Thursday, January 26, 2012


I wasn't planning on going to the eye doctor today. Rain was coming down in sheets, and--oh, that's right--my eyes were in perfect condition. Until 4 a.m., that is. When I woke up to feed the boy, my eye was stinging every time I blinked, like I had a scratched eyelid or a foreign object in my eye. After trying every trick in the book (rinsing with water, swabbing with a Q-Tip, and pulling my top lid over my bottom lid), I was still left with a very painful eye that left me weepy and my nose running.

So, I did something I hate to do: I went to the doctor. Little did I know that my eyelid has a ton of huge bumps all over it and I have an allergic reaction to something that's caused an eye infection. Who knew? The doctor said that you can get infections like this from touching pretty much anything, so there's no telling what caused this, but I'm on steroids now and should feel some relief in the next few days. Until then, the CVS folks know me by name by now (thank you, Moo, for taking all my nutrients and antibodies), and I'll be donning glasses, which makes people look more intelligent, no?

At least I wasn't in a tornado this week. No room to complain. But I guess I just did. Oops. Still working on that New Year's resolution, apparently.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Great Expectations

Before having Moo, I thought I'd have gobs of time during my maternity leave to accomplish GREAT THINGS, to check off some long-term to-do's, and did I mention accomplish things? That's right, I did. Because I love to accomplish. Oh, how motherhood is redefining that word! Throw in a child who only naps 45 minutes at a time during the day (I'm not going to complain too much, though, because he sleeps 8 hours at a time at night!) and there's just not as much time to accomplish as I anticipated. Probably good for this productivity addict.

Today's project was something I've been wanting to try for a while but could never get organized enough to do it: making a dinner menu next month. Woah. A friend of mine used to do this for all three meals a day and I was always amazed that she could think ahead far enough to plan meals for A MONTH. Woah again. So, one of my long-term to-do's was to try this monthly meal calendar and after spending little bits of time on it all day long, I finally finished! Check! (One of my greatest loves: checking items off a list. Yes, I'm a first born.)

Basically, I sat down with my recipe binder and started filling in blanks on a calendar that I printed, making sure to write in pencil in case I changed my mind. Here were my parameters:

  • No cooking on Sundays
  • Once a week: meatless meal
  • At least once a week: fish
  • Once a week: leftover day or freezer/crockpot meal
  • Every week: varying mexican, Italian, and kinds of meats so that I didn't have two beef dishes back to back, for example
  • As much as possible, choosing recipes that would use common ingredients so I don't waste food (Example: a bag of apples could be used on Monday night's chicken salad on greens and Tuesday night's pork chops and applesauce.)
I'm pretty excited about it. It should make creating my grocery list easier, and, while I'm sure I won't stick to every single meal, it's nice to have a plan and have items on hand. We'll see how it goes. For now, it looks all expectant and promising hanging on the fridge. :) 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A few winter recipes...

The most helpful thing people did for me when I had Moo was bring me meals for weeks after he was born. Absolutely incredible. It was so nice not to have to spend any energy thinking about or making dinner, and we loved having people come to our home on a regular basis. However, after six weeks of not cooking, this home chef was ready to get back to creating! So, I've been cooking lots lately. Well, I've been crockpotting. (Not a word, you say? Oh, but it is.) And does the period go inside or outside the parentheses? This English teacher forgets the rule, and it's okay, right, because I have three more weeks before I return to the world of grammatical correctness. I digress.

Back to the recipes. Here are a few I've made recently that are oh-so-easy AND oh-so-delicious. Love that combo, don't you?

Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo (Cooking Light)
My two cents: this dish is delicious (so delicious that I made it two weekends in a row), but it's even better with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on top.

Herb Biscuits (Real Simple)
My two cents: this recipe calls for a ridiculous amount of butter. Just embrace that fact because the result is mouth-wateringly wonderful. Ever had Bojangles biscuits? It's like that with herbs. Yum! Next time, though, I think I'll try it with half the butter and see what happens. Also, this made 14 rolls for me instead of 12. Will definitely make these again!

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice (
My two cents: this recipe will make you want to lick the air in your house all day because every room will smell like cajun deliciousness. Also, I halved the red pepper, which gave it just the right amount of kick. My theory: you can always add more kick, but you can't usually take the kick out once it's in. 

Crockpot Creamy Potato Soup (compliments of my dear friend, Sarah)

5-7 potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 can cream of chicken soup
Chicken broth (about 32 oz--you could use vegetable broth instead if you wanted)
1 carrot, diced (I added a little more)
1 celery stalk, diced (I added a little more)
1/2 onion, diced
salt & pepper to taste (I omitted salt and put about a teaspoon of fresh ground pepper in)
1 (8 oz.) block of cream cheese, cut into chunks (I used fat free, but any kind is fine)
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Bacon bits (optional)

Combine all ingredients except cream cheese in crockpot. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours. During the last hour, add the cream cheese. Also, smash some of the potatoes on the side of the pot, making the soup thicker (I used an immersion blender instead so that it was lightly pureed, which I like, leaving a few potato chunks--also a great way to sneak in veggies because you can't really see the chunks of carrots and celery once it's pureed). Serve after cream cheese is melted. Top with cheese & bacon. 

Makes 8 servings

I vouch for the yumminess of all four of these recipes; they're the kind of meals that make you actually look forward to leftovers! Enjoy!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


I'm not one of those people who gets a pedicure on a regular basis...or one of those people who call it a "pedi," for that matter. For one, I can't afford it, and for another, I'm just not that girly. BUT every once in a while, I do love (and I mean love) a pedicure. And until this past week, I'm pretty sure I've never had a pedicure in the winter because, let's be honest: who really sees your feet in the winter anyway?

Having seen my swollen, pregnant ankles cankles several months ago, my friend Christen was so sweet to give me the gift of a pedicure for Christmas, now that I have my ankles back. So, earlier this week, we began 2012 with a wintertime pedicure, and it was a gift in more than one way.

First, I was able to leave Moo with the hubs and have some time to myself where I didn't have to be "on." I wasn't listening for noise on a monitor or watching the clock to see if it was time for the next feeding. I was able to be fully present in a moment instead of somewhat distracted. *Sigh* Second, I got to spend quality time (my love language!) with a dear friend. I was also able to have my feet and legs massaged, which never gets old; my feet felt like they had lost years when I left! Finally, I've discovered that a wintertime pedicure is the gift that keeps on giving. Every night when I take off my wool socks to hop in the shower, I forget that I have beautiful toes and it makes me smile. After feeling so utilitarian lately with my body, it's nice to feel pretty and to feel like a woman (am I right, Shania?). 

So, even if you end up wearing flipflops on a 30-degree day, the wintertime pedicure is the way to go. It's going to need to be an annual event for Christen and me. Or at least for me. What do you do in winter to lasso a little bit of happy? 

Sunday, January 1, 2012


To figure out again.

Each year, we begin with resolutions thinking we have an answer for making life better--and there's nothing wrong with that. I'll be making resolutions again this year, too. But here's the thing about resolutions: they have to be re-done each year (if not before) because we're ever and always in the process of becoming. So, last year, I made my 30 before 30 list, and it has served as a great motivator for me, but this year, I'm in another place. I need something different. I need to re-solve this life of mine.

So, this year I have ONE resolution: look to the good. Not look for the good, which implies that it may or may not be found, but look to the good, because it's there--always--in some way. 

God has sense of humor, of course. Today, as I'm typing this, my child has decided not to nap. As in not at all since sometime this morning. He's miserable but won't sleep so it's been a looooong day for all of us. As in I'm completely at the end of myself (and it's taken me the entire to day finish this post). On top of that, I have a few other personal struggles going on and it's just so dang easy to complain. To be angry. To be frustrated. To feel overwhelmed. To wish today could just end and tomorrow would be guaranteed to be better.

in the midst of all the inconvenience, disappointment, frustration, and heartache, 
there is GOOD.
 I have a healthy child. 
He has been happy most of the day. 
Phil has been home all day and has been a huge help. 
We have a warm house on a cold night. 
You get the picture. 

There's reason to be grateful and that's where I need to be--not denying the difficulty of the moment or day or season, but not dwelling there either. This is my re-solving, my becoming.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Phil. 4:8)