Jake might have been a bit confused when he opened a book of coupons under the tree, particularly because of the name of this afformentioned coupon book:

"I.O.U. Blessings"



Yes I am aware that this name is incredibly corny.

And true, some of its contents require equal amounts of corny behavior. But, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, inspiration and intrigue are important to me. And I saw this little book of 52 "blessings" as the perfect opportunity to pursue those things.

So, when I told you yesterday that I had a grand, magnificent plan... I bet you wouldn't have guessed that it would involve coupons. Week-by-week, my dear man is responsible for choosing the coupon of his choice, and each week, I will share on here what the task at hand is to be, how it plays out, and where exactly this year-long journey will take us. And, if these coupons serve as a little inspiration and intrigue for any of my readers, than I hope to hear from you guys about your own journey, too.

Tomorrow will come the revelation of "blessing" numero un (that's number one in french).

'Til then, "Au revoir and bon chance!" (free translation that baby!)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

inspiration and intrigue

I might have been on drugs the day I got married.

Okay, okay... maybe that isn't true. But I felt like I was. It was truly the most surreal day of my life--sort of like sitting in a quadruple 3D domed imax theatre with all sorts of fancy things like a screen that talks back to you and scent-sprayers in the wall that make the experience authentic even to your nostrils (I've been campaigning for these through Food Network for years). I watched it all happen around me. Attempting to savor every moment. Every surprise.

It wasn't until the moment my husband flashed his butt at the crowd that I was jerked into the reality of the moment. You see, years and years before we ever even met, I had attended a wedding where the bride and groom had read love letters to each other at the altar before they exchanged vows. It was so... beguiling. I was hooked. My poor husband didn't know when he proposed that I'd soon call on him to be Shakespeare for a day.

Like any good English major, I wrote, edited, brainstormed, revised, scratched out, wrote some more, edited, and finally finalized my letter after months of ink-stained hands and carpal tunnel problems. In my mind, it was the "Pièce de résistance" in my wedding-day plot to finally see my man shed a tear. However, when I concluded my letter at the altar with a sweet, but admittedly humorous reference to his nickname--I was surprised by the immense amount of laughter that was being emitted by our guests. I mean come on, I wasn't THAT funny--was I? 

It wasn't until I looked up from my letter that I realized that they weren't laughing at the onscreen me, but were instead laughing at the very real man standing across from me, bent over, coattails up, hind end bared.

Okay... maybe not BARED (he kept his pants on)... but it was enough to make my very pale skin very hot pink.

Apparently, "honeybottom" (a nickname I had come up for him in response to him once calling my 'sugarbritches') wasn't the best way to end my tear-jerker of a letter. But I was happy to get a laugh. And even more happy to have a husband that could surprise me with his own laughter inducing antics--even at the altar. What joy to my soul.

Growing up, my mom always told me to marry someone that both inspired and intrigued me. This story is a testament to the fact that I did just that. (Kids, listen to your moms... they know their stuff.)

Now, being nearly 10 months hitched, we have decided to make a plan for the new year that will hopefully further create opportunities to inspire and intrigue each other. I'll post details of this plan soon. Until then, just sit back and relax in those imaginary quadruple 3D domed imax theatre seats... Coming from one of those most naturally impatient people on the planet... I promise not to leave you hanging too long.