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?