life

Baking Bread and Eating Ice Cream (and other weekend adventures)

My work wife turned me onto the most fabulous, cheap and easy cooking blog I have yet to encounter.  It is called Budget Bytes, http://www.budgetbytes.com/, and after using her recipes for over a week, I am hooked and have yet to be disappointed. 

This woman even got me baking bread.  ME!  I love to cook, but you ask me to bake, prepare to have a sugary let-down on your hands. She makes you believe you can do it though, because not only are her recipes cheap, they are easy!

Feeling sassy while reading through her blog, I decided that I was going to try her Olive Herb Bread (http://www.budgetbytes.com/2011/03/olive-herb-bread/). 

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I’m not going to lie, chopping the olives was the hardest part…

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Waiting was the second hardest part for me. Plus, having never seen active yeast in action before, I didn’t believe this would “rise”.

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But it did!!!!

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The pre-cooked loaf, all ready to go in the oven along with all of my baking hopes and dreams.

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Thirty minutes later 🙂 (this was the good side of the loaf… the far side looked a little deformed. I still loved it, none the less)

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The fruits of my labor! A sandwich made with the vegetables out of a friends garden.

Here is the link again if you would like to try the recipe: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2011/03/olive-herb-bread/

This was my start to the weekend on Saturday morning.  If I could bake bread, the weekend possibilities were endless!  Continuing down the road of awesomeness, Saturday night Paul and I had a double-date night with Aunt Janice and Uncle Tom.  You may remember them:

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so cute

How can you not have a great night with a couple like that?

Sunday, I was up early to ride my bike to the gym to swim a few laps.  I had the pool all to myself, and it was the perfect temperature!  I don’t care how old I get, I always want to play around and do somersaults and hand-stands after a few hard laps.

Next, my bike and I adventured into downtown Lansing to visit a friend who I haven’t seen in over a year.  Meeting with a good friend is always such a boost in life, especially ones like Annette.  I thrive off of people with great energy (as I am sure most of you do), and she is great for that.

It was also such a great day to be riding around Lansing.  There was very little traffic, few people out and about; the streets seemed to be mine.  There is something so freeing and mobile to me about riding a bike.  That may sound like a “duh” statement, but riding a bike is more freeing to me than having a car.  You can go so many more places around town!  All in all, I think I rode about 20 miles on Sunday.

The good times kept on rolling on Monday when I started my day with my follow-up appointment with my doctor.  His original thinking was correct with is prediction of my blood work being fine.  It was better than fine.  My numbers are awesome across the board! (Always good to hear).  So now, it is just a matter of weaning me off of my medication and seeing how I do with just emergency meds in the rare times of anxiety.  I should be able to start dropping weight and get back to feeling like myself shortly.  

I felt like I had made the Dean’s List!  I immediately called my Aunt Janice then Paul to tell them both how stellar I had done on my blood “test”, (I always brag to Paul about my blood pressure, too, but high blood pressure runs in my family, so it is a number I take seriously.  He just rolls his eyes as if to say, “yes, honey, you are extremely healthy, I know”, in a very supportive, albeit, eye rolling way.)

Max even had a vet appointment yesterday, also displaying a stellar check up.

What is a mom and her puppy to do when they both get A++ at the doctor? Take a nap then go for ice cream!!!! (A little counter-intuitive, and I don’t generally support the usage of food as a reward, but it was what we wanted… don’t judge).

So Paul drove his two newly declared healthy family members to the ice cream shop in Old Town, where I got a small swirl for us (Max and me) to split. yes… I share ice cream cones with my dog…

God punished me for my poor choice though, because ten minutes later, back on our couch at home, my cone had lost all structural integrity, melted ice cream was dripping out the top, bottom, AND sides, and I was covered in it.

No grown woman should have to shower after eating an ice cream cone.  

Once again, Paul just rolled his eyes, but was good enough to document the sticky mess, complete with nap hair, that I was.

What is it that they say?  Behind every crazy person is a sane person rolling their eyes and cleaning up the messes, making sure crazy makes it through the day alive…?

Wait, no, maybe that is just my life.

And I am only sharing this photo because I would never judge any of you, so save the same respect for me, please:

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Probably the second least attractive photo of me ever… hopefully the #1 least attractive will never surface…

Some days I just wonder…

What did I do right?

I know that a lot of crazy, not-so-good, sometimes awful things have happened in my life, but I have no idea what I did to deserve the people I have in my corner right now.

I have been blessed with some amazing, kick-ass, down to Earth, supportive female role models.  People who expect the most and bring the best out in me, encourage me, and love me all at the same time.  It is the most indescribable feeling to have women like that who you can trust and look up to.

Thank you, to all of the women out there, who provide support, love, encouragement, and an example of how to be amazing!

The Beauty of Getting Older

I just read a joke in Reader’s Digest at my allergist’s office, and I proceeded to sit there and giggle for a half hour.  I giggled while walking to my car, and giggled all the way back to work. Once at work, I laughed so hard, I could barely recite it to my co-worker.

What was the joke, you may be wondering?

-“What did one snowman say to the other?”

-“I smell carrots, too”

And that has had me laughing for almost an hour now.  I can guarantee that I will have the same outburst of laughter when i attempt to tell it to Paul tonight.

I love this about myself.  I find humor and joy in the simplest things (eg: this joke).  It is something that has only gotten worse throughout the years, and I believe it to be part of the beauty of getting older: being able to see the humor in things. 

Thus far, I have loved aging. I am not afraid of getting older, or going gray or wrinkled.  Growing old is a privileged, and I am eager to discover what each year of life will teach me. 

Just starting the last year of my twenties, I feel so much more confident in my own skin (though I am at my heaviest weight.  I am more focused on being healthy).  I am more aware of the value within myself, and know myself better than I ever have.

Scars, beauty marks, mistakes from our past, walls we have bumped into; flaws on the surface and below, they are just all part of the process.  I like to think of it as “earning my stripes”.  This past year, I gained three new scars from my surgery which have turned into red lines on both sides of my lower-abdomen as well as a big red dot on the upper-inside of my belly button.   A few years ago, these may have bothered me and made me self-conscious, but today, I don’t give them a single thought.  

They help tell my story, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.  The beginning of laugh-lines and crows feet that are forming will only get deeper each day with every smile and every giggle, and I love that.

Don’t be afraid to get older, and don’t be afraid to earn your stripes.  Each year that passes is just another year to learn to love yourself more, and hopefully find the humor and beauty in everything.

I am excited to get to know myself more in this last trip around the sun in my twenties.  My thirties will just be a whole new chapter in earning my stripes, and I am sure, laughing at the most ridiculous things.

“The world does not deliver meaning to you.  You have to decide what you want and need and must do.”

-Zadie Smith

The Send-Off of 28

Last night, on my birthday eve, I decided a glass of wine was in order to celebrate my last night as a 28-year-old… or a bottle, as it were.

A few sheets to the wind later, as Paul and I were enjoying trashy TV night, (Bachelorette, I love you), I was greatly disturbed by a commercial for “one-swipe eyeliner”.  

“BULLSHIT!”, I yelled, jumping off the couch and grabbing my makeup bag, mirror, and planting my butt where I do my makeup in the living room window.

“One-swipe eyeliner?! I will show you what happens when you try to “one-swipe” your eyeliner.”

Paul, not being shocked any  more by my uncontrollable outbursts, sat patiently as I haphazardly ran liquid eyeliner across my top lids, screwing up the second eye which caused me to yell, “SEE! here’s swipe 2, and 3, and whoops, missed a spot!  Eyeliner deserves the respect of more than one-swipe!”

This escalated quickly, and I just kept going.  “Wanna see drag queen makeup?”… who was Paul to say no? The wine sure as hell wasn’t, and it was my birthday eve…and it went downhill.  Downhill fast. 

Three layers of lipstick, blush, more bronzer than a real housewife, drawn in eye brows and blue eye shadow out to my temples later, it had officially turned into Hott Mess Monday.

I sent a few slefies to my bestie for proof of my playtime: 

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look at those brows!

Am I turned on? Am I pooping? Only Paul and my carpet will ever know.

I am happy to report that I had the good sense to wash my face before I passed out on the couch, completely missing who the Bachelorette sent home, and apparently a very sweet good night from my beloved who dragged me off the couch and tucked me into bed.  He had to repeat it this morning to me because my only response was a grunt, and I am pretty sure a majestic glint of drool coming out of the side of my  mouth.

Oh the adventures of loving me… sorry, honey 🙂

This morning, I woke up refreshed and ready to take on 29!  Wine helps you sleep like a champ!

I had a hearty birthday breakfast: 

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Sprinkles on waffles!

And was welcomed by vegan treats in my office from co-workers and my work wife 🙂

It is only 10:30am and this birthday has been amazing 🙂

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day as well!  And fear not, I will have something deep to say about getting older later 🙂

Let’s talk tornado protocal:

We don’t suffer from many natural disasters here in Michigan, just the occasional tornado here and there in the spring, like last Tuesday.

It had been raining and storming all day (side note: I LOVE storms).  When I got home, letting the dog out, I heard a tornado siren go off in the distance, but it was so far away, I didn’t think anything of it and proceeded to start making dinner.

10 or so minutes later, my phone is chirping, warning me that there is a tornado watch in my area, so I immediately turn on the news, and sure enough, warnings all over the place!  The ticker tape across the bottom of the screen is telling me to seek shelter, get away from windows, get in a basement if I have one, and make sure I have supplies just in case.  The only “supplies” we keep stocked in our basement is booze and beer, so note to self to make an emergency kit for the basement. 

Anywho, the dog has since come back inside, dinner is progressing nicely with water boiling, oven pre-heating, when the sirens in my neighborhood go off. It was my understanding that sirens only go off once a tornado has touched down, so I immediately begin gathering my kids (dog and cat), to head to the basement.  Peyton always sleeps under the couch, so I run over to it, pick it up, and all but throw it to the side, and grab her out from under it.  With Peyton under one arm, I grab Max’s collar to head downstairs.

At the top of the stairs, Max comes to a dead stop, pushing both front paws against the door frame and refuses to go any further.  He is starting to whine, trying to back up, shaking his head.  He has never had a problem with the basement before! Why now?!  My idiot brain immediately thinks, “OMG it is haunted down there and he knows it!”, but I would rather take on a ghost than a tornado at this point.  And yes, I do watch too much discovery channel.

As I’m pleading with Max to just come with me and to trust me, Peyton starts to notice that her big brother is freaking out, so she starts to freak out.  Meowing and twisting and trying to get free. 

The dog is whining, the cat is freaking out, I am fighting with them both at once, the water is boiling over on the stove, the oven is beeping because it is fully heated, sirens are going off, so I let go of both kids and just yelled, “FINE! We can all die together while I make a delicious meal!”.

They both just sat there and looked at me as I overhead the weather man on television say, “If you are in Lansing and hear sirens going off, you can ignore those.  There is no immediate danger or threat of a tornado in your area.”

Well, fuck you very much…

Dinner was delicious at least.

 

Max and Peyton being so good during the last tornado scare we had....

Max and Peyton being so good during the last tornado scare we had….

Please, excuse my absence…

It has been a while!  I guess that is what happens when you are busy having fun 🙂

I will do a quick recap of what life has been handing me, using mostly photos:

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Classically AWESOME!

I can’t even remember where I left off, so we will just start with this awesome car that we stumbled upon outside of Home Depot one Saturday when my bestie, Julie, was in town.  That whole weekend was fun, complete with shopping, drinks in the sun, waffles at the City Market, just good times had by all.

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Julie, being cute and stylish 🙂

Paul and I have been cooking up a storm:

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Vegan Pot Stickers and Orange Chicken (Gardein brand… not a fan of imitation meat, but we went for it)

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Kale-Quinoa Salad, compliments of Runners World magazine

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Tempeh Sloppy Joes… I had forgotten all about this childhood favorite

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Baked apple chips: because only a fool doesn’t like snacks

There was a cool benefit in a barn with beer and music!

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It was a double date with my Uncle Tom and Aunt Janice

 

ImageI took a tour of the magnificent Michigan Capitol, and it was AWESOME!

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The dome

Took a day trip to the Upper Peninsula for work allowing me to cross something off of my bucket list:  hiring my brother to fly me somewhere 🙂

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Big bro doing is thing 🙂 So proud of him!

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Leaving Escanaba, flying over Lake Michigan, heading back to the lower peninsula

I took a moment after a meeting to stop and appreciate the world:

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Red Cedar River on Michigan State’s campus

Received over 90 pokes for my allergy test… and am allergic to everything! (and should also never get an upper arm tattoo:

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I guess this is the mark of my tribe…?

Loved on my kids:

ImageWent to a Detroit Tiger’s game with our best friends, and my true boyfriend:

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This was his first pop ever! We had to keep reminding him to call it “root beer” and not just beer

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We stopped in Greek Town for some pre-game food:

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From some angles, Detroit doesn’t seem so bad

Then headed to the game where we witnessed a Tiger’s loss, but still had a great time:

ImageImageLife has been busy, but things are good!  I am excited that summer is finally here!

This weekend, we are going camping, so cross your fingers that it goes well.

What have you all been up to? 

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Tuesday meeting at the Capitol

Back to Normal! (or as normal as I was before)

Yesterday, I was given a clean bill of health at my post-op appointment!  Blood work was normal, my cyst was nothing more than that, and my left ovary appears to be a rock star, so future issues shouldn’t arise.  Of course I won’t know until we try to conceive, but it doesn’t look like it will be a problem.

Hallelujah! 

I started feeling more like myself last Friday, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I didn’t hit that wall of exhaustion.  Paul and I even went for a bike ride last night.  The weather was gorgeous, I had cleaned out my closet and prepped it for summer, and I was feeling great, so it was my re-introduction to working out.  Today, it will be a 3 mile run.

I am just happy to feel like life can go back to normal.  I don’t play the patient well, I don’t like sitting still for very long, and I definitely don’t like depending on people to take care of me (it is a weakness). 

Paul was amazing, though, and so were all of my friends and family.  Thank you to everyone for all of the love, support, prayers, and good deeds.  I am a very spoiled and blessed girl 🙂

I hope everyone is having a fabulous May so far!

30 Days of New: The Final Day

We find ourselves at day 30 of this “30 day challenge”, and my new event for this final day is hardly epic, but here it is: 

Today I came face-to-face with my incisions.  Day 7 after surgery is when the bandages come off, and let me tell you what, I am damn impressed!  The one on the right side is probably a quarter of an inch long and not even a pen line thick, same as the one in my belly button, and the one on the lower left side is maybe an inch long and just as thin.

How someone can go into my body and operate on a huge cyst and remove an organ through 3 tiny incisions is beyond me, but my doctor is a magician (I know that this is common medical practice, but I am biased to my awesome doctor).

Tomorrow, May begins, a clean slate to start fresh.  I will be back at work, out of the house, living life without George.  Granted, I can’t run or workout for another week, but Paul has dedicated himself to living a vegan lifestyle with me (to the best of his ability), so there should be lots of cooking adventures and healthfulness in the next month.

Here is to an interesting month; I have always hated April because it has a habit of throwing me curve balls.  This April was no exception. 

Sleep tight, kids, and I will see you in May.