Friday, August 29, 2008

Thanks, Michelle!

Precious Michelle over at Life With Three gave me this award. I will make my picks in the next day or so (hopefully this afternoon, but it's a ridiculously busy weekend here; might as well be called Lost Myself in the Madness)!

Today I work, have to dash to the mall when Music Man gets home to buy a present for the bridal shower tomorrow morning, then he's taking the older two to the football game tonight.

Tomorow morning, the Firecracker Princess has her first organized sports meeting at 9, bridal shower at 10:30, then I need to squeeze in five hours of work and at least an hour's workout.

Sunday I need to work early, then head to church, stay until 2:30 for a children's ministry meeting, head home for an hour, then get to step at 4:30, get home and do dinner and some family time, and then it's time for bed.

And don't even get me started on Monday...

But thanks so much Michelle, you're a doll and a half!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Here's Some Real Poetry

I have been looking for this poem for some time; it's been my favorite since high school and I found it again in something called a trip book. See, when you're in marching band and you take a five hour bus trip after school and rehearsal that night, you have to do something to stay sane. So our Fearless Leader at the time told us about a book, comprised of pages the band kids submitted. Some of them were serious, some of them were funny, and some were just strange (anyone remember Michael's tribute to his right testicle? Sigh), but it was interesting.

Anyhow, so this edition of the trip book was from my junior year, and Brooke, one of my clarinet players, submitted this poem. I don't know where she read it, though I know that her mom is an English teacher, so I'm not surprised. I've loved it since then, and it's still my favorite!

Heart's Desire
Julia C.R. Dorr

"God give you your heart's desire
Whatever it be", she said
And down the gallery's shining length
Like a thing of light sped

Her face was a stranger's face
Her name I shall never know]
But softly her benediction fell
As the night winds breathing low

Who knoweth the heart's desire?
Its innermost secret dream?
Its holiest shrine where the alter lights
Forever and ever gleam?

Who guesseth the heart's desire?
Ah, neither you nor I
It hideth away in a darkling space
From the gaze of the passer-by

Who giveth the heart's desire
For the child who cries for the moon
Or the Samite robe o the Holy Grail
To the soul that was born too soon?

Who giveth the heart's desire
To the lover whose love lies dead?
Or the priest who faces the silence
With the Living Word unsaid?

Who giveth the heart's desire
To the poet with harp unstrung
When he dropped his trembling lyre
With his noblest song unsung?

This poem is fan-flipping-tastic. Isn't it funny how God made my favorite poem something that speaks of His truth, even when I wasn't a believer? He thinks He's hilarious, I tell you!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Who Doesn't Love to Compare?

So I get this periodic email from facebook that lets me know how I rank among my friends, my "strengths and weaknesses", as it were. Do you really want to know where I stack up? Actually, heck, anything has to be better than the flogging I took on! I'll spare you the bottom bunch, but essentially people think I'm best at:

1st would i rather take shopping (Hit me up whenever, I LOVE to shop)

1st happier person (Really? Did you not read my post about having had nervous breakdowns?! That's plural!)

1st rather get stuck in handcuffs with (this is my personal favorite; demonstrations here we come!)

1st more useful (I do try to be helpful)

1st more loyal (Yep, that's me)

1st more generous (Erm, I try, but I don't find myself to be generous naturally)

1st more punctual (Uhm yes. Tardiness drives me nuts, and ESPECIALLY nuts if it's me that is tardy)

1st studies harder (A geek, you say?)

1st more reliable (Again, I do try)

1st harder worker (Aww shucks, this is what I'd like to be known for)

1st more organized (You haven't seen my housekeeping if you voted me more organized!)

1st more athletic (don't confuse my gym time with athleticism, I'm still sorta awkward)

1st rather travel with (Name the time and the place!)

1st better friend (Thanks. Mwah!)

1st am I more jealous of (Please don't be jealous of me; I'll get a complex, but I do have a pretty rad life with these little ones around.)

I score lowest in "can drink more", which is good, because I don't drink alcohol. But I could drink you under the table if it were water, since I'm getting about a gallon a day. I also score low on "most likely to skip class". You know me so well!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuesday poetry

Tonight my Pilates instructor decided to speak over me that I should write something other than just this blog. I'm not a skilled writer, though I won a couple of poetry contests in high school. But really, who didn't? Anyhow, so what the heck. I'll try just about anything once or twice. I know the work is terrible, please be gentle. It takes just a little bit of courage to do this publicly!


There are few things I know that are fixed, flat, sure
but of those I do

I know that I am the chiefest of sinners
My veniality developing, enveloping
At sharp angles and intersecting planes
The heavy sigh of flesh pleasing flesh
I rail against the miry dregs of self

I know that mothering is where I go to die
The solid sureness of those saintly bones
Hushed prayers and hallowed benedictions
Tip of toe, tip of toe
Treading lightly to kiss a twilight brow

I know the whisper and hum of a taciturn day
Glory in the halcyon dreams
Of a mind left unto itself
Careful around the bend, there's danger in this parish
A wicked, quickening fantastaque

I know the want of wont
Snapshots of longing to touch gestalt
Echoes of hunger slip through my veins
The orb of fiery firmament unrealized
A sojourn in a gritty hostility
I coax certainties from the despair

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my Window...It's still dark and quiet, with blue early-morning light through the trees in the back. The rain should be with us for some time, and that's wonderful.

I am thinking...I need to get to work, it's nearing 7:00

I am thankful for...the Lord reminding me that "nothing will suffer" when I make time for Him instead of what I think I need to be doing.

From the kitchen...we are making bread to share with my wonderful Pilates instructor.

I am (smaller) jeans and a t-shirt

I am reading...Plan B by Anne LaMott

I am hoping...To get back into the discipline of my work, and ensure that I'm 2/3 done before the kids wake in the morning.

I am hearing...crickets humming their night-morning tune, Nicodemus hopping off the sofa to join the other cats for breakfast.

I am creating...peace in my spirit where conviction his resided of late.

Around the house...I need to mop and bake.

One of my favorite sweet, fat infant, and how everyone fights over who gets to hang out with my kids at children's church.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...classes at the gym, small group, and an interesting (pray for me, and for the bride) bridal shower this weekend.

A picture thought I am sharing with you: Isn't this a cool picture? Not mine, but it's here to tell you that my in-laws said if we want to buy one new garage door (one's been broken for almost two years), they'll buy the other. We're getting absolutely silent Chamberlain Elites, YAY!!!

Now go see Peggy!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fitness DVD Reviews:

Since earning a living takes the Music Man away from home for 80% of the year and therefore renders me gymless (sigh) a couple of days a week, I decided to pick up a couple of fitness DVDs. Here's a review of the four that I've used:

Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred:
I found level 1 to be only moderately challenging. Mind you, I'm used to hour long cardio sessions at the gym, so 20 minutes felt like nothing. Jillian uses a 3-2-1 system, where you do strength for 3 minutes, cardio for 2, and abs for one. You only need a mat and some hand weights for this DVD, which is a plus.

Level two is much more challenging, and you get into moves that require some coordination. Plank jacks are simple enough, but the move where you're in plank and then jump your feet up to your hands? Killer. Did I mention that you do that for 2 thirty-second intervals?

I haven't tried level 3 yet, choosing instead to levels 1 and 2 together for a 40 minute workout yesterday. More to come.

Jackie Warner's Workout:
Overall not bad. I found the upper body to be quite easy; I only felt like I was working in the shoulder portion. Lower body is a bit more of a challenge, but not by much. However, buy this DVD for the core workout. I do Pilates at least two hours per week, and this kicked my tail. I loved that it was work for me, because there isn't much that challenges my core anymore (thanks to Pam, my wonderful instructor)!

Intermediate Pilates with Ana Caban:

I've owned this for years, and it's actually how I got into Pilates in the first place. Right after the Look Alike was born, this was a real challenge, and I think it's a good primer for anyone who is new to Pilates. Ana cues well, and there's enough repetition to feel challenged but successful. I do this on non-class days sometimes, but it's much slower than the pace of my class at the gym.

The New York City Ballet Workout:

The good news is that this DVD has loads and loads of good stretches. The bad news is that they're static stretches, so I'd say to only do this after you're warm. After stretching they move on to basic positions, demi-plies, tandue, battement, and small jumps. Most of this is doable. The cuing is terrible, but the voice over is soothing, and the whole thing is beautifully shot. It's quite long at an hour, and great for developing flexibility.

So there you have it, the DVDs I'm using to supplement my meager 7 hours a week at the gym right now. In combination, I feel confident that they'll keep my level of fitness high until I can take all of the kids with me!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Why didn't anyone tell me?

Seriously? Because I'm a leeeeeeeetle upset with all of you who knew. About Nutella.

Today is terrible Tuesday, the hardest, longest day of the week. The day where the Music Man doesn't get home until the kiddos are in bed, and one of the two days I can't get to the gym at all.

The children requsted PB&J sandwiches for lunch. While gathering supplies, I discovered that we were totally out of peanut butter. Completely. I had almonds, walnuts, and pecans on hard, but didn't feel like making nut butter, and that's when I saw it. WAAAAAAAY in the back of the pantry, an unopened jar of Nutella. I asked the kids if they wanted chocolate sandwiches for lunch, and of course they said "yes". Hallelujah.

The kids (and *cough* me) each had two Nutella sandwiches for lunch, along with some food that had a modicum of nutritional value. Since I cannot, in good conscience, feed my children stuff that has hydrogenated oils, I found a recipe to make it at home.

I'll change out the granulated sugar for sucanat with honey or agave nectar, but here's the recipe from Su Good Sweets:

Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread (caramel base)

Caramel instructions from Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts by Alice Medrich

Yield: about 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 cups whole raw hazelnuts
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I'm using dark chocolate cocoa powder)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
Preparation: Line a baking sheet with foil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Make the caramel: Combine the sugar and water in a 3- to 4-cup saucepan. Do not stir again during the cooking. Cover and bring sugar and water to a simmer over medium heat. Uncover and wipe down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush or a wad of paper towel dipped in water. Cover and cook for 2 minutes, or until the sugar is completely dissolved. Uncover and cook until the syrup turns a pale amber. Test by spooning a drop or two of the syrup onto a white saucer. Swirl the pan gently, continuing to cook and test the color until the syrup darkens to a medium amber color.

Pour the caramel immediately onto the lined baking sheet. Tilt sheet to spread caramel as thinly as possible. Let harden completely, about 15 minutes.
Toast the nuts: Meanwhile, place hazelnuts in a single layer on a shallow baking pan. Toast in the oven until the skins are almost black and the meat is dark brown, about 15 minutes. Stir the nuts halfway through baking to ensure an even color.
To get rid of the bitter skins, wrap the cooled hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel or paper towel. Rub until most of the skins have come off, but don’t worry if some remain.

Make the nut butter: When the caramel is completely cool, break it into pieces and pulverize in a food processor. Try to get the caramel as fine as possible at this stage (it won’t get finer once you add the nuts).
Add the nuts and process until they have liquefied, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Be patient; the nuts will go from a fine meal, to forming a ball around the blade, to nut butter. Add the cocoa, vanilla and salt and process until smooth.

Transfer the spread to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator for1-2 months. For best results, stir the chocolate-hazelnut spread before using.

Please use whole raw nuts, and toast them yourself to intensify the flavor. Pre-toasted or pre-chopped nuts are often spoiled.

To further intensify the nut flavor, use unrefined nut oil (for version 1), which is tan in color. Refined nut oils have the color and flavor removed. Peanut oil is especially cheap in Chinese supermarkets. I bought 20 ounces for $2.38! There’s a lesson: if you’re looking for a “gourmet” ingredient, try an ethnic market.

To make any standard nut butter, use this procedure but omit the powdered sugar, cocoa, vanilla and extra oil. Add 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tbsp granulated sugar. Try making your own cashew butter: you may never go back to peanut butter again!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Did I forget I have a blog?

Because it's been brought to my attention *ahem* that I haven't posted in a little while.

Not much is going AROUND me, but I have some drama IN me. I'm finally being challenged about our committment to letting the Lord plan our family, but it's all coming from inside me. And do you know what the problem is? Of course you wouldn't, because I'm sure you're not as vain as I am. It's that I don't want to gain all that weight again right now after I've worked this hard to take it off. I'm down 64 lbs from delivery, 7 lbs away from my high school weight. I like this me that I remember, who now is fititng into pants she wore pre-pregnany with #1. Van you believe how ridiculous I am?!

Is that a reason to delay having another precious child, when I reap the joy of my little clan every day? But then again, this mothering three kids thing is kinda hard, especially since I'm trying to put in 35 hours a week or so from home AND during marching band season.

So I plan to do this healing class at church called Elijah House, and I think it's going to be intense. In. tense. And yet, it's healing work that demands to be done. Sigh.

So that's what's going on. Thanks for asking. :)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

This Is How Much We Miss ElleBee and the Manimal:

First, we went on a hunger strike protesting their leaving. The CCM did this the most dramatically, dashing his food onto the floor in a show of solidarity.

Afterward, he decided to sleep away his sorrows. This is a sign of depression, and I'm watching it carefully. You know how adorable little guys like these are prone to nervous breakdouwns.

We tried to bandage our broken hearts, but the Firecracker princess forgot where her heart is. Or maybe she's just wearing her heart on her sleeve.

Then we tried putting on our bravest, most beautiful faces. This worked for a bit.

We even tried crossdressing, but soon realized this did nothing to dull the pain.

While I hate to admit it, I drank too much. Yes, this finally induced a feeling of calm, albeit shortlived. Maybe I didn't have a migraine again this afternoon, perhaps it was a hangover. Sigh.

Isn't this a sweet picture?!

We miss you, and we were so glad to have you visit!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

As seen on Cynical Christian:

When we say "God is good," we're not describing what God is, we're describing what good is--good is God.

And then there were five...

...which is hard when just minutes ago, you were seven. You know, I can see how it would be somewhat appealing to be a polygamist, what with the extra hands for cooking, cleaning, child-rearing. It's all good except the sharing-your-husband part. Shudder.

So ElleBee and the Manimal have hit the road back home, and I'm totally bummed. It's going to be a rough day, and we're in a real period of transition all around. It's really nice to have someone around who knows you, has known you, and doesn't mind your little quirks. Or big quirks, as the case may be.

In addition to our vacation being over, the Music Man started back to school this week. That means marching band rehearsal two nights a week, plus small group, plus Friday football games and the odd band competition and Saturday rehearsal. It's the busiest time of year, and I'm not a fan. If it didn't pay so handsomely, I's ask MM to skip it. He just loves it so, and that combined with the cash makes it worth his while, no matter how tough it is on the rest of it.

And finally, it's time to move the CCM to a big boy bed and the Look Alike to the crib. Sigh. She's five months old, and it's just time to get her out of our bed. This is really bittersweet for me, but I know she's ready for it and it's just me that isn't. And my boy, my little son, in a big bed all alone? It just can't be. My monster will be two in less than a month. (Note to self, get cracking on planning his birthday cake).

So big changes for yours truly. I'm hoping to post a picture soon, just need to get permission. ;)

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my Window...a stray walked in the cul-de-sav, and a slant of sunlight on the grey siding of the house across the way

I am thinking...what can we plan for today? Four little ones three and under may want to get out of the house

I am thankful for...ny best friend being here with her 2 year old

From the kitchen...flax oatmeal cookies

I am clthes, black Tshirt and grey shorts

I am reading...Traveling Mercies

I am hoping...that my kids sleep better tonight, they were up until 11:00 pm from the excitement of guests!

I am Chubby-Cheeked monster talking to the Firecracker Princess

Around the house...hoping to gind a new floor cleaner for my hardwoods

One of my favorite things...having a car to go places!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...ElleBee is here, so we're hanging out and doing whatever we please with the days, then going to the gym in the afternoons

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with sweet son!

Now go see Peggy!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

August Check-In

Two months ago today I had a body composition test done and the results were:
181 lbs
39.3% body fat

Last month, it was:
170.8 lbs.
35.3% body fat

Today, it is:
160.0 lbs
32.0% body fat

Of the weight I've lost so far, all but 1 lb. has been fat (based on calculations), from 71 lbs of fat to 51.2 lbs of fat). I'm quite pleased with that! I feel like I'm making some progress! This is the lowest weight I've been since college, and my next goal is to get to 150, which was my high school weight.

I'll probably be away for a few days, my BFF is on the road as I type!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Green Smoothie Challenge

You want to fight the frump, you say? Ever do it nutrition style? Not getting 10-20 servings of fruits and veggies per day is sooooo frumpy, and I get at least ten in my breakfast!

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows just how much I love me some green smoothie. I'm not a raw vegan myself, but The Raw Divas and Blendtec hosting International Green Smothie Day on August 15.

I've been on them for about three months now every single day (minus the unfortunate food processor incident), and while my recipe is somewhat complex and produces a copious 8 cups of smoothie, here's a recipe to get you started:

1-2 handfuls of spinach
1 banana
1/2-1 c. berries
2 t. honey or agave nectar, or a pinch of stevia
1 c. water or juice

Greens are amazing. They're full of protein, iron, calcium, and lots more good stuff. Whatever fruit you like can be included. Lemon juice adds a little brightness. Cantaloupe adds body and sweetness. Peaches are totally succulent. Don't like bananas? Don't use them!

The thing about a "recipe" for green smoothie is that it's pretty pointless, you make them however you want, with whatever you have on hand, and whatever suits your tastes. I'd love to hear what you try.

Give a green smoothie a try, I dare you. Then let me know what you think! Now go see Fussy!