Monday, January 31, 2011

Bowl = Comfort

When I'm not feeling well, I crave soup... just thinking about a bowl of steamy goodness makes me feel better. I've had an itchy throat for a few days, and this morning it was accompanied by achiness and a runny nose. Blech.

As I was puttering around the kitchen this morning, I started thinking about the single lonely salmon fillet I unearthed in the freezer this weekend, and then the idea of salmon soup came to mind. Mmmmmm. I cooked up some brown rice (and this way I have some ready-made for later this week - win win!) and threw the salmon under the broiler. I sliced up a couple carrots and a green onion, then simmered them in some broth (I keep Wyler's sodium free chicken bouillon in my cupboard for occasions such as this). A few shakes of fish sauce, some garlic & black pepper, and yesterday's peas finished things off.

I'm feeling better already! And yes, Mom, I'm taking Vitamin C, too :)

Friday, January 28, 2011


Sorry if I disturbed anyone with my hootin' and hollerin' this morning, but I'm definitely a happy girl.

Behold the reason :)

We've been using a hand-me-down and table and chairs our entire married life. To be fair, we did upgrade to a better "new-to-us" table approximately 9 years ago, along with white folding chairs from Sam's Club (which we'd planned to use for approximately 6 months). I have really wanted to purchase something, but we'd been unable to find something we both liked that was in our budget. Why is simple, decently-made furniture so difficult to find?

Anyway, Monday afternoon my Bible study finished up a bit early and I had an extra 15 minutes before I needed to pick up the kids, so I decided to swing by the furniture store that had been advertising super-duper closeout deals. I immediately dismissed most of their offerings due to heavy carvings, inlaid stones and upholstered seats. But then I saw this little number back in the corner. I liked the style, so I flipped over a chair to investigate the construction. Hmmm... passed that test, too. I took the salesman's card and texted hubby the basic info.

The store closed at 6 pm that night (and of course the extra % off promo happened to be ending that day, too) but hubby made it across the border in a timely fashion and we arrived at the store by 5:30. He actually liked the style of the set, so started analyzing the the structure. The look on the salesman's face was priceless! Anyway, after much sliding, flipping, and poking he pronounced it good and we plunked down the dough. It was delivered this morning, and I can't walk by it without giving it a loving pat :) It's made of pine, and stained dark. It has 3 leaves (which all store inside) and it can be expanded to 11 feet. Wow. We also got 8 chairs, so we are ready for visitors!

Behind the table is a dresser that's part of our bedroom set. We'd been using it in the front family/sitting area, but I rearranged everything last weekend and it's now being used as a sideboard. Obviously it doesn't exactly match the table, but I couldn't care less. I'm just so happy to have this space updated a bit! Oh, and just in case you were wondering, the old table is now residing in the craft space, so the kids and I have a spot to spread out and play, without worrying about shoving everything to the side to eat dinner.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Sometimes things don't go exactly according to plan -- and sometimes that's a good thing. Our daughter turned 6 earlier this month, and we had her birthday party yesterday. We invited all the girls from her class, but no one RSVP'd (not unusual down here). Anyway, I planned a fun afternoon of girliness, games, and snacks knowing that her 2 good friends were coming, and figuring that at least a couple more from her class would show up. Well, I was wrong - it was just the three little princesses... and a fabulous time was had by all!

First stop was the makeup station, mostly consisting of sparkles for the eyes and cheeks, but also including bright lipstick so they could all kiss the frog :) We painted princess sun-catchers, had a Royal Ball Freeze Dance, decorated tiaras, colored custom castles, pitched pennies, snacked, and laughed. I don't know who had more fun - the girls or the moms! And what was originally going to be a 2 hour party turned into an impromptu BBQ (with additional family members invited over) going well into the evening. Truly, it was a delightful day.

Funny side story: the junior ROTC was conducting a canned food drive in our neighborhood, and I answered the knock on the door without stopping to consider how I appeared. The poor young man in uniform probably be telling his friends about the crazy lady who was wearing 2 crowns, a pile of necklaces, and plastic gems stuck on her cheeks :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Funny

I'm not normally a big Will Ferrell fan, but this is hilarious!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kitchen Update

First off, here is the "before" of our main dish cabinet. Rather sad, isn't it? I hate our chipped plates (that we've had for about 13 years), and the top shelf is just a strange jumble o' stuff.And here it is now! Now I must admit that I spent some money - I used gift cards I received for Christmas to buy some simple white stoneware (and yes, it was on sale :) I now have a sizable stack of items for the thrift shop, which will probably increase even more before I take it in next week. I know I'll be adding more stuff to the top shelf, but am just excited to see progress. You may notice the strange little color strips sitting on the salad plates. As I was pulling things out and wiping down the shelves, I was once again struck with just how plain the cabinets are. We are planning a fairly extensive kitchen/dining area reno in 2-3 years, but I'd like to spice it up a bit in the meantime. I've already pulled down the grape wallpaper border and repainted the walls (which were a lovely shade of cardboard - bleh!) I'm seriously considering painting the inside of the cabinets now - it would only take a quart of paint to infuse some color; I know it's not something most people would ever see, but I spend a lot of time in this space and it would make me happy!Thoughts? Has anyone actually done this? Do you think I'm insane? Should I go with gem turquoise or bed of roses? Talk to me!

Monday, January 3, 2011

It's a new year...

Can you believe that it's 2011?! Is it just me, or does it seem that the Y2K scare was just a few months ago? And it's official - I'm getting old and am talking about how the years just fly by :)

In other news, we drove out to Arizona for Christmas to visit family, and are back home safe and sound. Our kids have definitely gotten used to long car trips, and are actually pretty good li'l travelers. The driving itself was uneventful, and we made some lovely memories during our visit. Unfortunately there was some sickness that threw a wrench into some of our plans, but we all survived... The cool picture is from an exhibit at the Arizona Science Center (yes, that really is me!). VERY cool place, and I would recommend it whole-heartedly if you happen to have children and a day to spare in the Phoenix area. We also spent an afternoon at Bounce U, did a bit of baking (these cookies are tasty and relatively healthy!), laughed about our Wii Fit ages, ripped open gifts, and the kids logged mucho miles on scooters, bikes & skateboards. Hoping to upload some pics later this week, but am not promising anything. :)

So there's a new calendar on the wall, and I have a fresh resolve to do/be better. When I broke the 25 pounds lost mark, my "reward" was this bracelet with the word persevere. You see, I often start new projects, but then the enthusiasm fades and the excuses pile up. I vow to organize my entire kitchen, and give up after 2 drawers. I faithfully read my Bible for a few weeks, but then miss a couple days and somehow my quiet time becomes nothing more than reading a single verse. I long to do projects with our children, but am constantly trying to "catch up" on household stuff rather than making time for what's truly important. One of my favorite verses, and one I frequently quote to others is Romans 12:12 - Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Or, as our pastor had shared in a message several months ago, "We gotta pray, praise, and persevere!" Those are the three words that I stamped onto the cover of my fitness journal, and they've served as a constant reminder. Focus on my Savior, keep talking with Him, count my blessings, and continue down the path that he has for me - even if there are days when I only make it an inch. I cannot stand on the sidelines, but need to run the race. Obviously, there are tons of areas in which I can improve, but for now I'm focusing on 2: my health and the house. Part 1: I've been making tracking food and the pounds are coming off - this year, I'll continue with that but want to get into a consistent exercise routine. January goal is to log 30 min 3x / wk with Wii Fit. Part 2: I know I've moaned a lot about the excess stuff in our home, and I'm committing to make it through the kitchen this month. Yes, every drawer and cupboard this time! Maintaining it will be easier as I pare down, too. I will do my best to post updates and thoughts along the journey...

As I was pondering all of this over the weekend, I couldn't help but laugh at the irony of this pile on my kitchen table. No, I did not arrange this - it's simply the result of unpacking the car. Proof of my good intentions and faulty execution! I didn't take a super wide shot, because I was afraid that the book would be lost entirely amongst the snacks, medicine bottle, tools, etc. And then this morning I literally LOL'd as I browsed google reader while sipping my coffee - I'm always inspired by A Holy Experience, and today's post was no exception - but what a difference in the way this same book was presented! (The author of the book also runs Simple Mom, which is another fount of encouragement in my reader that didn't get cut in my recent blog purge)

So here's to a better year. So thankful that I'm not depending on my own strength!!

For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not [a]adjusted and [b]adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to [c]a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently
I Corinthians 10:13, Amplified