Monday, January 31, 2011

Day Four, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42

So, day 4 is all about favorite TV shows. We don't have much time for television, and if it weren't for the DVR we wouldn't get to watch anything, but husband and I do have a few favorites that we look forward to sitting down and watching together when we can find a few minutes.
The hubs and I didn't really jump on the "Lost" bandwagon until right before the final season aired. Personally, I think we did it the right way! We borrowed all the seasons from a friend on DVD, and caught up right before the final season premiere. We were definitely hooked - it made waiting each week for the last season's episodes SO difficult! I miss this show! Hands down, it may be the best written show ever on television. So many twists and turns, loveable characters, and characters that you love to hate. ;) The storylines were always gripping and entertaining (although often far-fetched), and there really is no current comparison to this amazing show. Plus, Josh Holloway... YUMmy. :)

Unfortunately, Lost is long gone, so here's a recent favorite of mine and the hubs. If you only have time to enjoy one show on television these days, Modern Family should definitely be it. The hubs and I laugh until we cry every Wednesday night to this little gem. It's about three families, all dysfunctional in their own way, and each of their separate storylines crack us up equally. Definitely a nice 30 minutes of quality comic relief.

We are also huge fans of the Food Network and Top Chef. Who doesn't love watching amazing cooks whip up quality food? Plus, it's fun to find and try new recipes. Speaking of, I am off to start dinner. :) Hope your Monday was as lovely as mine.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 3 - Moody Melodies

I love music. It's the cure for everything.

I mean, it really is. No matter my mood, there is always an appropriate song. If I need to be drug out of said mood, there is most definitely a song for that. Truly, music is such a huge part of my life, and I really will listen to just about anything...  and I can appreciate any type of music or song that makes me feel something. I hate the idea of having to narrow down my music tastes to a few tunes, when there is no possible way to encompass everything I love by choosing 2 or 3 songs. Since we all know I am not any good at the pick "a" favorite with this whole challenge thing, here is my own mini playlist. A compilation of songs I like to listen to for when I am feeling a certain way. Because, really, there is no way to pick an actual favorite song. Never mind. I am not doing a mini playlist with songs for every mood. I started running through my music collection the past few days trying to narrow it down, and I found myself stuck on a single group. Here is something I love, even though it's such a small part of vast amount of music I enjoy. So, don't judge my taste in music by the following songs, but instead view it as a drop in the musical bucket. 

This artist/group not only has a song for my every mood, feeling, and moment, but I can track my love for them right along side my relationship with husband. He introduced me to them, and we have loved them together throughout the years. I do have several friends that don't share my love for these guys, but mostly, I am just sad for those that can't appreciate the goodness (although I completely respect their right to have their own musical tastes). ;) There is something so sexy about the harmonica. When the lead vocalist can play his funky guitar and the harmonica while crooning away, add the upright bassist and it just doesn't get any groovier. G. Love and Special Sauce will forever be my favorite go-to band for awesome music. We have seen them in concert many countless times, and even hung out with these amazingly cool peeps in the green room and on their tour bus.

I pretty much love everything they have ever done, but I will try and narrow it down to just a few to check out. My first pick is just a feel-good song with a good message and some especially groovy harmonica parts... "Peace, Love, Happiness" from their "Superhero Brother" album (also check out the title song on this album).

"Breathe in deep, feel your heart beat, just to know that life's worth living. Feel your feet on the earth, you better love it while it's still here spinning. I've got no time to worry about troubles or misgivings. You need to let it flow, let yourself go, 'cause if you're hating than you sure ain't living....gimmie some peace, love, happiness."

One of my first favorites of theirs was "Sunshine". It's an all acoustic tune, which I absolutely a.d.o.r.e. The first show I ever went to with David, they played with a band called Slightly Stoopid. At the end of both sets, G. Love and the lead singer of Slightly Stoopid brought out their acoustics and did a set alone on stage... it was amazing, and they  played this song. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a decent Youtube video of this song unless it's someone else's slideshow with it in the background. Boo. Check it out, though, it's a great song. Love the harmonica in this one, as well.
"Don't care what we do, as long as I'm with you, every little thing's gonna be alright. I can't get enough, I wanna eat you up, wanna have you for dinner leftovers for lunch." ;)

One of my favorites to hear live at their shows is "Cold Beverages". I even sport my "I like cold beverages" tee now and again. It's so groovin' and tons of fun to sing in the audience at the show.  "Before you serve my drink, please stick it in the fridge..."

I suppose I should stop here. But just for good measure, also check out "The Hustle" (Hustle album),  "Gimmie Some Lovin" (Philadelphonic album), and "Beautiful" (Lemonade album, featuring Tristan Prettyman). 

Other favorite bands/musicians, again, for good measure: Cold War Kids, Radiohead, Vampire Weekend, Cake, Coheed & Cambria, Justin King, and  Chris Cornell.
Gee, I am not very good at this "favorite" business, am I? Leave it me to reinterpret the challenge in my own way. ;) At any rate, it's all good music.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 2 - A favorite flick or two

"Hold your breath, make a wish, count to three."

Come with me, and you'll be in a world of pure imagination....

Laugh at me all you like, but the lyrics above are what I wake up to every morning. I am not a morning person, nor am I a BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! kind of alarm person. Husband's "looney tunes theme song" alarm on his phone is enough to wake me up with my heart beating out of my chest. I prefer the soothing sounds (haha) of Gene Wilder as "Willy Wonka" belting out "Pure Imagination". I love that movie. And it must be the original. I ADORE all things Johnny Depp, but his version just did not hold a candle to the timeless original. It's one of those films I've seen countless times, but cannot seem to change the channel anytime I pass it on the TV. It's a feel-good flick with a good message, and just enough quirk and color to keep me interested time and time again.
I want one!!

I know it makes me even more of a dork, but I just love the musical numbers as well! It was definitely something I missed in the newer version.

 "If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. Anything you want to, do it. Wanna change the world? There's nothing to it."
See? Even some inspiring lyrics. ;) 

Is this a kissing book?
Of course, I can't pick only one to include in today's challenge, and the following movie will always be my ALL-TIME favorite. I can quote it backwards and forwards, I've grown up watching it, and used to watch it every night before bed. The Princess Bride. This movie is a sheer pantheon of word gold. Who can forget the infamous, "Mawidge. Mawidge is what bwings us togeva today," or "My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die"? It's a classic fairy tale full of adventure, fantasy, and romance that never fails to please! And with an eclectic cast that includes awesome people like Peter Falk, cute little Fred Savage, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, Christopher Guest, and Andre the Giant, it's a bearded lady away from being a sideshow circus! And what can we learn from a cult classic like this one? I will tell you. :) 
No more rhymes,
now I meant it!!

*There's not lots of money in revenge. 
*"You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles" (LOVE Billy Crystal as Miracle Max!) 
*Inconceivable does NOT mean impossible.
*"If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything."
*"Never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line!"
*"Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something."
*Finally, and perhaps the most trite yet true, "Nothing can stop true love."


Time for another Awkward and Awesome Thursday!

**Disclaimer: mushy, mush, mush, mush.... it just so happens that most of my "awesomes" from this past week are mostly all about husband. :) I mean, I am pretty sure we all think our hubbies are awesome, and it just so happens that this past week there were countless moments where I just stopped and thought, "Man, he is so awesome. I am unbelievably blessed to have this man ALL for me!" ;) There, you have been warned!

-having a 3rd grader tell me, "Mrs. Martinez! I love your hair! It's like 3 different colors!" We are not talking about cool-looking highlights, either. We are talking about the time for covering up roots is beyond overdue. Thanks-so-much for pointing THAT out, little one. ;) Gotta love the blatant honesty of kiddos. 

-walking out of a classroom in one of the middle or high schools, making a wrong turn, and finding myself lost and disoriented. Ugh. I mean, I guess it's understandable since I am at different schools everyday, but it's so embarrassing to walk down a dead-end hall, get to the end and have to turn around and walk past all those teachers and students again. Most of them probably don't even notice me, but it makes me *feel* so darn foolish!

-both of my pups absolute refusal to go to the bathroom on the grass. Apparently, our covered patio provides shade from the elements and no cold or wet grass on their tummies. As a result, I find myself sweeping/power-washing the patio on a stinking daily basis. Before people can come over, WAIT, D... we have to clean the patio... grrr. Spoiled weenies.

-Husband "crashing" girl's night. His buds were all busy, so he ended up staying at the house while I had the girls over. He was content hiding out in the bedroom, but the ladies love him too and requested he join in our little games. :) He even waited on my ladies and took such good care of all of us... our own little cabana boy. Love him. :)

-Shopping with husband. I am sure he doesn't find shopping with me quite as awesome, however. ;) But whenever I take the hubs w/ me to shop for something, he walks in, picks out a few things for me, and voila! I always end up loving and buying something from his stack versus anything I have picked out for myself. We had a "cowboy-themed" holiday party to go to, so we went to find something with a little country flare. Nothing too crazy, though... it's not really our style. ;) Here, aren't we cute? 

-and to make our awesome shopping trip even more awesome: I had a gift card with a lil bit o cash on it, a 15% off coupon, and we found husband's shirt on clearance for $8.40. Total cost to us, less than $15. Score.

-Hubby dying my roots. :) I mean, come on, after that 3rd grader incident, it HAD to be done! I have had friends do my roots in the past, and despite best intentions, there is inevitably a spot missed. My man, being a perfectionist just like me (another one of the many, many reasons he stole my heart), gets it done quickly AND my hair looks awesome! Good, good man. :)

-this picture. How cute is he? He was a little musician long before he strummed his way into my life. :) Gotta love his Mickey Mousegetar. I wonder what song he was crooning into the camera at this very moment? This is hubs Facebook profile picture, and I swear I fall in love with him all over again every single time I see it. I love my man; he gives me so many "awesome" moments in our lives together. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 1 - Whatcha reading?

As an avid reader, it is exactly IMPOSSIBLE for me to name an all-time favorite book. Even narrowing it down to one is an absolutely daunting task. I love to read, I do it often, and my home office is filled with shelves and shelves of books (I can't seem to get rid of any of them... even after reading certain ones two or three times). I will give ANYTHING 100 pages to grasp my interest, and I adore finding new things to read. One of my favorite solitary outings is a trip to the Clearance Bin at Half Price Books. Finding little literary gems for anywhere from $1.00-5.00 makes me do a little happy dance. When I read this challenge, I tried going through my mental catalog to find the books that speak to me most, but really there are just too many! So, I have decided on 2 that I have read several times and I think everyone should read at least once in their lives.

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
I have posted this on Facebook before, so some of you may recognize it. It is such an amazing book about a boy and his journey to become a man. It's a little dark and scary with a touch of fairy tale whimsy. A must read for, well, just about anyone! Below is a synopsis taken from and one of my favorite excerpts from the novel.

'Everything You Can Imagine is Real' 

High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the loss of his mother. He is angry and he is alone, with only the
books on his shelf for company. 
But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness, and as he takes refuge in the myths and fairytales so beloved of his dead mother he finds that the real world and the fantasy world have begun to meld. The Crooked Man has come, with his mocking smile and his enigmatic words: 'Welcome, your majesty. All hail the new king.' 

And as war rages across Europe, David is violently propelled into a land that is both a construct of his imagination yet frighteningly real, a strange reflection of his own world composed of myths and stories, populated by wolves and worse-than-wolves, and ruled over by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a legendary book . . .       The Book of Lost Things. 

 "Before she became ill, David's mother would often tell him that stories were alive. They weren't alive in the way that people were alive, or even dogs or cats. People were alive whether you chose to notice them or not, while dogs tended to make you notice them if they decided that you weren't paying them enough attention. Cats, meanwhile, were very good at pretending people didn't exist at all, but that was another matter entirely.
     Stories were different, though: they came alive in the telling. Without a human voice to read them aloud, or a pair of wide eyes following them by flashlight beneath a blanket, they had no real existence in our world. They were like seeds in the beak of a bird, waiting to fall to earth, or the notes of a song laid out on a sheet, yearning for an instrument to bring their music into being. They lay dormant, hoping for the chance to emerge. They could take root in the imagination, and transform the reader. Stories wanted to be read, David's mother would whisper. They needed it. It was the reason they forced themselves from their world into ours. They wanted us to give them life."

Another "must-read" on my favorites list is Tom Robbins' Still Life with Woodpecker. My personal copy of this book has my annotations all over the margins from the many, many times I have read it over the years. A good friend, Chris, suggested this one to me my freshman year in high school and I just couldn't get enough of it! Here is the blurb from the back of the book and some of my favorite quotes:
"Still Life with Woodpecker is sort of a love story that takes place inside a pack of Camel cigarettes. It reveals the purpose of the moon, explains the difference between criminals and outlaws, examines the conflict between social activism and romantic individualism, and paints a portrait of contemporary society that includes powerful Arabs, exiled royalty, and pregnant cheerleaders. It also deals with the problem of redheads."
"The bottom line is that (a) people are never perfect, but love can be, (b) that is the one and only way that the mediocre and the vile can be transformed, and (c) doing that makes it that. Loving makes love. Loving makes itself. We waste time looking for the perfect lover instead of creating the perfect love. Wouldn't that be the way to make love stay?"
"(Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words "make" and "stay" become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.) Leigh-Cheri went out in the blackberries and wept. "I'll follow him to the ends of the earth," she sobbed. Yes, darling. But the earth doesn't have any ends. Columbus fixed that."
"Tunnel vision is a disease in which perception is restricted by ignorance and distorted by vested interest. Tunnel vision is caused by an optic fungus that multiplies when the brain is less energetic than the ego."
"It's not men who limit women, it's not straights who limit gays, it's not whites who limit blacks. What limits people is lack of character. What limits people is that they don't have the fucking nerve or imagination to star in their own movie, let alone direct it. Yuk."

I should stop there before I end up transcribing the whole book into my blog! Really, both of these books are absolutely worth your time and sooo easy to fall in love with!

Thirty Days...

So, of course, I found a cute, new blog to follow and occasionally she does these "Thirty Day Challenges". I have to admit, I don't really like the "slang" she uses in her writing (for example, "presh" instead of "precious", highly annoying) but I think this concept is pretty cool and sounds like fun. Feel free to do it with me!!!

Day 1: A favorite book
Day 2: A favorite movie
Day 3: A favorite song
Day 4: A favorite television program
Day 5: A favorite quote
Day 6: A moment you wish you could relive.
Day 7: 5 things you couldn't possibly live without
Day 8: A thank you letter to someone who has changed your life
Day 9: A photo you took
Day 10: A photo taken of you 10 years ago
Day 11: A photo taken of you recently
Day 12: A song that was played at your wedding (or want you want played)
Day 13: A guilty pleasure
Day 14: A vacation you'd like to take.
Day 15: A person that you admire
Day 16: A song that makes you cry
Day 17: A piece of art that speaks to you
Day 18: A time when you felt passionate and alive
Day 19: A talent you have
Day 20: A hobby you enjoy
Day 21: Something you know you do differently than most people
Day 22: A website that you frequent
Day 23: A way in which you want to be remembered
Day 24: A movie no one would expect you to love
Day 25: A favorite recipe
Day 26: A childhood memory
Day 27: A physical feature you love
Day 28: A scar you have and its story
Day 29: Hopes, dreams, and plans you have for the next 365 days.
Day 30: A motto or philosophy that you live by

*I guess by this time next month you will all know me lots better... probably more than you care to, haha! I may not do this every day, but I will eventually get though all thirty of them! ;) Should be tons of fun!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Awkward and Awesome Thursday


-Catching myself singing in not-so-private places. I am talking the grocery store, walking through the halls of a school, or even while making my rounds in the classroom while the kids work. I don't mean humming a little tune under my breath, either. Like, full-on, there's a song in my head or one playing over the loudspeaker... and this girl loves to sing. I will catch myself and immediately feel my cheeks flush... as much as I love to sing, that doesn't mean I should subject the people around me to that awkwardness, haha!

-flipping through the channels and catching this from the British chick on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills... "The thing is with wine tasting, is you don't swallow, you spit... it kinda goes against everything I've ever been taught, really."    Crickets.  A.w.k.w.a.r.d.

-trying to be a courteous driver, so I wave someone on... they don't go, so I start to go, then they go.... then we both wave each other on.... GRRRR... I'm outta here. ;)


-Dexter in his new, cute jacket. I am NOT the type that "dresses up" my dogs, but he comes in this house after pottying outside shivering like he's a Chihuahua. We call him the "Chiweenie". So, Gramps (Hubby's dad) went on a mission to find his "grandson" and new coat. Dexter LOVES it!! He doesn't shake anymore, and he really enjoys wearing it, haha.

-Depositing money into my bank account. Come on, how often does THIS happen these days? Hubs and I both have direct deposit, so usually the only time you go to the bank is to withdraw money... grrrr. I had a check from "" (check it out, people, you might have money coming to you!) to deposit, and a little cash from a market research study I did yesterday! :) So I actually got to go to the bank and PUT IN money! It really did feel pretty awesome!

-Speaking of the market research... it took me 8 minutes to get there, 3 minutes to check in, and 2 minutes to finish the study. So, for less than 15 minutes of my time, I walked out with $35 cash. Score.

-Having hubby home after he's been out of town. :) The pups just lay out all over him, in heaven, and all three of them are just so cute curled up together. My little family. :):)

Home Cookin'

Sunday: Hubby and I were both EXHAUSTED from our very fun, but late night at the Lacy's, yet we still got up and did our normal Sunday bowling and such with the fam. As a result, we both ended up napping most of the afternoon... aaah! When I finally got up around 6:30, I decided just to reheat the pot roast and vegetables from Friday night. As with most things, it was even better after a day or two in the fridge! :D

Monday: We baked green onion teriyaki pork chops and had broccoli, rice, and a salad to go along with it. We also put a chile rub on the other 2 chops in the package and baked them off to use in a dish later in the week. I am not a big fan of leftovers, so it's important for me to find ways to incorporate "leftovers" that make it into a totally different dish. This is such a simple concept, but it makes a huge difference for me!

Tuesday: Hubby was in San Antonio for business, so I just pulled out some leftover italian food from dinner with his family on Saturday. Not the healthiest of meals, but at least I didn't waste the leftovers! It was a pretty small portion, too... all things in moderation. :)

Wednesday: I had a dinner planned, but Hubby's parents bought something for Dex, so they invited us over for dinner. Carol (my mother-in-law) is allergic to corn and just about anything that is processed, so I can always feel confident that everything she cooks is natural and healthy. We had baked ziti chock full of yummy veggies, salad, and whole grain bread with olive oil and cracked pepper. It was sooooo good, and even better since I didn't have to dirty my kitchen!

Thursday: This is a REALLY busy evening for me! We have to go by Super H and get all my produce for tomorrow evening's Girl's Night, finish cleaning up the house, and somehow get dinner done as well, so I definitely needed something easy to cook! Yesterday I pulled the last portion of homemade chili out of the freezer. I have always frozen leftovers with the intention of pulling it out and using it again, but when I freeze it all in one container, I am less apt to use it. You have to dethaw the entire thing for a couple of portions. Lately, we have been freezing leftovers into individual containers with both single and double portions, and it is working out so well. I actually USE the leftovers in the freezer for other meals; they no longer go to waste! For tonight's meal, I will bake off a couple of potatoes to put the chili on top of. I'll also steam some broccoli to throw in, and we'll have the rest of the salad leftover from Monday. Delicious!

Friday: It's girl's night, so I won't be cooking for David and I. I know there will be a spread of healthy dips, appetizers, and snacks since we are all bringing something and all of us are striving to be health-conscious. I am making yummy spinach-feta dip, chunky guacamole, and trying a new recipe - zucchini parmesan crisps. This is going to be fun - I am so excited!!

Saturday: We have a "holiday" party (WTF??) for Dave's company this evening, so I probably won't be cooking tonight. So for a good lunch before the day's festivities, I'll cube up the chile-rubbed pork that I baked on Monday. I also have some low sodium pinto beans already cook up, so I'll add some baked tortilla chips, 2% shredded cheese, and a little light sour cream.... VOILA! Pork nachos! :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The List Diva?

I am a list person. Or perhaps.... a list obsessor? At any rate, lists save my life daily. I derive some sort of maniacal pleasure from making lists and methodically crossing the items off as they are completed. I've heard that crossing off list items releases endorphins (similar to the natural high you feel after a workout). I am not sure if this is completely true, but I have to admit that this makes total sense to me!

And now in this age of technology, I even get the satisfaction of saving a tree, or two.... or even three by keeping all of my lists in a nicely organized app on my phone. With my OCD, this is especially helpful.... I find that I don't like seeing mark-outs and scribbling on my lists. Often I will rewrite the entire list after every couple of items that I cross off, just to keep my list "clean". Crazy, I know... which it why I am so thankful for my "Out Of Milk" Android app. It keeps me from being the "post-it" lady, with scraps of colored paper falling out of my purse everywhere I go. I can keep checklists, pantry inventory, and shopping lists all in one place, organized alphabetically, and it all immediately calms the obsessive-compulsive demons within.

I am very much looking forward to our girl's night at my house on Friday, but as usual, the hosting responsibilities have sent me into a list frenzy. How else is one expected to work all week, get the house clean, and menu plan for the evening? So today I had my own crazy, little "list organizing" partay. ;) My grocery list is ready, right alongside my cleaning list and a schedule that will help me get a little done each day. I also have a list of the little things that need to be done before Friday night guests show up. All of this is in addition to my normal, weekly and daily to-do lists (email resume, study for Jeopardy test ;), etc).

You'd think the volume of lists alone would be enough to stress me out and take all of the fun out of getting ready for my girls... in fact, it's just the opposite! I was freaking out to David yesterday about all that I had to do... it wasn't until I took the time today to organize it all into lists that the stress turned into excitement. I know this borders on insanity, but at least I can be grateful for the desire to organize versus being cursed with chronic laziness.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Infinite Wisdom of Dr. Seuss

I needed a little "pick-me-up" this afternoon, and this sure did help, so I thought I'd share! If you know me, you know Dr. Seuss is one of my favorite children's authors; who doesn't LOVE just about everything he did??

"Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you."
"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where you go." 
"Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answer is simple."
"I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead, some come from behind. But I've brought a big bat, I'm all ready, you see. Now my troubles are going to have trouble with me!" 
"You'll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut."
"Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope."
"The more that you read, the more things you'll know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."
"I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells." 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Awkward and Awesome Thursday

Tiffani follows a blog that does this every Thursday, and she encouraged her followers to do the same. It just seemed like too much fun NOT to participate! So here's my attempt this week at Awkward and Awesome! ;)


-small talk with the cashier behind the register. It's always trite conversation about the weather, "Brrr, it's cold out there (duh)" or some comment about the daily grind "Sure am looking forward to the weekend!", "Yep, it's ALMOST Friday." I would venture to say that not many lifelong friendships have been built between the consumer and the cashier. Smile, say thank you, move on. ;)

-subbing in the same class countless times and STILL not being able to remember kiddo's names. I LOVE my district and I certainly don't mean this with any racist connotation, but all the Jose's, Jesus', Javier's, and John's really leave my head spinning. I always feel so ridiculous when a kiddo runs up and throws their arms around me, yelling "Mrs. Martinez!!, Do you remember me?" Of course I remember their sweet faces, but often I cannot come up with a name, which disappoints them!

-people assuming that because my last name is Martinez, I know Spanish. I married a Martinez, people, no habla espanol. I will get requested for a bilingual sub job, and boy are they disappointed when this white girl shows up! It's even more awkward for me when EVERY piece of literature hanging in their classroom is in Spanish. Wow, I am lost.


-finding time to cook EVERY single night this week. I got to try a couple new amazing recipes, and my hubby returned from work to a home-cooked meal 4 times this week! (It would have been more, but he went out of town for business)

-a 3rd grader recently told me I was the best teacher in the universe! ;) I know it's easy to say that to a sub who you don't have to deal with daily, but it still toots my horn and makes me feel unbelievably special.

-girl's night. I have one coming up next week and it cannot come quick enough! I am unbelievably blessed to have such a tight-knit group of girlfriends. Most people are lucky to have one or two close, quality friends that you keep throughout your life... not often can a person say that they TRULY have several besties... our little group is SO blessed that we are all still friends after many years, and we still make time to get together and enjoy each other's company.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Home Cookin'

In an effort to eat and live healthier, we have really been trying to cook more. Sure, we have our quick, last-minute "go-to" meals... Zataran's Low Sodium Red Beans and Rice, frozen pizza, etc... but I REALLY want to focus on using more natural, fresh, and quality ingredients and staying away from processed foods as much as I can. To help keep me accountable with this, I am going try and post my menu weekly. Let me know if you'd like any of the recipes!

*Sunday - I was planning on cooking, but the Lacy's invited us over for dinner. YUM! Steph made an amazing turkey chili and Jack made sweet cornbread. They are also practicing healthy cooking and lifestyle, so I am sure it was all weight-watcher and health-friendly (Well, maybe not the cornbread, but I only had one piece... so it's all good)! I am so grateful for our friends that are also watching what they eat and how they live... it makes it so easier to be "good" when you have friends to help keep you accountable!

*Monday - I tried a new recipe from Britt: Chicken and White Bean Enchiladas in a Creamy Green Chile Sauce. It was really good and EVEN BETTER for lunch the next day. It was a little more labor intensive than some of my other "one-pan" healthy meals, but it's definitely worth the extra effort! Thanks for the great recipe, Brittney!

*Tuesday - LASAGNA!! (I swear I never, ever get tired of Italian and Mexican food) I usually use italian sausage, but to change it up a bit I made a veggie lasagna. Fresh spinach, zucchini, and mushrooms.... yum!!! I used whole wheat noodles, which can be really grainy and mealy in some pasta shapes, but the wheat lasagna noodles actually got pretty tender!

*Wednesday - I used some of my leftover ingredients from Monday's meal to make homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup. This was my first attempt at it, and I chose a recipe that uses a slow-cooker. I LOVE using my slow-cooker and was really psyched to try out this new recipe. I worked Wednesday, and wasn't able to get it into the crockpot until after work. I was worried it wouldn't have enough time to really cook, but after 4 hours on high it was ready to go and DELICIOUS! I even brushed a little oil on some corn tortillas, cut them into strips, and baked them off to garnish the soup with... they were crunchy and delicious! I will definitely be adding this dish to my "go-to" recipe collection... it was SO easy to make, healthy, and amazingly yummy!

*Thursday - David is out of town this evening, so I just piled together some leftovers from earlier in the week. No use dirtying my kitchen to feed one when there's a fridge full of yummy goodness! Leftover tortilla soup... yum! As usual, it was even better tonight than yesterday!!

*Friday - Time for another crockpot meal! Usually Fridays are the nights that hubby and I will have a mini date night or meet friends and go out to eat. But he is out of town for a couple of days, so ALL of his meals are either fast food or restaurant meals. He usually craves a home-cooked meal when he returns from traveling... check! I have everything prepped for pot roast with potatoes, onions, carrots, and celery. Gotta love a one-pot meal that will feed us for days AND satisfy my hubby's "down home cookin" craving! I will drop it in the slow cooker before I leave for work tomorrow, and my house will smell amazing when I come home! YUMMMMMM!!!

My Little Darlin' Dex

I am hurting for my poor, little guy today. :( We took Dexter to see our vet shortly after we got him last year, and our vet confirmed that Dex's eyes were pretty cloudy, but he was an otherwise healthy dog, so don't worry yet (just don't move the furniture around, haha). When someone enters a room, Dex will bark incessantly until you get close enough for him to smell you or until you speak and he recognizes your voice, because he just can't see you all that well.

We were used to these little quirks, but he's never had any problems getting around or really seeing where he's going in the house. This morning, however, I noticed a real change. He was unbelievably clingy (which isn't too far from normal), but it wasn't enough for him to be in my lap. He was literally climbing up me until he could put his nose in my face and lick me.
Normally he follows me everywhere I go in the house. As I was putting away laundry, I noticed my little shadow wasn't pattering along behind me. I went back into the living room and could not find him anywhere. I was calling his name and walking all over the house; no response. I finally found him cowering in the corner by hubby's guitar. I thought maybe he had pottied in the house and knew he was in trouble, but found no evidence of that anywhere. Even when I stood in the same corner as him and called his name, it was as if he didn't know exactly where to go. I picked him up, tossed him in the love sac, and continued with my laundry, a little concerned but trying no to think much of it.
The next time upon entering the living room, I saw him jump off the love sac by the TV and hesitate... slowly walking towards that same corner. When he reached the wall, he backed up until he hit the corner and just laid down. It was as if he wanted to follow me through the house, but he wasn't sure where he was or how to get to me... it was sad. Later, I picked him up off my lap and put him down by the door so him and Daphne could go potty. He was very hesitant to put his paws off the step to go outside and would only sit right by the door.

When I eventually let them both back in, he came in and wandered in a circle by the door until
his nose touched my feet, and then he laid down right there. Normally he heads STRAIGHT for the water bowl after coming in. I decided to try a little experiment. I walked silently into the kitchen and waited. I saw him sniffing and licking the ground around him, and he wandered around the island the long way before he found me again and laid at my feet. I walked silently over to the water bowl and waited again, same thing. I
had to pick him up and put him directly in front of the water bowl in order for him to find it.

At this point, I was really getting sad. My heart was breaking for my poor little pup. I called the hubby in tears, and he listened while I rambled off everything that happened. Thank goodness for David, he keeps me grounded and helps me see past my emotions. I know we knew this was coming, just not so soon. I know there is nothing we can do but be understanding and patient with Dex, but it's still so hard to see him like this.

Since being home on vacation, I have gotten to see how great him and Daph play together and how much fun they have. He did not play once today. He is moving slowly and cautiously or not at all. I almost hate that I have to be at home and see this today. I know they may only be pups, but they are our kiddos, and my heart is just breaking. I can't wait for my honey to get home tonight, I need a great big David hug!!!
Dex is due for a shot at the end of this month, so for now, all we can do is monitor his behavior and let the vet know about it on the 22nd. I just pray that if his vision IS fading, that my little pup adjusts well to the changes and that it doesn't alter his sweet, spunky personality too much.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mental Toxins

Something that I am really trying to focus on in my life is the power and importance of not only positive thinking, but also the power of positive and kind words. It's amazing how just being watchful of the things that escape your lips can make you feel better, act friendlier, and overall make you a more genuine person. Within this venture of mine, I am finding there are certain situations that, for whatever reasons, I am having a hard time actually letting go. I say that I don't care about this or that, and then without hardly realizing it, my thoughts wander to the situation and positive thoughts are furthest from my mind. I picked up a book I read many years ago, before David, when I was having a hard time letting go of a particular hurt in my life. I remember it giving me so much perspective then, and glancing through it today reminded me of a few important things.

"Our lives are filled with useless battles because our minds are filled with useless thoughts. We carry around unhappy scenes from the past as if they were still happening, and we chew on the memory of whatever we just did. This glut of thoughts profoundly affects the world we perceive and the life we live."

This rings so true for me. My brain never wants to turn off and it's consta
ntly going over what I could have said, how I really feel, what makes me so angry about it all.... why? Why can't I just turn it off and REALLY let go of something that I don't feel like I even care about anyway. It's the control freak in me that wants to have ownership of every aspect of every situation, but that just isn't realistic. I end up dwelling on something that I have no desire to think about anymore. Dwelling on someone who I don't even want to be a part of my life, wishing things could be different. Another mistake!...

"Whenever our desire is for people to change or circumstances to go our way, we are not taking responsibility for our own state of mind. Because now all we can do is be a victim. Certainly there are real victims, but most of us put ourselves in this role needlessly. And we do it everyday."

The "poor-me" syndrome is SO common... I know I am guilty of it. It all goes back to my need to be in control of the situation. It's only when I decide that I am not interested in control that truly nothing will be "beyond my control". I need to let the people and situations I encounter be who and what they are. Putting pressure on others doesn't change their hearts. It only puts me in a "pointless conflict that splits my mind and muddles my emotions."

Haha, this next one I highlighted and underlined in the book... knowing it was something I STRUGGLE with... "There are only three things you need to let go of: judging, controlling, and being right." Letting go of control and bring right are definitely hard for me, and I guess judgment is something we do SO often, sometimes without realizing it. The statement sounds so simple... let go of these three things, and find peace. Yet it is much harder to actually do it.

Something else I struggle with is understanding the actual emotions behind my thoughts. There is a reason why I can't let it go, but do I even know what that reason is? I often try to ignore the feeling and hope it will go away, but "trying to keep ourselves from experiencing an emotion is an even bigger mistake...[I] risk hiding the emotion rather than letting it go." I guess it's better to accept the way I am feeling and try to address it.

Possibly the best way to handle my roller coaster of emotions is to only focus on the things that I have actual control over. I have recognized that my own words have a tendency to be harsh, even if that isn't my intention. So, my goal is to hurt no one through my thoughts and actions. I cannot control others, but I can choose to "do no harm" and perhaps that will help
me let go of the "glut of thoughts" in my mind. Unconscious projection often feels honest, and that is a mistake I choose not to make as often as I have in the past.

While this mini "self-help" session was mostly an outlet for me to vent my feelings, I hope that IF you took the time to read it, you at least take a small something away from it. I will end with this final thought. A thought that I need to remember and practice:

"I alone choose what ruins my attitude and complicates my life. I live with the decisions I make about everything and everyone around me. I see what I decide and react as I choose."

-All quotes were borrowed from "The Little Book of Letting Go" by Hugh Prather

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Recurring Dreams

So last night I had another dream about killer whales. This has been a recurring dream for such a long time... I came across my old MySpace blog and I had blogged about my marine mammal dreams back in 2005, and I can't even remember that far back to know how long I was having those dreams before then. In my dream, I am never hurt by "Shamu" ;), but the massive size of the animal next to me is terrifying. In each dream, I am unable to get away, whether it's in the ocean or the tank at some aquarium. "" has the following to say about my dreams:

"To see an orca in your dream, indicates that you need to be more vocal about something. Step up and speak up. Alternatively, the dream symbolizes spiritual guidance. You are ready to confront your emotions and make the connection between the conscious and unconscious aspects of yourself."

If you know me at all, you know that I don't have many problems sharing the way that I feel ;), sometimes to a fault. Something I am working on in the new year is being careful with my words and making a real effort to speak positively and with more love. Sooooo... "step up and speak up?" Perhaps my recurring dream leans more towards the spiritual guidance theory. Another website lists a killer whale in a dream as a sign of protection, but I am not sure that applies to me either? I guess there is really no way to know, but I sure hate having these scary dreams (at least I am terrified during the dream and always wake up with a racing heart) and not finding some sort of understanding as to why.

Another recurring dream I have is one where my teeth fall out. I will barely touch them, or bite into something soft, and my teeth will start to fall out one by one. It's definitely an image that sticks around long after I've woken up.

"" says that a dream like this reflects anxieties I have about myself. "Teeth" are apparantly a symbol of power and "loss of that power" in the dream means I am having trouble getting my point across and making myself heard. Sounds a little familiar... shows similarities to the "killer whale" theory... but I am STILL not sure how that applies to me??? Teeth falling out in a dream are also said to represent our own over-exaggeration to our worries and anxieties. Now THAT one at least makes sense for me.

I am not even sure I put any merit in any of these "dream interpretations", especially since my information comes from a random internet site. It just seems to me that dreams are a reflection of the subconcious, and any dream that repeats THAT often over THAT many years must have some rhyme or reason.

Do YOU have any recurring dreams?
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