Monday, September 24, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

I am combining my two lists this week. Ten things I'm making this week, posted on a (almost) Tuesday haha. It is actually because I'm not sure if I'll finish this tonight- Monday- or I can't decide what to call it. Anyway, here are my 10 things to make:

1. The roasted cabbage recipe I had listed for last week. I never made it because on that night I hadn't read ahead to know it takes awhile to cook. It was a getting off work, cooking, hungering, timing issue. So I'm making it tonight with roasted turkey (no not a whole one).

2. Roasted spaghetti squash on Tuesday. Inspired by my mama and the delicious dinner I took on the plane with me. It will go with...

3. Garlicky scallops and shrimp from the previously mentioned seafood market. It was a great success! Cheap but quality stuff all brought in from the NC coast. The men working there were so nice and helpful.

4. I am repeating the socca bread/chickpea crepes on Wednesday because they were the best thing I've eaten in weeks. This time instead of pizza style I'm going to have them as a scooper/side with...

5. Indian spinach. One of the best things that's ever happened to my kitchen repertoire was finally venturing into the world of Indian food at home. I highly recommend it. The spice names can be daunting but the flavors are so worth the 10 extra minutes hunting them down.

6. Sweet potato and carrot soup on Thursday.

7. This bread for Kevin to dunk in the soup and have throughout the week. I'm on the hunt for the perfect bread recipe that is a little bit healthy, a little bit sandwichy, but good enough to eat on its own. The Eat Live Run recipe was a success but the loaf wasn't that big. The second recipe I made last week was a loaf shaped hockey puck. It could be on one of those "pinterest fail" blogs!

8. Homemade chicken stock to use in the soup and have on hand. I froze the bones and such from that chicken I made not too long ago. I have finally made time to turn it into stock!

9. I am going to attempt to make my own coconut milk. Remember my $2 project from a few weeks ago? Well I still have the meat from half the coconut. Supposedly it's easy, we shall see.

10. These muffins because we have some comedians staying with us tonight and tomorrow night (no really) and I wanted to offer a breakfast treat. I googled "oatmeal muffins" because I have oatmeal. I may add some blueberries or strawberries, we'll see. The comedians are these guys and some good friends of John's. We will be going to their Carrboro show tomorrow night, featuring special guest John Thornton! How did it come to this, that I'm making muffins for a bunch of stand up comedians? I have no idea.

And since posts without pictures are ugly, here's what I did this weekend:

The beautiful birthday girl blowing out her candle

Love to snuggle this guy! (Even when he really wants down)

So that's my list and meal plan for this week! Are you trying any new recipes? Is there a food genre that you shy away from, like I used to Indian?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Reader Request: Quick Core Killer

Really this should be called Sister Request but Reader sounds more bloggish. I am a firm believer that to build a strong core we need a well rounded exercise routine rather than just 1000 crunches. Crunches have their place, sure, but in order to support long distance running, headstands, baby carrying, or any other day to day movement it is important to work the WHOLE core (everything from the hips to the armpits). Not just the crunch muscles. Sister agrees so she gets a slideshow of moves in her honor. I did not find my camera so these pictures look like security camera footage on the news. My apologies. Also, I took them between running and showering so I myself look like I could be on COPS. Just be glad you can't smell blogs!

The slideshow is to give a demonstration of the basic moves. See below for more descriptive instructions.

Quick Core Killer
1. Hold plank 30 seconds

2. 3 legged dog to sunbird flow- in downward dog kick one leg into the air (3 legged dog pose), lower the hips till you're almost in plank pose, pulling the knee in to touch (or point towards) the nose (sunbird 1). Kick the leg back up, lower down with the knee to opposite side elbow, kick it up, lower down with knee to same side elbow. Make sense? So it's three 3 legged dog poses, 3 different sunbird variations. Do this on the other side for one set. Do 4 sets (12 reps each side) total. 

3. Side Plank Twists- In side plank on an elbow, place the fingers of your top hand behind your ear. Crunch towards the floor, bringing the elbow to almost touch but staying about an inch above the floor. Lift back up, that's one. Do 12 each side.

4. Side Plank Crunches- In side plank on an elbow, bend top knee and crunch to touch elbow and knee. Try to do it without dropping the hips to the floor. 12 each side.

5. Walking Plank- Start in plank pose, bend one elbow at a time and place the forearm on the mat so you end up in elbow plank. Push back up one hand at a time to full plank. That's one, repeat for 12. Try to keep hips and shoulders level so you're not rocking all over the place. 

6. Boat pose- Balance on your bum and suck your belly in, push your chest up to make a straight back. I show two variations depending on how much you want to feel the burn. Knees bent, barely leaning or kick it up to straight legs, leaning back more. Hold for 30 seconds. 

7. Oblique Twists- In kids' yoga we call this windshield wiper legs, you choose your title. Lay on your back with legs at a 90 degree angle. The knees are directly over the hips. Reach your hands out to the sides for balance and lower both legs to one side, hovering about an inch off the mat. Lift and go to the other side. That's 1, repeat for 12. Move carefully with your focus on the obliques, rather than just swinging your legs all willy nilly. 

You can change it up by adding more repetitions OR completing the whole set and then starting over at the beginning, circuit style. Let me know what YOU think. What's your favorite core exercise, if any? Do you loathe crunches like I do? 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Meal Planning Mondays

I am going to loosely say that I may try to blog about my meal plans. I make them every week but I hate to over commit myself by promising to blog them. Realistically I'll probably do a meal plan OR Ten on Tuesday blog each week. And someday I will find my camera and do another yoga post. Also, if posting my weekly meal plans starts to make me look really boring and uncreative, I'll quit immediately.

So here's what we're having:

Monday: This recipe for roasted chicken and veggies is so simple and sounds bland but somehow the oven works magic and it is delicious! I made it a few weeks ago and this time I'm adapting it for a whole chicken because I want to make broth from the bones.

Tuesday: I am going to make this crepe recipe and attempt to crisp it up in the oven and turn it into pizza crust. If it fails then we're having savory crepes filled with tomato sauce, mushrooms and artichoke hearts (cheese for Kev). Oh oh, or maybe crepe-adillas. I just made up that word when the idea hit me. Like a quesadilla but with crepes instead of tortillas? That would make a fun food truck. DIBS on the idea.

Wednesday: Our 1.5 year anniversary! Our new friend Russ told us about an awesome fish market he found so I am going to go scout it out and determine if we are having lobster/crab made at home (something fancy) or going out to this oyster bar we've been wanting to try. Either way it will be followed by a drink at this whiskey bar that Kevin has been drooling over since we got here!

Thursday: Two first time recipes; Chickpea Sweet Potato Burgers and Roasted Cabbage. I love cabbage and I get on kicks with it. I am currently in the throws of one of those kicks. It's intense.

Friday: Roasted Beet and Kale Salad from a magazine Hayley gets. Thankfully she knows I am a big fan of beets and sent me a pic of the page. It took some digging to find that recipe online. Apparently gluten free does not equal google-able. I will probably add roasted chickpeas to bulk up the salad and because roasted chickpeas are the BOMB. Seriously. Make them today.

Saturday/Sunday: I only plan one meal for the weekend to allow for leftovers, decisions to go out with friends, etc. This weekend it is Collard Greens and White Bean soup that I have in the freezer from when I made a huge batch a few weeks ago. I can't find the recipe anymore, what the heck interwebs, why you removing all my favorite things?

So that's our week of dinners. For breakfast we are so boring. I have a smoothie and Kevin has oatmeal, eggs, or the bagel I brought home for him from work the night before. For lunch we have leftovers.

What are you having this week? Is this interesting to anyone?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

Kristin and Grace had the idea to make a list of ten things on Tuesdays. It is a fun alliteration and a good way to blog at least once a week. I am joining in this week!

10 Things An Unemployed Girl Does On Monday

Okay actually this is just 10 things THIS semi-employed girl did yesterday. I work at the coffee shop on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Sometimes Monday can feel a little anti-climactic because Sunday is all "oh get ready for the week, so busy, must prepare, soak up the time" out of habit and then Monday comes and "oh, I have nothing to do." So here we go!

1) Went to yoga at my new favorite studio. Murn's go-to teacher told me about it because she used to teach there and I love it because it is donation based. Plus, this week is the first week of the new schedule so all the classes are free! Not only is the cost (or lack of) something to love, I also enjoy the teachers and feel of the place. No mirrors, very genuine teachers, so nice. 

2) This could really be 1a but I'm making it number 2. I achieved a forearm stand! I have been practicing this for a few months now but have been nervous to work on it in our new, smaller living room. During class she said to pick an inversion and go for it. I felt comfortable enough to try it and while I did flop around some, I definitely gained control and held it for a breath. Doing it in class empowered me to try it at home and it went even better! It's the little things that make your day when your under-employed. 

You may think I am bragging. You would be correct. Gimme a break, I'm unemployed!
3) Subjected myself to the weekly torture of grocery shopping. I usually love this but without HEB it doesn't have the same appeal. In order to get everything and at a price comparable to HEB I would have to go to Walmart, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Yes, I shouldn't gripe b/c we have a Whole Foods and Trader Joe's but the principle of it just slays me. So mostly I just shop at Walmart and go to Trader Joe's for a few things every couple of weeks. Whole Foods' bulk section isn't as great as they want you to think it is anyway so I just stick it to the environment on that one and get it at Walmart, sue me. 

4) Bought a whole coconut. Just because every girl needs a $2 project.  

5) Applied for two new jobs that were posted for County Social Services. Another one in Foster Care and one to work at the juvenile detention center, hullo, perfect for me. 

6) Checked my online account for jobs in the neighboring County Social Services. I have applied for 5 so far and under the "status" section two of them say Eligible. I'll take that as good news and probably start harassing them for an interview. 

7) Made this bread for Kev

8) Made this soup for dinner with a few adjustments. It was amazing. Red lentils are the jam, way better than the brown kind. 

9) Caught up on Becky's blog and you should too. She's writing a book!

10) Finished the day the way I always do. Hula hooping in front of Parks and Rec. Season 4 may be one of the best seasons of television ever created. My current favorite line= "Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets." If you're not watching it, you should be! 

And that's Monday! (Friends, anyone?) What'd you do yesterday? Do you know anybody hiring in the triangle area?

*I had written in the names of the counties I've applied for but then I thought WHAT IF someone googles that or something. So just in case...number 5 is the county I live in and number 6 is the county where the best basketball program in the history of college basketball is.*

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Trendiest Birthday Cake Around

Smores are so trendy right now. Don't you think? Well since I am THE go to girl for all things trend this is what I landed on when brainstorming for a friend's birthday who said he is "a big fan of cake" (jackpot, otherwise we probably would've had a friend break-up on our hands).

Smores Cake
What you need: 
  • two layers of chocolate cake, any recipe or box mix
  • 3-4 graham crackers, crushed
  • half a bag of marshmallows, any size (i tore big ones in half so a smarter person could've just used the little ones)
  • bag of chocolate chips
  • a pint of heavy whipping cream
  • a kitchen torch (or use the broiler if you're not a pyro)
You may know that I love any excuse to use my kitchen blow torch, but one of the most fun ways is to burn marshmallows. It is science right in front of your eyes! My idea was really the filling/frosting combination. I'm not going to pretend I made up a chocolate cake recipe. I turned to my dear friend Ree for that part. So I started by making this recipe, which I halved b/c I did not want it four layers (whoa). I baked the cakes the night before so they would be really cool and ready to fill. 

Step 1: Position the mallows

This picture is early in the process. I ended up tearing the big size mallows in half and laying one layer across the whole cake. 

Step 2: Torch the mallows

Totally gratuitous picture of fire, you're welcome. Burn them until they are melty and charred to your liking. You could do this under the broiler but you won't get to witness as much science happening. Sprinkle crushed up graham crackers on top of the melty mallows. Gently press them down so they'll become one with the gooeyness. 

Step 3: The Ganache Glue

I thought the top layer of cake might need something a little bit stickier to be convinced to stay in place. On medium heat bring some heavy whipping cream to a boil (about a cup to a cup and a half, I eyeballed it and had too much). The medium heat is crucial, take it from someone who has scrubbed scorched cream out of the bottom of a pan more than once in her life. Once the cream is very hot, pour it over a bowl of chocolate chips. I had half a bag in a small mixing bowl. Pour until the cream is just covering the chips. Whisk until the chips are completely melted and you have a beautiful ganache. Drizzle it on top of the graham crackers and gently spread it as best you can without messing up your mallow masterpiece. Plop the second layer on top and press it into the filling. At this point I put the cake in the fridge for a few hours. That's optional. 

Step 4: The Final Touch

Drizzle more ganache over the top and put just enough so it runs down the sides looking oh so professional (HA). I made more ganache for this step because I did it later in the day. If you don't think you have enough, make more using the other half of the bag of chocolate chips.  

At serving time I put one big marshmallow on top and lit it on fire instead of a candle! It was one of those small things that made me so happy I did a jig in the kitchen.

So there you have it. My latest kitchen project. What have you made lately? What makes you so happy you can't resist doing a jig? 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Everything New

The life of the Georgas duo is all about new right now. We moved almost a month ago and we are still figuring out life here. So as a recap, and in the interest of brevity, a list of the new things in our lives.

1) New Home. Our apartment is awesome. It is smaller than our previous home and I can't figure out why it always sounds like water is running but it is very cozy. Also, the people watching is IDEAL. I never knew being on the second story leant itself to snooping so well! There is a window that we pushed our dining table up to and sitting at that perch can entertain for hours. In addition, our guest suite will keep you feeling safe no matter what. You may mistake it for the armory with two swords, a bow and a quiver full of arrows. Don't worry, sword fights are optional while you are visiting.

The living room 
Kevin sitting at the people watching perch
The guest suite waiting for YOU

2. New City. So far this city is treating us well. We are able to walk to lots of restaurants and pubs and most importantly, we are a five minute walk from the bus stop that takes us anywhere! Well, it takes us anywhere on campus. The food options are endless here. There's lots of good running, hiking, swimming, exploring that we have done and will do soon. A couple of weeks ago Kevin and I explored the Duke forest for a few hours. It's pretty awesome to be able to just park on the side of the road and take off on a trail through the huge forest. This past weekend we went to Eno River State Park and hiked in to this swimming hole:

Pic found here
Kevin and I just stood by the rocks and splashed around a bit because it was 70 degrees and cloudy. I had on a 3/4 sleeve hoodie for gosh sakes. Those other jokers we went with swam but not the three Texas summer survivors (us and John). 

3. New School. Kevin's classes started today and he is really happy to be back in the university environment. He's already got flashcards galore for two different languages, written a response paper and read dozens (hundreds?) of pages. This is his comfort zone. He is flying his nerd flag high and will be for at least the next three years. 

4. New Job. Even though Kevin is working way harder than me, I do have a new job. Big sis Allison's friend Alison (yup) hooked me up with a job at a coffee shop on Duke's campus. It's called Joe Van Gogh and it has been so fun. I finished training and am all set to work three days a week for now (I'm still looking for full time social work so once I get that squared away I will work more or less). I have loved getting to know my coworkers and feeling like a part of the school that will take up so much of Kev's time. My coworkers are great and the friendly-ness/prefriendships have come quickly with them. That tends to happen when you spend 6 hours together in a 3x10 foot space everyday. This is a screen shot of a pic Julie took while visiting and is the only option for showing off my work :)

That's Corwen next to me. They make us wear hats.

5. New Friends. Well, maybe I should say the hope of new friends to come. For right now it's a lot of nodding and sibling listing and "no, I'm not in school", "no I didn't go to Baylor", etc. I do have two new friends that Kevin previously knew. Danny and Johanna lived in Waco while Kevin was at Baylor and they moved here almost a year ago for Danny's new job. Since John and Kevin are close with them, they instantly felt like "my people." They are comfortable and familiar even though we're just getting to know each other. I'm so glad they're here. ALSO we have the McRae's close. Cece and I met for lunch today. We can do that! 

So that's my summary. There's always more that could be said about a new place but this will do for now. I have some recipe posts brewing in my mind that I will surely have time for now that Kevin is a study fiend! 

What's new in your life? How do you feel about the early stages of new friendships? Does it give you the nervous sweats as much as it does me?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Baby Zone

In perfect timing after my last post, Kevin and I have spent a lot of time with some really awesome babies lately. First we got to be at the birthday party for our godson, Emmitt George Hill. He is the cutest 1 year old boy there is! After demolishing his cake he decided it was his party, he'd be naked if he wanted to! 

Then we went to the lake with my girlfriends and their families. Jennifer and I loved getting to take turns snuggling these matching bambinos. Eli Morgan is one smiley dude!

Emmitt is learning to walk and does a better job cruising in socks on the wood floor than I could!

Finally, this week we watched a little 9 month old baby girl for a family that had to go out of town. She stayed with us Monday-Wednesday and again Friday night. We had a great time wrangling her! Showing her off online is a delicate situation so these pictures will do. We played outside together.

We watched videos and looked at pics of Haven's swim lessons. :)

She brought her ruffle butt pajamas. The cuteness is too much for me.

We went to the Art on Elm festival and it wore her out big time.

And this is how she sleeps. Butt straight up in the air. Precious but can't be comfortable!

You can't be around me for more than 5 minutes without figuring out that I love babies so this has been a dream for me, made even better by the fact that Kevin had a great time too! We are learning the different baby reactions to his beard. Emmitt's is a sophisticated combing (you can see he is holding one tiny piece in the pic above), baby girl E's was more of a full-fisted yank. I guess the personality of our future babies may become the determining factor in the length of Kevin's beard.

Thanks to friends for including us in their babies' little lives, thanks to all who shared their mama knowledge when I was stumped and thanks to all who held her (my left arm especially thanks you!) and helped entertain her once Kevin left and I was alone with her for the last night!

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Hilarious/Heart Stopping Story of Tuesday

Earlier this week I made dinner to take to a couple that just had a baby. I made a little card to take too (and by "made" I mean I folded card stock in half and wrote on it with a sharpie) and the front said "Welcome Baby Zoe". I left this card on top of my computer which was on our bed.

I was in the living room when Kevin came home from school and did his usual lap around the house. The next thing I know he barrels into the room kind of huffing and says, "I thought that card said Welcome to the Baby Zone and that was your way of telling me something!" Hahaha

Nope. But I'm definitely keeping it in mind for someday.

Don't worry. I ended up trashing the sharpie card.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The First Anniversary

This was a year ago? I can't believe it. This is right as we're about to walk out, which I think turned into a run and a squeal. Our wedding was amazingly fun but the past year has really given it a run for its money.  I have compiled a list of a few highlights from the first year as well as some of my favorite things about Kevin and being married to him.

This year we have:

1) Had many awesome meals, both restaurant and homemade. Some worth mentioning are the Greek feast Kevin made for my birthday, the Meddlesome Moth meal for Kevin's birthday, all of the chickens Kevin roasted or grilled in his quest for the perfect chicken, some homemade mac and cheese that I knocked out of the park, shrimp and grits, jambalaya, and the list could go on and on.

I love that Kevin appreciates a really decadent gourmet meal, but will also eat WHATEVER I put in front of him. I pride myself on being able to pull together a meal out of the barest pantry or fridge and Kevin will love it. I also love that Kevin and I have put value on mealtime in our first year as a family. We celebrate with a big fancy meal, we make meals with friends that turn into celebrations because the food is so good, we show love with food (we are Southern after all) and we make time to eat at our table. Sitting at the dinner table, even if its just the two of us, feels special every time we do it. I can count on one hand the number of times we've eaten dinner in front of the TV and I feel like we are building an important tradition that we will continue for years to come as the family grows (hopefully).

2) Driven a lot of miles. We drove home from New Jersey in the (new to us) party Saab, drove to South Carolina and back for Thanksgiving, drove to Hayley's house multiple times, drove to OKC, Dallas, Austin countless times, drove to Colorado for a senior trip and drove to San Antonio for our anniversary!

I love road trips with Kevin because we (almost) never get bored! A little tired or sick of being in the car? Yes. But bored of each other? Never. We just talk, laugh, sing real or made up songs, snack and generally enjoy each other's company. Listening to Bossypants was particularly fun. I most definitely never fall asleep while Kevin is driving through the night. :)

3) Reached a happy medium on the state of "laundry" in our house. Kevin contains his mess to one pile in the general vicinity of his hamper and I don't gripe about it (seriously if you saw his old room when he lived with boys you'd know the VAST improvement). If Kevin's pile starts to push the limits, I'll fold some of his clothes myself. On the other hand, I do laundry about once every 8 weeks and Kevin doesn't gripe about it.

I love that Kevin and I have found a groove of not picking on each other's tactics when it comes to housekeeping. There are bigger fish to fry than the "proper way" to wash dishes. There are way too many things to love about Kevin to get hung up on his pile. There are (I hope) way too many things to love about me to get hung up on my general demeanor before my first cup of coffee.

Which brings me to the most important thing that I love about Kevin. It may not be the most profound thing but it is the one thing everyday that reminds me that Kevin just gets me: Kevin makes the coffee everyday. Before I wake up. It is hot and ready for me to pour as soon as I get out of bed. Now THAT is my love language.

So this post about our first anniversary turned into a post about our first year. I'll leave you with pics of our celebration in San Antonio that you probably saw on Facebook and then the feast that we made last night at home. We couldn't decide on anniversary traditions to start so we did them all. We watched the video from the rehearsal dinner, watched our wedding video, read the story Kevin wrote me, looked at wedding pictures AND danced to Beauty and the Beast. I think our anniversary might be my new favorite holiday*!

Do you have any traditions you are proud of in your home? What's the state of your laundry? :) 

*Tied with Christmas of course

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Day Hayley Did Me a Solid

Does that even make sense? Who cares. I am working on a post about our first anniversary but it is taking forever because thinking about it makes me too emotional for spring break. It feels like yesterday and feels like a million years ago, all at the same time. In the meantime, I have scored some major loot in the process of celiac dominating 40% of the women in my family (sorry girls :/ ). The greatest thing so far is this:

Protein powder! It may not look like much, but it is something I never buy for us but frequently wish I would/could. Bringing this home motivated me to 1) work out really hard this morning and 2) try something new in the Magic Bullet. I have it in my head that I need/want to eat more beets. I think it is mostly because of how pretty they are and how they make the kitchen look like a murder scene. I have tried the Berry UpBeet smoothie from Jamba Juice and it is good but the "beets" come from "red veggie juice." I think Jamba Juice is pretty conscious of the stuff they put in there but that is just a little too vague for me. So I whipped up this post-workout smoothie today:

See what I mean about pretty?! All I did was peel a beet, cut it up into chunks, and put about a third of the chunks into the Magic Bullet cup (I saved the other chunks for future smoothies). I added half of a frozen banana, a handful of frozen berries (strawbs, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries I think), a scoop of the protein powder and then filled it up with milk. Blend and voila! I think next time I'll add more frozen fruit so it will be a little thicker. For a first try it was really delicious! I could smell the beets but not taste them. The vanilla in the protein masked any bitterness. I will definitely make this again! I would like to find a way to include probiotics in this smoothie but prefer the smoothie texture with milk over yogurt. Any suggestions? Do they make probiotic powder? 

Thanks Hayley for making my week! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Two Things

That I never thought would work.

Number 1: When Kevin is sick (as he is this week) he wants nothing more than a big bowl of pho. Pho is that Vietnamese soup that supposedly has noodles and veggies and what not. The thing is, the only place in Waco to get pho makes me so angry. He pays $8 for a bowl of pho and it has like 3 noodles in it. Unacceptable. I have always been under the impression that I don't like pho but this may have been because it was just pissing me off. Broth is not soup. Broth is broth.

Cut to Sunday afternoon, I'm trying to make a grocery list. "Kevin, what do you want for dinner tomorrow night?" Kevin with his hood pulled up, wrapped in a blanket and surrounded by kleenex, "Pho." Well, ok. So I did some research and decided I could probably create something close enough to pho to make him happy. Plus I could stock it full of veggies and noodles and all the good stuff. The great news? HEB had all the unusual spices in the bulk section so I got the ingredients for a full, huge pot of soup for about the same amount it would cost for one serving at the under-noodled hole in the wall.

Pho is basically a heavily spiced broth with onions, bean sprouts, beef, cilantro, fish sauce and rice noodles mixed in.  I improvised by using regular chicken broth I already had frozen and simmering it with the spices for awhile. I could provide the recipe but I'm not going to fool myself in thinking that anyone reading will actually want to make it :) As we sat down to eat I felt the need to say, "I hope you realize just how much this proves I love you." Pictures to prove it:

Number 2: I saw a recipe for "mashed" cheesy cauliflower on Pinterest that is supposedly a mashed potato look-alike. I doubted it instantly but decided to try it anyway. Kevin grilled steak for Valentine's dinner and I made the cauliflower to go beside. I was fully expecting it to be gross and for us to have to toast up some bread or something for a last minute replacement. Man was I surprised when it was delicious! Its not as creamy as potatoes obviously, but it doesn't taste like cauliflower. Of course, if you put enough milk, butter and cheese in anything I'm sure it would be good. Plus, it was so easy. Just microwave cauliflower with milk (cream, half and half, whatever) until it is mushy then throw it in the food processor or blender with the cheese and other stuff. Bam. Delicious creaminess without the leaden, carb stomach after effect. I know, I know, Hayley has long since passed out or disowned me for talking like this. I'm not claiming it to be something that could fool you for mashed potatoes. I am claiming it to be the most delicious cauliflower I've ever had. (Flashback to Allison gagging on cauliflower and getting in trouble for spitting it down the sink in the red bathroom.) Once again, picture proof:
I Instagramed this picture b/c it was horrible :)
So what have you made that impressed even yourself? Any fun Valentine's meals to discuss?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Small Miracles

Today has been about small miracles. Tiny victories in the quest to teach yoga to the kids at West Ave Elementary. It was my first day back after Christmas break and the crazy month of January and I was not excited about it this morning. Around lunch time I decided, I have got to make this better.

Let me back up. Last semester I went to West Ave every Monday and Wednesday from 3:15 to about 4:30 with the intention of teaching yoga. Every Monday and Wednesday it looked like someone fired a gun in a hen house and then locked me in there. Kids.screaming.running.hitting.flipping and the one little girl at the front listening attentively and mastering her down dog. This class was organized by the after school program director and she and I tried every kind of positive rewards, consequences, pep talks, stern talks, three strikes your out, and then some tactics that we could think of. Every Monday and Wednesday I could pretty much laugh it off and keep trying, I'm pretty patient, kids are wild, whatever. But after over a month away, it didn't seem exciting to go back.

So I determined to do more research, to make changes, to MAKE.IT.WORK. I did some googling and found this:

(Update: I deleted the video b/c I was sick of it starting automatically and scaring the pants off me.)

Inspiration! I decided to go up to the school a little early to talk to the director and formulate a new plan. Here are the four small miracles that followed:

1) I show up and she immediately says "Oh Caitlin! I'm so glad you're back, the kids made you this for Christmas and have been dying to give it you!"

It is a precious work of art made by melting crayons across a canvas. But it's not about the artistic ability. It's about being greeted with a token of appreciation. I didn't expect it and I would've kept teaching without it, but it sure was nice to receive. 

2) We get into our conversation about making the class better and I tell her I think we really need mats. I tell her I've been brainstorming fundraising ideas and she says, "hold on, I just got an email from a church group that wants to know if they can do a fundraiser for us!" What the what? Mats are a done deal. 

3) We decided to have a "meeting" today; one with the older grades and a separate one with the younger grades to talk about yoga this semester and how it's going to be a club that they can sign up for (with a lot more explanation). I explain what yoga is supposed to be, why we want to have this club, and then give them the chance to ask questions and clarify. One little boy raises his hand to say "I want to sign up for yoga because it helps you relax!" Done. You're in and I love you. 

4) Finally, as I gently say something like, "if you know that after school is not the time for you to try to sit still and you'd rather run laps around Ms. Sullivan then maybe yoga is not the club for you" the wildest, craziest, grab every marker, throw every tennis ball, pull everyone's hair, scream for no reason, precious little girl says, "I don't think yoga is for me." Couldn't have said it better myself little one. You're out and I love you. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Latest in a Long List

My beef with the online community-social media-whatever you want to call it could go on for days. But lately, I have been especially perturbed by one aspect in particular.

Whatever happened to reading something, disagreeing, and moving on with your life? Or better yet, whatever happened to common sense? People say things online that they would NEVER say to someone's face (I should hope). That's still a person. Some individual is going to read your comment and probably have their feelings hurt. If your mom heard you say that (or saw you type that) she'd knock you to next Tuesday.

Some examples:

Dear old Pinterest provides many ideas for new ways to do your hair. Apparently, if you see a picture, read a two sentence description, and then try it, it should work on every head of hair ever created. If for some reason it goes awry, the person who posted it is clearly a moron who can't teach and deserves to go bald.

Some websites (blogs, Pinterest, you name it) have cute little tips for turning a muffin tin upside down and making cookie cups, taco salad bowls, cute little party hats...anything under the sun. If yours don't turn out perfectly? No possible way your oven is different, your muffin tin is different, you read wrong, it was a fluke, you live in the high humidity constant summer hell of Texas, you had a momentary attack of stupid. Nope, it's the idea person's fault. The only acceptable course of action is to berate him/her online.

Let me be clear, I know that investing in a craft or project and it failing is FRUSTRATING. My best bud and I tried to make a paint handprint Christmas ornament thing of her infant son's hand and it was a massive failure. Was it the little lady's fault who posted the idea on Pinterest? No. We only have ourselves to blame. We forgot that infants cannot be commanded to spread out their fingers. We didn't think about how the feel of a foreign substance all over an infants' hand would prompt a clenching reaction. We didn't consider that maybe the crafty idea is best tried with a sedated two year old. That's on us. Our bad. BUT did we go online and tear that little old lady a new one? Nope. We had a good laugh and put the poor infant in the bath.

Some times I can't trust everything I read online. Sometimes people are different than me. Sometimes I should just shut my mouth.

How did I learn this and not the rest of the general online public?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Recap in Pictures

So it's been awhile. I'm over my oppositional streak now and am feeling motivated to get back to the blog. Plus, I noticed that Murn had written on hers again and figured if she can do it, I can do it.

Here's the lowdown on what's happened since my last post:

I went to Florida for Allison's BIG 3-0 birthday and had a great time with this chunky dunk-

and these nonchunky dunks-
We got to spend a weekend in Fort Worth with awesome friends and all their babes-


I attended my second annual National Adoption Day celebration. It is always one of the happiest days of the year! Not a dry eye in the house. 

Kev and I loaded up to drive to South Carolina for Thanksgiving with (most of) my family where we did lots of eating, lounging, game playing, hot tubbing, etc at this wilderness wonderland- 


Hayley, Mom, Mary Beth and I went to the Natchitoches, Louisiana Christmas festival which is famous world wide for being featured in a little movie called Steel Magnolias! So maybe just Steeleworld wide but we had a great time. 

Kevin and I spent Christmas with his family and got to see Les Miserables on Christmas Eve! Other than that lots of lounging and eating of course :)


When Kevin headed off to Turkey to visit his friend, I went to Oklahoma to spend New Years with my family. I enjoyed the tail end of Haven's first Christmas 

and celebrated New Years Eve with Mama and Hayley (taking the picture). 

Next came the Senior Trip chaperoning for Kevin's school. Drove to Pagosa Springs, CO with 9 high school seniors. Cooked dinner, dropped them off at the ski mountain, wandered the little town, saw beautiful scenes such as this, 

and went DOGSLEDDING. That's right, it was one of the coolest things ever. 

Last but certainly not least, I went with Grace, Jaron and Emmitt out to Tennessee to see Kristin and Eli! We had the best week ever. Eli is precious,

 Emmitt is precious, 

they were both less-than-pleased about their car seats 

and they held hands (we died).

So what have you been up to?