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

Makes 2 loaves of bread


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



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]