Sunday, March 31, 2013

Week 14 - Spring Break!

Hi friends!  Hoppy Easter!
I am a rebel ya'll, this is the second year in a row that I have skipped church on Easter.  Last year it was because I was trying to run a marathon.  This year it was because I was skiing with friends.

But before I get ahead of myself, highlights of the week:
  • The kiddos that I nanny for were on Spring Break this week.  We had a blast!  Can't wait for summer to roll around so I can hang out with all three more often.  I brought everyone over to our apartment and we played hide-n-seek.  It was too much fun.  There are three kiddos that now have a Mr. Ian wrapped our their little fingers.  Mr. Ian showed each one how to write his or her name in Greek.
  • Mr. Ian and Miss Alissa took all three kiddos out for lunch.  When going out to lunch with kids, two adults to three kids is a good ratio I have learned.  Much better than one adult to three kids.
  • I got a library card this week.  Bad new bears ya'll.  I stayed in bed until noon one day this week reading.  Some self-control needs to be applied.
  • One of my good, good friends from college flew in on Friday.  We went running together (!!).  She is a rockstar and helped us clean the church on Saturday.  I was her caddy when we went disc golfing.  We ate a lot of good food together.  We went skiing together.  It was a good weekend!
  • For the record, skiing is not quite like riding a bike.  It took me a couple of hours to remember what I was doing.  But it is a lot more fun to ski in Colorado than in Korea!  Remember to bring some sunscreen with you if you go skiing on a cloudless day (just sayin').
  • Oh yeah, if you are ever in Breckenridge, check out this place - it is delicious!

Yogurt land + Friend = Awesome

What I've been making: Greek Style Supper was our new recipe for the week, it was good!
What I've been enjoying: Having a friend in the same town as me for a few days!
What I've been reading: Lori Wick will always be my favorite author.  You can make fun of me, it is okay. 
What I've been running: I did 1,000m repeats on the dreadmill, thought I was going to die.
What I've been listening to: Sara Groves
What I've been smelling: pine trees whilst skiing!
What I've been humming:  Up from the Grave He Arose!
What I've been buying:
I get to buy an emission test for the car.  It is required before we can get our Colorado license plates.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Week 13 - Spring is Coming...maybe?

We are snug as a bug in a rug this weekend.  We got about 8 inches of snow.  Except for going out to shovel, we have been sticking close to home and enjoying a lazy weekend.

When you live in a basement apartment,  your pictures of the snow outside your window are pretty special.

Here are some highlights from the week:
  • I took the Wee One that I nanny to tumbling this week.  We had a blast!  She loves to get out of the house and go on adventures (that is what I term leaving the house with her in tow).  Her brother, on the other hand, loves, loves, loves to stay home and hates to leave the house.  I was quite proud that I got some amount of breakfast into everyone, the older ones to school on time, and the little one and I made it tumbling on time (dare I say  a few minutes early) all by 9:15am.  Glad I do not have to do that every day though.
  • It snowed.  Like 8 inches.  Have I mentioned that Ian and I are the snow removal team for our church.  Ya'll, it is good for me.
  • I ran a 12 mile long run this week.  Wootwoot!  It has been awhile since I have done 12.
  • I wrote a long post on menu-planning.  It will rock your socks or your world.

What I've been enjoying: the Wee One recently had a birthday, she got some sweet art supplies.  Yes, I enjoy crafting at the same level as a 3 year old.
What I've been wearing: I impulsively got a new "spring" T-shirt for 5 buckaroos at Target
What I've been running: I ran a 800 repeat workout this week and have been increasing my mileage
What I've been buying: I bought plane tickets this week!  Yay!  

A really long post on my menu planning ephipanies

I have been working on my menu planning system the last few months.  I think I finally have it figured out.  I, personally, do not like the "weekly meal plan".  It worked okay for us in Korea, but I sometimes find a new recipe that I want to make next week, or I want to reschedule a yummy meal we just ate.  This is going to shatter the earth, ya'll.  I print a calendar (really, it is 5week x 7 days graph that looks like a calendar) off each month.

So mind-blowing, I took a picture of March's Menu
It hangs on the side of the fridge - it rocks my world.  Once a week, I take it down and menu plan on it.  Then I hang it back up.  The main thing that I love about this system is that at the end of 2013, I will have 12 blessed sheets of paper that list ALL the meals we have eaten.  12, not 52.  Praise the Lord!

Anywho, I have now been doing this for 3 months or so.  I collected the good meals we have eaten in the last 3 months and categorized them on a piece of paper.  I have listed the "special ingredients" that I need to make each dish (things you would not find in my cupboards on a regular basis).
I like this piece of paper for several reasons.
  1. If I want to make Egg, Cheese, and Sausage Bake, then I know I need parsley.  I also see that I use parsley in Shrimp Salad - perfect!  Let's eat those within a week of each other and not let the fresh parsley go bad in the back of the fridge.
  2. If I need to pull together a meal quickly, I can survey my fridge and cupboards, see what I have, and refer to the piece of paper to see what I can make with ingredients on hand.
  3. It includes pretty colors.  I like pretty colors.
  4. When I am trying to menu plan for a week, and my brain is stuck, I can whip out this piece of paper and see what looks good, or what meal make sense to make for this week (see #1)
  5. While menu planning, I can check the store ads online and try to make frugal meals with what is on sale...I have not tried this yet, but it seems like a good idea in my brain. 
My plan is to update this every 3-6 months with new recipes we have tried and liked.  My goal is to have chicken (or beef, or eggs etc) take up an entire page or half a page someday.  Then I will be menu planning queen!  And I would like the day of entire page of chicken be in the next 5 years (that is before we have kiddos and our life gets crazy.  Having kids = craziness.  I do learn things whilst nannying ya'll...sometimes craziness = fun and sometimes craziness = not having time to search the internet and cookbooks for lots of fun new recipes because Someone wants a sippy cup full of milk and Someone Else wants to know how cereal is made, Someone else is practicing the piano with much gusto, and the phone is ringing).

I think the best thing about this is that I know it works for me.  I have read a lot of blog posts about how meal planning works for other people.  But I have never read a blog post that clicked for me, "Like that would totally work for me!".  This (so far) has worked.  Hallelujah!

I am working on getting this into a google doc so ya'll can access it.  It is slow going because google docs does not like me.  I will link it when I have it.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Week 12 - Happy Birthday!

It was Birthday week around here!

Happy Birthday to my sister-in-law Brandy, my dog niece Penny Su, the Wee One that I nanny (she turned 3...maybe that means she is done with the terrible twos?), my brother-in-law Cary, Coach P, and my Aunt Wanda....

And of course my amazing awesome handsome husband - Ian! Happy Birthday, my love!

How is it possible that some many have birthdays within just one week!?!

We had a great time celebrating everyone birthday's this week.  I made Chocolate Guinness Stout Cupcakes with Bailey's Irish Cream Frosting (I skipped the ganache filling).  I did add in a little bit extra flour and went scant on the baking soda to account for the altitude - they turned out great and delicious!  Note: If you do not like alcohol, I would say make the cupcakes, but ditch the frosting.  The cupcakes were amazing!  They were so moist and good.  I could not taste the Guinness in them at all.  (If you divide 1 cup amongst 28 cupcakes, you aren't getting too much...)

Moving on from cupcakes...I just asked Ian what the best part of his birthday celebration was.  He said, "Oh, the going out to eat".  We headed to Pho 95, a Vietnamese restaurant.  I may or may not have brought some sam jang in my purse.

Handsome Birthday Boy

In the other news, I won a giveaway this week!  Thanks Gabi for hosting such a great giveaway!  I need to start brainstorming a project or two with ribbons now.  Any ideas?

And last, but not least, the Middle One that I nanny made a pretty cool map this week:

The horses got to go on a treasure hunt

What I've been making: egg bake (yum-o!), steaks in the cooler, waffles and bacon, cheesy beef and rice
What I've been enjoying: On Friday it was 75 here, I went running and barely got sweaty!  I love in high desert climate!
What I've been reading: Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton
What I've been wearing: my awesome Math Toms (thanks Theresa!)
What I've been running: 11 miles long run this week!
What I've been listening to: Old School Michael W. Smith, Sandi Patty, and Amy Grant
What I've been buying:
birthday presents, birthday cards, birthday everything!

New Recipes Tried in February

I like to talk about food.  Here are some new recipes that I tried in February and what we thought of them.

Enchilada Chicken Pasta - Yum-o!  Ian thinks that this recipe could be spicier (and I agree).
Broccoli Chicken Supreme - I got this recipe from a friend.  It was good.  If you make it, follow the recipe...improvising may have it turn out not so good (not that I would know from experience).  It still disappeared pretty quick around here.

Spinach and Shrimp Pasta - Oh my goodness - You need to go make this right now.  I would say that if you don't like your food to have a kick, you might want to scale back the paprika and red pepper flakes.  This will be added to the regular dinner rotation at our house.

Tortilla Pizza - my amazing husband made up this recipe. You take a tortilla, spread some pizza sauce on it.  Top with whatever blows your skirt up.  Pop it in the oven till it is warm and the cheese is melted.  A quick, delicious lunch to make for your wife when she has been hit by sickness.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Week 10

I am writing this post quite awhile AFTER week 10 happened in real life....I do not remember if anything exciting happened during this week of my life.  However I did take this picture:

So ready for spring!
It snowed twice within week 10, yet it still managed to make it to 60 degrees by Saturday!

In other excitement, we celebrated our 1,000th day of marriage this week! Wootwoot!

Not too often that I run through snow in shorts!