Monday, February 8, 2016

Supa Bowl, Supa fun

Being married to a football coach has had its perks. I get all the salacious sports news that I love to hear about and my husband is apart of a sport that I actually don't mind watching. One of my ways to serve him in our marriage is to host our friends for a sporting event. Friends and sports are his love language. Naturally, I invited some of our friends over for a Super Bowl get together. 

The first part of a gathering that I tackle is the food. Hosting is one of my favorite things in life. I love to serve others and see their faces when they appreciate a good time with good food. I like to think up crowd-pleasing recipes that I know people will love when they have it at the meal time. The menu for the Super Bowl party was:
Chili dogs
Hamburgers
Beans 
Potato Salad
Queso
Spinach and Artichoke Dip*
Paula Dean Banana Pudding*


The meat was brought by one of the couples so the rest of the above menu was on me. I'm not going to lie by saying that not every item needs to be homemade. We all work and are tired on the weekends. The last thing I want to do is home make every single menu food. The beans and potato salad received the short end of the long week stick. It happens. 

However, the spinach and artichoke dip was from this website. Her pictures looked a little different than mine, but for the most part, this dip was a hit. 








For dessert. I went with a tried and true recipe by Paula found here. This dish is always a hit because of two words: condensed milk. That ingredient is a game-changer and makes this pudding the best (and prettiest) I've ever had. 


(Yes, this is a cutting board with our faces. Thanks to Mom for the unique Christmas gift.)



(My living scraps picker upper. :) haha)








I went light on the decorations this year because I had a jam-filled weekend of adulting and getting stuff done that wasn't related to the party. Consequently, I kept the deco to a minimum and simple. 

Some action shots for the night....




I printed off a grid numbers betting game and we played commercial and football bingo. Each couple provided two $5 prizes. We had four winners from the grid game and two bingo winners. All the games were found on Pinterest, but next year I'm making my own. 

It was a successful night overall and we had a good time. We even had a baby to party with us and she was a gem. 






Oh hey, 2016.

Last year was the year of highs and lows. I won't get into details because that's not the purpose of my blogging intentions. However, just know that there couldn't have been more lower points and higher times. God couldn't have been more evident in most of the moves our lives took. It's strange to not be able to put a title on last year like it was a "bad" year or a "good" year. When it comes to time frames, I like to be definitive about my insight. I don't like grey area so I can come to terms with the good and the bad. I can't for 2015. Period. There was so much grey because of the extremes of the year. 

And then came 2016. I cannot believe it's here and last year is over. There is a sigh of relief around our home and a little excitement on what's to come this year. Fresh starts are so nerve-wracking and refreshing all wrapped up with a bow. I don't like surprises unless I know about them. And I only like good surprises. The planner in me knows that my plans for this year are not my own. They lie in the hands of the Father and I'm well-aware at this point, they sometimes don't match. With all of that knowledge...bring on 2016. 

On another and related note, I have a friend, Jarvis, who is one of those people with good ideas. We click because we both like to go after what we want and we get it done. Anyway, she told me she was doing a vision board for this upcoming year and I was feeling inspired. I'm never good with goals that are written down for some reason. I make them in my head and let ambition lead the way on fulfilling those goals. This year I wanted to put them in a visible spot for all to see. They are vague and not particularly measurable. Any time I've taught how to write goals in my classroom when I was a teacher, I told them to write them with a time frame, making goals attainable and measurable. My time frame is a year and I think they're all attainable. :)

So go out and get a poster board and make it something you want to look at for the upcoming year. Here's mine:

They are the typical goals and I couldn't be more basic, but they work for me and where I am in my life. Goals are customizable and made to fit the life they are going to fit into. Go write yours! 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Nissen Fundoplication

This is a baking and making blog. Period. With that said, I’m straying away from the usual content to post an informative entry. And I use the words “usual content” loosely since I haven’t posted in a million. 

I had to get a surgery on Tuesday to which I searched the internet looking for information. There were a couple of blogs that gave me some insight since my surgeon (who I love btw) was real conservative on details of post-op life and stuck to the description of “you’ll be uncomfortable”. I needed more information for my sanity so I thought I’d add to the content with my own description of my experience. I know that the only people who will read this whole post are individuals who are getting the procedure, know someone who is, or my mother. 

I’ll make the recap of how I got to surgery as short as possible. After a trip to Las Vegas nine months ago, I knew I had a problem with reflux. I felt like I was choking, broke out in hives, and felt like the 3 bites of food were literally stuck in my chest. It created quite the scene since I left the table crying and then we both left immediately. I’m sure it looked like the usual Vegas marital fight with us both not finishing our meals to leave with the crying spouse. I stayed with the feeling that the food was in my chest for 12 hours. While alarming and unusual for me (seeing as I NEVER had reflux problems in my life), I chalked it up to some freak incident and let it go…. until a week later when it happened again. The second incident started the nightmare process of trying to  diagnose this random reflux issue that was freaking me out and uncomfortable. The next 9 months were a combination of increasing uncomfortable symptoms, insurance confusion, and three switches of surgeons. I underwent two endoscopys and one manometry. The manometry was the most traumatizing thing I’ve been through. Basically, a nurse sticks a three foot long chord up your nose and down your esophagus while you’re awake. Of course, no one will tell you that while that chord is being embedded in your esophagus that you will begin to choke and you will think that nurse doesn’t know she’s choking you. Then after the horror, you sit there stunned from what just happened (and the nurse praises you for not pulling the whole thing out and just grabbing her arm), you have to swallow 10 teaspoons of water with the tube up your nose and down your body. I enjoyed the test that involved eating the radioactive eggs WAY more (that is not a joke). I switched to second person point of view during that description because it helps me cope with what happened. Ha. I kid… maybe.
So after thousands of dollars worth of testing (because no body cares if teachers have good insurance), I was cleared as a candidate for a Nissen Fundoplication in August. Since I’m in education, I had to wait until Christmas Break (which is now). So I put the idea of relief on the temporary back burner and enjoyed the symptoms until surgery time. I didn’t explain my symptoms earlier… basically, my food comes back up into my mouth between 8-10 times after each meal. So much of my meals come up that it chokes me if I’m talking or I have to chew it to get it back down. After testing, they found a hiatal hernia and enlarged lower sphincter in my esophagus which caused the issue. Here’s a pin I got from Pinterest that shows the issue and surgery in a nice nutshell.

This last Tuesday was the day of surgery. I had to wash my body with this super strong anti-bacterial soap (no complaints for this germ freak) the night before and morning of the procedure. No food or drink after midnight. We arrived at the hospital which I was quickly put in a room and put under a warm air blanket. Btw, if you’re looking for an invention to make money on, I think that is the next “big thing”. The nurse came in and did the pre-op last minute questioning and IV. I was wheeled back to surgery and woke up in the recovery room. My stomach was sore and my throat was dry. My surgeon went in through five incisions on my stomach. I took a picture, but will spare the internet with those visual details. I was so groggy from the anesthesia and morphine and it was only the morning at that time. We weren’t moved into a private room until late afternoon. It was awful. I started crying when they said they couldn’t get me in a room right away because all I wanted to do was sleep and it was so loud in the room with multiple patients in there. The old man next to me was snoring so loud and he was a curtain away. THANK GOD that I have a type A personality and packed my eye mask and ear plugs. I might get made fun of for my constant need of preparedness, however, in this case, it helped me tremendously (suckas). Smile with tongue out
When we got moved into a room, it was the meca of all rooms. A corner room was like the suite of the hospital and I feel like Nate and I deserved it. I could barely talk because I was so drugged up and exhausted that I mostly slept the rest of the night. My dad came by to visit and I tried to eat something. A popsicle and some broth was my first choice, completely forgetting that my dr. said ice and ice chips the rest of the day. BIG MISTAKE. I went to sleep and woke up from the nausea. I told Nate to quickly get me a bucket because I was sure I was going to throw up. And I started crying again because I was terrified of throwing up from the blogs that I read that said I wouldn’t be able to throw up after surgery and if I did, it would be so painful. The ensuing pain was freaking me out. Luckily, they got me some nausea meds and I went back to sleep without having to throw up. And I learned my lesson on eating super carefully through the rest of my recovery. I did remember thinking… the pain isn’t that bad today, I can do this….

Until the next day when the anesthesia started to wear off and I could feel my incisions more. Thank God for the hospital beds that electronically move you into different positions because moving my body using stomach muscles was the worst. I was still pretty sleepy and needed help getting out of the bed. By the time we got home, I was in a little more pain.
I’m on day five of recovery and am more mobile on my own. Yesterday I tried not to take pain meds so that I could have some of the side effects go away, but I needed them last night and have been on them again since then. I never had to pass the gas they used to bloat my stomach and that was one of the most painful effects of surgery that I read about before the procedure. Apparently, it’s pretty intense and painful and happens in the shoulders. I’ve had no appetite thanks to the pain meds and I’ve only eaten grits, jello, and juices. Oh and I had three bites of ice cream last night. I’ve slept on the couch downstairs since it’s more firm and lower to the ground (to get up off of). That location choice has been helpful, however, only sleeping on my back is making it difficult to sleep. I tried to turn on my side last night and it felt like my stomach was going to fall out of my incisions.

I’m so glad Nate was there through the whole thing because he was invaluable. He assisted with getting me out of bed so I didn’t have to call the nurse every five seconds. He helped me move period which was so helpful because every movement hurts and using stomach muscles is the worst after the surgery. If you are getting this procedure, bring someone super helpful and willing to be at your beck and call. I got lucky because my husband has both awesome qualities. My mother-in-law stayed at our home since we had to spend the night and our dogs aren’t good at feeding themselves.

Overall, it was nerve-wracking waiting for the surgery. I don’t have kids so it was definitely the biggest procedure I’ve had besides knee surgery. The pain has been no joke, but the meds have made it tolerable. I explained it like someone hit me a million times in the core with a ton of baseball bats. After I eat, I have severe pressure in my chest probably from my esophagus getting used to the new tightness. I’m being super conservative on what I eat because I’m so nervous of a throw up episode. I hope this information helps!

****Update: It has now been 9 days since my surgery and I must add some information to my original post above. 

First, if you are getting this surgery, invest in a wedge pillow. 

This is the pillow I used up until right after a week post-operation. It hurt too much to lay straight down with my head on a pillow. I felt like this gave me an in-between stage from the (amazing) hospital bed with slow transitions to the complete bed lay down. I bought this pillow originally when my reflux was the worst and then it was perfect for the surgery to fix the problem. 

My post operative appointment went uneventful since I'm healing just fine. However, my surgeon gave me the green light to eat what I want. Seeing as I went to him a week and a day after the operation, I think that I could've waited a little longer on the eat anything green light. I went out to eat yesterday for the first time since surgery and man, it was a learning curve. Eating since surgery has been such a big adjustment. I'm learning to eat slow. That sounds so elementary since we should be able to control our speed. However, you'd be surprised how quickly you eat when it's obvious that you need to slow down. The couple of times I've reverted to quick eating, I've regretted it because it's felt like I was choking. No fun. And I'm still staying away from bread because after a little bite, I was super uncomfortable. 

Not to get too personal, but I had no idea that pain killers killed bowel movements. Consequently, that has been a super uncomfortable aspect that I didn't read about before surgery. Whether it was not being able to go to the bathroom or dealing with the stomach cramping from laxatives, it's been a less than desirable effect from surgery. 

The nausea is no joke during the day most days and sitting too long is uncomfortable on my belly button incision. Those two symptoms will be interesting when I go  back to work tomorrow, two days before the two week mark of post-operation. My tape has now come off the incisions (slash, I pulled it off) and my stomach is looking a lot less eventful than before.  

***Update to the update
I am currently six weeks post surgery and I wanted to add some extra information that I think is important about the surgery. God bless my surgeon who was amazing, but like I said earlier in this post, he was very conservative about the surgery details. I couldn't wear pants with a zipper and button before this week. The pressure and pants movement by my belly button was agitating to that incision. 


My stomach (the insides) have not been the same since my surgery. I'm still nauseous and having issues with eating. I cannot eat as much as I could before and if I push that current limit, it's a nightmare of pressure in my esophagus. 

My incision where my esophagus is located is still very tender to the touch. I thought it wouldn't be sensitive by now, but it still is. Also, my incisions are still not 100% healed which is crazy to me since it's been so long at this point. I am finally able to sleep on my stomach which is a relief to this stomach sleeper. 

I "kind of" exercised this week (super low level) and my chest (where the incision on my esophagus is located) started hurting. I didn't go to the gym because I didn't feel ready yet. 

Basically, this surgery had an intense recovery that I didn't know was coming when I signed up to get it done. I would've done it regardless because of the symptoms I was having. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Half Marathon Completion

It’s finally slowed down around here for me to be able to update my blog about the half marathon I decided to run for a good cause on Nov. 17th! The post is long, fair warning. But when you’re describing an event/experience of a lifetime, it’s hard to short change the descriptions (and I still did!) Now that it’s over and I’m 2 weeks out, I can honestly say I’m glad I did it. I’ve been reading some blogs about running and it makes a wannabe “runner” like me feel more normal in my reactions at the race. Truth is, it’s mental for everyone. That might mean for 5 minutes during a practice run, it might mean the last 5 miles of a race, it might mean the mental battle of getting out the door… but no one can avoid the fact that running is major mind games.

(Pre-Race 5:30am, The donors who helped me reach my fundraising goal are on the green tape)

IMG_1182

Quick recap of the weekend: N and I were too tired to drive to our hotel on Friday night so we left Saturday morning. We went to my first race expo after we settled into our hotel. I wasn’t super impressed to be honest. I think I was even more let down because N was saying how he’s been to better (he grew up in a running family of sorts). While there, I did buy some Gu packs and my all time fave working out headbands, Sweaty Bands. I got the vanilla Gu and it tasted so much better last time I tried it (I ate it during the race the next day).

Saturday night we went to the Team In Training Inspiration Dinner. The dinner was informative about where the the funds that we raise through the organization are used and what they contribute to in the fight against blood cancers. It was astounding to hear the research that’s being completed as we speak. There have been some huge advancements in the medical approach towards blood cancers and it was neat to hear how Team In Training was directly related to those research endeavors and I somehow helped with that cause. The tear-jerker came when the main speaker took the stage. She was a mom of a small baby when he contracted a form of Leukemia. After hearing her story and thankfully hearing that he survived, she said one of the most impactful statements I’ve heard and it truly inspired me throughout my race. She said (in other words), “Tomorrow you’ll run a race that you chose  to run. When you get tired and exhausted and might even feel like you can’t go on, keep fighting. Keep fighting because those with cancer don’t get the choice to fight because they are fighting for their life.” It gives me goose bumps even now as I type because health is truly a gift that I feel blessed to have when so many don’t get that luxury.

The next morning was the race. I felt nervous as it all hit me….the distance I was going to run, how it was the longest race since a 10k I ran, how I didn’t train the best because of my insane work schedule, and the unknown of the mental battles that were to come in this distance that I stupidly googled the week before (btw, don’t do that).

Here’s my thought breakdown:
Miles 1-3: I LOVE running. I’m going to run a million half marathons in my life. I could run for.eve.r
Mile 4: Ok, there’s a some pain coming through the ol’ legs. Here it comes…
Mile 5- 6.75: Oh, there’s the ONE hill someone said was coming. Wait, that makes two hills. Um, why are there more than 3 hills right now! I hate __________! She said there was A dang hill, not FIVE. I hate Trinity University for torturing me with all these straight up/straight down hills. (But it sure is a pretty campus)
Mile 6.75- 7: Got my second wind. Let’s do this.
Mile 7.5- 10: My legs hurt the worst they’ve ever hurt   in   my    life.    My feet are cramping up terribly. How does that happen?! The back of my knees are hurting so so bad. Ok, just make it to 10 where N is meeting me! Just.keep.moving.
Mile 10: I see N!!! Hi hi hi. So good to see you. You’re not going to believe the amount of pain I’m in. Omg, you have water. Thank you thank you. So glad you’re walking this one out with me. Ok bye.
Mile 10-12: Why did they stop the water stations? That’s mean. I hate the race organizers right now. Just think…one 5k left. I can do this. I’ve done a million 5ks. People have cancer and are fighting, I can finish 3 miles. One foot in front of the other.  
Mile 13: There’s no shade. Gosh, it’s gotten so.freaking.hot. The marathoners have caught up to us and they look miserable. I could never run a marathon. Water. All I want is water.    water.   water.   water. This is the worst mile of my life. I see the finish line. I don’t care that there are race photogs everywhere, I’m not posing because I just need to finish.
Finish Line: THANK.YOU.JESUS. I.just.need.shade….and water.

With my finisher medals: one for the race, one for Team In Training

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Things I learned from my half marathon:
1. 30,000 runners is inspiring and claustrophobic at the start line. It can be a little unnerving when you think of Boston too. So don’t.  
2. If you’re running a race out of town, you’ll probably be a mile from your hotel to the starting line. A.k.a. that’s how much you’ll have to walk when you’re done with the race. For me, that was torture.
3. Some people are ignorant when it comes to choosing the appropriate clothes to run in. I saw a grandma’s butt cheeks and I saw a guy wearing a banana costume and he looked like he was going to pass out from the heat. Pick a clothes combo that’s comfortable and won’t be a nuisance. I’m so glad I didn’t have to worry about my clothes. (Besides TNT giving me the wrong sized dri-fit)… 
4. Running in a long-distance race is a symbol of humanity in society. The amount of volunteers cheering and supporting complete strangers is awe-inspiring. I will volunteer at a race in the near future because it made such a difference when I was being challenged. I smiled and was close to tears so many times throughout the race because of strangers' generosity overwhelming me. People connections get me every time.
5. People are creative with their encouraging signs. Some of my favorite poster messages: “Ryan Gosling is a the end of the race", “SEX: ok I just got your attention, now good luck”, “Worst Parade Ever”, “There are no losers, just winners who finish later”.
6. My germ freak nature was tested severely. Let’s see… you’ve got water people dipping their fingers in your drinking cups, I had a stranger (TNT Coach) offer me salt pills for my cramping and then proceed to get them out with his sweat soaked fingers-yum, and I was handed an ice cold rag that someone rung out with their hands and I wiped it on my face. Who am I?! Clearly, I was so grateful for all of these things that I chose to over look it. 13.1 miles will do that to even the best germ freak. Winking smile
7. I needed to wash my face better when we got back to the hotel. With the combination of sunscreen, sweat, and then aloe vera (from my face being burned) it was the perfect storm for my face to break out in this Rosacea nightmare for 4 days proceeding the race. Usually I’ll have a small amount, NEVER my whole face and it was embarrassing.
8. I could not move on Monday. Next time I run a half, I will take off the next day before I even go. The amount of lactic acid in my body was the worst ever, and that includes when I played college volleyball and survived multiple 2-a-days. Now, this for sure has to do with my shotty training the months proceeding the race (not the first 3 months of training because I rocked it then).
9. I ran alone the whole race and it was a struggle, but I surprised myself. I had positive self-talk the entire time I was in pain (which was 3/4 of the race). I teach this method to my athletes on a daily basis. I was glad that when it came down to it, I had to use the method to get through the race. I felt so strong mentally when I was done because I got myself through that painful 3+ hours of challenge by myself (in terms of not having a partner running next to me, this is not a discredit to my awesome/supportive husband and the strangers who truly made a difference). When I did run/walk with N, I noticed having him there was easier for me (duh) to verbalize my complaints. And when I said them out loud, it just made them heavier. I wonder if it’s easier for me to run these races by myself because then I can only rely on my mind to get through the tough times. Interesting perspective…
10. The moment I crossed the line I thought, “I will never run that again.” That thought-process sunk in until Tuesday. When Tuesday hit, it started sinking in that I ran a half. By Wednesday, when the only thing left was the issue on my face, I was ready to sign up for another one. I am not proud of my time by any means and the competitor in me (the one who looks like a crazy who gets too heated during innocent board games) wants to see what I’m capable with more free time to train harder. It’s been an interesting process to go through to say the least. Today, I’m still waiting it out to see if I want to commit to the training.
11. My husband is one of the most supportive people I know. I know some people don’t like to read mushy gushy comments about spouses (I guess I’m talking about myself here as I roll my eyes at annoying Facebook posts from people gushing about their significant others Winking smile), but I can’t not recognize his HUGE part in me crossing the finish line. He catered to my every negative/nervous thought leading up to the actual event. He was supportive by spending his first weekend open after a long and grueling football season coming out of town to see me race. And I could.not.have.done.this.race.without.him.there. Period. He sent me encouraging text messages (along with other friends and family, thanks guys!) the whole race, was so positive when I saw him twice on the course, and was at my beck and call when I was done. He even rubbed my sweaty feet when I crashed onto the bed when we finally got back to the hotel (and after my long training runs too). He made sure I stayed hydrated before and after the race. And my favorite moments post race was anytime he looked genuinely proud of me or stated it more than once. Best felling ever. Anyway, he needed a public shout out because I am blessed beyond measure to call him mine.

At the finish line and the inspiration dinner

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12. My honor patient, Ben (brother-in-law), was a great inspiration throughout the race. I thought of cancer survivors as a whole, but it was even more inspiring that I could tell myself, “If Ben could go through chemo, I can do this”. It was too easy to use him as inspiration and run in his honor.

Overall, it was a good experience. It’s funny how something so challenging and difficult can ever be described with the adjective good. But truth is, running long distances like that truly does get to your core of who you are and how strong you can be. I think anyone running a half for the 1st time can attest to the fact that you question if you really have it in you once it comes down to race day. A barrage of thoughts can be overwhelming when you start to really analyze what you’re about to do. And then once it’s over, and you’ve surprised yourself (and maybe others around you), you have a new level of invincibility that starts with the sentence, “If I can finish 13.1 miles, then I can do _________”.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11-13

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Energy is for the birds.

I survived the first week of season. It's getting easier and easier with the years that come. It's been a hectic week where I've spent more time off the court than on, but the on-the-court moments have reminded me why I keep coming back for more. Practices were smooth, my players looked calm, and the talent gives me goosebumps. There were hiccups of course, but that's the name of the coaching game: flexibility. The more I remind myself of that, the more calm I tend to be. I'm glad to get to this second week where things start to "slow down" (quotation marks are necessary because in the real world, it's not slow and school starting is coming sooner than later). I'm just glad to spend more energy on the court aspect of my job.

Speaking of energy, I had a player on my club team last season who made these no no-bake energy balls. I always wanted to try them, but knowing she made them with her hands freaked out the severe inner germ freak in me (and if you know me, this isn't surprising).

I just made some and had a taste... delish. Can't wait to use them for energy this week.

Ingredients
·         1 cup (dry) oatmeal (old-fashioned oats)
·         1 cup toasted coconut flakes
·         1/2 cup chocolate chips
·         1/2 cup peanut butter
·         1/2 cup ground flax seed
·         1/3 cup honey
·         1 tsp. vanilla
Method:
Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed.  Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like.  (Mine were about 1″ in diameter.)  Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Makes about 20-25 balls.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Serene Sundays.

I have a cool story...My husband has been out of town since last week with one day home. I've  missed  him.  He was in Baltimore because he gave 2 liters of bone marrow to his brother. So cool. I wish so bad I could've been there, but work did not permit that. So he flew up there and met his mother (thank God she was there!) and gave a record-breaking amount of marrow. Now we wait for the next 30 days to see if Ben's body will accept it with the goal of keeping that dang Leukemia gone for good! So keep praying for God's providence to that plan. He got home an hour ago and has been sleeping since. He's exhausted and he starts back at work for football tomorrow. I was reminded why I would never make it in the medical field when I had to bandage where they took the marrow from (his lower back). It was bruised and the punctures were so big that I felt myself feeling nauseous. I'll stick with teaching. :)

While he was asleep, I'd thought I'd make and bake. I mean, starting tomorrow, I will face the 2013 volleyball season. To those who aren't high school coaches, there is always that lack of understanding that brings the look of, "So what?". But basically, we're (other Tx vball head coaches) all about to face a stressful and rewarding 3 months....long practices, goose-bump wins, heart-wrenching losses, lesson learning (by athlete and coach), patience tests, reminders of the good in humanity, the witnessing of teenage harrowing acts of picking others up, teamwork, yelling, parent complaints, parent praises, frustrated players, content players, laughable moments of being reminded that being a coach is all about flexibility, emails, phone calls, ordering, tournaments, hoarse voices, happy hearts, heavy hearts, sore feet, sore arms, good drills, drills that die, the loss of 10 lbs that comes with the chaos, helpful co-workers and more.. and then leading into the new school year where teaching in our classrooms will be the "other" part of our jobs (which brings a whole list of other factors we'll face...good and bad). Either way, it's a career that I'm so grateful to have. I could not be doing anything else with my life and through the challenges that it often brings, I'm grateful to God for choosing me to be in my position. And on this Sunday I have a need for serenity on the eve of the unknowns of what this season will bring. Oh and the need for a good sturdy prayer before I go to sleep for God to prepare me for what's to come...which is why I call this serenity..for now. :)

Ok so I got off on a tangent. This is definitely the time of year where reflection is rampant through my busy mind. So I made and baked today because as usual it brings a strange sense of peace. Maybe because I have full control over what's going on in the kitchen when I'm making food. Although, the countess recipes gone wrong or "interesting" ways some of my intentions of turned out show quite the opposite; I can't run from the fact that we are truly never in control. :) So I made muffins, streusal blueberry and banana nut, for my coaches/student assistants tomorrow morning...


Then I made this pasta salad that I kind of thought of at the last minute. It's not ground breaking so I'm sure someone else has made something similar before.
Ingredients:
Whole Wheat Spiral Noodles
Spinach
Cherry Tomatoes
Salt/Pepper
Ground Mustard
Basil
Parmesan Cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinaigrette
Directions
1. Boil water and then put noodles in. Cook for 10 mins
2. Saute spinach and cheery tomatoes (cut in halves) in olive oil (I just poured for 2 seconds, no measuring)
3. After noodles are done and drained, stick in bowl with spinach/tomatoes... mix
4. Mix in balsamic vinaigrette until desired flavor. I poured dressing into noodle mix twice to achieve the faint taste of the flavor.
5. Then add seasonings below.
6. Last, sprinkle Parmesan cheese and mix. Repeat.
 

Note to self: don't take pictures when it's steaming hot.

Bon Appetite'! And I'll be back after season. Maybe if I get bored on a weekend after tournament season, I'll be searching for the serenity that I feel today. Wait, that's probably a gaurantee... :)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Cool July

I’m not going to say it. I’m not going to mention how I really did plan on posting more these past couple of months. I’m not going to state what I usually do about my intentions to create more than I do now.

But.I.can’t.help.it. I want to blog more, create more, make more. SO here I am, once again, saying that I kept meaning to post some things I’ve done on here since the summer began and didn’t get around to it.

For starters, the running has been steady. I’m still an ex-volleyball player who’s knees are still reeling from the constant jumping from the never-ending years of playing. But, hey, I’ve been consistent and it’s easier to run when you have a cause. I would’ve quit a long time ago if I didn’t have a purpose. Ha! Here’s a pic from one of my long runs… so beautiful.

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We’ve also been hosting some more this summer. I truly love it and I get that from my mom. I grew up watching her gift of hosting and it’s definitely engrained in me. This upcoming week we already have dinners planned on two separate nights. And we hosted my mother-in-law, her boyfriend, my aunt/uncle-in-law, and cousin-in-law for a big lunch. My mother-in-law is gluten-free now so all the recipes (except the bread) is safe for anyone else who has the same eating lifestyle!  Smile  Here was the spread…with my wedding china that makes my heart sing at the sight of it. (The rolls were still baking. Timing is the part of hosting I’m still trying to master Winking smile).

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I made chicken (yes, this vegetarian touched, dipped, and arranged the raw chicken breasts. I’m bragging because that’s a big deal for me. And who cares if you brag about touching chicken? Winking smile) that I covered in bread crumbs and Italian seasoning. My wonderful/helpful husband cooked them on the stove. Took forever, but apparently they turned out good (I was told, obvi).

Next, I made the popular Watergate salad. My stepmom makes this every holiday and I love it. I finally got the recipe from her. It does not look appetizing at all because the green color is interesting for a food color. However, it’s so good that I always go back for more. Here’s a picture after step two of the recipe…

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The recipe is SO simple. You can find it here.

Next, I made a Pinterest recipe for rolls! I always feel accomplished when I get a recipe right from that dang website. I love the fail pictures like this because I relate to this from so many things I’ve tried. Hahaha.

Hilarious Pinterest Fails - Likes

Anyway, they didn’t look  a n y t h i n g  like the picture on the website, but the taste was UNBELIEVABLE. I just couldn’t get them smoothed out like the picture below. But either way, you must make these. They’re supposed to look like this:

7upbiscuit2

Last, I made my grandmother-in-laws family recipe of corn pudding. I can’t give the recipe because it’s a family one, but there are so many varieties online. This one looks good.

Henry loves having visitors and it always wears him out. I came in the bedroom to see him exhausted on our bed. He’s real cute.

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The caption, “Mom, leave me alone. I’m napping". Yah, we’re “those” people who give our dog a voice and conversations. Deal.