The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. -Proverbs 1:7

Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost you all you have, get understanding.-Proverbs 4:7

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The "Ambitiously Large Project" #1

1.  My research project was officially approved and I was given permission to begin my study today.  That's going to be a big project for me to do.  Surely, I'll be whining about that later as the due date looms.  It's only going to be about 75 pages.  No problem, right?

2.  My two classes are in full swing.  I'm supposed to be making a digital portfolio.  It's turning out to be way more than I thought it was going to be.  Hoping I get an early date to defend it, because I'm kind of not wanting that to drag out forever and ever all summer long.

3.  In two more weeks, I'm done teaching for the year.  Technically, a little less, but I have to go to a training right after.  So, exactly two weeks and then I'm free.  Can't wait.  In the meantime, finals will be the thorn in my side.  Well, finals and cleaning.  I have a lot of classroom cleaning to do still.

4.  My BIG project for the summer is attempting to recover the furniture in the living room.  It's one of those projects I'm a little concerned about in regards to my abilities.  The pieces are complicated and I can't really tell how they go together.  Counting on figuring that out as I disassemble.  Hopefully.  I'm starting with the couch.  There was much debating, but I decided a sleeper sofa would be easier than a dual reclining loveseat.  "Easier"

I've been thinking about this project for a couple of years.  Most people would just shell out a couple thousand and get new pieces.  But, I have kids and animals and just can't see doing that.  They are almost 12 years old and have been through a lot.  The goal is to make them presentable.  Even if they turn out less than presentable, they will surely look better than they do now.

Here's the couch:

If you look closely, you will see this is not the easiest piece of furniture to learn on.  But, it's what I have.

Not everyone can have a psychotic dog who thinks she's pregnant every few months and who does things like trying to make a nest in the corner of the couch (and therefore scratching and scratching until she made holes in it).  Said dog is now being trained to stay off the furniture.  Not sure how that is going to go, considering she's nearly 8, but I'm hopeful.

So I said to Ryan "You must have a lot of faith in me as you are letting me cut up the couch."  He said "'s not like I'd be able to stop you."  What can I say?  I'm all for being real.  P.S.  I made that top last summer.  I'm getting ready to make about a half dozen of them.  Perfect shirt for summer.

I stopped myself before I took too much apart.  The cushion is actually two cushions sewn in their own coverings and then stitched together with a complicated lining (including a diagonal zipper).  I decided I should take copious notes and perhaps reconstruct the pieces as I remove them.  Did I mention the design of this furniture is complicated?

It's a school night, so I'm done for now.  I hope I don't forget how to reassemble what I've already disassembled.

Dinner was easy tonight.  Curried red lentils with red potatoes and spinach.  Pasta salad with vegetables and chicken for the kids.  Ryan was messing around with the Vitamix and made mango sorbet.  Love him.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Father/Son Lax

Ryan setting up the "face off"...

I don't think my cameral likes action shots that much.  I also think the kids had a few "extra men" on the field.

Jac guarding Ryan... Notice Ryan is playing with a short stick.  It's Jac's old stick that we cut to about 1/2 size when he was 8.  Jac has a long stick now (because he's a defender), which means Ryan will inherit the regular sized stick.

Ahh...I wish my camera liked action.  Ryan was having the time of his life out there. (He's the grey blob in the middle.  :-)  )

Totally Jac...  Ryan's is out there playing even though he's a big ball of sweat and there's Jac on the sidelines "taking a break", lol.

Dinner was pizza and chips and other kid friendly, party food.  For the kids.  We had Ezekiel wraps with hummus (roasted garlic and chive), avocado, red bell pepper, spinach, tomato and shredded carrots with sweet potato bisque (from a's a school night, you know).

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Just One Picture

Cilantro/lime grilled tofu and cous cous with baby limas and raw pumpkin seeds

That's all I've got.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day

I swear if I hear one more person say "Happy Memorial Day", I might just have to throttle them.  People are weird.  Or maybe just stupid.  You know my vote is on stupid.  Because if I said to them "You wouldn't go up to someone and say Happy anniversary of your husbands death!", they would look at me like I have two heads.  Because, for some reason, maybe they don't contextually understand basic vocabulary?, it doesn't seem to occur to them that "Memorial" is part of the holiday's name.  At any rate, I could go on about that all day.  Pretty sure I ranted about it last year and pretty sure I'll have to say it again next year...

I tried to be responsible and take my kids to Arlington National Cemetery today.  So I don't raise up kids who are ignorant and whatnot...but it wasn't in the cards.  (Primarily, because all the entrances into the place were blocked.)  After some time, we did end up on the other side of the water (which is never where I like to end up) and we looked at some monuments from the windows while we were stuck in traffic.  I'd like to say I was patient during the whole event, but I'd be lying.  Arlington is on the schedule again for next Saturday.

Our bench turned out huge!  Don't get me wrong, I love it.  With a cushion, it will be the perfect quiet time spot.  I just wasn't expecting it to be so big.  Still needs the screwholes filled, sanded and another coat of paint, but it's pretty much done.

Notice the face on Pippi...she's rolling her eyes at me.

We didn't grill because it is Memorial Day (even though it is the perfect day for such a thing), we grilled because it is HOT inside the house...and humid and pretty much miserable upstairs.  There's a 20 degree temperature differential between upstairs and downstairs (which is crazy considering my basement isn't totally underground) and with the dehumidifier running down here, it feels even greater.  Looking forward to that cold front that's supposed to be rolling in later this week.

I tried to convince the kids using an electric grill on the table while one is eating would be considered "hibachi".  They weren't buying it.  Hibachi, for them, would be a much more elaborate affair that produced something they wanted to eat. (Hence the side turkey 1/2 sandwich.  They can't just live on corn...)

Dinner was grilled portabellos, zucchini, red bell pepper and onions with Ezekiel tortillas, corn on the cob and watermelon.  I made enough for tomorrow, because it's going to be HOT again.  Yay.

I have homework due at midnight.  Surely I'd be in a better mood if I would not have put it off until the last minute?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Busy Weekend

It's not often I'm so busy and don't have much to share.  For the sake of my grandma (who told me this morning she checks here every day for updates), this is what there is.  I left out the fridge cleaning, the yard work, cleaning out under the deck, going to the stuff.

I showed you the first picture last year.  It makes me laugh every time I look at it.  I call it the "A&F Wannabe" picture.  Something went way wrong with this year's attempt to capture that same moment, lol.

Not that you haven't already seen my dining room full of board painting in progress and you've seen it in this color, no less.  Different project, though.  Hopefully one that gets finished tomorrow.

The major problem with trying to eat vegan happens on those days when so much has already happened by dinner that I don't feel like cooking.  Even now, I would have like to say "Hey.  The kids are farmed out to various places (eating meat, I'm sure) and we've done a lot today.  Let's just go out and get a bite."  But, I'm not a purist.  Ryan is a purist.  Going out in this town would mean he'd just end up ordering a bowl of $9 lettuce.  So, after much hemming and hawing and trying to avoid acknowledging we hadn't eaten dinner, I realized I could just fry up some stuff and call it good.  20 minutes later, it was good.

Asparagus, onion, carrot, red pepper, pineapple and tofu in a sauce I sort of invented with random stuff.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Catching Up...

It has been a few days...

For an update:

1.  After a long 12 hours, my boy brought home the U11 SMYLA Championship Trophy.  I'm sure there is more identifying information than that, but that's all you need to know.  Unfortunately, I missed the final game (the one they lost by a goal in overtime last year...just missing the championship), because I was at the ER.  I seem to be going through a time of being tested by some unwellness.

2.  Pita chips and hummus...pretty sure he thought we were just going to eat them on Sunday.  I think they may have become a staple around here the past few days when the only other thing I was offering was a supply of vegan frozen dinners from Trader Joe's.

3.  Wondering if that is what Jac will look like when he's knocking on 40...hmmm...

4.  Finishing up the last project at school.  It's hard to believe it's almost over.  Every year goes faster and faster...

5.  I did manage to cook one meal; vegetable pot pie.  The biscuit recipe (being vegan and all) turned out more like dumplings than biscuits.  The flavor of the vegetable was o.k.  I'm going to put it in the category of "kid friendly".  I typically like my food to have some depth in flavor.  As is, this didn't live up.  However, I think it's workable.  Yes, we had corn with a dish that already had corn in it.  There isn't much to say about that.  Jac wanted it.  So, why not?  Coming from Iowa, I'm a corn snob and I don't often find good corn here.  This was excellent.

6.  Truly awesome visit with my chiropractor.  Have I bragged about him enough?  He fixed me.  Today he did a scan and almost everything is back in normal range.  Which is a far cry from the "You will need surgery to fix this" that I was unwilling to believe.  So glad I didn't buy into that.

7.  Working on my garden...I'm late getting it in (and it's not even a huge garden), but it's coming along.  Pictures for sure over the weekend.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bits and Pieces

Today was the day I was going to plant my garden.  That didn't happen.  I took my kid to the mall to buy clothes and pierce stuff and whatnot.  There are no pictures of that, because she's 15 and would not appreciate me photographing her at the mall.

By the time we got home, everyone was starving.  Dinner was a result of searching around for something to cobble together.  Just bits and pieces of this and that.  I was actually headed in some other direction with it and then I discovered we had a couple of zucchini hiding out in the fridge.

Whole wheat tortillas filled with a white bean spread made with white beans, sauteed garlic and rosemary.  Topped with grilled zucchini, red bell pepper, red onion and fresh spinach.  Not bad.

And then church.  Because we will miss it tomorrow. 

Tomorrow is a lacrosse tournament which I suspect (unless something goes terribly and uncharacteristically wrong) we will be there-an hour away from home- for about 12 hours (if last year was any indication).  Just warning you now (and being real)...should the day go in Jac's team's favor, any pictures of dinner will be "all over the place" in world of decent nutrition.  I foresee a cooler of random stuff.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Beer Bread

Two posts in one's a bit much me thinks.  But, I was all trigger happy earlier and never posted about dinner.  And since those people I work with somehow believe vegans only eat lettuce (I mean, really?  Do I look like I just eat lettuce???  That's rhetorical, by the way...), I feel the need to remind them there are a plethora of foods which are not sourced from animals.

Without an appropriate transition, I'm just going to jump to the beer part of this post.

I live in a dry town.  The only dry town in my state. I could talk about how its "dry-ness" seems to perplex people and the number of times I've heard people remark "Oh, I could never live there. It's dry."  I won't talk much about that, because my opinion of all that just points out the ridiculousness in such statements.  Really?  The primary factor for deciding where you live is alcohol availability?  Really?  It's a big deal to have to drive the 3-4 miles in any direction to the town limits (there are alcohol stores all along the borders in all directions) to get your beer?  Really?

What I will say is that my town is full of considerate folk who will pick up a six-pack for their neighbor when they've made that journey to buy some for themselves.  Or, maybe they just show up at the bus stop and hand it out by the case.  Which probably seems weird, but I'm sure that saved many a trip this weekend.

I turned down the first offer.  Not because I'm anti-alcohol.  I'm not.  It doesn't matter one way or the other to me if you drink beer.  But because I don't like the taste of it (and have never even drank a whole beer in my life) and because Ryan only drinks water.  What would I do with beer?  Sooo...I politely declined. 

And then it hit me...bread!

Which means now we have beer in the house.  Free beer I obtained at the bus stop while waiting on my child.  For real.

You don't need a lot to make beer bread.  It also doesn't take all day to get it going.  Just mix up 5 ingredients, pour it into a pan and bake for an hour at 375.

Seriously, the easist thing in the world maybe.

3 cups of whole wheat flour
1 TBSP of baking powder
2 tsp of some kind of sugar
some salt
1 bottle of beer

That's it.  (I did throw some flax seeds and raw pumpkin seeds into mine out of worry I haven't been feeding my family enough Omega 3's, but that was a derailment from the recipe.)

Truth be told, one could just eat bread for dinner and call it a day, except I am addicted to avocados and we had them.  I made a spread (basically mashed avocado up with a little garlic) and topped all of that with chopped red peppers, grape tomatoes and chives.

We also had carrot soup.  Because carrot soup is awesome.  And because we have way too many carrots hogging up the space in my fridge.

I usually zone out around dusk on Friday nights and will myself to stay awake until the sky is dark.  But there was that Girl Scout meeting going on in my house, (Is it wrong to bake beer bread when a Girl Scout meeting is happening?  If so, no worries.  I suppose you could report me, but it was the last meeting for the year and I've given my notice we don't have time to do it next year.) which meant parents stayed to hang out with me for awhile. 

And then the Mormons came by. 

I'm pretty "socialized out" at this point, but I do have to say it was a fun night.

Something Fun for Summer

33 yards of fabric later and I have a summer project.  Woohoo!  It's going to be a happy mail day soon.

Wait.  What am I talking about?  Every day is a happy mail day at my house.  But, for a break, it will be something not from Amazon.

About the's one of those "money is an option" type projects.  Trying to do it the cheapest way possible.  Because, for one, I'm not all that confident I can even do it and, for two, well...the whole thing is fairly cost prohibitive when I start thinking about all the other options out there.  If it works out, I will have accomplished something for a bargain price.  If it doesn't work out, well...Let's just hope it works out.

I love a challenge.

More to come.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What day is it again?

1.  It's almost Friday.  I'll probably make it.

2.  How come things can seem so small on some days and then they are enormous on others?  The same things?

3. I naturally crave quiet.  Nothing is quiet here.  I need to go find quiet.  So I can listen.  Listening fixes everything and sometimes it seems like everything needs fixed.  Even though part of what is wrong comes from me not listening.  For what it's worth, I did listen.  I "heard" at 3 o'clock this morning, I just did not "do". 

4.  Ahh...tomorrow is Friday.  The last Girl Scout meeting for the year.  The last day I'll have with my seniors.  The last day (I hope.) of some crazy, electrical bug project I decided to do at school.  Maybe, the last Friday night lacrosse practice?  The last Friday I'll have before I start full-time classes again (but that's really only temporary...until July 13).

Whatever day today is will end with me saying "At least I fed them, right?"

White bean burger, mashed potatoes with chickpea gravy and broccoli

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

For Me

Sometimes my days end in ways I cannot predict when they start.

Posting about dinner seems ridiculously trivial today, but doing so is sort of part of a personal challenge to prove eating vegan doesn't involve eating only a handful of foods.  So, here it is; dinner:  Quinoa pilaf with corn and edamame.

If you don't recognize this window, it's from the Tabernacle at my church.  It looks like this at the end of the day.   I wish I had something more to say about that, but I don't.  All the words I have are just for me.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Move Over Bleeding Hearts

I think bleeding hearts may have been replaced by foxgloves as my favorite flower.  Maybe.  How can something be so naturally beautiful?

I started these from seed two seasons ago.  I believe they have seeded themselves in some places, because I don't remember having this many the last time they bloomed.  They only bloom every other year, so I need to remember to plant some next year.  Remind me, ok?

Dinner was curried, fried potatoes, chickpeas and onions with a spinach salad dressed with an orange/sesame vinegarette.  (Which is just a mix of orange juice, rice vinegar, water and roasted sesame seeds until it tastes good.)

I had to leave the table before I jinxed the whole situation.  Everyone was eating without complaint.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Eating is one of my hobbies.

I'm only talking about dinner today.  Mostly, because the only other interesting part of my day is just for me.  ;-)  Well...there was that interesting part about meeting a real live child named "Snooki", but I don't have anything nice to say about that and therefore will just say nothing here.

Portobello and asparagus fajitas.  No real recipe and the asparagus only got included when I realized we still had it and it needed to be eaten.  I would not have thought about asparagus in fajitas, but it wasn't bad.  Basically slice up a few portobellos and whatever vegetables you have on hand.  I mixed a little salsa with them and some cumin.  While grilling, I sprinkled them with Himalayan Pink Salt (I'm sure regular salt would do.).  And guac.  Because you already know I could live only on avocados.  I cheat with the guac.  I just mash up some avocado, throw in a handful of grape tomatoes, a little onion and garlic and call it good.

Dessert was a pumpkin chocolate chip brownie type thing.  Vegan, of course.  I'll link to the recipe later.  I'm too tired to look for it now.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

From your food to your flamingos...

A little update on things...It took a month, but that chiropractic finally worked.  I've gone from not being able to walk at all, to being able to walk (under the influence of more pain medication than I told anyone I was taking) to being able to pretty much function mostly as my normal self without any medication.  How awesome is that?  My regular dr. told me "You should really consider surgery."  Wonder what he'll have to say about that when I see him in June for my physical. ;-)

Ryan made me lunch: Ezekiel bread with almond butter and bananas.  He ground up and sprinkled raw cacao nibs on his.  It never even occurred to me to put in a request for such.  Next time...

Can you believe they are this big already?  A month ago they were furry, little ping pong ball sized. 

The story of this project is that I bought all the wood for the table and chairs awhile ago.  I made the table and then got bored of the project and did not make the chairs.  But, then I saw this bench I want to build and was ready to go buy the wood to make it.  Guilt set in when I remembered I already had a stack of wood  on the porch that was supposed to get used up first.   

One thing about me is that I'm not good at making multiples of anything.  I just want to make one and move on. 

Four chairs =I got really bored. 

Ryan ended up doing most of the construction.  I cut and painted and after the first chair...lost interest.  It happens.  A lot, around here....  We still need to fill all the holes, sand and add another coat of paint, but I'm going to call it close enough to done to buy the next pile of wood.

What else is there to say?  (Other than I don't have any flamingos.  They are my favorite bird, but I do not have any.)