Friday, October 29, 2010

Losing a little part of you

[caption id="attachment_928" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Grandma Marie at my wedding"]Grandma Marie and I [/caption]

I've been noticeably absent from my other blog and this one. Two weeks ago, my grandma took a nasty spill down the stairs and ended up in the ICU. After talking to my aunt and some coaxing from my dad (this is not his mother, it's my mom's mother), I took an unexpected trip to Nebraska. I'm now glad I did end up making that trip as she passed away the day after I got to Omaha. Losing my grandma has been really hard and though she told us to never cry ... she lived a long 86 year life with her 5 children, 13 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren ... I find myself each day grieving and hurting. It happened so fast I guess maybe I'm in shock.

My grandma was like my second mom. I always looked up to her as her priority was her family. She didn't care about material things as they didn't make her happy. When my parents divorced, my mom went back to work and my grandma and grandpa took care of me during my kindergarten year, in the summers or if I was sick. When my mom died, she took it hard and she never got over it but she continued to be there for my brothers and I.

I thought about spending the month of November telling stories like I did about my mother but I'm not ready yet. Each night, I'm exhausted and just don't have the energy. I know with losing my mom, that it will get better but for now, I just need a little space. I know you'll understand.

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

My little drummer

I think we have the next Kotche in our living room.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fig galette

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First time baking a galette (or slab pie) and using figs! Can't wait to take a bite!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

You know it is fall when...

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You bake a fresh apple pie with cheddar crust.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Stay at home week

[caption id="attachment_904" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Fish pond at High Desert Museum"]Fish pond at High Desert Museum[/caption]

Lil B's pre-school (like many) takes a summer break in August. Instead of scrambling and trying to find childcare, I took the week off to spend some much needed mom and son time together. It also collided with our yearly trip to the Oregon coast which we take with some dear friends.

The week before the vacation, I was obsessed with finding stuff to keep us busy in Bend then we went out of town and that went out the window. When we got back, I just decided to go with the flow.

Wednesday morning of that week, after breakfast, we drove to the Fall River Fish Hatchery. I was shocked I didn't know about this place but I guess you learn things even 7 years of living in Central Oregon. Lil B loves fish. It was one of his first words. He loved the Oregon Coast Aquarium and I knew he would love this fish hatchery.

When we got there, the ranger was stocking the storage shed with fish food. He gave us a complimentary heep of food and we sat down and fed the fish. We have never explored the Fall River area so I'm vowing to go back soon to at least take a nature walk. A fly fisher nearby noted Lil B's excitement for fish and let him reel in a small one. His eye were so big when the fish came out of the water.

After we got back to town, we headed to the park and had lunch. When we got home, it was nap time. I will probably jinx myself by saying this but Lil B is a great napper. 99% of the time, he will sleep for three hours or more which gave me plenty of time to myself. I mostly worked on my blog and catch up on some reading during his naps that week.

Later that week, we ventured to the High Desert Museum but I soon discovered after paying $15 that maybe this was not really age appropriate place for my child. He mostly watched the indoor and outdoor fish and screeched at the birds when they screeched (his father taught him that).  He couldn't read the "don't make noises" in the bird area sign but I did and we headed to the park.

I really enjoyed my week off with him. I wished that I was a stay at home mom and I had this awful guilt about working.  At the same time, I know deep down that I would go out of my mind at home and that he's learned so much since starting pre-school that the guilt went away by Monday morning.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Our favorite activity at 27 months

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I am mastering building train tracks for Lil B. The simple tracks last longer as the can't break so easy.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

You know fall is on the way when ...

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You are saying hi to the goats and picking up some fall bounty in Hood River.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ocean

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Brian and Lil B walking the beach"]Ocean[/caption]

I was 22 years old before I laid eyes on my first ocean. It was spring break and my friends and I went to LA to visit my friend's sister. After my mom died, I felt I just needed to travel. When I discovered Oregon in 2000, I felt at home when visiting my friend. I enjoyed the fresh mountain air and the cool crisp feeling of a high desert evening. My family thought I was nuts when I moved four years later.

Since my mom died, I have laid my eyes on the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and of course the Pacific Ocean. I always think of her. I don't remember her ever visiting the ocean on business trips. Maybe she did and I just don't remember?

Recently, my family took a trip to the Oregon Coast and pitched in on a beach house with another family that has a child a similar age as Lil B.  It's a family we don't see often as they live in another city but they are dear friends and we always seem to pick right up where we left off.

As we walked along the beach, I said to my friend Shawn how lucky Lil B is to grow up near the beach. This astonished her as she, along with her husband and mine, grew up in Oregon. She was also astonished to hear I didn't see the ocean until I was 22 years old.

Our vacation was only 4 days (my husband still doesn't have much vacation time from his new job) but we vowed to do a whole week next year. Lil B does great in the car until the last 30 mins before we arrived in Bend and his DVD player died. How the hell did I ever live without a DVD player before road trips?

This trip, we did a lot of morning beach combing (something new to me) and sand castle making and tearing down:


Other highlights included our stop at Eola Hills Winery on the way over, the Oregon Coast Aquarium and cone licking in Depoe Bay and kite flying! I can't wait until next summer!

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="footprints in the sand"]footprints in the sand[/caption]

Monday, August 23, 2010

For Grandma Jeanne

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Little boy haircut"]Hair cut[/caption]

When it comes to getting my little boy a haircut, I procrastinate. Getting Lil B's haircut is something I task his father with -- it's something they do together. I love it when they walk in the door after their haircuts. Lil B always looks so much more grown up after.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gracious

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Today I am reminded of how lucky I am that my child can grow up near the ocean.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What's good for the soul

July and August are chaotic at work with events. For 6 weeks in a row, I'm off on Friday because I've worked so much before Thursday. Usually, I spend those Friday days  grocery shopping, cleaning, doing laundry because Lil B is at pre-school. Fun times!

On the 6th Friday, I asked my Linda if she wanted to head for the mountains and go for a long hike we me. I love Linda because I learn so much from her (parenting, eco-friendliness and tips about life in general) and we always have a great time together.

Our hike ... Tam McArthur Rim ... 2.5 miles up switchbacks to a beautiful view of Three Creeks Lake.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="500" caption="Three Creeks Lake from Tam McArthur Rim Trail"]Three Creeks Lake from Tam McArthur Rim Trail[/caption]

The whole time we were hiking, we kept saying ... "Why didn't we do this every Friday?" Yea, that's what I should have been doing -- enjoying the great outdoors with my girlfriend -- that's good for the soul! At the top I exclaimed in Dora the Explorer style "We did! We did it!"

After about three hours, we were back to my Jeep and off the Three Creeks Brewery for some beer and burgers.

I realized on the way home that I need these mini breaks to keep life in check.

To view photos from our hike, go here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In the woods

[caption id="attachment_852" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The Mighty Ni"]The Mighty Ni[/caption]

Some of my fondest memories as a child were camping with my family in the summer. Each year, we'd take a float trip down the Niobrara River and camp for a few days. We'd spend the day canoeing along and then spend the evening trying to see who can find the most firewood, make dutch oven cobbler and tell ghost stories. The best part of the trip were those nights around the camp fire playing UNO or trying to scare my younger brother into thinking there is a guy named Three Fingered Jack (which I had no idea there was a mountain named this until I moved to Oregon).

My husband and I love the great outdoors but since Lil B was born, we haven't camped. Each weekend, we say we're going to go but we don't and then our friends gave us a little push so we met them out last weekend along Cascade Lakes Highway.

Even though we forgot a few things (the pack n play being the most important), the camping trip was successful. The only minor thing to happen was Lil B didn't take a nap and got a little overtired. He wouldn't go to sleep so we took him for a car ride and he slept from 6:30 pm to 6 am. I bundled him in his sleeping bag and fleece footie jammies and not a peep until morning.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Mud pies"]Mud pies[/caption]

Some of the highlights of the camping trip:

  • Lil B learned how to make mud pies

  • I tried stand up paddle boarding and loved it

  • We played UNO and I learned I was playing it wrong all these years

  • Our dog is good at keeping the chipmunks away

  • Compostable baby wipes are not just for a baby's butt but have a multitude of uses during a camping trip

  • Kids (and parents) get really dirty while camping

  • I can take 3 kids under 4 years old for a walk along with a dog off leash and have no problems

  • There are a lot of stars out at 3 am when I have to pee "camping style"

  • A two year old will stay away from the camp fire after one time of feeling the heat

  • Once a bag of kettle corn is open, you have to finish it

  • A bucket and pail will keep a toddle busy for hours


You can view more photos here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Budding artist!

[caption id="attachment_880" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Fun with sidewalk chalk"]Sidewalk art[/caption]

The fact that my son loves and excels at coloring is not a surprise to me especially since my husband is very creative (graphic artist, videographer, musician, writer). I came home from my Sunday morning walk to Lil B and my husband playing with sidewalk chalk in the shade. All day, Lil B insisted on going outside and was relentless if he didn't get his way. Even I got into the action and made a beautiful butterfly. It's better than watching the movie Cars over and over (I swear, I have that movie memorized).

This has inspired me to start doing more crafts. Sure, they do crafts at day care but it would be cool to help Lil B excel in this area. Anyone have any ideas on books or websites?

You can view their sidewalk art here on my Flickr page.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I.AM.JEALOUS.

I told myself a few days ago that I would stay off twitter and Facebook and turn off the @wilcohq updates to my cell phone. Why? Well, the Solid Sounds Festival is happening right about now and well, I'm so mad my family is not there.

I've been intentionally been looking past their twitter updates all week until I read this morning that you could dunk Jeff Tweedy as he'd be in a dunk tank and you could "pay a price" and dunk him. Here is proof of the said dunking:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Tweedy. Dunked."]Tweedy. Dunked.[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="514" caption="Tweedy. Dunked. Again."]Tweedy. Dunked.[/caption]

My question for you Mr. Tweedy ... Why the beard in August?

I'm going to curl up and read a book because I.AM.JEALOUS of everyone at the Solid Sounds Festival.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A day at the fair

"What? You have never been to a county or state fair? You're from Nebraska!"

Yes, that is true, until Saturday, I have never been to a county or state fair. I have been to a carnival (SeptemberFest) and amusement parks (Peony Park, Adventure Land, Worlds of Fun). I have seen livestock shown by 4-H kids (River City Round-up which come to find out IS NOW the Douglas County Fair -- they merged a few years ago to now for River City Rodeo). So, when the Deschutes County Fair rolled in last week, my husband decided it was time to introduce Benjamin to a tradition of his childhood.

(now, on a side note, I have NEVER been to a rodeo either which is shocking considering my dad was a bare back rider in the 70s and has an expansive belt buckle collection. He stopped his rodeoin' before I was born. I see a trip to the Sister's Rodeo in my future next summer).

First off, holy hell -- parking was a nightmare in Redmond! Finally after 10 mins in traffic, we found a spot not too far from the entrance.  The toddler was in amazement at all the people and was clingy to his stroller which is funny because earlier that day he was practically the only boy at a toddler birthday party and showed those girls how to party (by running all over the place and not minding). Our first stop ... to see livestock.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="Sheep at the fair"]Sheep at the fair[/caption]

We stopped by the goats and sheep. Lil B was repeating "bah" over and over and over. It was funny the first twenty times but enough was enough after the 100th time. I guess I should be glad he's finally talking.

His favorite were the pigs especially when the pigs were up milling around and snorting. He was giggling away at those pigs and was in love with the piglets.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="Priceless pig face"]Priceless pig face[/caption]

We were all hungry and armed with $30 we had a brat, corn dog, pulled pork plate and two ice cream cones for dinner.  Fair food rocks. I was sorta wishing I had enough money and stomach room for a funnel cake but both didn't pan out.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="Lil B's first ice cream cone"]Lil B's first ice cream cone[/caption]

It was almost toddler bed time we walked out to our Jeep to find it was blocked in on all four sides.  There was no way we could leave. The Redmond Police and fair folks had no idea what to do. Luckily, one of the cars blocking us was a Jeep with the top down.  They ended up jumping in it and moving it so we could move our Jeep. I feared we were going to have to call for a ride or take a cab home.

I'm looking forward to going to the fair when Lil B's bigger so he can enjoy the rides and I can mortgage my house to pay for him to go on those rides.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Embracing my inner cabbage

I don't like coleslaw. I have tried it and can say that I have never met a coleslaw I like therefore, I gave up on trying to like coleslaw along time ago. A lot of it has to do with it being made with mayo which is another thing I will never like. (On the other hand, I do like potato salad which has mayo but more mustard than mayo ratio so it cancels out the mayo part). My mom made me eat too many mayo and cheese on white bread sandwiches that I have this crazy aversion to mayo now.

One time, my husband and I were enjoying lunch at Crater Lake Lodge when my entrĂ©e came with a side of coleslaw. My husband knows I don't like coleslaw but he insisted I try it. I made horrible awful face that the lodge manager noticed and came over to see if everything was ok. I explained my dislike for coleslaw and he came back with a side of green salad.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="143" caption="Trader Joe's Island Soyaki: good for a lot of things"]Trader Joe's Island Soyaki[/caption]

Fast forward five years and in my CSA basket I'm presented a head of cabbage. Last year, I gave cabbage away each time but my friend Linda wouldn't take the whole head. Instead she suggested that I make crunchy Chinese cabbage salad with my Trader Joe's Island Soyaki. This particular Soyaki I often use as a marinade and salad dressing (mandarin oranges tastes yummy with this sauce) . It's a staple in our house. I tell you, if we ever move, one of the requirements will be that there has to be a Trader Joe's in that city. I can't live without that place.

Time to improvise.  I did a little research on google and came up with this fabulous recipe!

Shannon's Crunchy Chinese Cabbage Salad

1/2 head of Cabbage
2 green onions
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
1/2 cup Trader Joe's Island Soyaki
1 package chicken flavored ramen noodles

Chop the head of cabbage into thin strips.

Chop the green onions and combine with cabbage in a large bowl.

Add almonds and toss Trader Joe's Island Soyaki.

Right before serving, add one package of crushed up ramen noodles.

Enjoy!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="Crunchy Chinese Cabbage Salad"]Crunchy Chinese Cabbage Salad[/caption]

No mayonnaise was harmed in the making of this recipe!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I’m in a pickle

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="pickling cucumbers"]pickling cucumbers[/caption]

Last week I was sitting at a business meeting at a newly re-opened restaurant enjoying a veggie sandwich when I took a bite of what I thought was a dill pickle. My lunch companion noticed that I really didn't care for a bread and butter pickle cut up to look like a dill pickle.

"YUCK!" I said as I spit the pickle out. Not my finest moment but this gave me the opportunity to talk about my love of dill pickles, especially my Grandma's homemade pickles. My Grandma used to spend the summers canning veggies and sauce and making homemade jams. Each summer she'd make her famous dill pickles and they'd be all eaten up by the end of the week!

When I moved from Nebraska, I knew I would miss those pickles and fortunately for me, my 86 year old Grandma found an easy recipe  I could make without too much fuss. She calls them "Polish Sun Dill Pickles." Yes, you read that right, SUN PICKLES.

First, get yourself a large glass jar ... like the one you use to make sun tea with. Now, when I bought my sun tea jar, my husband was puzzled ... "you don't drink tea?" My response, "SUN PICKLES." He scratched his head last summer when I told him and was a little worried about my state of mind.

Wash your pickling cucumbers and place them in a jar with half a head of garlic and 6 springs of dill. I don't usually measure how many pounds I buy as I usually take the sun tea jar with me and fill it up at the store and then put them in a baggy.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="299" caption="Yes, that is a sun tea jar full of pickles"]Yes, that is a sun tea jar full of pickles[/caption]

Mix together water, vinegar, 1/2 cup of salt (I used kosher salt) and alum powder and pour over the cucumbers. Put in the sun for 48 hours.  Yes, they are THAT EASY.

Now, when they are done, I put them in jars with the pickle juice and store in the frig. My Grandma was telling me that I don't need to put them in the refrigerator but I just do it to be on the safe side.

Enjoy!!!

Polish Sun Pickles

6 1/2 c. water
3 1/4 c. white vinegar
4-6 sprigs dill
1/2 c. salt
1/2 head of garlic
1 tsp. alum powder

Wash cubes and put in large sun tea jar. Mix above ingredients and put int0 jar. Set in sun for 2 days.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="299" caption="Sun pickles chillin'"]Sun pickles chillin'[/caption]

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

And my 6 pound baby is now 2!

Where did the time go? My child turned 2 almost two months ago and I'm finally writing about it. Life has been hectic so give me the "bad mom of the year" award now. Just get it over with!

[caption id="attachment_820" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Someone really likes the Thomas the Train"]Ben's cake[/caption]

I put a lot of thought into what I wanted his party to be like. The little monkey is really into Thomas the Train and as luck would have it, a local grocery store had the makings for a Thomas cake. I ordered party favors and cute invites and sent them out to my friends. If you live in Oregon, you know that May's weather was cold and rainy and I hoped and prayed for no rain or snow for that matter. I told friends, "if it's raining at 3:30, the party is at my house." Definitely didn't have rain but it was definitely not sunny. My friends are troppers and gathered at the park and showered my child with fun fabulous gifts. We also saved the gifts relatives sent in the mail for the party. He was pretty into the first couple of gifts but after that, my husband had to open the rest. You can see the photos from the party over here.

Two has been relatively easy for us. Lil B is talking more and more each day and it's really helped that we switched him to a pre-school rather than daycare setting.When we can understand each other, it's all smiles and unicorns. When we can't, well, I sit on the floor trying to figure out what he actually wants. Yesterday he wanted juice and not milk in his Lightening McQueen sippy cup. Oy!

We have three big things coming up in our house:

  1. breaking the bottle habit

  2. breaking the binkie habit

  3. the move from crib to toddler bed


[caption id="attachment_821" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Cake and trains!"]Cake and trains![/caption]

I'll be better about documenting those adventure here. I promise!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cheap things to do around Central Oregon

We hardly drive to Redmond, OR for fun because there are plenty of fun things to do in Bend so why drive to Redmond? Well, when we heard they had a cool fountain kids could stay cool from the hot sun we decided we had to drive up and see it. And it was WORTH THE DRIVE as you can see in this cute video.



Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Where have I been? Confession time

Has it really been since Mother's Day that I last posted? Sheesh. Bad blogger. I missed posting about Lil B's 2nd birthday, Lil B starting a new pre-school and Father's Day. Wow. I promise those posts are coming.


Life has been hectic. I ran into some friends over frozen yogurt who commented they haven't seen me lately. The truth of the matter, my family has been my priority and well, my health. I was on track to run a 10k and then I started having a ton of ankle pain. I was taking that training time as "me time" which left little "girl time" unless it was lunch or coffee during the work day. Since I work full time, I get to see my son in the morning before work and then after work like a lot of working moms. Most of the time, I get up with him with no gripes (most of the time) at 5:30 a.m. He usually goes to sleep at 7:30 p.m. (I pick him up at 5 p.m. from pre-school). So my me time was spent running and running until I started having awful ankle pain which would swell up and keep me up at nights. The verdict from the doctor … stop running and walk instead. ARGH. Really? I mourned the loss of running for about a second. So I started walking … 3 miles takes me 45 min vs 30 min running which equals less time with my child. I know it's only 15 min but still. I have moved my weekday walks to the morning at 5 a.m. (cuz I was up already) and I have no ankle pain. I do wish I did have a walking partner but the solitude of the Deschutes River at 5:30 a.m. is nice too.

What else? In true copycat style, Onenjen has inspired me to confess a few things I've been guilty of as of late so here goes:

***

I'm addicted to the Real Housewives shows on Bravo. Those Jersey girls are so over the top, they make the OC ones look like Girls Scouts. I can't stand Bethenny but I still watch her show (and *gasp*, follow her on Twitter -- she has great recipes). I should probably take that time each night to do something like blog or read a book or do yoga but alas, it's trash TV and it sucks me in. Don't get me started on the Kardashians as I'm a sucker for them as well.

***

I don't like Swiss Chard and kale. I get it each week in my CSA and it goes bad. I should probably give it to someone who does enjoy it as it's going to waste.

***

I have a few things in the works but none I can talk about. It's killing me.

***

Each week, I allow my son to get chicken McNuggets as a treat for dinner or lunch. After reading this, I will never let him have them AGAIN. He eats chicken nuggets (frozen kind from Costco) on a regular basis. I do make him try what we eat for dinner but he usually spits it out. I know, keep trying and I will. Until then, he'll survive on a diet of nuggets, quesadillas and pb&j. Why did Morningstar stop making veggie nuggets? Can someone solve this mystery for me?

***

I've been looking at my food labels more and more esp. after watching Food Inc. Years ago, I was really good about it but then I had a kid and got lazy. I am proud to say that I only had to throw out a container of Heinz because it contained HFCS. We barely eat processed food at home though I eat Health Choice frozen dinners for lunch. They are easy to make, taste good and don't contain preservatives but they are processed.

***

Speaking of labels, I saw this video and I'm looking at all labels on cosmetics. My husband's Old Spice contains propane. I'm buying an organic twin mattress for Lil B  and I'm thinking of stopping the use of shampoo and switching to baking soda. I'm experimenting with natural forms of deodorant but the two I have tried get a big old FAIL. Can you tell I'm a big obsessed with labels? One friend's advice … make these changes in moderation. So, in moderation, I'm making some changes to beauty, cleaning and other stuff that contains yucky stuff.

***

I cut off my hair and LOVE it. What I don't love is the products I have to put in my hair to make it look cute. See the confession above.

***

There will be a lot of weekend staycations happening this summer as my husband doesn't have any vacation time at his new job. This makes me sad but it means I get to explore more of Central Oregon.

***

I thought I would be ready to have another child but as of right now, I'm not ready though my grandma reminds me I'm advanced maternal age.

OK, now that I got that all off my chest, you can tell my life is rather boring. I promise I will post more so stay tuned.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother’s Day

Last night, I was awoke at 1:30 a.m. to the crying of a toddler. This has been happening a lot lately and well, I know what to do, just let him cry but I can't let him cry. So, I bring him to bed and he falls asleep but then after an hour of kicking me and Brian, I got up and put him back in the crib which ignites WWIII.  Last resort, pull out the DVD player and put on Thomas. Within 10 mins he was sound asleep. He also is waking up at 4:30 a.m. ready to start the day. A friend was telling me when her kid did this, she changed the diaper and just let her kid cry and after a week, he was waking up at 6 a.m.

Since it was Mother's Day, I got to sleep in while Brian got up with Ben at 6:30 a.m. (he sleeps in usually after he awakes 1 a.m. - which makes these weekly wakes a little bearable).  I had my 8 a.m. running class so I didn't to sleep in much but it was nice, getting that extra sleep. When I woke up, Lil B heard me and ran down the hall. I was presented with a new cookbook (I'm a total junkie) and card colored by my little artist. After running, we went to brunch downtown. My husband asked if we had any Mother's Day traditions growing up. I had to think about this and then it dawned on me, yes, we did and it was pretty awesome.

Each year, since I was 5, I would look forward to our annual Mother's Day breakfast at my grandma's Polish church. I'd get to wear a dress but we had to be at Mass at 7 a.m. meaning we had to get up really really early. My mom and I would meet my Grandma at Mass and then after church we'd attend breakfast in the cafeteria of the Catholic School. It was the best pancakes, sausage and eggs served on a styrofoam plate with plastic forks and spoons. There would be a raffle and I'd usually win something. I remember one year I won a potted plant and presented it to my mom.

Usually, Mother's Day meant it was time to plant the garden, in fact, I called my Grandma today and guess what she was doing, planting her garden! Too bad we can't do that until the snow is melted off Black Butte.

After my mom died, I would planted my flower garden each year on Mother's Day. Mother's Day was always bittersweet. One gal I work with joked on Friday "my mom is dead so that is one less gift I have to worry about each year." I know she was joking and I even laughed but I wouldn't have found that funny a few years ago.

Mother's Day is different for me now. I don't need anything big or not even a card -- I just need to be with my peeps and I'm all good.

Thanks Mom, for being a wonderful role model and inspiration. You taught me how to be a good mother.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Positive Inspiration

My first interaction with Kina was through blogging. She would often comment and then would start sending me emails with unsolicited advice on wedding planning, life, places to eat. Then we met in real life and became fast friends.

Before she and her husband moved to Baker City to follow their dream to open a restaurant, we had plenty of adventures. Chauffeuring gorillas in the back of her Mustang, chance meetings with Dean (or was it Gene) Ween, long talks overlooking downtown Bend, wine, booze and more wine. It was a sad day she moved away.

Kina doesn’t know this but she taught me the power of positivity. I remember one time I landed a job interview. I was a finalist out of many for a prestige job. I emailed her in a panic, thinking “what have I gotten myself into. I cannot do this.” Kina told me to visualize that the job was mine and that any self-doubting will just take away from not getting the job. That statement has stuck. If you want something, just be positive and the right thing will happen. I killed the interview but I didn’t get the job which is OK because it wasn’t the right path for me at that time. She taught me to believe in myself even more than I already was believing in myself (does that make sense?).

Kina is kind and generous. If she was not in my life I would be crushed. She takes care of the ones she loves because she believe in what you put out, you get back.

Kina, I could write on and on but just know, I miss you and wish you weren’t 5 hours away.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Born to run?

After work last night, I collapsed on the couch watching Thomas the Train (for the millionth time) with my son. I knew I had to get a 5 miles walk in as part of my training for a 10k program. My mind was saying "go for it." My body "forget about it." When my husband got home from work, I grabbed my iPod and headed from my house to the trail. As soon as I got my groove, I knew that I wouldn't regret the walk. My favorite part is the 12 minute stretch that follows the river and the whole time I'm thinking after 6 years, I still live in the most beautiful place. I take my headphones off and just concentrate on the sound of the running water rushing through the rocks. I take my time at this part.

Running, or exercise for that matter, is not in my blood. I remember as a child embarrassing my mom as I skipped down the soccer field. Guess what, she never enrolled me in soccer again after that.

I hated PE class in high school and what I hated more was when teachers "tested" us by making us run a mile (or timed our sit-up or push-ups). I hated that day of school because it would take me 20 miles to walk a mile because I could only run for a total of 20 seconds.

Last year, Jen inspired me to start running. She proposed getting a group of folks together to start the Couch to 5K program. I really doubted my running abilities at first but Jen kept me motivated. Three times a week for 12 weeks we tackled the task of getting closer to 3 miles and then we all ran the Pacific Crest 5k to celebrate her 35th birthday.

Not only did she get me running 3 miles, she got me to like running. When I messed up my ankle last summer, I had to walk instead and it was killing me. I missed that feeling of going fast. And you know what else, she helped me develop a routine and to fit it in my busy schedule.

In the past year, she's lost 30 pounds further inspiring me to go from running a 5k to up that to a 10k. I'm on week 2 and I can tell it is already getting easier. I logged 43 miles of activity for the month of April.

Thank you Jen for being an inspiration.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Inspired to bake bread

This month, to get back in the blogging spirit, I want to write about those who inspire me. I've had this idea for a while in my head and I think just getting it down on paper will help.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="100" caption="Bread rising"]Bread rising[/caption]

My husband bought me  a Kitchen Aid mixer for my birthday with the goal to start baking our own bread and stop buying from the grocery store.  I have always wanted to do this but I was even more inspired by Lisa Smith, a fellow twitter/Ignite Bend friend.  She gave an inspiring presentation at an AdBite Presentation, so inspiring, I had to get a Kitchen Aid. She makes bread for her family which was my goal. That way, I know what's in the bread and there isn't any yucky stuff in it.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="180" caption="French Bread take 2"]French Bread take 2[/caption]

So far I've made four loaves of white bread, two loaves of wheat bread, 2 French loaves and two loaves of honey oat whole wheat.  What I learned from watching Lisa one morning at her house, is that I'm not kneading my bread enough in the mixer which may be why my first French Bread didn't "puff" up. On the second one, I kneaded twice as long and it turned out just about perfect but not as puffy as I had hoped for. I know that I could probably make the crust crustier by spraying with water  but I just need to buy a water bottle first. Her biggest tip, do a windowpane test, something I have skipped a few times ... guess what, I won't be skipping this test anymore.

My favorite recipe so far? Honey Oatmeal Bread! I did make some modifications to the recipe because we try to mostly eat whole wheat bread in our house. I ended up replacing half the flour with whole wheat flour and omg, delicious! It makes the best sandwiches and just plain ole toast. Now I just wish I had a bread slicer, a flour shield for my mixer and a scale.

If you haven't given making your own bread a try, buying a Kitchen Aid is the best investment you can make, plus it won't have any of that yucky stuff in it! Here is the recipe I use (with modifications).

Honey Oatmeal Bread for Your Kitchen Aid Mixer by RecipeZaar.com

Makes 2 loaves of bread

Ingredients

5-6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (use half white/half wheat)

1 cup quick-cooking oat

2 teaspoons salt

2 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup butter or margarine

2 eggs

1 tablespoon water

1 egg white

Oatmeal

Directions

Place 5 cups flour, oats, salt, and yeast in Bowl.

Attach bowl and dough hook.

Turn to speed 2 and mix for 30 seconds.

In saucepan, combine water, honey, and butter.

Heat to 120°F to 130°F.

On Speed 2, slowly add warm liquids to flour mixture, mixing for about 1 minute.

Add eggs; mix an additional 1 minute.

Still on Speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl, about 3 minutes.

Knead on Speed 2 for 7-10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.

Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top.

Cover; let rise in warm place, until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down.

Divide dough in half.

Shape each half into a loaf.

Place each loaf into a greased 8 1/2x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch bread pan.

Cover; let rise in warm place till doubled, about an hour.

Combine 1 TBSP water and egg white. Brush tops of loaves with mixture.

Sprinkle with oatmeal.

Bake at 375°F for 40 minutes.

Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

Thank you, Lisa for being an inspiration to me!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Honey Oat Whole Wheat Bread"]Honey Oat Whole Wheat Bread[/caption]

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How we roll on Saturday nights

[caption id="attachment_755" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Dance party"]Dance party[/caption]

I really don't have to tell you that we're lovers of music in our household. My husband is a musician and I, well, you read this blog, you know I like music a lot. On Saturday night, I confided in my husband of the dirty little secret that Lil B and I partake in when my husband's out playing a gig -- we put on Ashes of American Flags and cue it up to "I'm the Man that Loves You." Now, for a while, when my friend Ethan had borrowed the movie, I would have to pull various versions up from YouTube but none compared to the DVD version. Not even the cute version of Heavy Metal Drummer with Spencer Tweedy when he was 6 wouldn't work from I'm Trying to Break Your Heart ... Lil B and I had to play the version from Ashes. So, that doesn't sound like a dirty secret ... well, the dirty part was that we have a little dance we to, together and I sing the song as loud as I can switching man to mom. I'd grab the DVD and Lil B would come running -- he knew I would pick him up and spend the next three minuates singing and dancing and it would be full of giggles.

Why that song? Do I need to answer that question? My husband was still like "oh my god, that is dumb." At one point, he wanted to video it but that is where I drew the line. You can video take anything else but not of us doing our secret dance.

A few weeks back, an old friend sent me a touching Facebook message about hearing a song on the radio that I told her my mom used to sing to me. That song, "Sunshine on my Shoulders" by John Denver.  Our parents mold us and it's those bonding moments you are comforted with as a child that make you realize "by gosh, she does love me unconditionally." I sorta felt like maybe Lil B and I needed our "moment." My mom used to sing "You Are My Sunshine" too.

"You Are My Sunshine" is a special song. Sometimes I can sing it to Lil B. Sometimes I can not. I substitute "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" when I can't hold back tears.  But, our song is "I'm the MOM who loves you" and we do that silly little dance, well, when it's just us.

After our little dance reenactment for dad, we showed dad our new found love of the Flaming Lips:



And of Techno:


Hopefully, I'm making good memories for Lil B.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Nana, Kitty Cat

Artificial tears = my BFF

It has now been 11 days since I had my LASIK surgery and I’m happy to report that I A) survived and B) I have 20/15 vision. WOO HOO.

I was a whole lotta nervous for nothing. I took two .5 mg of Valium and they sat me down under this machine (obviously the laser) and just stared at it while it worked its magic. There was some pressure but only for a nano second and I had no idea when the laser was “doing it’s thing.” At the end of both eyes, the machine made this weird noise and I smelled smoke but I was warned that would happen and was normal.

Recovery was sleeping from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.  My husband picked me up from the surgery and I could see on the way home which was amazing and an hour after surgery. I went for my post-op the next day and could see 20/20 but the flap had moved a nano millimeter so I had to come back in a few day and then it was proclaimed I could 20/15. Woo hoo.

My eyes were not too dry at first but today I’m experiencing it big time (I think it’s because I went to our new Redmond office and the dust was flying all over the place). Artificial tears have been my best friend today. I have anywhere from two weeks to six months for the dry eye to go away. I guess it’s better than wearing glasses or contacts. Good thing Costco sells them in bulk.

I keep wanting to go take my contacts out before bed and I grab for my glasses on the night stand. I have to sleep with a stupid sleep shield for a few more days (I busted one already).

I realize I need to blog more. I have some exciting topics coming forth so stay tuned.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Can't get enough of peanut butter chocolate Easter eggs unless ...

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="126" caption="Egg hunt"]Egg hunt[/caption]

... you come down with a stomach virus.  Lil B awoke me at 3 a.m. crying with a weird cough. As I rolled out of bed and walked into him room there was this stench of grossness. Poor little guy couldn't keep anything down. After a few hours, he just sorta snapped out of it and was up for the Old Mill Easter hunt.

Lil B was a pro. He knew exactly what to do (without even telling him) -- get the eggs. He ran all over the amphitheater and when we got in the car, he fell fast asleep in the back of the Jeep. He'd been up since 3 a.m. so he had to be pretty darn tired. When he awoke, THREE HOURS LATER, we proceeded to "hide" the eggs over and over again.

Brian and I met his brother out that night. He and his girlfriend came to town for a little R&R so we went to dinner and had swanky drinks. On the way home, we noticed a police man had pulled over someone on the parkway. It was a man dressed in a bunny suit. We joked on twitter that no one would get candy in the morning as it looked like the Easter Bunny was a little tied up taking a sobriety test on the side of the road.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Lil B and his Easter basket"]Lil B and his Easter basket[/caption]

This morning Lil B was greeted with his Easter basket (bunny must have not been drunk). The candy was mostly for my husband but inside where two little trains -- Thomas and Rosey -- guess what Lil B did all morning? Play trains. I know what he'll be getting for his birthday.

Mid-morning, Brian started to not feel good. I joked he ate too many peanut butter chocolate eggs. He didn't think that was funny and within the hour was sick and couldn't keep anything down. Now, Lil B wasn't sick too long so my guess is Brian will be fine soon and well, I'm next. Fabulous.

I had a glorious meal planned but I guess we'll skip it. I might break into the strawberry pie though. Hot dogs for dinner. Yippie!

You can view our Easter photos here.

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Wayne and the bubble

I did do a little playing when I went to SXSW Interactive. I was lucky to score a ticket to the Flaming Lips sold out show. Enjoy Wayne floating around in his bubble!

Bye, bye four eyes

Hmmm, it’s been a few weeks. My goal is to post at least twice a week but since being back from Austin from SXSW Interactive I’ve been faced with the following:
• Re-sleep training my child
• WORK WORK WORK
• Volunteer stuff for the Family Access Network
• Pre-school hunting
• Getting the house painted
• Being scared out of my wits about getting LASIK in less than a week.

By the time my child is off to dreamland I am SPENT. Just SPENT. And a little stressed. When this happens, I focus on spending my time on Flickr seeing if Jeff Tweedy combed his hair during Wilco’s sold out
US tour. Jeff, if you’re reading this, I’m quite disappointed in your grooming skills.

I’m getting LASIK surgery next week. Since I’ve inherited my mother’s poor eyesight at the good ole age of 10, glasses and contacts have been my world. I only wore my glasses to see the blackboard until my
senior year where I was forced to get contacts for my 18th birthday (what a fun bday gift) in order to see the world more clearly. Since 1993, there have been some great advances in corrective surgery and the recovery time (in my case) is just a day and I should be back up and running and seeing clearly but that doesn’t mean I’m scared out of my mind that lasers will be pointed at my eyes and slicing stuff. I’ve been told I’ll be loaded up on valium but still, I probably won’t sleep the night before. YIKES.

The good thing is that my employer offers LASIK and I get to cash in on the good ole employee discount. I was hesitant to sign up for a health flex spending account in November since my husband was out of
work but I held positive vibes that he would find employment (which he did) and I wouldn’t feel guilty about spending the dough on a cosmetic procedure. There was talk of videoing the procedure for a work video
but I really really didn’t want to broadcast that part of my life out there on the internet. You’ll just have to read about it when it’s all said and done.

As for my child, after a few days of crying himself to sleep, he is back to his regular sleep routine of 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. He’s been night waking a lot too so we’ve started night waking sleep training. We
would usually bring him into bed where he’d fall asleep and proceed to kick me all night long. Great for him; not so much for me.

I will post more, I promise. Pinky swear, really.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Don't text and walk at SXSW

I've been getting educated in the ways of social media at SXSW (spring break for geeks). My brain is soaking it all in and I feel as if I'm with my own kind -- geeks from all over the world. In public, I would not walk around with my lanyard full of flair but when a famous blogger say "I like your flair" you can't help but feel proud and even more geeky.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="222" caption="Eating pasta"][/caption]

On Saturday night, I attended a party put on by a vendor I use and ran into someone who has been reading my blogs for over 8 years (and me visa versa though she's moved to the twitter platform). I wasn't sure if I should walk up and introduce myself but I'm glad I did. It was a joyous occasion.

I'm having fun but at the same time, I'm really missing my family. Skype has come in handy to get my daily Lil B fix. Over the past two weeks, sleep has been a battle in our house so when I get back, Brian and I will be sleep training (yes, letting him cry it out) Lil B. Fun times. I often get cute MMS messages of Lil B eating pasta or coloring. I cried this morning when I saw a commercial of a mother and child on TV.  I do miss them alot.

The trade show is crazy. Everyone is giving away buttons, t-shirts and ever beer so you can hear about their products and services. One vendor is giving away a fake tattoo sleeve thing I snagged for my husband. I'm seeing a lot of folks walking and texting. Just watch this video and you'll see.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Terrific Twos

Even though my son is not two for 2.5 months, we have officially entered the "terrific twos" stage as I'm coining it (trying to be positive folks).  I'm pretty sure he's not getting the greatest nap at daycare anymore because he's just cranky butt tired when he gets home.  He's hungry but we've officially also entered "ALL I WANT TO EAT FOR DINNER IS CHICKEN NUGGETS" stage as well. Sigh. Lil B, don't you know your mom is a fabulous gourmet healthy cook? You're totally missing out.

This stage is frustrating. I'm not going to sugarcoat it. At the same time, I have not been sleeping so it doesn't help I'm dog tired when I get home from work and a zombie. I just want to sit down and if that means watching the Thomas the Train (yes, we're so over Yo Gabba Gabba in our house which is unfortunate because I can tolerate Yo Gabba Gabba -- Thomas, not so much) over and over so I can just relax, so be it. I know we're in that in between stage of toddlerdom where he can't help it, he can't communicate but my GOD, the screaming.  The throwing himself on the ground because he can't play with the remote.

On the flipside, we have a new bedtime habit that is pretty sweet. After many kisses, he grabs his blankie and lays down on my lap while I rub his back. He won't do this for my husband. We are slowly trying to give him less milk before bed because his diaper weighs a few pounds when he wakes up. He's not too happy about that but I think in a week, we'll be fine. Someday we'll give that bottle up. Someday.

Next week, I'm heading out of town on business to Austin. Five nights without my family. This is exciting and sad at the same time. Five nights all by myself. Five nights of missing my son (and husband, of course). I'm going to go buy a web cam so I can skype in and say goodnight.

I'm such a good mom.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ms. Flake

A few years ago, I used give my friend Shawn a ton of crap for “using her baby as an excuse to flake.” She knew I was kidding just a little. To make matters more complicated, Shawn’s husband was relocated and they moved to Salem.  I’ve missed seeing Shawn (and even Sarah, now a toddler) so much lately. I am feeling horrible for even thinking/saying she used her baby as an excuse. Why? Oh, because I now know what she was going through because I’m now a master flaker – the flakiest roll in the bunch. My son and family are a priority.

Last minute plans, forget about it. Bring my kid to a 7 p.m. event? He goes to bed at 7 p.m. (and he totally is a fuss bucket from 5-7 p.m. I don’t’ want ppl to think I have an unruly child) Happy hour? I have to pick my son up at daycare each day since my husband is now working (which is a good thing) – oh and I can’t bring a kid to a bar!  I’m a maybe for everything.  Sorry folks, this is my life now.

I recently read a blog post that I completely felt could have been written by me and totally hit home.

As much as I love my son (and I wouldn’t change a thing, I love him so much), it is hard to not feel left out. I’m about quit twitter and Facebook for this reason.  My day consists of getting up, going to the gym, getting ready for work, dropping kid at daycare, work, picking kid up from daycare, home, dinner, get kid ready for before, crash. By 8 p.m., I’m fast asleep.  The weekends are spent cleaning, shopping.

Bottomline, the lack of girl time is getting me down. I’m lonely. I feel so uncool (I thought this stopped in high school). I miss going on weekends away. I miss shopping. And I really miss my friend Shawn.

You know what made up for all this feeling down and flakey crap? Walking into daycare yesterday to a little boy who smiled, held his arms up and said “Hi Momma.”

Then I started thinking, want to judge me for being a flake, go ahead. I’d rather be known as an awesome mother who is always there for their kid because that is where my life is right now. I'll save my magazine reading to naptime. I'll take my son to new restaurants with my husband (of course, at 5 p.m.). I'll get a sitter now and then. Sleep is overrated! I can sleep when I'm dead.

Right now, my family is all that matters. (So I'm going to stop feeling left out and just enjoy it because someday, that toddler will be grown-up and well, then I will have time to NOT be a flake).

[caption id="attachment_723" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Ben's bath beard"]Ben's bath beard[/caption]

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fist bump

It's amazing how fast Lil B is picking up on everything we do and say. For example, he mastered high-five, like last year but he's moved onto fist bump! The Republicans in our family will be SO proud!



He also has mastered thank you, please, bath and choo choo. He says a ton of stuff but I usually can't understand it for a couple of days. Yay for milestones.

I'm not gonna review the Wilco show

You read that right. After two weeks of thinking about even mentioning it on my blog, I've decided to let my friend Ethan's words speak for me. Though I can not take credit for getting Ethan into Wilco, I can take credit for persuading him into seeing them live this summer when we went to Jacksonville. I think before that show, Ethan pretty much thought I was full of crap when it came to Wilco. Good thing they put on an amazing show! After that, he was completely hooked.  What I will talk about regarding the show is that it was the best indoor show I've seen (well, only so that isn't saying so much). I will also mention that I walked out of there a little disappointed. Yes, the show rocked but my beloved Spiders (kidsmoke) was not played. BOO! I think my disappointment was mainly that it was a little more laid back than usual? Who knows.

Yes, there was a moment with Pat Sansone - again (you'll remember I saw him on the way to the porta potties at the Jacksonville show. I wished him a good show. He thanked me). As we (Brian, Ethan and I) were leaving the hotel, Brian said "Hey, it's Pat." He was sitting in the bar with a few ladies have a drink. Ethan and I got giddy but my buzzed husband stole the show. As we could not watch, Brian took my ticket from the Bend show and got it signed. Brian then tried to tell us that we were all invited to sit down and have a drink (this was after we got into Arlen). We could have killed him! Of course, Brian was a little buzzed (I later discovered he had taken two bottles from the mini-bar).

Then the show happened.

After the show we got donuts and walked through downtown Portland, kidless. It's a weird feeling being a parent and not having your kid around. We got to sleep in. We had an adult breakfast. We went to IKEA. BORING.

This week Wilco announced they would take the summer off which is fine by me. I was planning a break from them anyway (UNLESS they played Bend or Portland). Gives me a chance to prep for June's U2 show.

So enjoy Wilco opening with "Sunken Treasure" (was hoping for "Wilco" (the song)


and another favorite "Impossible Germany"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The ones I love ...

When I was in the third grade, my dad brought me roses to school on Valentine's Day. I was walking across the street with my class, going to morning mass and he did it in front of my friends. At the time, I was really embarrassed but looking back, it was one of the sweetest moments as a child.

I spent the morning watching the same episode of  "Thomas the Train" twice because that is what my son wanted to do. We also made Daddy a Valentine's card and bought him two bottles of IPA (his favorite).  After daddy got up we went to breakfast. I received many kisses and hugs and little devilish giggles from my little Valentine! Having a kid is pretty awesome!

[caption id="attachment_704" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Hi kitty"]Hi kitty[/caption]

Monday, February 1, 2010

Why I love my job ...

As I rule, I generally don't talk about my job but I got to be part of a really cool social media campaign we launched today encouraging Central Oregon to wear red and raise awareness of heart disease in women. I spent all day Friday shooting a video of our employees wearing red and dancing away. It was a lot of fun. My husband and I worked over the weekend to get the video perfect and then this morning launched the Facebook page. (PLEASE BECOME A FAN).



Go Red Central Oregon 2/5 - Bend Memorial Clinic from Brian Hinderberger on Vimeo.

In other exciting news, my husband got a job today. Woo hoo!!! Exciting times.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Baking bread

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="280" caption="Look what I got for my birthday"]Kitchen Aid Mixer[/caption]

For my birthday, my husband got me a KitchenAid Mixer. This is something I have wanted for a really, really long time. I didn't register for it because it was so expensive. Instead, I registered for a cheaper mixer that quite wasn't doing the job in the mixing department. When I saw that Costco had the mixer I wanted for $50 off, I begged and begged and swore I would make bread from scratch and never buy a loaf again. Brian said I didn't have to make bread from scratch but I had to use it.

Today, I christened my mixer and boy am I in love!  I've been dying to make and bake homemade bread but I didn't want to knead the dough for 10 minutes. ICK! I must say that I was truly inspired by former Bendite, Anna Sowa, who wrote a whole blog post about baking bread and how cheap and easy it was with her new KitchenAid Mixer.

I started off my bread baking with the white sandwich bread recipe

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="My first loaves rising"]My first loaves rising[/caption]

that comes with the mixer which was pretty straight forward. Do I really have to put sugar in it? I almost didn't add the sugar but I did, along with the little bit of salt. I mixed it up with the dough hook and let it rise for an hour. I kept checking and it kept growing and growing and growing. Then the directions said to divide, roll out and shape into loaves for the pans then cover for another hour while they rise some more. I checked a few times and it was growing and growing in size.  I squealed with delight. Woo hoo. I baked it in the oven for 30 mins on 400 degrees and PRESTO ... we had classic white bread!

So what did I make with it? I made my husband a grilled cheese sandwich and then my son a pb&j (which he didn't eat). I took a taste of both and was in HEAVEN!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="I made bread!"]I made bread![/caption]

I can't wait to see what other adventures my new mixer brings me!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fear. Nausea. Glory.

Last spring, I participated in IgniteBend. I was scared, excited and thought I was downright nuts for signing up and presenting about my hopes of being a natural mother and completely failing. My goal was to be funny and make people laugh. I worked really really hard on my presentation and over practiced it. My husband was part of the first IgniteBend and performed a song about getting laid-off. The ironic part was he was laid off for real two days before.

You're probably asking yourself ... what is IgniteBend? Here's a description I grabbed from their website ....
If you had five minutes on stage what would you say? What if you only got 20 slides and they rotated automatically after 15 seconds? Launch a web site? Teach a hack? Talk about recent learnings, successes, failures? Around the world communities have been putting together Ignite events to show their answers.

The performance was a hit (or maybe I'm having another delusional moment?). Friends, people that I work with, complete strangers told me their stories and I didn't feel so much like a failure anymore about nixing the whole natural momma thingy. I felt as my friend Kate would describe fear, nausea and glory all rolled into one.

A couple months ago, my friend Georell told me that AdFed was going to do a mini IgniteBend and that I had to submit something. I racked my brain ... what was I passionate about and could be funny about at the same time. My topic ended up being "Vacationing in Nebraska."  So many people have no idea where the state is located so I worked away, got the slides done and then meant to practice on Wednesday.  On Wednesday, I got a bit of sad new that an old co-worker had passed away. With that occupying my mind, I completely forgot about working on my presentation. It wasn't until 10 a.m. (two hours before the presentation) that I started working on it. Let's just say, I felt that I crashed and burned when I went to present. Since I submitted this for IgniteBend 4, I really need to change a few things and practice, practice, practice.

So here is my promise -- for all of you who saw that presentation, the next one will be even better. I promise because I totally left all the funny stuff out of it and need to wittle it down.

If you have a burning idea or am passionate about something and can present it in 5 mins, go here and submit. You'll thank for the feeling of fear, nausea and glory.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The last thing you ever want

Recently, a friend was intrigued by all this talk of a certain band and she asked "can you make me a CD of their songs?" Since this is my blog and I can talk about whatever, whomever I want I thought this would be a great time to try to figure out what songs I might pick out for someone. It was pretty nerve racking -- picking these 20 songs and I ended up wussing out and just burning Kicking Television because I can't pick 20 songs by Wilco.  The list I started had 50+ songs on it and I tried to pick something out from every album. It's hard. I tried to do this with u2 and Radiohead a few years ago and I was just as stressed out. Kicking Television was just a good place to start and then I began to think "CRAP, I left out stuff from Sky Blue Sky AND Wilco (the album). The things that stress me out in my life! AHHHHHHH.

I presented her with the CD. I think I was more excited about giving it to her than she was excited about it. Then I waited and agonized over if she liked it and then I asked and she responded she was digging it. I told her she didn't have to lie. The demo on Wilco fans is 25% women .. 75% men.  If you're a fan of top 40 radio or Nickelback, you won't like it. My brother, whom was a big influencer in my musical tastes, loves Nickelback. He quite doesn't get Wilco. My husband said it best .. you have to look past the pretty faces and enjoy the layers.  Anyways, she said she wasn't lying. She liked it. (I think).

OK, so back to this dilemma.  This is the playlist I gave my friend:

[caption id="attachment_666" align="aligncenter" width="526" caption="Wilco Kicking Television Playlist"][/caption]

I was a little nervous about starting out with "Misunderstood." Back in 1997, this was my favorite Wilco song. I was so in love with Being There - Disc 1 that when my brother would get in the car (the Black Saturn and the Silver Saturn) he'd be like, "Really, you're still listen to this?" It's a good disc. I used to listen to it when I couldn't sleep. BUT the song is not for the new to Wilco crowd (esp the screaming at the end, which really I can't stand when it's sang live -- there I said something bad about Wilco -- please Jeff Tweedy, stop screaming). The rest of the disc is pretty safe though Spiders (Kidsmoke) is another song that is risky for a Wilco newbie.

Then I got to thinking, why don't I group the songs by decade ... Here is my 90s list:

[caption id="attachment_667" align="aligncenter" width="468" caption="Wilco 90s Playlist"][/caption]

Who knew I was such a fan of Summerteeth? Oh yea, that CD seems to be in rotation in my Honda. I must say I prefer "Kingpin"  live vs. the album. Of that list, "Casino Queen" was most played on my iPod which surprises me as I really don't listen to A.M. that often.

Onto the 00s

[caption id="attachment_668" align="aligncenter" width="522" caption="Wilco 00s Mix"][/caption]

So I recently discovered that I like A Ghost is Born over Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. You see, I have never actually owned these albums until about a month ago (I hear gasping). I did a horrible thing ... I got YHF off the internet and then my computer crashed and I borrowed it from someone. With Ghost, I checked it out from the library but the first song was messed up so I didn't hear the whole version until I saw it live and got Kicking Television. The most played song is "War on War" which starts off all my runs, followed by Spiders (Kidsmoke) and I'm the Man Who Loves You.

One thing I did discover, I'm not a fan of Sky Blue Sky. I'm having this dilemma with the new Flaming Lip's album right now along with U2's latest effort. Someone said that it all had to do with Nels Cline joining the band but I actually like Nels Cline and think he's a pretty amazing guitar player. I guess I'm only human by saying there is something about Wilco I don't like. I do like it more than A.M. which is just Wilco playing a bunch of songs meant to be played by Uncle Tupelo.

After I see Wilco in Portland, I will take a break and dig out my U2 cds in preparation for June.  I told my husband that if Wilco does tour this summer that The Flaming Lips will trump them when it comes to traveling UNLESS they play Bend or Edgefield (cause that place is a blast). We already know Wilco won't be playing the Sasquatch Festival since they will be in Spain that weekend and if the Flaming Lips play Sasquatch, well, Lil B might be going to his first concert. How cool would that be; Flaming Lips as your first concert???? I guess we'll all find out Feb. 16 when the line-up is announced.

If Wilco does play Bend, I am going to try my darnest to fulfill my latest aspiration ... being picked to play Spiders (Kidsmoke) which means I will have to get early and front/center to the stage and kick all the little kids around me away because I'm gonna be that chick picked to play it. (I know, I'm delusional)

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Some kid playing Spiders (Kidsmoke)"]Some kid playing Spiders (Kidsmoke)[/caption]

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Week 4 - The sodium chronicles

At my week three weigh-in of the Biggest Loser at work, I came in two pounds under the last time I weighed in. I can not weigh-in daily because it's frustrating to see the scale NOT move. In talking with my doctor, you should lose more than one pound a week so I was happy with those results.

A few weeks ago, I started having ankle pain in the ankle that I twisted over the summer. Turns out, I tore the muscle and the scar tissue is causing the pain after I run. I was ordered to three weeks of physical therapy and to back off on the running. FABULOUS. PT isn't so bad though I get to lay down for 30 mins while my ankle gets massaged, then scrapped and then fun exercises. YAY! I usually feel pretty relaxed after but after running lately, my ankle hasn't been in pain at all. I just have to remember to do stretches and just take it easy when I run. I was hoping to add .5 mile this week but I decided not to push it. Maybe next week?

The physical therapist also recommended I don't spend all my energy running and add something to the mix. I've been intrigued by the water running class and gave it a shot. It's harder than it looks but at the same time was pretty low-impact on my ankle. The instructor and swim mates were welcoming and the next day I was so sore. Maybe I can run down the Deschutes River during the triathlon?

I'm beginning to doubt my triathlon abilities. I know it's in July but I'm getting pretty scared -- mostly of the swimming part. Good thing time is on my side!

As for food, I've been doing pretty well and the weekends are really really hard though but I allow for some fudging but in moderation.

We'll see!

The spoon milestone

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The hand still gives me the creeps

I divorced Hamburger Helper in 1997. As a poor college student who lived on her own, I ate a lot of hamburger helper, ramen noodles and often crashed my grandmother’s house for dinner (she lived down the street from me). One evening, I ate some Hamburger Helper while studying and then got violently ill. I threw up all night and missed work and school the next day. Horribly dehydrated, my aunt took me to the doctor (this was about a year after my mother died) where it was discovered I had E Coli poisoning. Though I’m pretty sure it was the meat that I got sick from, I swore off Hamburger Helper in any way, shape or form.

Fast forward to being married 10 years later – my husband brings home a box of Hamburger Helper. I can’t even be in the room with it I’m so scared from that stuff. My husband is sad. His days of Hamburger Helper are over. I’m a good cook so he’s pretty much ok with not having Hamburger Helper but I think he secretly longs for it.
Since we’re eating better in our house, I found this recipe on EatBetterAmerica.com for "Healthified" Mexican Pasta Skillet which I knew my husband would love and devour. At first he was a little skeptical and made sure I was not making it with ground turkey (I have snuck ground turkey in many meals and he hasn’t noticed the difference but if he sees it, he won’t eat the leftovers the next day). This dish cooks up pretty quick and I questioned not pre-boiling the noodles but it all worked out. Anyway, he loved it and even devoured the leftovers (which he never does). He also told me to put it in my regular rotation of meals to make.  Yay for being a good wife and finding a healthy alternative to Hamburger Helper I can actually stand to look at and eat without having flashbacks of that bathroom with the god awful pink toliet!

Here is the recipe! Now if I could only get my toddler to eat it!



[caption id="attachment_648" align="alignleft" width="275" caption="Mexican Pasta Skillet"][/caption]

"Healthified" Mexican Pasta Skillet















prep time:30 min

start to finish:30 min

makes:6 servings (about 1 1/3 cups each)
































1lb extra-lean (at least 93%) ground beef
1jar (16 oz) Muir Glen® organic mild salsa
1cup Muir Glen® organic tomato sauce (from 15-oz can)
1   1/2cups water
2cups uncooked regular or multigrain elbow macaroni
1cup Green Giant® Niblets® frozen corn
1/2cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese (2 oz)
















1.In 12-inch skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain.
2.Stir in salsa, tomato sauce and water. Heat to boiling. Stir in macaroni and corn. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until macaroni is tender.
3.Sprinkle with cheese. Cover; let stand 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Soccer in the hallway

Week 1 - The sodium chronicles

As you remember, I'm divorcing sodium to lower my blood pressure and lose some weight. This is something I can not fail at because if I do, I'll have to be chained to blood pressure meds and I really don't like spending my time in line at the Fred Meyer Pharmacy. Week one of logging my calories/sodium intake went well on Livestrong.com. My first day back at work after our vacation started with a weigh-in for our company's Biggest Loser challenge. I was happy that I was at least down 10 lbs from last year.

For the most part, I stayed on course with keeping my sodium in-take in control. One day I went over because I didn't realized that the low sodium burrito I was eating was actually two servings. Seriously, who splits a burrito? (OK, I have been known to split a mondo sized breakfast burrito but this burrito was not small). I did have pizza this week as well. I didn't eat half a pizza, just two slices. That's an improvement, for me.

The biggest hurdle has been getting my husband to realize that we have to plan meals out and can't just wing it. I'm getting a lot of  "I don't want that" and I have to gently remind that well, I need to watch my sodium in-take in order to keep the blood pressure down. He then becomes supportive.

Today is my cheat day. I try hard NOT to go completely overboard. I started the day with a vanilla mocha from Thump and then some awesome cinnamon rolls that my friend Jen made. That was followed up by a mimosa. Did I mention that after that I went to Costco and indulged in a hot dog?  The rest of the day will be relatively low on the sodium spectrum.

The other hurdle ... finding gourmet low sodium recipes.  I love Everyday Food Magazine BUT they don't put the sodium content on their nutrition contents so I have to enter all the ingredients into a calculator and divide it by the servings to figure it out. I did send them an email and got back a lame response. So far, EatingWell.com and EatBetterAmerica.com and the South Beach Diet cookbook have become places for safe recipes. If you have any suggestions for places to find gourmet recipes that are low in sodium, I would love to know.

As for exercising, I think I need to visit a physical therapist. In July, while running the river trail, I twisted my ankle. I spent a month not running and walked instead.  Since I'm back to running, I've developed some ankle pain. I am hoping that my new shoes will correct the problem but if it doesn't I hope I'm not sidelined again. I want to do a triathlon so I need to figure out what to do to keep running. I have developed this love of running and I don't want to abandon it.  This week I've run/walked 11 miles. I need to change it up and I'm interested in trying water running and I do have to start spinning which I'm dreading.

Well, onto week 2.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Uh oh

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="180" caption="Lil B"]B and Lil B[/caption]

What happened to the kid that ate everything? One day, he loves Pasta Pick Ups. Then the next week, he won't eat a single one! It was the only way this kid would even touch a vegetable. He loves the Morningstar Farms Veggie Bites but now no one in Bend sells them. I've been to every stinkin' grocery store and have walked out empty handed. The kid who loved carrots now hates them. It's so frustrating. Please tell me this is normal for a 19 month old?!?!?!?!

He does great at breakfast. He'll eat just about everything BUT eggs. He also is telling us he's hungry by grabbing his bib from the high chair and bringing it to you. (Look away Dr. Middleton - he does this with his bottle for milk too) Right now, he's into cheese quesadillas or chicken nuggets. I know if I make one, he'll eat it no problem but I am praying he doesn't wake up one day and not want to eat one. When I make dinner for the family, he usually won't eat it. I do put it on his plate but he won't try it or gives it to the dog (who is now getting fatter each day). Sometimes I'll try to feed it to him but he usually spits it out.  The cutest thing he does lately is eat yogurt with a spoon from the cup. I need to get it on video it's so cute.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs!"][/caption]

A stand-by in our house is this lovely recipe from Everyday Food. He used to go completely nuts over spaghetti and meatballs. Not anymore. I'm sure this will all change because I'm not going to be a short order cook!

Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs


Serves 4

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 pound ground beef chuck

  • 1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes in puree

  • 3/4 pound spaghetti


Directions



  1. Set a large pot of salted water to boil. In a bowl, combine Parmesan, parsley, garlic, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add beef and breadcrumbs; mix gently. Form into 16 balls.

  2. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium. Add meatballs, and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente. Drain, and return to pot; add meatballs and sauce, and toss gently. Serve with Parmesan.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Christmas seems so long ago

Where did the time go? It seems like Christmas was ages ago but it was really only two weeks ago.  As you may recall, Lil B woke up with croup the day before Christmas Eve.  He laid around for two days and wasn't too interested in opening his presents so his dad helped him. I was afraid that maybe he just wasn't into it but it turns out that he just wasn't feeling well and we should have waited for Christmas. Brian got up with him on Christmas morning and OPENED THE REST OF THE PRESENTS WITHOUT ME. Yes, I have a mean husband.  I guess he ripped through all of them and loved playing with his tent that santa brought him.

After breakfast, I took a shower and when I came out, Brian informed me that Lil B was taking a nap which was shocking since he doesn't take naps until the afternoon but apparently he played to much with all of his new toys and fell asleep in his lunch. Evidence is below.



The rest of the day, we spent packing for our Arizona trip to see my in-laws. I was relieved that  Lil B was feeling better because I really didn't want to take a sick kid on an airplane

You might remember that I have commented on Lil B being a good traveling. Well, I jinxed that one. The kid screamed the whole flight to Mesa and wouldn't take a nap. His crying set all the other babies on the plane crying. I feel sorry for the lady sharing the row with us.

The Arizona trip was fabulous. My in-laws are amazing and I wish we/they lived closer. We played wii ALOT, ate ALOT and relaxed. It's also nice that we have a direct flight from Redmond. Most of the time, the airfare is pretty affordable. On the way home, the flight wasn't full so they let Lil B has his own seat which made a difference.