Tuesday, April 27, 2010

You Minced! I did!

As much as I love new recipes, I am not a fan of cookbooks. I get most (most meaning all) my recipes online. It's easier to look up, easier to store, easier to share and also, no dead trees. Hooray!

And then you get the added perk of the recipes not being edited. Like this little gem I came across today;

  1. Beat eggs lightly in a large bowl and ricotta cheese, basil and salt. Stir in mushroom mixture. If this ends up being a little too runny for stuffing your manicotti, you can use regular parmesan cheese like you.
Um. I think I was just called a Parmesan cheese. Should I be insulted? I do love Parmesan. Maybe it was a compliment.

You big Parmesan cheese.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ohana Means Family, Family Means Nobody Gets Left Behind

I went to bed early last night, got up early this morning, and went running. Sometimes, I am just so proud of myself.

I did a 5K this morning. It was good run. The best was at the end, after I had finished, I walked home for my cool-down. As I approached the house, in the window I saw Drek, all dressed for work (he had to leave in a few minutes), holding Ash, still dressed in her pajamas (I love babies in foot-y pajamas. They are so adorable) and even Acouchi. They were looking out the window, smiling and waving (Okay, Acouchi wasn't waving, but she was still watching!), waiting for me to come home!

Awwww. I love my little family so much.

Friday, April 23, 2010

It’s a Dead End, and Not the Kind of Dead End You Can Undead and Redead Again

I went to my grandma's funeral today. It was a brutal two and a half hour drive there and another two and a half hours back. I say brutal, because Ash was not happy for the last hour both ways and was mostly inconsolable.

She was not my mother's or my father's mother. She was a women in my neighborhood who didn't have any grandkids close by, and I didn't have any grandparents close by, so we adopted each other.

She was wonderful to me. She gave me my first real job (paper routes don't count). She taught me all about time cards, filing, Excel, inventorying, balancing checkbooks and money smarts. She was an emergency preparedness nut and instilled in me a love for food storage. She taught me you get less wrinkles if you smile. She taught me about service. She taught me about old people.

It's hard when you grow up calling someone grandma your whole life, you treat her like a grandparent, she treats you like a grandkid, and when you get to her funeral you realize you actually aren't even related to this women. Her family asks you who you are and why you drove two and a half hours and you stutter a lame response; "Um...we lived close and she was really nice to me." or "She was the one who told me about the Y2K bug and all the doom it would bring (She told me all this in 1998)." or "I waited in her hospital room while she had surgery to remove tumors and was there for the months of chemo treatments that followed."

Sadly, this was not my first time with this experience. This was my third not-biological-grandparent funeral (Fourth if you count Drek's grandmother). I am grateful that my biological grandparents are still alive and doing well, but...I don't know. I feel very un-validated. I feel like I don't have a right to mourn. After all three funerals I feel like the experience somehow cheapened our relationship.

It was fun to finally meet her biological grandchildren for the first time. As the person that balanced her checkbook for two years, I knew for a who she sent birthday checks to, and how much, and thus, who her favorites were. It was exciting for someone to introduce themselves and I could instantly say "Oh! I know how much she loved you." or "Ah. So you're the rebel."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

I made Earth Cupcakes!

While I blog how I made these beautiful and delicious treats, I thought I'd share a few planet-saving tips at the same time.

3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups milk

Yes, these cupcakes are made from scratch. Why? Because things from scratch are yummier, healthier, and greener. Pre-packaged food = waste! Sure, you still have trash when you make things from scratch, but not nearly as much as a pre-made cake mix.

Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add in the eggs, two teaspoons vanilla, salt and baking powder. Add flour and milk in batches, starting and ending with flour. Stir until batter is smooth and satiny. Divide batter into two bowls. Color one green and one blue (If you want your cupcakes to look more realistic with more ocean than land, color 1/3 of your batter green and 2/3 blue) Add spoonfuls of batter alternating colors into non-stick muffin tins.

Notice I said spoon into tins, not spoon into paper-lined muffin tins. I put a lot of effort into not buying disposable products. Paper-liners are a drain on the earth's resources, finances, and they are totally unnecessary!

The first batch I did the alternating spoonfuls. It was messy and very un-precise. I decided to try putting the batter into bags and cutting off the tip so I could control the colors with more precision.

Notice how these bags are not zip-lock bags. These are produce bags you put your produce into at the grocery store. After we get home from the store (which I walk to and from since it's only four blocks away), I take the produce out of the bag and put it in the fridge. I take the bags and put them in a drawer to use and re-use later in place of zip-lock bags, small trash bags, plastic wrap, and such. Again, we do not spend our hard earned money on disposables that contribute to landfills. It saves me money and I'm saving the planet!

The bag technique wasn't that much better, it was still really messy! For the last batch I put a heaping spoonful of blue into each tin, added an island of green, added more blue, then dabbed a bit more green. It was much more controlled and a lot less messy.

Bake at 375° for 18- 20 minutes. Let cool before attempting to remove the the little "earths" from the muffin tin.
This was a messy project. Time for clean-up!I do not buy paper towels. I use rags and dishcloths. I also do not buy harsh cleaning chemicals, as these are also bad for the environment (and my precious cat and baby). So how do I clean? I use a steam cleaner. I fill it up with water, it turns the water into steam and I use the steam to clean (it's wonderful to clean with, no scrubbing at all!) and disinfect.I also hate all things "Swiffer". It's such a waste of recourses and money. Would it kill you to use a rag instead of hundreds of disposable Swiffer Wet Jet Pads? Yes? Then it's either you or the planet.

But! (you ask) that is so much effort! Wouldn't it be easier to drop by a fast-food place and buy a Mc-Apple-Pie?
To which I respond: WHAT?! You still eat at fast food restaurants? Seriously?! Have you never seen Super-Size Me? Fast food will KILL you! Warning; If you eat this, you will DIE!

On top of that;
The average restaurant produces about 8,200 pounds of waste a month, which is more than 98,000 pounds a year (think about it paper cups, plastic spoons, paper napkins, plastic straws, ketchup packets...all served to you inside a plastic bag or on a tray with a paper liner). In addition to the waste generated at the fast food outlets, a great deal of secondary waste is generated by fast food suppliers , and this is a HUGE problem. Feedlots and slaughterhouses, for instance, produce vast amounts of waste, which greatly contribute to pollution. Also, a large volume of trash is generated by the soda industry. It is estimated that 44 billion soft drink cans and bottles are thrown into landfills annually.

Summery; Eating at fast food places = death to you + death to your finances + death to the planet. Thus, Fast food = Death.

See? I can math!

Sigh, but if you must choose McDonalds, please read this awesome blog post by Eco Women first.

End lecture.

Okay, Okay, I admit it. I do eat at fast food restaurants (hello, I drove eight hours to eat at Durangos! Very un-green-like.) But very rarely. I will also admit that I don't have eco-friendly light bulbs in my house (I try to use sunlight as much as possible and once we buy our own house I will make an effort to buy eco-friendly light bulbs). It would have been so much cooler to post about how on Earth Day I convinced our city to recycle, or I persuaded the Governor that killing wolves is not just wrong, but evil. But, alas, all I did today was keep my lights off and post a green lecture. I am not the greenest person in the world, but I am a lot more green this year than I was last year! I hope to be even more green next year! In an effort to keep learning, trying, and saving, I think I will rent the movie No Impact Man and watch it tonight as the perfect end to Earth Day!

Thanks to by stephanie lynn for the idea!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Where We Can Stay All Day in The Sun

I'm sunburned! Hallelujah! It's a miracle!

Especially after Tuesday, when I looked out the window and saw this;

It was a blizzard. A full-on, snow-blowing-everywhere blizzard. It lasted most of the day.

Two days later, it is summer. Since we live right next to a huge park, I decided to take Ash out to enjoy the sun. There were so many people in the park! Hundreds! Most of them were moms with at least three children. Everyone was in capris and short-sleeves, flip-flops and pony tails. It's summer! We stayed for two hours. That night I noticed I was a little pink. It was exciting.

It was so nice outside that after dinner Drek packed Ash in the stroller and we went on a walk. We wandered around and finally ended up at the veteran's memorial. It was a nice outing.

The next day was Friday. We went to the park again. There weren't as many people there, but still, I'd say around fifty. When I I got home I noticed I actually had a tan line on my arm. Hooray!

Today I went on my run. It was a long run; nine and a half miles, and it took me an hour and fifty-nine minutes. I wore a T-shirt. Later in the day I realized my arms, neck and face, were red. RED! I'm sunburned! I love being sunburned!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Close Your Mouth, Please, Michael. We Are Not a Codfish

When I was in middle school, I nannied for two little children. Jordie was four and Jessi was two. I was their nanny for two years before they moved to a different state. I still keep in contact with them and their mom, and I have been over there to visit a few times. I got an email from the mom today telling me that Jordie shaves has a girlfriend. A girlfriend. What the? When did that happen? My baby! Oh man, I remember when he was just a little guy, sticking toys down his pants.

Oh man, I am so old.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

We're Being Intrepidatious. We're Out To Discover!

My house is in shambles. We were supposed to celebrate Easter this week, but no such luck. I look around me and wonder why it's so hard for me to get up and clean?

Oh, right. Because I am literally tied to my bed, seven times a day for twenty minutes each.

Hate HATE HATE pumping.

However, I have recently discovered that I am not the only mom in the world who exclusively pumps. As I talk with them, they tell me it really does suck, and no one really understands how much it sucks, and to hang in there. One women I've been talking to has EP-ed for thirty-two months now. Wow. That women is my hero.

So, as I sit here, time after time, thinking about how to improve the situation, I realize I need to invent a new breast pump. The problem with the ones on the market today are that they are machines that you have to plug into the wall and then sit in front of while they work. Also, while it is acceptable to nurse in public, NO ONE thinks it's ok to pump in public. Thus, every time I need to pump, I have to run home, hide in my back room and close the door. What I need is a breast pump that looks like a baby and is portable. I'll design it so it looks like a newborn in a sling. It will be a hands-free pump. The beauty of it will be that you can just hook it up and set a timer, so you can get "milked" every three hours, without having to do anything. A timer will go off, and you can just keep doing what you're doing without even changing bottles. The milk would go into the hollow baby and be kept there until you want to empty it. That way, I can go out in the world and not have to be home every three hours. I can have company over and not hide in the back, I can go shopping, to a movie, or even maybe clean my house.

Yes, I am desperate. Yes, I am going crazy.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Living Proof That Dinosaurs Once Roamed the Earth

I'm twenty-four. Please allow me to curl up in a ball and sob about how old that is. Twenty-four. Twenty-four. At twenty-four you are expected to act like an adult. No more screwing around, seriously, it's time to grow up. Sigh.

I had a really good day; Drek took Ash when she woke up so I got to sleep in for an extra hour. When I finally did wake up and go out to the living room, I saw that Acouchi had thrown up all over the carpet. Hey, thanks, babe. A present from the bottom of your stomach. How sweet.

I went to an LLL meeting and had a wonderful time. When I came home I went through the front door, instead of the garage like I normally do. I looked on the kitchen table, and there, to my surprise, was this;
Delicious, homemade cinnamon rolls, frosted and everything! Yummy! My wonderful downstairs neighbors did it. If I had come in through the garage, I also would have notices that they decorated the wall;
and my door! They are so wonderful! I am so lucky to have such great neighbors! At the same time, a box was delivered to my house. It contained twenty-four beautiful roses from my parents. Awwwww.

My sister called to wish me happy birthday and I got to talk to her for quite a while.

When Drek got home he took me out to eat. We had a great time. When we got home, I noticed there was something else on our table; A present from Mei-mei's roommate! Wow! I have a magic table! Every time I leave and come back there is something new for me! Giggle giggle.

Anyway, the present was super-thoughtful. It was "The Lorax" by Dr. Suess, which is a book I have wanted for a long time. How did she know? There was also a parenting book that looks very interesting. I'm excited to read it. It was so sweet of her!

Finally, it was time for a party! Drek, Ash and I went over to Anna and Cutis's house, where Anna had a huge party all ready to go! Toshi and I share the same birthday, he is exactly one year older than I am, and another cousin's birthday was on the 4th, so we had a combined party for all three of us! I asked Rissy to send me a few of Toshi's favorite things from Japan and she sent a HUGE box full of Japanese treats. I was so excited to give it Toshi. He loved it!

Rissy also sent me something for my birthday; Tim Tams! I'd never heard of them, but they bust be huge because that's what Anna got Toshi! Along with the Tim Tams Rissy sent homemade instructions for how to eat them. She is such a good artist.
I tried them with hot chocolate and WOW! HOW ARE THESE NOT HUGE IN THE USA?? THEY ARE SO GOOD!!

The party was wonderful, with some great games, and THE MOST AMAZING CAKE;
Yeah, it was delicious.

We also got to open presents. Anna and Curtis got me a CD. I've been listening to it all morning. I LOVE it. They also said Drek and I should come over and they would fix us an Italian dinner and eat it while listening to the CD. I love that idea, Anna's cooking is delicious.

Drek got me Pandemic (hooray!) and Strictly Ballroom (Hooray, hooray!) and a Dove bar (yum!). He also got me the cutest card which says; "Es un pecado verse tan bien como te ves tu ano tras ano." Isn't he so wonderful! Not only was it so sweet, but it was in Spanish! I love my husband. My husband is the bestest husband in the whole world. I can't believe how thoughtful and wonderful his presents were. He is such a great guy. I am so lucky to be married to him.

Monday, April 05, 2010

He Saved You in All Your Wanderings, and Even Now, He Saves You from the Wrath of Pharaoh. God Will Not Abandon You. So Don't You Abandon Us

Ok, I changed my mind. I can blog in April, I just have to finish my word count for the day first. I'm supposed to do a thousand words a day. Today I've done one thousand two hundred. Woot!

It's good to be home. The weekend was General Conference. It was WONDERFUL! It was all about family and fatherhood and motherhood. It's so wonderful to have such a wonderful husband and such a perfect little daughter. It's so wonderful to be told by God what I need to keep my wonderful husband and my perfect little daughter.

The weekend was also Easter, but Drek and I decided Sunday morning to forget it was a holiday and just celebrate it next week. Thank goodenss. I didn't celebrate Passover either, maybe we can fit both into next weekend. So, in that case, I'm so excited to go to the store tomorrow to get things for Easter baskets! Hooray!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

I Don't Want to Play the Gender Card Right Now. You Want to Play a Card, Let's Play the "Let's Not Die" Card

On March 21st, my sister blessed her baby back in Home State. Drek, Ash and I drove down a few days before. Drek left after the blessing, and Ash and I stayed until April 3, because I was teaching a class (Self Massage Techniques to De-Stress Your Life) on April 2.

So Drek and I spent two weeks apart.

I had a lot of fun. Krisling and I went on a mini-vacation to Summer-Land, I did anti-gravity yoga, I ran with my dad and my sister, and then I ran some more with my sister. I hung out with my nieces and in-laws. I played some wonderful and awesome games with my friends and even helped put together a puzzle (I put down four pieces out of a thousands and thousand piece puzzle, I helped!). I taught my class (it went great). I went to a book-signing, and I did research for my novel. Speaking of my novel, I'm making myself do a mini-Nanowrimo for April to finish the thing. Thus, no more blogging until I'm done, in June.

I got back home yesterday. To be honest, I'm shocked the house is still standing. I am even more shocked the fish are still alive. They are almost out of water, and their bowl hasn't been cleaned, but they are still alive.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

It's Time to Trust My Instincts, Close My Eyes, And Leap

I have three words for those who care;

Anti. Gravity. Yoga.

Quite a few summers ago I was lucky enough to go to Sea World in California with the family I nannied for. We went two days in a row and besides loving everything about Sea World and loving the people I was with, my favorite part was a show they put on in the park late at night. Don't ask me what the name of the show was, I really can't remember. Something like "Night Phantoms"? Or maybe "Air Amphibians?" I really have no idea. It actually might have been a Circe Del Sol thing. Maybe.

Anyway, the show had these acrobats done up in the most amazing make-up. There was also long pieces of cloth hanging from twenty feet up in the air. There were five hanging cloths side by side. The acrobats (without safety nets of any sort of harness) would seemingly float up and down the cloth doing these crazy dances hanging by their legs. They would swing, go upside down and flip. It was mesmerizing.

Immediately I wanted to learn to do what they did, but where do you take lessons for that sort of thing?

Several years later, Krisling keeps raving about this anti-gravity yoga class. I finally join her OHMYGOODNESS IT'S THE SAME THING!!!

There is a giant sling that hangs front he ceiling and you do all sorts of yoga poses using the sling. You can swing, you can flip, you can go upside down...it is wonderful!

Krisling signed us up for a class and when we got there, to our surprise, we were the only ones in the class! Usually private lessons are crazy expensive but we got a private lesson for the price of a normal class! We were like two gravity defying-night amphibians-air phantom-ninja fiends!

The next day the soreness kicked in. If I move my abs at all they explode.

We did it again today and, once again, it was amazing. There were a lot more upside down poses today, including one called "bat" where you are straight up and down with your arms as your wings. My muscles were already so tired I kept shaking while trying to do this pose. Kris said I was "Seizing Bat." The next pose we went into was "Monkey" upside down, legs wrapped around the sling, arms dangling. From there we went into "Yogi," "Chandelier," "Star," and others. All of these were upside down. We were upside down for ten minutes. When we came back up, Kris was still upside down. She had gotten stuck in "monkey" and couldn't figure out how to get out. Thus, she is "Trapped Monkey."

On Tuesday my sister and I were supposed to run eight miles. We were going to do the last eight miles of the official course, but the air quality was dreadful; the dust was so thick you could hardly see! Thus, we decided to do the first eight miles, so most of our running would be up in the canyon, above the dust. When we got to the starting park a sign blocked the path telling us that the trail was closed for the season and wouldn't open until the next day. We shrugged. "Well, if it opens tomorrow it must be all clear, right?" Oh, no. Very no. We hiked in knee-deep snow for a good forty-five minutes before being able to actually run on a clear path. By the time we made it six miles, Ash decided she was done (she was with her Nana and Grandpa in the car, doing support) so we called it quits.

Still, all those knee lifts must have done something;

I am now down to my pre-pregnancy weight! Woot!