Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sleep

I know we all love our sleep, but sleep is particularly sacred to me. I think it is one of the most important things we do, and I'm sure there are tons of medical journals out there that would back me up. Unfortunately, the days of 9 o'clock ZZZZZs are gone from me forever. I'm lucky if I get to bed before 11.

The other night as Husband and I were getting ready for bed, I told him how I often feel like the speaker in Robert Frost's poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." The lines that resonate with me the most appear in the last stanza.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Husband gave me the look he usually does when I try to express my feeling by quoting poetry and asked me if I feel like this every night. Not every night, but most nights. I don't think he knew what to make of this. I wasn't complaining, not even close. It's just the way I feel.

This week has been tough--throw in the towel kind of tough. In most cases, I can departmentalize the craziness that comes my way, push it out of my mind, and then bring it back when I need to deal with it and sort through it. Not this week. The craziness was beyond the reach of my cool "push it away" button. I didn't know what to do.

Enter Husband.

Boy do I love this man. Thread for thread and stitch for stitch, he was custom created for me. He knew exactly what I needed, and calmed me with the sweetest words ever uttered by a husband. My head was no longer spinning and I thought that maybe I just might be able to sleep. And guess what? As reported by husband, I was snoozing before him, which proves he is the best medicine EVER because I had completely given up on the prospect of sleeping...but there I was, sleeping like a baby in the arms of my husband, The Medicine Man.

And then there was last night. Our pillow talk kept us up well past 11 o'clock and we were both dragging this morning. No worries. On my way to work, I just got myself a Diet Coke from McDonald's {in case you're wondering and you're an addict like me, they've got the best Diet Coke around}. Problem solved.

And besides, whenever I felt my eyelids getting extra heavy today, I remembered they are like that because I have an incredibly full life, with lots of wonderful things in it that keep me up well past my bedtime.

And I also have a Medicine Man husband for a best friend who I like to talk to so much, I just can't get it all in by lights out.

And I've got miles to go before I sleep.

So for now, I'm ok with droopy, sleepy eyes.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Feeding My Family



Learning how to feed my new family took some time. It was a little trickier than I anticipated, which partly came from my unrealistic expectations. My husband likes everything...no pickiness there, so of course his children would too, right? Um, not so much. In their defense, they are better than some kids, and his daughter can be downright adventurous with food, but they're kids. Kids are picky, end of story. So there were a few things I had to learn about feeding my new family.

First, I couldn't take things personally. This was hard for me because cooking is a love language to me. If I love you, I will cook for you. Just watching someone eat and enjoy a meal I have prepared gives me the warm and fuzzies. I don't care how long it takes to make, how messy my kitchen has become, or anything else. If your taste buds are happy, my heart is happy. I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this. I did take it personally when the kids didn't like what I made, which is stupid because it had nothing to do with me, just their underdeveloped ultra picky kiddo taste buds. It took me a few months to figure this one out.

Next, I realized I had a better shot at getting the kids to eat if it was familiar to them. Obvious, right? I think it's important for kids to be exposed to all sorts of foods, but I had to be clever with this one. What I found works the best is to add something different to something they already love, like pizza. Pizza has been the key to getting my stepson to like mushrooms, bell peppers, sausage, and many other things. I also always make at least one thing in a meal that I know he'll eat since he tends to be the pickiest. And let's not forget how cheese and ketchup are momma's best friends. They'll eat almost anything if there is cheese or ketchup on it.

Finally, I had to be patient. Food is really complicated. There is much more to it than just its ability to nourish our bodies. Emotion, memories, all sorts of things are attached to it. I've had to gain these kids' trust in so many ways since I've entered their lives, including preparing meals for them. I think I'm there now, but it took time. The amazing thing is this--they trust me and my cooking now. They'll eat things for me that they never would before and that they still won't for others. My cup runneth over.

With all these lessons learned, I thought I'd share the meal I made for the fam tonight. It was a big hit and had some new ingredients in it.

The Menu
Banana Nut Waffles
Breakfast Potatoes with Stuffed Green Olives
Orange and Banana Smoothies



Waffles
Use a box pancake mix and follow the waffle directions. Here is what makes them special though. Add one mashed banana and one part whole wheat flour to three parts pancake mix. Cook them in a waffle iron and serve with walnuts, butter, and syrup.

Breakfast Potatoes
Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan.
Slice about 4 Yukon Gold potatoes up really thin. Once pan is hot, add the potatoes making sure that all potatoes are touching the pan. This will give them a nice golden color and crispy texture.
Add seasoning to the potatoes. I like garlic salt, oregano, freshly cracked pepper, but you can use anything that makes you happy.
I let them cook for a few minutes, then flip them with tongs and add more seasoning. I keep doing this until they have a nice golden color.
Now add some sliced stuffed green olives. I used some that were stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes. Let them cook with the potatoes for about a minute and you're done!


Smoothie
In a blender combine the following:
1/2 can of orange juice concentrate
10-12 ice cubes
1 banana
Milk, enough to cover all ingredients in the blender
1 tbs vanilla
*Note: This recipe is definitely to taste, so feel free to add more or less of something. Often times I end up adding more milk or even a bit of Splenda if I don't think it's sweet enough.




Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wreath

I made this spring wreath the other day...


Then my husband told me it looked like it was made out of marijuana.


Nope, moss from Dollar Tree...


I promise.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Some Things I've Learned...

I don't mean to snoop, but I inevitably hear bits and pieces of my students' conversations each day. Usually what I hear makes me laugh, but sometimes I feel enlightened. And what I mean by enlightened is not inspired or anything like that, rather more like this..."Oh my gosh, I can't believe your parents let you do that!"

So here are some lessons I've learned from the things my students' parents allow them to do:

1. I will not allow my 13 year old to have a tanning salon pass.

2. I don't care how much my child wants to date at 13--it's not gonna happen.

3. Video game playing will be limited and definitely will not go anywhere near 6+ hours.

4. My child will not be the stinky kid in class. He/she will bathe regularly.

5. No lip piercings...sorry.

I know, I run a tight ship.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Trip to the Bay

We recently took a MUCH needed break and headed off to the Bay area to visit my uncle, cousins, and all this beautiful place has to offer.



Waiting to board the Alcatraz Express




And we approach...

Love the irises in front of me. Alcatraz had the most beautiful gardens.


Really, really, cool! When I was a kid, I watched Escape from Alcatraz, the movie with Clint Eastwood, every time it was on TV. Well here it is! The actual cell used to escape from, just like the movie. My hubby and I still haven't agreed on the fate of the three escaped convicts. He thinks they died. I absolutely believe they lived, mostly because I like to believe in legends, myths, and such, no matter how implausible.


You know me, I just had to get a picture of the prison's library!






Saying goodbye to The Rock


My hubby snapped this one while we were in my uncles AMAZING backyard.


Love, love, love his flowers

Panoramic view of my uncle's backyard



Near Fisherman's Warf


LaLa and Papa Joe


On the last day of our stay, my uncle took us on the most beautiful drive through wine country. I was in heaven with these gorgeous views surrounding us.





It was such an wonderful break from real life. With me on spring break and husband on break from grad school, we relished our freedom and returned to Utah somewhat refreshed and ready to battle all that life throws at us. Thank you Papa Joe for your kindness and generosity! It truly was a trip to remember.













Saturday, April 2, 2011

Our Garden Begins

After looking at this view for the last month or so (try to ignore the tractor)

and getting a bit of spring fever (very contagious) because these keep popping up in stores

these were purchased

and planted

We have big plans this summer for our garden which involve some new garden boxes and our very own pumpkin patch.