Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wrapping Up Summer

I kind of refuse to believe that summer is over, only because I feel like it JUST got here. We went from coooool weather and rain to HOT heat, and barely got the in-between, beautiful spring days that make my heart skip a beat (maybe add a beat?). Now, really...Autum is my favorite time of year. I'm a school nerd, so it always reminds me of the beginning of the school year. And it also means, as my neighbor so perfectly put it, football, pumkin spice latte's, and boots!! And my birthday. It's a time of year that I look forward to ALL year. Except where work is involved. The kiddos really pick back up in the autum, what with school meetings and all, but I'm not quite important enough yet to blow school off for, in the "appointment" sense of the word. Although I believe some of my kiddos would BEG their parents to differ. Which means, I have no excuses to when telling my boss that "I can't see adult clients right now", because I have a full day open while kids are where they naturally should be. And I do NOT like working with the adults. But....there is only so much a person can control, unfortunately. Ok, enough babbling, on with the structure!

Our featured recipe today is Peanut Butter Banana Bread, that I found on allrecipes.com. LOVE it. I take the cook-time way down, because I cook in a gas oven. But I also took it way down the first time I made it in an electric oven. Just watch the bread, because it's not delicious all dried out......as most things are not.

1/2 c butter

1 c sugar

2 eggs

3/4 c peanut butter (chunky is fun)

2 c flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

Ripe bananas (I normally use 3 regular sized ones)

Cream butter and sugar together, beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the bananas (smashed) and peanut butter. Ad in flour, salt, and baking soda. Bake at 350 for 70-75 minutes. CAUTION: I normally check this at about 25, and judge from there, all ovens are different. I have never used the recommended 75, or even come close. Also be warned, the batter is excellent.....don't say I didn't warn you of it's dangerous powers.

Matthew 9:10-13

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, man tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees (note: religious leaders of the secular world) saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" On hear this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." -- This is a good illustrative point on how Christians are to treat fellow man. A Christian is a representitive of Christ, and is supposed to carry out His will on earth. Christ did not come to the earth to be with righteous men, and commune with them. He came to spread the love of God, and we can only do this by opening our arms to those who do not neccesarily agree with our way of life or beliefs. It is these people who need God. And so we have a responsibility to reach out to those in need of a God, and show them His love.

Soooo......wrapping up the summer. It's been SO busy, what with the getting married and all. But Sean and I have done pretty well. We managed to get our yard pulled together and get some seed laid, in hopes that we wouldn't have to dish out major money for sod. And today, we were blessed with the most beautiful site in the world....our first blades of perfectly green grass. YAY!! Hopefully we have enough of a grow season left to get a good mow or two in, and have a pretty good start for Abby; we don't want her digging up our perfectly green grass! This also means that we have to start thinking pretty seriously about building our fence....oy. It's so expensive!! But we've managed to establish a good relationship with our "normal" neighbors, and are in agreeance that, at least one side, of the fence should go up in the next couple of weeks. Our "normal" neighbors are actually kind of rad, and have season tickets to the Seahawks, and told us that we are able to buy the tickets off of them that they are not going to use. However, Sean got into a bit of an arguement with them about Pete Carrol vs Holmgren. So they might hate us now.

We had a great time wrapping up this, "Last Weekend of Summer", with my good high school friend, Jenna. And we did it in true "end of summer" fashion. We went to Silverwood, and rode the roller coasters. We had full intention of hanging out at the water park, but of course, it was 65 degrees the day we managed to get there....not exactly water park and floating margharita bar weather......bummer. Let me tell you about the roller coasters. We started off with the run of the mill, high-intensity corkscrew roller coaster. WHOO!!! Jenna was the "odd man out" on this one, but was lucky enough to pick up a stray. What I mean by stray is weirdo. A weirdo who started off normal, but then started talking about "coasters", and I'm pretty sure she talked through the whole ride. Jenna was a good sport. I was pretty sure that I wouldn't be getting motion sickness on the roller coasters, but I was wrong. Getting of the cork screw, I felt faintly neausious, but decided to push through. On to Tremors! A super fast "jarring" wooden coaster that dives down under ground three times. After waiting in line for over an hour, and debating on whether or not one really WOULD stand up on the coaster and risk decapitation, or if losing a hand might be a bigger risk (hands up), we got on this little terror coaster, and proceeded to show our age by not only screaming the whole way, but also by saying things such as, "Oh my head, oh my back, oh my stomach" on exit. So we had lunch. We also rode the log flume, which is what it is.....but had a good time pretending to be the US bobsled team. Hey, mellow ride, had to spice it up somehow. And then Jenna proclaimed, "Ok, time to ride the blue and green one!" The Aftershock. Pretty much what I imagine riding a crashing plane would feel like. We get in, strapped in, and about the time they blow the semi-truck horn and drop the floor.....I start to rethink my decision. And about the time we were hanging 150 feet in the air, and a 90 degree angle, with all of my body weight on the harness holding me into the seat (this is a roller coaster than you ride hanging under the track) I KNEW that this was a really bad idea, and I needed off. But, my wish was not granted. Rather, I was dropped straight down, and through three inversions before they sent us STRAIGHT up the other side, looking straight into the sky, not to our delight. This little devil doesn't stop.......once you've hit the peak, you do all three inversions again.....backward. If we take out the terror factor, we're left with nothing but PURE neausea (I don't know how to spell this word) and a feeling like I had no legs (ok, that is terror related). And I'm pretty sure that my hair was standing on end. But, not to be defeated by fear, we decided to go ahead and hit one last "coaster", the Panic Plunge. A 140ft tower that drops you 120 feet from the top.....no big deal, right? That's what I thought the entire time I stood in line, and watched every group slowly climb to the top, then drop. After the Aftershock, quite honestly, it was child's play. Not really. The thing you don't realize while you are watching from the ground is that while you are in the seat, climbing up the tower, you don't see the top, therefore, you don't know when you are going to stop. For all you know, the tower DOUBLED in height from the last ride. As the ground got further and further away, and my seat felt smaller and smaller, and my harness was less and less reliable, I felt absolutely certain that I would die. Irrational, maybe.....but quite real. And the drop. Oh the drop. I'm pretty sure that the minute the ride started the drop, my butt left the seat and didn't hit it again until we were slowed down a mere 20 feet before the ground. After that, feeling particularly old and fragile, we left. And proceeded to eat nachos and drink 3 rum barrels EACH at Ceders. If that's not the way to wrap up a summer folks, I don't know what is!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Blow off Friday

So, I totally blew off my Friday, which has been my plan since Tuesday or Wednesday. Well, let me rephrase, I dutifully went to my scheduled appointments and TOOK phone calls. But when it came to making calls that I had planned....well, let's just say they got pushed to Monday. I love being boss of my own schedule!! But on with blogging business as usual....

Sean and I are pretty good with what we eat, at least 75 to 80% of the time, and one of the best books we have found for this is Cook This, Not That by David Zinczenko & Matt Goulding, who have also written the very popular Eat This, Not That. What is awesome about this book is that it takes popular resturant dishes and breaks calories and nutrition facts down (SCAREY!!), and then shows you how to make the alternative at home, and shows you how much better it is for you. Not sure how it works, but it does. And the food is delightful! I made this particular sweet treat for Sean on his birthday last year. Warning: This is involved, don't start it unless you have the time to finish it.
Ricotta Cheesecake with Warm Blueberriers (inspired by Cheesecake Factory's Strawberry Cheesecake):
8 oz graham crackers
6Tbsp butter, melted
1-12oz container par-skim ricotta, drained
2-8oz packages ligh cream cheese, softened
3/4C + 2Tbsp sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 eggs
1-16oz bag of frozen blueberries
Cover the size of a 9" springform pan with tin-foil
Grind the graham crackers up and add the melted butter (whiz it around in a food processor for a few minutes, or something else to get it mixed up good, it's your crust). Pour it over the bottom of the pan (not up the sides). Bake for about 15 min, or until golden brown.
Blend the ricotta, cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar, and lemon zests until smooth. Add eggs and blend again.
Pour the micture over the crust. Place the pan in a baking dish, and pour enough hot water into the dish to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
Bake about 1 hour, until golden brown and center of the cake moves slightly when gently shaken. Cool for an hour on the counter, then refridgerate for about 4 hours.
When the cheesecake is ready to be cut, combine the blueberries, lemon juice, and remaining sugar in a saucepan. Simmer 5-7 minutes, until the blueberries begin to pop and become syrupy. Cut the cake and serve blueberries generously over the top.

Proverbs 31:31
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
This is on my Facebook because I love it so much. It's the end of Proverbs 31, that talks about the Ideal Woman. We studied this chapter in my Women's Bible-Study this fall/winter, and I very much enjoyed it. I recommend the chapter to any woman who wonders how God pictures man's perfect mate. Going through this chapter while going through my engagement was really nice, because I think it allowed me the time to prepare myself to be Sean's partner in the most Godly way (or at least on my way to being Godly) that I can be. And I just love how it's wrapped up. In the end, people will see through your charm, and your beauty will fade; but loving the Lord is always something that will perservere (one would hope) and will keep you true and accountable.

Soooo.....back to this blowing off of my Friday. Oh, and what a perfect day to blow off work, you know?? It's been so BLAZING hot lately. And it wasn't as super cool today, but it also didn't reach the 90's by 6am either, like it at least seems like it has been doing the last few weeks. SO I hit the gym, as planned, because I did have a 10am. But, my appointment was with a 14 y/o girl that loves animals. So what did I decide to do? Load up the lab, and take her and my client to the park. Can I say that one of the best parts of working with kids is that most of them LOVE animals (duh, the unconditional love that some of these kids are lacking is personified PERFECTLY through animals), and my dog loves to go; so naturally, I mix business and pleasure, and Abby becomes part of the "therapy" I do with some of these kids. Let me say I am not a licensed therapist, nor have I got the degree/qualifications for it, but I'm human. I understand what other humans need. So there is a certain amount of implied therapy that happens when you work with kids and families....that's just how it goes. And, it a job that isn't ALWAYS the most relaxed, it's good to have my buddy with me sometimes, too. And I don't have to worry about HIPA with her. Nerdy. So we take my dog to the park, and she's playing in the water, and running and running and running with her tongue hanging out, and what looks like the BIGGEST smile on her face. Sometimes as she comes galloping across our path, she stumbles just a little. Animals really DO fit the disposition of their owners at times. And she behaved perfectly, which is always a relief, as with any 3 year old. After taking my client home, and proceeded straight back to my house, where I turned on John and Kate Plus 8 (that persective thing) and took exactly two phone calls before I had a 3 o'clock transport. From there, I got to go to my dad's house and assist him in buying tickets to the Ducks/Cougs game on Oct. 9th. Hello, front row of the Ducks side, right by the band. WOOO!! My dad found it appropriate to tell me that Jan will be wearing a Cougs shirt. And I found it appropriate to tell my dad that Jan can sit elsewhere. Now, really....I love Jan. I would never tell her to sit elsewhere. Except in this case. NO COUGS ALLOWED! She's not sitting by me, anywhow. I'm going to buy her a Ducks shirt as a pre-emptive strike. Dad says she already has a Cougs shirt....but again, I don't care. No. Cougs. Allowed.

Sean and I have also chosen this blown off Friday as the opportune time to seed our yard. Which means pulling the massive amount of weeds that has consumed our giant sand box in the back of our house in the last 2 months that we've been here. If grass grows like weeds, then we are in business. I started this project on my last lonely Wednesday, but burned out when my older sister called to "spoil the Christmas suprise" (ok that she did, I already knew what it was, or at least I THOUGHT I knew, turns out I was right) and I became consumed with talking to her. Welcome end to an evening of weed pulling. So we finished up tonight. I haven't had allergies all season, but spending an hour, give or take, upside down, pulling weeds, brought them on like magic. At least I know they'll clear up by morning. And now Sean and I have a giant pile of weeds in the back of our yard that we are not sure how to get ride of (too many for the trash can!). So we've decided that it would be fun to call the sheriffs department to ask if it's legal to burn the massive "weed pile" in our back yard. Imature jokes. So fun. So we've got the rest of the weekend to rake up some rocks, wed the sand down, and then seed the thing. Hopefully we'll have grass for the puppy to at least sniff around in a few weeks, and then be able to get her home SOON.

As for now, Eat, Pray, Love is calling my name, and I'm suseptible to the distraction.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Being Greatful

Hey hey all!! Let's just get down to it, eh?

Recipe: Awesome Turkey Burgers (recipe created by Sean and I) For two people
Start with 1/2 to 2/3 of a pound of ground turkey (leanest cut you can find)
Add Italian bread crumbs, enough to make the meat thick enough to stick together
From there, add either BBQ sauce (we like Stubs Misquite BBQ) or Warstechire Sauce
I think that Sean normally adds a few more seasonings, like Ceyenne (weird, right?) or other spicy seasonings. Then pat them out into the patty size you desire, using the Racheal Ray technique of leaving a little bit of a thinner center (will keep your patties even when cooking) and throw them on the grill. We generally throw a slice of pepperjack on our burgers, and then dress to our specifice desires. I love putting avacado on mine! There are no portions on here because I don't know them, we wing it. But if you've made burgers, I have faith you can handle it!!

Again, I have no Bible verse today. I mean, I have a parible that I could use, but I want to use the quotes that I heard in church this week. There were two that really stuck with me.
"Forgiveness is a radical act of courageous obedience," - Pastor Matt
"We are never more like Jesus than when we forgive," - Pastor Matt quoting Pastor Bob
Obviously the theme we are talking about here is Forgiveness. Oh forgiveness....I think something that everyone, of Christian faith or otherwise associated, struggles with. I know I do. And sometimes, over really silly things. But I liked what we talked about this week in church, because we really go into what forgiveness is, what it's NOT, and the power that forgiveness has to set YOU free. Not the person that you are forgiving, but YOU. As Matt and his wife Jana talked about, forgiveness is NOT reconciliation, as to reconcile a relationship takes two people, but to forgive only takes one. Forgiveness is NOT excusing an act. Forgiveness is NOT allowing a person to continue to hurt you. Forgiveness is NOT saying that the action was ok. Forgiveness is NOT taking responsibility for the action (I deserved it....). Essentially, forgiving a person does not mean that you are telling a person that you are ok with their action, and going to let them back into your life. Sometimes it does. A lot of times it does. But there are times in our lives when a sin is committed against us that effectively ends a relationship. But as Christians, we must chose to forgive them, because God forgave us. Ah heck, I may as well give you the Bible verses anyway, so you get the context of this. Matthew 19:21-35:
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had to sold to repay the debt. The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me' he begged, ' and I will pay back everything.' The servants master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. But when the servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happend, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happend. Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I cancelled all the debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' In anger, his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he whould pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."
Kind of long....but I think it's a pretty clear illustration. The last part of this just being, forgiveness is NOT for the other person. It's for us. It's to set US free from the things that keep our hearts in chains. If we are holding grudges, and are unforgiving of others, it only hurts us, and damages our hearts. But if we ask God to help us set ourselves free from our own inability to forgive at times, and truely let him work in our hearts, we are the ones that benefit. No longer are we eaten up by something that the other person may truely not care about, but we are free from that bondage, and no longer have the unpleasant task of carrying this heavy burden with us. And we are acting as Jesus, which is really the point, isn't it?

Ok.....so....I just love lessons like that, that can be found in the Bible, and that are so relevent to today and the everyday struggles we all have. But shifting gears, I want to talk about the things that I am incredibly greatful for in my life. Of course, one being our Heavenly Father, and the Word that He gives us. I'm greatful for my husband and my family...my beautiful house, and silly dog. I'm very greatful for my job/s, especially in this economy!! And, I'm greatful that my boss' are as amazing as they are. Now, before everyone gets all "Suck-up/brown noser" on me, neither of my boss' are aware of my blog, nor do they read it.....so I'm not writing for their benefit! I'm so greatful for my boss at Lourdes because I have never felt SO backed up and supported by a manager in my life. Whatever problem that I come to her with, she can communicate a solution to me, or help me come up with one. And one that I can use! And it's nice to know that I can walk into work, and know that if I have an issue, I can normally address it with her at least within 24 hours. I also have full confidence to know that when other agencies are attacking me, whether she believes I am right or not, she will defend me (and the rest of her team) to the attacking agency, and then take up issue with me at a later time if at all needed. And it helps to have a boss, that on a normal basis, says "Thank you for all your hard work." I have a job that is incredibly stressful at times, and just hearing, "You are doing well" or something to that effect, makes all the difference in a day.

I also have another job, I teach BodyJam at a local gym, one to two times a week. Our aerobics instructor is what I like to call.....intense. Especially when you just meet her. She cares a LOT about group fitness, and the reputation of the quality of group fitness classes in our club. Which is what you want, right!?! Sometimes, that means that I hear about a class that I did, and mistakes that I made, that I need to work through. Performing is hard. And I already know my mistakes, so the last thing I want to hear is what I did wrong from a person that I feel I need to impress (she's my boss!!). But....she is always very forgiving, and is trying to be helpful. And now that I know her better, and we have developed a relationship, I know the support that I have from her, and have experienced the "Thank you for all your hard work," on her side, as well. She's another person that I can learn a lot from, and I am thankful to be able to co-teach with her, and glean from all of her experience.

Soooo.....there it is. My thankfullness/greatfulness of my boss', and the support that I get from them. It makes working day in and day out, not only tolerable, but a true joy, and something that I, quite often, look forward too.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Family Reunion

Heeelllloooo friends. To be honest, I didn't even know I had a little bit of a following, but I've heard from enough of you, that I now feel a little more obligated to write. And so tonight, I do. In a small amount of pain. I fear that I have sustained a, self-diagnosed, "over-use" injury to my left foot. I have yet to go and get X-rays to confirm my suspicions, however. I gave myself about a week to rest, away from the gym and high impact activities....but all that came to a screaching halt when I went to weigh-in for the weight loss competition at work. Up one half of a pound, folks. Not awesome. So tonight, not only did I hit it, I hit it hard, throwing in a little teaching of the BodyJam after I took pump from Torturous Tiffany. So I've iced and reclined....and settled in to give you an update.

This weeks recipe came from the inspiration for my blog: Sean's Family Reunion

Black Bean Cilantro

3 - 15oz cans black beans, rinsed

1 cup corn (frozen or canned, but drained/rinsed)

1/4 cup tomoato, diced

1/4 cup pepper (any color, or mix and match!) diced

1/4 cup red onion, minced

1 Tbsp jalapeno, minced (or more, for the daring)

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup cilantro, minced

Juice of one lime

Throw it in a bowl, mix it up, and serve it!! It's delicious, and a dish I went back to a time or two...in leau of desert :)

And instead of a Bible Verse, I've got something else that inspired me. I've just finished reading The Case for Christ by Lee Stroble, and I liked the quote he used to finish the book. He quotes C.S. Lewis from Mere Christianity:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: "I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God." That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic...or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonesense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

I've not read a lot of C.S. Lewis....in fact, I haven't read ANY C.S. Lewis, but I do know his story. That he was a man who went on a quest to somewhat disprove the existance of our Saviour, and ended up finding Salvation and a Lord. And of course, I'm a fan of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I'm not sure if I spelt that correctly. It looks funny. ANYHOW....I do believe that he has a FANTASTIC point here. Jesus obviously had some amazing and incredibly moral things to say. However, he would be classified as a bit of a mad man by any standard, if he were anyone else. I just think that this is good food for thought.

Sooooo.....the latest big adventure for Sean and I was Mitchell Family Reunion 2010...wooo!! I got the pleasure of spending five relaxing days in a cozy, comfy little cabin at Wallowa Lake. This is the first family reunion I've been to on this side of high school. As a kid, it was always about running around, exploring, and finding all of the most exciting hidden hiding places within a 1 mile - if you were lucky -radius of all the adults. So you had NO idea what family reunions are really about: wine, potlucks, and NAPS!! I got a TINY bit of reading in.....but seriously. Food and naps. How did this never occure to me before?! Of course, it wasn't ALL complete sloth and gluttony, we WALKED to the ice cream shop and back. And it must have been a quarter of a mile up to the horse pens so that I could pet and feed them (some things never change, guys). There was a fair amount of laying in the sun, which feels REALLY good after a dip in a freezing cold lake. When Sean and I got in, I believe the conversation went a little something like, Sean: "Ok, I think I'm used to it now." Kaila: "Are you used to it, or are you numb?" The lake is crazy, because it's SO clear that you can see the bottom, and you assume you can touch....only to have that all too slightly terrified feeling when you go to set your foot down, and nothing is there to catch you. But swimming around with the kids was a blast. We also rented a kayak (<-----PALLUNDROM) one day and played around swimming in the middle of the lake, and induldging in a little bit of that childish innocense, exploring untouched shore line and pointing out hidden waterfalls. Of course, the typical marital conversations ensued..."Why are you turning us so much?" "Why do you assume I'm the one with the inferior rowing skills?" Yada yada. Marital bliss, in the truest form! We also took some time to go into Joseph, and were able to check out the Joseph Museum, where Sean's family is highlighted as one of the original settlers of the town. A quick trip out to the grave yard to see some of the family tombstones, and I got a pretty conclusive feel for the family history in the area. However, the last night, as most family reunions go, was the icing on the cake. The night we all got together, and finished off the incredibly random meal that was made up of three days of left overs, and tried to finish up all the excess booze hanging around. Good fun, good conversation, and good ideas. After...MAYbe a drink or two over the line, brilliance struck. GO KARTS!! Sean and I took two turns, each of us getting to drive once. I don't know if this is better as a child who can't drive yet.....or an adult who is OVERLY competitive, and concerned about beating all the little kids on the track. We had such a good time, and left with a committment to go back again next year, family reunion or not! It was very relaxing, and I think the first vacation we've taken where it wasn't go-go-go the entire time.

We've got a lot of vacations planned for the next year or so, and it seems like we've been off to a few very good starts. So I'm really looking forward to blogging about more. But for now....the short pause in my day is over, and I'm back to reality.