8/13/12

My Big Adventure!

This year has been a long and hard year, and its not over. I've done a lot of spreading my wings and growing which at times has been very painful for me. But I'm learning a lot about the Me I am and what I want the Me to become.

In February, I decided it was time to get certified to teach Boxing. I love fitness and exercise but my passion is boxing. That may sound strange to you. I never expected that to be something I would say, but it's the truth. Now, I want to teach others about my passion and see how it can change their lives.

My certification classes have been cancelled twice. This was extremely upsetting both times it happened. It very difficult to finally have a dream for yourself and something out of your control gets in the way. But...this is not where my story ends.

I hopped on a train bound for NYC and finally had my day in the "ring". That day was today. It was a very long day. 7 hours of boxing kind of long day. But I love every minute of it. Below are a few pics that chronicle my journey through this process.

There is a pic of me standing in Times Square as I was ready to enter the gym. There is a pic of me all sweaty gross at our halfway done lunch break. Then my husband met me with flowers and a super yummy cupcake to celebrate. Of course, I thought everyone would like to know what that cupcake really looked like. (I only ate half). Finally, a shot of me completely exhausted on the train as we made our way back home. I apologize the pictures are out of order. I have been trying for over an hour to get them organized properly...I can't figure it out. So now you get to play a game...match the picture with the description. Enjoy!

I am so proud of this accomplishment. It was a challenge to get through an I hope I soaked up as much knowledge as possible so I can begin to teach this amazing workout. I have a few gyms that I am hoping to begin working doin the near future. And I will also be able to teach one on one or in small groups which I think will be so much fun.

What an adventure. I am opening doors and am excited to see where they take me. But for now, I think I'm gonna get some sleep.




7/25/12

My River Walk

Exercise. One of the first things the doctor will tell you when it comes to fighting Depression is to get exercise. Well, I exercise. A lot. Not sure of it helped but I'm terrified of what I have been like if I didn't exercise regularly.

In addition to my already vigorous exercise schedule, I have found myself walking by "the river". A lot. Sometimes with a friend. Sometimes by myself. I have a favorite bench for when I need to sit and reflect.

This has become a place for me that I can get away without going anywhere. I can catch my breath and think about everything or nothing at all.

The river is such a great place to be because every time it is a different "river". More boats, less boats. Different people walking, running, riding their bikes or walking their dogs.

It's different, but its the same. No matter how I'm feeling. The faces are becoming familiar and so are the dogs.

It's peaceful. At dusk. Even after dark. I have lived in this area for 12 years and have only realized the treasure I have in this small part of the world. I'm so thankful that I have found a place to come to in my good as well as bad moments. I'm thankful for all the friends who have walked this walk with me over the past several months.

I'm happy to say I believe I am digging my way out of this Depression. That feels very good to say and believe is true. While the frequency of trips to the river may decrease, I will never forget the beauty I have found in this river at one of the most difficult times of my life.

7/19/12

Hard Work

My son is definitely a team sport kind of kid. My daughter is not. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just been harder to find an activity that she is willing to participate in. So, we started Horse Lessons. She LOVES horse lessons.

I had no idea how much work was involved in riding a horse. I also didn't know what to expect from lessons. I think I was imagining a glorified pony ride. I didn't realize we were entering into the world of Horse Shows.

This had been such a learning experience for both my Girl Mini and myself. It's hard work. A lot of hard work. But my girl seems determined to get it right.

Today was exciting because she got to take her new tack equipment and use it for the first time. Next week she has her first practice show. This is a new adventure for both of us.

7/10/12

Kindred Spirits

We are at the beach this week. It seems we wait all year or this trip and we pack so much into 7 days. One thing that I added this year was finding a local gym to take classes.

I have always exercised while at the beach but really wanted to find somewhere to take classes. So Andy and I did some research online and found a place where I could pay $25 for the week and get my workout in :)

The first few days we were here was during the weekend. I did my 2 hrs of boxing saturday before we left and I take Sunday off. While sitting on the front porch of our Home Away From Home, I had a chance to meet the neighbors. And it seems I've found a Kindred Spirit as well as a Gym Buddy!

Its been fun getting to know someone new. Someone who is older and has had different life experiences. And yet, we have a lot of common ground.

She wasn't able to make it to the first class I took. As I was driving to my Gym Away From Home I was thinking about going into this new place all by myself. And you know what? I was a little excited. Truth be told, I was nervous but it felt good knowing I was doing something for myself, on my own. Another baby step in this Big Year for me.

I'm so glad to have met this new friend and I'm looking forward to many more fun conversations with her. I am learning to open up a little and in this case, it has been very rewarding.

6/29/12

Party Favors

Once again it's birthday party time. My Girl Mini is turning 6 next week and we are celebrating this weekend.

I've mentioned before that my husband does not like the Party Treat Bag tradition. I don't really care for it either but I don't want to be the mom that doesn't send the guests home with a treat bag.

My solution this time was to make an edible favor...one for each kiddo. These were super easy to make.

I bought sugar cones, M & M's, clear treat bags, ribbon and decorative craft tape (mine has cupcakes on it).

I put M & M's in the cone, slid the cone into the corner of a treat bag. Then I wrapped the bag around the cone and used the decorative tape to keep the bag cone shaped. Then I topped off the cone with M & M's. Finally, I tied off the top with ribbon. And Voila! You have cute cone shaped party favors.

Fighting Back

You may have noticed I haven't been posting on Java Talk as often as usual. I apologize. I have been really struggling with depression and anxiety over these past few weeks.

These have been very dark days for me. I've been so easily overwhelmed by every day life. But I am fighting this. I am talking to people. I am keeping busy. I am still exercising. It is exhausting. The ups and downs. The heavy emotions that I can't escape. But I am fighting this.

So I thank you for your patience as I get my feet back under me. And as always, thank you for reading Java Talk.

6/24/12

I Did It!

Saturday was a big day for me. I spent all day being trained to become an instructor for a fitness program called R.I.P.P.E.D.
Resistance
Intervals
Power
Plyometrics
Endurance
Diet

This was an 9 hour day with a 1 hour break for lunch. I did it! I passed! I can now go out and teach R.I.P.P.E.D at a gym. I do not actually have a job lined up yet but that's okay. Getting certified was much more about achieving something for myself. And I did it. Boxing is still my passion and I am still getting certified to teach boxing. The date keeps getting pushed back but I have not given up. I am going to get certified and find somewhere to teach. This is another step forward for me. Learning new skills and finding what I want to do with my time.

6/18/12

My Summer Hit!

I bought a Fruit Infusion Pitcher. I love it! It's a simple glass pitcher with a removable chamber. This chamber has holes in it. You choose your fruit, cut it into small chunks and place in the chamber. Finally, pour water into the pitcher.

I drink a lot of water. Water and coffee are what I exist on. I love the idea is the fruit infusion because it favors the water without any added sugars or artificial sugars. So far I've tried strawberries and peaches. I think liked the strawberry water better but my kiddos have said they favored the peach. I'm going to try kiwi and lemon and I think I'll try apples with cinnamon too!

Such a simple idea but I have a feeling it is going to get a lot of use at this house.

6/14/12

A Little Getaway

A friend and I were out walking one night and decided we wanted to get away for a night. This idea was pretty exciting for both of us so we quickly got planning. We decided our destination would be Baltimore, MD. Its far enough away to feel like a trip but close enough to home that we didn't spend our whole trip in the car. What an adventure we've had!

The only plans we had were a scheduled massage. This was a great way to begin our relaxing Momcation. One thing I've never done was ride in a taxi. This may sound silly but goal of mine for this year was to ride in a cab. I did it! We took a taxi to the next big thing on my list. I got a tattoo! This is something I've wanted to do for years. This was not planned before we left home but as we sat over lunch the idea came up and there was no going back.

We had a great time. Laughed a lot, relaxed and enjoyed spending time with a friend.

6/6/12

A Beautiful Day!

As I was driving around this morning, I kept being drawn to the gorgeous sky. The blue so clear and the clouds so full. What a beautiful day to begin our Summer Vacation from school.

6/5/12

Last Day

I'm going to take a moment ...and have a Moment. Yesterday, my Girl Mini finished school. She is now a First Grader. Today my Boy Mini has a half day. This morning, he was running up the stairs chanting, "I'm a second grader! I'm a second grader!". In a few short hours, that will be true. Wow! I'm the Mommy of a first and a second grader.

I had to chuckle when last night my Little Man asked why he had to go to school for a half day? Why couldn't they just be done? I remember having the same thoughts. Although, I think I was in middle school at the time. The reality is that the last day of school will still be the last day of school no matter which day it is. It will always be a blow off day that is more fun than any other thing. And that is okay. These kiddos have worked hard all year. I hope they enjoy their last day as First Graders!

6/3/12

Teacher Gifts

This year I decided to make the end of year Teacher Gifts. Like last year, I made Bath Cookies. I think it's a great way to make something that is personal, something for the teacher to enjoy and something that most likely no other child will give.

These were very simple to make and they will hopefully provide a few quiet moments for this teacher to relax and enjoy over the next few months.

Just toss one or two cookies into warm running bath water and the cookie will dissolve and work it's magic.

What gifts have you given to the teachers in your life? And at what grade does this gift giving tradition end?

5/30/12

Birthday Treats

My Girl Mini has a summer birthday. The sad thing about a summer birthday to a five year old girl is not being able to bring a birthday treat to school to share with her teacher and friends. Having a February birthday myself, this is not something I really thought about.

Until...my Girlie wouldn't stop asking when she could bring in her bday treat. I put it off for a long time saying we still had time. Well, we are quickly running out of time. So I made the arrangements with her teacher and a bday snack was prepared.

We did something a little different this year. This treat looked really cute, tasted yummy and was very little work. I bought large marshmallows. Melted down chocolate. Then I dipped one end of the marshmallow in the chocolate. Finally, dipping the chocolate end into a bowl of sprinkles.

My little girl was so excited to take her treats to school and share them with everyone. I was glad that she was so happy. It's nice to be reminded that it is the little things in life that matter.

5/25/12

What Do You Do?

This is a picture of a doo-dad that was found in our driveway. Andy and I have no idea what it goes to. So now what? Is it important? Should we keep it? Throw it away? We find these sorts of connectors and such all the time. And if these pieces never get put back where they came from, did we really need them to begin with?

What do you do? Do you keep the mystery pieces? Do you throw them away? Share your thoughts below.

5/21/12

That's Just Mean!

I don't know what sparked this memory, but it's here so I'm going to share.  When I was in college, there was a professor who was known to be very difficult.  He was hard to win the respect of, he was very condescending, and he really did seem to enjoy making people uncomfortable.  Needless to say, I did what I could to stay away from this particular professor.

But the time came when I had to take one of his classes.  I was intimidated for sure.  In fact, if you knew me at the time, you would have been surprised because I chose to sit in the back of the room.  I learned very quickly when I started my college career that I needed to sit up front if I was going to learn anything; less distractions.  Anyway, I sat in the back of the room for this class.  I listened to everything the "man in charge" said.  I took my notes and did my homework.  I hated just about every second of it.

One day, he asked the class a question.  When no one responded, he decided it was time to pick on me.  So he called my name and asked the question again.  I was pretty nervous but I was prepared so I was trying to quickly gather my thoughts to answer.  Apparently, I wasn't quick enough because he chose the moments where I paused, to call me out in front of my classmates and accuse me of not being prepared.  He assumed I had not done the reading.  Well, I had done the reading.  I did have an answer.  And I did not like being ridiculed in front of my peers.  Especially for something that was not true.  So, when he was finished, I spoke up.  I explained that I had done the required reading and that I had just taken a moment to collect my thoughts before I began to speak.  Then I took another moment to gauge his reaction before I went on to answer the question.  And I answered the question with great detail and insight I might add.

What bothered me then, and still bothers me today (almost 13 yrs. later) is the look he gave me once I defended myself.  I had looked him straight in the eyes as I explained my momentary pause.  And I could actually see his level of respect rising for me.  By the time the question was answered, he was smiling.

I don't understand why some people feel they need to belittle or intimidate other people.  I also don't understand why those same people respect the people who stand up for themselves.  A good friend of mine was also in this class.  She ended up in tears the few times she went to see him.  I had passed some kind of test with this man.  And for the rest of the semester, he was different with me.  He would joke with me.  When he called on me, he acted like he expected me to have a good answer (which of course I did, haha!).  I didn't like it. I didn't like watching the other students squirm in their seats.  I do not like being pushed into a corner and that is how he was making me feel.  I just reacted to this feeling.  And for this instinctive reaction, I was rewarded.  This man was just being a bully in his own classroom.  I think it is sad there are people like this.  But the truth is that they are out there.  I haven't always been able to stand up for myself.  But I did on this day.  After all this time, this experience has not been forgotten.  Some people are just mean.

5/17/12

Finding Contentment

Deep thought for the day...focus on the moment you are in. This is a reminder for myself. I am the kind of person who is doing one thing but thinking ahead about two or three other things that I will be doing. Sometimes I am focus on the unpleasant thoughts, you know, things that I don't want to do. Sometimes my thoughts are on good things that are coming up. But either way, I am robbing myself as well as the people around me of my full attention in the present moment. Because my mind is always thinking about what needs to be done, or what I want to do, I often find myself discontent with where I am right now.

I'm not exactly sure how to accomplish this feat of being in the preset moment but I definitely think that being aware of this is a step in the right direction. The "other" things, good and bad will still happen. And in theory I can handle them when they are in my present moment.

Honestly, I know this is going to take a lot of practice. And knowing the type of person I am, it isn't going to be easy. But I don't want to look back when older and see how I missed out on so much because I couldn't keep my head in the moment.

What about you? Do you struggle with always thinking ahead? Being prepared is one thing but I need to be careful not to plan for a future moment at the expense of a present moment.

5/16/12

Letters From Mom

I was "exploring" on Pintrest and I found a great idea. At least, I think it's a great idea. So I went out and bought two notebooks...one for each kiddo.

Yesterday, I explained how these notebooks work. In these special books, we are going to write letters to each other. My child writes to me. The next day, I respond. And so on. I am curious to see what the Mini's want to share with me.

I told them they can write about their day, happy things, things that upset them. I am hoping this will be fun and will help me see into their minds and emotions. I also hope this is something we can keep up with.

Right now they are both very excited about the whole process. And that makes this very fun for me.

5/9/12

Eww...Gross!

We all  know I exercise.  I workout a lot.  I workout hard.  And I sweat "like a man".  No glistening here. I AM NOT kidding.  It is disgusting.  Forget wet armpits...I'm talking I look like I just got out of the shower and didn't dry off.  My clothes are drenched.  My hair is dripping.  The sweat is running down my arms and off my elbows.  I tease my trainer that my eyelashes are sweating. I know, not a very attractive picture.  But the facts are facts.

I actually do not mind sweating hard while I workout.  I am not a huge fan of sweating a lot at any other time of the day but when I'm exercising, sweating is just part of the deal.  Although, it would be nice to not sweat quite so much.

So what does all this sweat mean?  Is it a good thing?  Is it a sign that something is wrong?  I decided to google "excessive sweating while exercising" and I got some answers.  First question, is do I sweat excessively throughout the day, while doing every day tasks?  The answer is no.  And that is a good thing. According to no-iron-fitness.com, sweating is the way our body cools itself down.  (I actually knew that)  The site states the following...


                "The harder you train, the more chances you'll have excessive sweating during exercise    which means, in most average healthy adults that your body is becoming more efficient at cooling itself down."


I am okay with that.  I am in good shape.  I may smell like a goat and look like a drowned rat for that hour or so but it washes away.  I wont be asked to model for any magazines post workout for sure, but again, I'm okay with that.  I am happy that my body is working properly.  This is a very visible way I can see how my body is working for me.  

I Want To See This One.

I love musicals.  I love random songs and dancing.  I like to watch them on the screen as well as on stage.  I have two favorites.  They are very different plays in terms of content as well as music style.  One favorite is My Fair Lady.  The other is Aida.  I have lost count how many times I have seen Aida on Broadway.

I was surprised to see that there is a new show on Broadway.  Well, that wasn't the surprising part, ha.  The surprise was that it is Newsies!  Growing up in my house, Newsies was often playing.  I saw it in the theater when it came out...1992.  I had the soundtrack that I listened and sang along with.  And then when the video was released, Newsies was a common flick showing at our house.

And now its on Broadway!  I am hoping that my Mom, Sister and I can find a way to get out to see this one together.  What a fun day that would be.


Do you like musicals?  What is your favorite musical?  Have you seen Newsies?  Maybe we can get a bus tour together and take a Java Talk trip to see the show!

5/7/12

Double Standards

As I am "putting on my face" this morning, I have a thought that I can't seem to let go of.

Why is it that as a man ages, the lines on his face are attractive? Sexy even. But on a woman, they make her look old.

Laugh lines on a man, tell me he has fun and enjoys life. I don't think the same is said of the average woman. In fact there is a bazillion dollar industry that targets women and fighting those very lines.

Definitely a double standard here. And one that I continue to play into. Although I see this double standard, I'm not sure I'm ready to give up the fight and embrace these lines.

5/4/12

Girl Fun

I was in the mood to do something different with my Girl Mini today. But what to do?

We planned a girl day with a friend and her mommy. We went to the mall and let the girls have a fashion show. We let the girls pick a handful of fancy dresses and took off for the dressing room.

They had so much fun! And of course they looked so adorable. They were so excited to be so dressed up. And they were thrilled to be dressed the same.

This was a great way to spend the morning. Being silly and dressing up.

5/3/12

Update...

Yes, I'm disappointed that I won't be certified to teach boxing this weekend. So, I need a new plan. I am happy to share that I have registered for a new class that I will take at the end of June. Taking one more step forward on this journey...

Disappointment...

I have been working very hard to prepare for my boxing certification. I have studied. I have practiced. I have even had the opportunities to co-teach a few classes. I have gotten mentally prepared to succeed. The big day is this Sunday.

Yesterday, I received an email saying that my certification class has been cancelled. What?! I was so upset. I see this certification as a door that is opening for me. As scary as it has been as times, I really want this. And they cancelled it. I was pretty down about this yesterday. But there isn't much I can do about this. I have already paid so they will have to reschedule. I just need to be patient (I hate being patient) and keep my focus. I will do this. Definatly a setback but not the end of the road. I'm disappointed but I am still focused.

5/2/12

New Pony in Town







Meet Elliott, a pony who was born 6 days ago at the stable where my Girl Mini takes lessons, Encore Farms.

I grew up with cats. I had the occasional fish. Some girls are horse crazy. I was cat crazy. My little girl, is one of the horse crazy kind of girls.  She always has been.  At three she was claiming that she is going to be a "horsey worker" when she grows up.  I'm starting to think she just may.

So now my girl is taking riding lessons. She loves it. I love watching her learn how to handle and care for a horse.  And I love being around the horses.  Often, while she is in the arena I'm going up and down the stable aisle talking to and petting the horses.

I was so excited to meet my first newborn pony today! Last week we knew he was coming any day but he didn't arrive until the day after our lesson.   He is beautiful. It was fun to watch him play. What a great way to spend the morning with my kiddo!


Thanks for reading Java Talk. Please share your thoughts below.

5/1/12

Enter Drama....

                                                          
Recently, my little girl has started telling her Daddy that he is mean and that they are not best friends anymore.  Of course, this is only when she doesn't get her way.  I know this is normal behavior, at least I think it is, ha. I have to give him credit, he is taking it in stride.  But he is also playing right into this stunt of hers.  In the moment, he is standing his ground.  But later, he asks if they are best friends again.  He thinks she is cute and this is kind of funny.  Can you say, Daddy's Little Girl?  I find it interesting, she hasn't tried to pull this on me.  Hmm...

I keep reminding him not to encourage this attitude.  Our job is to parent first and be friends later.  Probably much later.  As in, when the kiddos are all grown up.  Of course, we want our kiddos to like us.  But it is important that we have a very important job to do while they are growing and learning about their world.  I won't hold this against him, just keep reminding him not to play into our Girl Mini's drama.  Until then, I'll just sit back and watch this play out, knowing that I don't have this parenting thing all figured out and that soon enough it will be me getting pulled into the drama.

4/27/12

He Pulled A Fast One

Yesterday at about 2:40, I got a call from the school nurse. She says my son came down after lunch with a stomach ache. She let him rest and then sent him back to class. He returned to the nurse's office a few hours later so she decided to call me.

He had no fever. He didn't throw up. Just having stomach pains. So I picked him up from school and brought him home not knowing what the rest of the night would look like. We were only home a few minutes and he was eating a snack. A little while later he wanted to play his wii. I told him no he was having a sick day. He felt fine enough to be unhappy with me. It seemed to me he was feeling fine. So what was going on?

I asked him how he felt. He responded with, "good". Good? Really? So I started asking about his day. Was there something the class was about to do that he was nervous about? Was he having trouble with any friends, etc. he kept saying, "no mom". So why was he home?

Finally he says, "mom, I was just hungry". What! He was hungry? He came home because he was hungry? That is NOT okay. I have mentioned before how I have gotten lax about packing his lunches. He loves that he gets to buy school lunch. But I made it very clear that if he is still hungry after eating the school lunch I will have to pack for him instead. He didn't like that idea. He begged me to let him buy his lunch today. So I let him. But I reminded him that he was not to go to the nurse because he was hungry. I'm anxious to see how he makes out today. I suspect he wasn't eating the food provided that he didn't want to eat. Hopefully he learned a lesson yesterday. Time will tell...

4/26/12

One Step, Then Another

The date for my Boxing Certification is fast approaching. This is a good thing. This is a SCARY thing. It's no secret I love to box. Two days ago I was so panicked about this certification process I was ready to walk away. You see, I go to the gym, wrap my hands, put on my gloves and then turn of my brain. Sounds strange I'm sure but it's true. Boxing is fun.  Boxing is therapeutic.  Boxing is reactive for me. My trainer calls out what to do, and I do it as fast and as hard as I can. 
As I prepare for this exam, I realize this is an obstacle I need to work through. This has been a challenge but I'm getting there. I am no longer paralyzed by this fear. I am being stretched yet again. I know I can do this. I am still nervous but it is a healthy nervousness. 
I am looking forward to having this certification date behind me. I'm not sure where this process is leading me but I'm glad I have decided to follow it despite my personal discomfort. Who knows what opportunities lie ahead for me. I am excited to find out. 

4/24/12

Open House

                                                  

My kiddos are so excited about Open House at school.  They have been talking about this night since last week.  At first I didn't understand what they were so worked up about.  I don't remember being excited for Open House night when I was little.  Of course, I don't remember Open House in elementary school but I imagine I was excited too.

I thought Open House was for the parents to attend and that the students were discouraged from coming.  This is not the case at the school the Mini's go to.  And it is no wonder they are so excited for this night.  The kids have been working very hard all year and they want to show off their work.  This is the time for the kids to share what they know about their world.  Mommy and Daddy will be on their turf.  The children's artwork hung throughout the entire building.  It is going to be like a Scavenger Hunt to find the artwork with my Little One's names below.

I am looking forward to seeing what the kiddos have been doing at school.  I'm looking forward to seeing the excitement in their faces as they show us their friends, their desks and all their hard work.

4/23/12

Awesome Muffin!

It has been a while since I've made muffins for my family.  It has also been a while since I've posted a recipe.  So here is a new recipe I tried and they REALLY hit the spot!

Banana Oat Muffins
1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 C rolled oats
1/2 C white sugar
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 egg
3/4 C milk
1/3 C canola oil
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 C mashed bananas (I used 2 bananas)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt.
In a large bowl, beat egg lightly.  Stir in milk, oil and vanilla.  Add the mashed banana and stir well.  Stir into flour mixture until combined.
Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray.  Divide batter into muffin pan.
Bake for 18-20 mins.

These really were very tasty!  Enjoy :)

4/19/12

A Favorite Modern Convenience

                                         

The Drive-Thru Window.  It's true.  I love the Drive-Thru window.  Not really for fast food.  Although, I do love the occasional fast food treat, I try to keep that to a minimum.  The Drive-Thru window has been instrumental in many a successful coffee runs.  I find when running around town, or just running late when I leave the house and all I can think about is a cup of coffee.  Driving to a cafe or restaurant, parking the car, getting the kids out of the car, dragging them into the Coffee Mecca, making them wait in line and continually telling them they can't get anything is really NOT fun.

Enter the ease of the Drive-Thru :)  I can get Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts via Drive-Thru.  Just depends on which direction I am driving off to.  If I'm really desperate, I can always drive to the local McDonald's that is very close to my house.  Not my favorite coffee but when the craving hits, sometimes you settle.   I DO NOT have a Java problem, REALLY, haha!

So I did a little research on the history of the Drive-Thru window.  And there is some controversy over who started this convenience.  According to Answers.com, it was not McDonald's which is a common belief.  Instead, Answers.com reports,


The first drive-thru restaurant was created in 1947 by Sheldon "Red" Chaney, operator of Red's Giant Hamburg in Springfield, Missouri. Located on the famous Route 66, the restaurant served customers until its closure in 1984. Several other companies lay claim to having invented the first drive-thru restaurant, including the In 'N Out burger chain, which didn't open a drive-thru until 1948, and Jack in the Box, founded in 1951


I have to admit, this idea came to me yesterday as I was driving to church and I swung by my favorite Starbucks (its my favorite because of the Drive-Thru).  I started thinking about how often I get my get my coffee this way.  And how I will drive a little out of my way to ensure I don't have to actually get out of my car.  I'm not sure if it saves time, but it certainly helps me feel like I'm still moving therefore still productive.  


What about you?  Do you seek out a local Drive-Thru rather than parking and going inside to buy what you are looking for?  

4/18/12

Do You Use Coupons?

Are you a coupon user? Sometimes I say I'm going to use coupons and save money. Every once and a while, I actually cut out a stack of coupons that I can use. And then...they expire.

So, I am not a coupon user. I am in awe an wonder as I hear stories from my friends who do use them and save tons of money. And of course, when you hear of extreme couponers who walk away with hundreds of dollars of merchandise for $6.00 or end up getting money from the store!

Yesterday I was reading Dear Abby and it was about coupons. But it was from store's perspective. The readers were responding to the shoppers who leave coupons on the shelves for some other consumer to use. I've seen this many times. I've probably even done this at some point. It seemed that the store employees were much against this practice. The employees were saying that the coupons usually end up on the floor or swept down into drains and can cause several hazards.

I was kind of surprised by this perspective. Honestly I never thought about the coupons left behind. And considering I am not a coupon user, it's not really something I'm worried about. But I thought it was an interesting perspective and thought I'd pass it along.


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4/17/12

Dear Diary,

More thoughts on how this year is going to be different for me.  It is only the fourth month of the year, but it is crazy how much I have wrestled with in this short time span.  This is all a part of the process, its uncomfortable at times, just plain sucks at others.  But as I have begun to "reach the other side" in some situations, I believe it is all worth it.

A Few Things I Want To Change About Myself:

1.  Be more self-confident.

2.  Care less about what others think.

3.  Learn to "think first" before I react.

I'm not exactly sure how to accomplish these changes.  Baby steps.  Taking the CPR class was a great step.  So will be completing the boxing certification process.  I am being stretched and extending my comfort zones.  Working on ourselves is never easy, but these are certain things about myself that I feel need some improvement.  If my children are going to learn from me, I want to be sure that they are learning is positive and will help them through their lives.  

4/16/12

Horror Stories...

Today I had my CPR certification class.  I am one step closer to getting my Boxing Certification!  So I arrived ready to spend the next several hours with the small group of people in the room.  There was a young couple participating in the training today.  They were clearly expecting and were taking this certification class together so they are prepared should there be an emergency after the baby comes.  I can remember when I was pregnant, reading that I should get CPR certified but Andy and I chose not to.  So Kudos to this young couple...

There were two instructors for the course.  Both were retired from their careers and explained that teaching these courses were how they stay busy in retirement.  I was shocked how quickly the conversation was steered towards the expectant couple and their baby.  The problem was the instructors were joking with the couple about how life doesn't get any better for the next 18 years!  Followed by even more comments that basically said the same thing.  I mean, if you've ever been pregnant, you know that EVERYONE has advice for you and a story to share.  But I was starting to feel bad for this couple.  I finally turned to them and told them I had a 5 and a 7 yr. old and we are doing just fine.  The Daddy looked at me and with a relieved smile thanked me.

I just kept thinking, "what are you thinking?" as this man and woman kept sharing story after story with this couple.  The male instructor went on and on until he mentioned he watches his great-grandson and then the stories continued on.  The female instructor didn't want to be outdone, so she added that she is helping to raise her grown son's (who is single) two teenagers.  She then said, "think of the worst there is and triple it, then you've got my life".  REALLY?! Don't get me wrong, parenthood isn't all hugs and cuddles but what happened to the joy a baby's arrival?  This poor girl is only 5 1/2 months pregnant.  I was ready to run over and hug her. A very strange experience.

On a positive note, I am so happy that I took this training.  This is not the first time I've been certified.  But it is the first time I've gone to do this all on my own.  This was a victory for me.  It is not easy for me to go into a new situation on my own.  In fact, as I was driving to the class, I realized that just last Fall, I would not have even attempted this small feat.  But as part of this new me initiative, I grabbed a cup of coffee and took a deep breath, then walked through the doors.  Once I was in there, I went even farther by pushing myself to go first for each demonstration rather than hiding in the back.  It was scary the first time or two but by the end of the course, I was confident and ready to be tested.  And I'm happy to say, I passed!

4/13/12

The Perfect Cup Looks Different For Everyone

                                                   

I was out with a dear friend yesterday.  We were sitting over our afternoon cups of coffee when she said, "I love to listen to how people order their coffee".  At first, I thought that was a little strange but as I thought more about this idea, I think it is intriguing.  I mean, lots and lots of people drink coffee.  But if you listen to the people around you (in a restaurant or cafe), the perfect cup of coffee is very personal.

For instance, I am not a big fan of McDonald's coffee.  Period.  I'll drink it if that's my only choice but I'll usually go out of my way to get my coffee from somewhere else.  If I am at Starbucks, I order my bold roast with two pumps of Classic Syrup (liquid sugar) and room for cream.  If I am at Dunkin Donuts, I ask for cream and 1/2 sugar.  I think DD uses a lot of sugar, so if they add less sugar, I'm happy.  At home, I prefer to make my coffee in my French Press.  I add just a little splash of flavored creamer and voila! my perfect morning companion :)

Those are just how I order my coffee.  Think of all the people who walk through those cafe doors. This is an interesting idea and I have a feeling I'm going to be listening to how people order their coffee for a while.

4/12/12

This Chapter Is Closed

So today is it! My final appointment of Physical Therapy is here. Only 2 1/2 months after surgery and I am so much better off then I've been in about 8 years. That is a long time. But it is all behind me.

Thanks for your patience as I've worked through my anxiety before surgery, my occasional impatience with myself in recovery and celebrating with me as I reached a new milestone. I have made it to the other side and I'm so excited to be here. One thing I have learned over these past 8 years is to never take for granted any pain free days and I would encourage you to do the same.

4/10/12

Your Favorite Smells


The sense of smell is a very important one. Smells make us hungry. They bring memories to mind. Smells can also turn our stomach.

I think it is interesting that people are drawn to different types of smells. There are flowery, fruity and baking scents for example.

I am NOT a fan of flowery smells. I also am not one to like most fruity scents. I am definitely drawn to baking scents.

I don't burn candles, I gave that up when my kiddos were small. But I do melt scented wax with an electric burner. Give me the smells of pumpkin, cakes, cookies etc and I'm in a happy place. Right now my house smells like Oats and Honey.

What scents appeal to you?

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4/9/12

When To Tell?

                                                              

Easter has now come and gone.  But for days leading up to the holiday, both of my kiddos have been hounding me with the question..."Is the Easter Bunny real?".  Personally, I hate lying to my children.  I know it is in the spirit of fun, so I go along with it.  But now I have to decide if my kiddos are old enough to know the truth about the Easter Bunny which I'm sure will lead to questions later this year about Santa.

First I decide my son who is 7 is old enough to know the truth.  But his timing is bad...Little Sister is always with him when he asks.  So after she went to bed, I went to his room and I revealed the big truth.  He smiled at me real cute and then said, "I knew it!".  Then, he looked at me a bit confused and asked about how the candy got in the baskets.  I smiled back and explained that Mommy and Daddy fill the baskets.  Then I made sure he understood the importance of keeping this secret from his sister and his friends.  Feeling like a "Big Man", he agreed and off to bed he went.

The very next day, my daughter who is a few months shy of 6, asked me if the Easter Bunny was real.  WHAT?  I wasn't ready for this again.  Of course, Andy wasn't home so I had to make a decision.  I tried to be vague.  I asked her to think about if she doesn't like the answer.  She still wanted to know.  I asked her what she thought.  She said she didn't believe the EB was real.  I asked her why?  She responded that bunnies don't walk on two legs or talk.  That seems logical.  So I decided to tell her... My Girl Mini turned to me with a smile and said, "I knew it!"  Then she asked if the EB is just a mascot.  I thought that sounded logical so I said yes.  Then I asked her how she thinks the candy gets in the baskets.  Her idea is that the mascot carries a big bag filled with candy and travels around to all the kids' houses.  Hmm...doesn't that support the idea of an Easter Bunny?

I finished our little talk with making her understand the responsibility of knowing the "secret" is to KEEP the secret.  Mommy's and Daddy's get to choose when to tell the secret to their kiddos and so she has to keep playing along when her friends talk about the EB.

Wow!  I wasn't ready to deal with this yet.  It seems recently, these kids keep throwing curveballs at me.  I guess that's a part of being a parent though, right?

How old were your kiddos when you shared the big secret?

4/6/12

One More Week!

It looks like I have one more week of physical therapy left. Woot! Woot!

Life is good. I was able to sit through an entire movie in the theater without hip pain. I am back to boxing. I am now able to kick as well. Today I took my first Zumba class in several months.

These hips are working again! I can do all the things I did before surgery, only better! Once again, I'm so glad I have all this behind me and I'm looking forward to many years ahead of being super active and pain free!

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4/5/12

Spring Break Is Here

Today is the first day of Spring Break.  I'm not sure how that can be because it seems we were just saying "Happy New Year's!".  So the Mini's and I are looking at the next five days together.  Good times ahead.  This morning I had to smile as I thought of what these next few days home from school will be like.

First, this Mommy gets to sleep in!  I was going to lay in bed until "the clock says 7" because that is when my kiddos are allowed to get up.  But in the end, I got up at 6:30, I couldn't give up my quiet time completely.  The extra half hour was nice.  I made apple cinnamon pancakes for the breakfast, which were very much enjoyed.  It was also nice to not have to rush the kids through the morning routine while I rush through mine.

Today we will have friends over to play.  This is a special treat because school has really cramped our social calendar (haha).  Seriously though, it seems our friends are on a completely different school schedule so we rarely get to see these Buddies.

The weather is nice so I'm looking forward to getting outside with the Mini's to soak up some Vitamin D.  I'm also looking forward to no homework fuss for a few days.  Although I still can't believe Spring Break is here, I am happy to take these next few days and make some memories with my Mini's.

Are you doing anything special with your kiddos while they are home from school?

4/4/12

Pretty Picture

Spring is here for sure. The temperature is warming up and everything is in bloom. This morning I looked into my back yard and smiled as I saw all the beautiful colors surrounding the patio.

Tulips are one of my favorite flowers and there are lots of tulips around my yard to see. Here is a picture that makes me think "Spring".




Enjoy this beautiful day. Look around and notice the new life that is growing all around us.



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4/2/12

Better Every Day

This morning at 6 o'clock, I was ready to take my first boxing class with bags since before my surgery. I've been hitting for a few weeks but I've been intimidated by the bags. I also know myself and feared not being able to limit myself if necessary. So I waited.

Last week my Physical Therapist told me I was passed the point where I can harm my repair. This is great news. Now if I have pain or tenderness I don't have to worry I've done damage.

So I gave myself another week and then showed up bright and early, ready to face the bag. It was great. I was very happy with what I was able to do. And without pain! This is a huge milestone for me. One I am happy to share. Two months since surgery and I'm almost better than ever. I dreaded this surgery so deeply but I have no regrets about going through with it.


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3/30/12

Lessons From A 5 Yr Old

My Girl Mini has been frustrated with a classmate who has been "copying her". Not the cheating kind of copying, the "I do what you do, I say what you say" type. Since this has come up several times, I suggested she ask this friend to stop copying her. I explained this little girl probably really likes my Mini(of course, haha) and she wants to do like you. So my little one says, "ok, I'll talk to her on the bus ride home from school".

That afternoon I ask if she had this "talk" and to my amazement, she said yes. She told her friend what I had suggested she say. I was so impressed with my Girl Mini. As a 35 yr old woman, I would have a very difficult time having such a conversation. And if I got to the point where this conversation HAD to take place, I never would have made it to the end of the day. I would have been so anxious over what to say and worried over the reaction I would have been a wreck!

But not my girl. I was so proud of her. I have told her how proud I am of her choice to speak up. This ability to handle uncomfortable situations will be very useful as she gets older. I pray that she doesn't lose this ability to do what needs done without all the anxiety that I fight. My Girl Mini set a terrific example for her Mommy who is working on finding her voice and using it to make things better.

3/29/12

Finding Your Happy Place

Having a "Happy Place" almost sounds childish but I think we all need to have one. It may be a real place. Somewhere to go and telex and let go. Or it may be an activity that helps you to feel good and when you finish you walk away feeling rejuvenated and in a better place mentally.

I have one of each. Geographically, I look forward to walks along the river. The water is always changing. The breeze is peaceful. Looking in one direction I see the water, the island in the water and all the activity on the island. If I look to the other side, I see the beautiful buildings of the city. I am amazed how I see something new each time I walk up and down along the river.

My other "happy place" is an activity. Exercise. Primarily boxing but the same can be said of most of my workouts. This is my time. I work hard without interruption. I feel strong. And I feel good. Most days it doesn't matter how I feel walking into my workout, in this "happy place" I hit a moment when it is all gone. It's just me, what I am doing and what I can do over the next hour. I leave feeling much happier having been there.

We all have bad days, bad moments and it is so easy to get stuck there. Overwhelmed with those negative feelings. I believe it is very important to find your "happy place" and then make sure that you get there. Where is your "happy place"?

3/28/12

Hunger Games


At the bottom of the steps, I look up and see a baby and toy crossbow watching over me. My first thought was, "Girl Mini has been here". My next thought was, "a baby and a crossbow = Hunger Games".

There's my funny thought for today!

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3/26/12

Something To Think About

I think I've mentioned before that although I have lost and maintained considerable weightloss, I still struggle with food. I am a binge eater. It comes and goes but the tendency is always there.

When I am in the binge cycle, it is almost all consuming. I eat with abandon, then I feel guilt and shame followed by more eating. I start eating in secret and hiding the evidence. Not good at all.

I read something yesterday that has sparked a new plan for me when I hit this cycle again. Instead of eating the "bad" foods which then make me feel like a "bad" person, I want to focus on how I will feel after I eat the food in question. Sounds simple. I know it won't be. With this new way to think of the food I will be struggling with, I hope to see what has led me to this moment. My pattern is usually driven by emotions. And hopefully it will help me stop looking to food to "fix" those emotions. The relief is temporary and causes more problems for me later. It's always good to have a plan and this is my new plan.


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3/23/12

Plan B

A friend gave me a coffee mug recently and it says...Life is about how you handle Plan B.  As a Mommy, this is so true.  I cannot count the times that I have had plans in my head for the day, for the morning, for the hour and the kiddos or hubby were on a different page than me.

I like structure and for a long time, these changes in my plan didn't go over so well.  I'd be flustered, frustrated and feel the weight of what wasn't being done.  This led to a bad attitude and sharp words and got me nowhere except feeling bad for my behavior.

So, I've learned to be more flexible.  A plan is just a plan.  It isn't set in stone.  Change is okay.  Forcing everyone into the plan isn't worth it.  There are times when sticking to the plan is a must but for the other times, we need to work as a family to be more open to spur of the moment moments.  Everything will get done.  A little rearranging is sometimes necessary to fit in what needs to be done with what we want to get done.

How do you handle Plan B?

3/22/12

Picture Magnets



Tired of a cluttered refrigerator? All those pictures and magnets fighting for space. A few years ago I read a cute idea and I'm going to pass it along.

I found pictures I wanted to post on the fridge. And I cut them out in the shape of my magnets. Whatever the shape of the magnet becomes the shape of your picture. One of my magnets is in the shape of a Nittany Lion paw. I just turned it on its side and was able to fit both of my kiddos on it. I used 2 sided tape to stick the pic to the magnet. That's it...very simple yet clever way to clean up the front of the fridge.

These pics are a few years old now. Thinking its time to replace them with more current photos.

All you need are magnets, pictures, and 2 sided tape. Can't beat that.

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3/21/12

Book Review of Hunger Games

                                                  

It seems that lately there is much to be read about the book Hunger Games.  The movie is being released this week.  So it seems like a good time to offer my review.  Hunger Games was the selection for this month for my Book Club.  I will be honest, I had no real interest in reading this book.  But in the spirit of Book Club, I read it and I am so glad that I did.

This follows a group of kids ages 12-18 who have been selected by lottery to play in the game of their life.  Or more accurately, they are chosen to play in a game where the winner is the only one who survives.  That's right, these kids are forced to kill or be killed and it all takes place on in front of an audience via television.  It is Reality TV gone too far.

This is book is very well written.  It was a very quick read.  It is upsetting to think of these children having to fight for their survival while the rest of the country watches.  But despite the story line, this is not a horror story filled with gore.

My only real complaint as the reader was that it ended so abruptly.  Although I felt like I was left hanging, I really couldn't expect anything else since Hunger Games is the first book of a trilogy.  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has been wondering what all the buzz is about.

3/19/12

Be The Change



Pretty BIG words. Turning 35 has been a big deal to me. Not in an "I don't want to be old" way but in a self-awareness way.

It seems over the past 6 months or so, I have been mentally wrestling with so many things. While it has been exhausting at times, I've also learned a lot about myself.

It seems I've spent a large part of my life just letting things happen to me. Good and bad. That worked for a long time, but now I want more. I need to take ownership of the good and bad. And when I don't like something, I need to Be The Change. I can't just sit back and resent what I don't like. I have to decide if it's worth the personal risk to make it different or I need to get "over it".

Life is messy and life is complicated. But as I dig deeper into my journey, I am learning that despite the possible discomfort, it is worth the effort needed to see the situation through to the end. I may not always make the right choices but learning to forgive myself is another area I am working on. Sometimes I can't see through my disappointment and I need a reminder to refocus and do what I can do...Be The Change.



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3/17/12

Pizza Fun


It's not delivery, it's Dawngornio ;)

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3/16/12

No School Today

The kiddos have no school today. So we are making the most of our day together. Keep them busy, that's what I say.

First I made a pancake breakfast for my hungry Minis. If there is something my kiddos love, it's pancakes.

Then we were off to gymnastics for the Girl Mini.

In a little while, we are going to meet a friend for lunch at Isaacs. We love this restaurant. We get to eat out and still feel like we are making healthy choices...until the kiddos free sundaes come out ;)

After lunch, I'm taking the kids to a local animal shelter. This place has odd hours so we haven't been all year. My daughter asks me weekly if we can go play with the animals. I have to tell her no. So today, we will go and love on the cats and dogs that are looking for a home. We already have a dog, two cats and two fish, so we won't bring anyone home. But its always fun to cuddle with these animals who haven't found their Forever Homes yet.


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3/15/12

A Day In the Sun

The other day, I took my Girl Mini and we took off for a little adventure.  Here are a few things we saw while we enjoyed the beautiful day as well as each other's company.

We are just getting started on our walk.

This tree fascinated me.  I know you can't tell, but there were sections of this tree that were wrinkled and reminded me of elephant skin.

Local swimmers.

A very pretty bridge.

There are a LOT of steps here.  And I thought this was a fun angle to take a pic of my Girl.

We made it to the bridge.  This is a fun bridge to walk across.

Disclaimer:  The train was not running.  No child was harmed during the taking of these photos ;)

Almost back to the car.  My Girl Mini wanted a turn with the camera.  Even told me to tilt my head, silly girl!

We had such a wonderful day together.  It was so nice doing something different.  Something impulsive.  And enjoying the beautiful day while making memories together.

3/14/12

"Not My Kid"

Famous last words, right? This time I'm referring to how at the beginning of the school year, my child was NOT going to eat a school lunch. I used to work in the schools. You can throw any spin you want to a menu but those are NOT healthy lunches.

Andy thought I was ridiculous. He loved sharing memories of school lunches and how much he enjoyed them.

I'm sorry, breadsticks with dipping sauce is not healthy. Neither is Nacho Fun lunch.

So, the year began with me packing every day for my son. This was one way I felt I was showing him how much I love him. Of course, I don't expect him to understand this until he is much older. But he REALLY wanted to buy. So for a long time, he was allowed to buy once a week.

Then we got connected to the Online prepay for lunch which means I never have to scrounge around for money on the days he is going to buy. This convenience was the beginning of the end.

Somewhere along the way, I started wishing in my mind that he would be happy with one of the four choices for the day so I didn't have to pack a lunch. (I hang my head in shame)

The way that I have begun to deal with these moments of Mommy Guilt is to prepare a super healthy breakfast to send him off to school with.

So tonight, I am trying a new recipe of Baked Apple Oatmeal and I just popped it in the oven. Tomorrow, I just need to heat it up and serve to the Mini's. A few minutes tonight and now I don't feel so bad that my Boy Mini will be buying lunch at school tomorrow...again.

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3/13/12

Random Thoughts on Spring



Children playing outside...
Birds singing to one another...
The sight of bulbs pushing through the ground to meet the sun...
Windows open...
Seeing neighbors again...
Laundry loads getting a little lighter...
Outdoor sports begin...

Spring is in the air...

3/12/12

Peanut Butter Waffles

                                                   

Yep!  I said Peanut Butter Waffles...YUMMY!  I got a waffle maker (which I really wanted) for Christmas.  And so a few days a month, I like to try new waffle recipes.  I made these for lunch and everyone loved them.  The kiddos were raving and the plates were empty in speedy fashion.  I had to make a substitute for the milk (see below) and I kept that info to myself until after the meal.  The Hubby would never had tried them otherwise.  As we were cleaning up, he added the compliment that it was the "perfect amount of peanut butter flavor".  Not bad for a throw together family meal.

Here is what you need:
2C all-purpose flour
2 T baking powder
1 T firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4t salt
2 eggs
3T unsalted butter or margarine, melted
2/3C creamy peanut butter (I used my homemade PB)
1 3/4C milk (I used vanilla flavored almond milk because we were out of regular milk...I did have to keep adding more almond milk to get the desired consistency for the batter.  I just poured and mixed after the initial 1 3/4C until I was satisfied.)

Directions:
Preheat waffle iron and spray with non-stick spray (both sides).  In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, brown sugar and salt.  In separate bowl, using a whisk, beat eggs, butter, peanut butter and milk until foamy.  Pour PB mix into dry ingredients until smooth.

Pour mix onto waffle iron and close.  Cook about 2-3 mins. until waffles are done.  And enjoy!  Another easy and tasty meal :)

3/8/12

Another Winner For Dinner!

Yesterday I was feeling uninspired as to what to make for dinner. As the day went by, my choices were getting limited (no slow cooker). So I decided to adjust a recipe I made last week and see what happened. It was a hit!

Last week, I made the Brown Sugar and Basalmic Glazed Pork Loin. Last night, I used chicken, switched an ingredient or two and made it in the oven (not the slow cooker). Wow! Dinner was eaten with gusto!

Preheat oven to 400. Place thawed chicken breast in baking dish. In a saucepan, heat 1/2 c brown sugar, 1T cornstarch, 1/4 c Basalmic vinegar, 1/2 c water and 2 T teriyaki sauce.

Once sauce thickens, pour over chicken. My chicken is sliced thinly so it only took about 22 mins to cook. I flipped the chicken once. Pour extra sauce over chicken once placed on your plate. Enjoy!

It still amazes me how much fun I have when I stray from a recipe. For years, I followed a recipe to the final period. Now, I tend to use a recipe as a starting point and often make changes along the way.


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3/7/12

Makes Sense to Her...

                                                   

The Tooth Fairy lives in Central Pennsylvania.  Really, there is a local woman (maybe more than one) who travels to different schools and preschools to visit the children and talk about tooth health.  When both of my kiddos were in preschool, they had visits from the Tooth Fairy.  

This morning, my Girl Mini and I stopped at church and while we were there, the Tooth Fairy was there to speak with the Preschool kiddos.  The teacher was very nice and offered for my Girlie to pop in and say hello. My little girl has already lost 8 teeth so they are pretty well acquainted these days. 

My shy girl did go in and say hello.  Then we had to leave so there was time for lunch before I send her off to school for the afternoon.  Anyway...on the way to the car, she was really thinking about this Tooth Fairy.  She was thinking there must be more than one Tooth Fairy because the one she met last year had a white dress and this one had a pink dress.  Personally, I never thought about how many Tooth Fairies there are but my daughter was really mulling this over.  I suggested maybe she just changed her dress like we change our clothes every day.  Made sense to me.

We were almost home when she pipes up from the backseat with, "Maybe there are two Tooth Fairies because there are so many children in the world".  Okay...maybe that is why there are two Tooth Fairies.  Same Tooth Fairy, different dresses made sense to me.  But two Tooth Fairies sharing the duty are the explanation that made sense to my 5 yr. old.  

I just thought this was a cute story of a moment when I was able to witness her work out a serious thought (well, serious to her).  This was an insightful moment in the working mind of my complex Girl Mini.

3/6/12

Week 6 Is Here!

Yesterday marked the 6 weeks since my hip surgery. This is an important milestone or me because on Friday I go back to see the surgeon. Most days I feel great. The crutches are collecting dust in the basement. And if you didn't know I had hip surgery, you wouldn't be able to tell just from seeing me. I'm ready to get back to my life without restrictions. That is what I'm hoping the doctor will do on Friday, remove my limitations. I have been much more patient with myself and the healing process then I expected but I'm ready to move on. I dreaded this surgery and recovery so much and now it is all behind me. This is so exciting! The end is almost here! I can't wait to push myself and what I am capable of without the constant pain I've had for years. I still have physical therapy and there is the occasional discomfort but I'm learning to really listen to my body. At this point in my recovery, I think I know better than the doctor what I'm capable of. I'm still cautious but its getting harder to hold myself back. And I'm okay with that ;)

3/5/12

How Fear Limits Us

I was reading the other day that the need for safety in our lives is really just a way of letting fear control us. That's not to say that feeling safe is wrong or bad but I do believe that the need to control the world around you stems from fear.

This is just something to think about as I am looking ahead to this year of personal growth. Its so easy to do the things we KNOW we can do. It's not so easy to try new things. After all, we might fail and no one wants to be a failure.

Trying new things is risky. I am not one who does this lightly. As I've begun to prepare for my Boxing Certification I have faced moments of, "I can't do this!" and "What was I thinking?". But then I take a deep breath and think on how I can do this and I am choosing to do this. Once the moment of panic goes away, I get refocused and excited all over again.



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3/2/12

An Honest Moment...

So this is going to be a big year for me.  I have said this countless times already.  I truly believe this.  One way that I am going to see this happen is by getting certified to teach Kickboxing.  Whew!  I did it.  I put it in writing. That was a lot harder than you might think.

I've wanted to do this for a while.  I let one opportunity pass because I was too insecure to take that step.  But timing is everything, right?  Don't get me wrong, I'm really nervous about all of this.  But I'm also excited. By completing this certification process, I know I will feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment.  If you know me or have been following Java Talk for any length of time, you know I love to box.  This is a natural road for me to take.  So in the words of a dear friend, I decided to "take a breath, and do it"...register for the course, that is.  I did it.

Just committing to this workshop felt pretty good.  And then my materials showed up in the mail.  GULP!  I don't know what I was expecting but it wasn't this.  This particular certification through this organization, (AFAA) seems to be very book focused.  Learning things like, biomechanics and...okay, I just freaked at the word biomechanics.

After a few moments of panic and feeling sick at the thought of what I have gotten myself into, I took a breath and gave myself a pep talk.  I have until May to learn this information.  It has been more than a decade since I've had to "do school stuff" but I can do it again.  I am still intimidated by what lies ahead. But if the worst that can happen is that I DON'T pass the certification, then I am going to be okay.  I don't think it will come to the worst case, I will be prepared.  I can live with the worst case scenario so I have nothing to lose and so much to gain from this experience.  So here I go, my first big step towards my Big Year...

 

3/1/12

Dinner Tonight...Bacon-Wrapped Apple Chicken

A long time ago, I stumbled across a cookbook that I use often.  The $5 Breakfast and Lunch Mom Cookbook.  The other night, I found the $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook, so I quickly added it to my pile of cookbooks ;)

Tonight we are trying a new chicken recipe from this cookbook.  Bacon-Wrapped Apple Chicken. Doesn't that sound awesome?  This is a Crockpot meal (love that!) and it was super easy to prepare (gotta love that too!).

Here it is...

Place chicken breast in crockpot.  Mix 1/2 C of bbq sauce with one peeled and grated apple and 1 T lemon juice.  Pour bbq mix over chicken.  Wrap bacon over each sauced chicken breast.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.  That's it!  So easy.  And I can only imagine how good this is going to taste.  With these ingredients, I don't think you can go wrong.  I'm looking forward to my house smelling good as the day progresses.

2/29/12

Little Girls

Having one boy and one girl gives me the opportunity to love being a Mommy to both boys and girls. There are so many things to enjoy about being a Mom to one child of each sex. Boys and girls are very different, at least mine are.

Boys are absolutely fun. And once I got over the shock that I was having a boy, I have embraced the good, fun an challenging parts of mothering (it doesn't matter that I don't like football, I still love my son.)

With my girl, I get to paint her nails and we can get all sparkly with body sparkle (really, I don't know who likes this stuff more). I get to braid her hair, when she lets me ;). I love to hear her clop around in her play shoes. We sing and dance together. Don't get me wrong, it's not all sugar and spice but it's definitely fun.

Recently I've heard my Girl Mini comment in the morning, "I'm coming Mom, I just have to put on my makeup". Ack! What? She sounds just like me. Her version of makeup and mine are different but it still bothers me.

She has some lip glosses, and some sparkle she can put on her cheeks. Nothing really has color, just a little sparkle. I'm not completely comfortable with her having these things but she loves it and I wear it. I sell Mary Kay beauty products, cosmetics are very easy to find in this house. She sees everything I use and wants to be like me. I realize I'm an adult and she is 5 but I also feel I've given her some clear boundaries.

The problem is that I don't want her to FEEL like she NEEDS makeup. She is a beautiful little girl and perfect just the way she is. But how do I instill that principle when I won't leave the house without my own "face" put on?

I don't think wearing makeup is wrong but it saddens me to think that some day my little girl may feel like she has to cover up to go out. I think makeup is fun. I love to play with different colors. But I also know that this stems from a need to feel "presentable".

I can't protect her self esteem no matter how much I want to. So I keep telling her that she is beautiful and made just the way God wanted her to be made. And then I tell her she doesn't need makeup to look pretty, it's just for fun. To which she looks at me and says, "I know Mom" in that spunky voice that only a 5 yr old girl can use and get away with.





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2/28/12

A Big Year

I don't make New Year's Resolutions. I've never had much success with sticking to them so I have that tradition up long ago.

Today is my birthday. I am 35 on this day. I'm not worried about the number, in fact I see it as a something to celebrate. This may sound corny but a few years ago a child in our neighborhood died from an aggressive form of cancer. As a mother, that hit home pretty hard. I realized, we have no guarantees to make it to the dinner table much less our next birthday. So I chose to embrace each year because each birthday marks another year of memories and experiences for me.

This year I have a lot to look forward to. Both of my hips are now fixed. I find myself daydreaming about the different exercises I'm going to do and do well once I'm healed. I going to push myself to do new things and enjoy the feeling of knowing "I did it!".

I am also finding myself wanting to know more about what my strengths are. I am a mommy and a wife. The keeper of the house and animal caretaker. I enjoy these roles but I'm going to focus a little on myself and learn about what the woman I am.

It's gonna be a big year and hopefully a fun year. I'm looking forward to what lays ahead.




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2/27/12

Great Baked Oatmeal for Breakfast


Baked Oatmeal with Strawberries, Banana and Chocolate

Ingredients:
2 C old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 C light brown sugar
1 t baking powder
1T grated orange zest
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1 C slices strawberries
1/3 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 C milk
1 large egg
3 T melted butter
2 t vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, sliced

Preheat oven to 375. Spray 11x7 pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sugar, baking powder, orange zest, cinnamon, salt, half the strawberries and half of the choc chips.

In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, butter and vanilla extract.

Add the oat mixture to the baking dish. Place rest of strawberries and choc chips on top. Add the banana slices on top. Pour milk mixture over everything.

Bake 35 mins. and enjoy!

2/24/12

The Good Book I Haven't Finished

So I'm reading a book that is 849 pages long.  Of course, I am reading it on my Kindle so I don't know what page I'm on.  I'm about 68% through the book.

                                                                

What book?  It is 11/22/63 by Stephen King.  When I think of Stephen King, I think of Pet Cemetery or Cujo.  This book is very different.  I am really enjoying the book.  The problem is that it is so long and I feel like I'm never going to finish.  I will because I am very invested in how this book ends but it feels like I will never get to the end.

So without giving away too much, this book involves time travel and the attempt to prevent JFK from being assassinated on 11/22/63.  There are many themes throughout this book that I find interesting.  One theme is that history does not want to be changed.  Also, there are many parallels between the 2011 world the main character came from to the world he goes to live in from 1958 through 1963.  People from one time remind him of someone from another time.  Places he goes feel like places he has been.  Many times, the characters have similar features or names as someone from another time.  This is not a book about reincarnation, there are not enough years separating the different times for that to happen.  

This is a long read but I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for something to read.

2/22/12

My Cup of Tea



Last year I had shares with my Mother in Law that I would like to have a set of 4 teacups and saucers. We never picked out any china when we got married and I've never missed it. But I really wanted to have my own pretty teacups.

So for christmas, my MIL gave me these teacups and saucers. They are so pretty. And dainty. Not big enough to drink my coffee from but I do enjoy a cup of tea in the evening or with a friend who may not share my passion for coffee (there really are people out there who don't drink coffee, ha!).

So tonight, as I sat down to read, I decided to make some tea and use these fun cups. I love the little klinky sound it makes when I place the cup on the saucer. It really is the simple things in life that can bring a smile to our face.



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2/21/12

Amazing Pork Recipe

I mentioned recently that I find a lot of recipes on Pintrest.  That statement is still true.  Last night I made an awesome pork recipe so I'm passing it along.  

This tasty meal is called Brown Sugar and Basalmic Glazed Pork Loin.  Wow!  Was it easy to make?  You betcha!  Was it as tasty as it sounds?  Absolutely!  My son ate through his portion very quickly and then asked for more.  I gave him a little more and by the time I looked over at him again, it was gone!

Brown Sugar and Basalmic Glazed Pork Loin

Ingredients:
1 (2 pound) boneless pork tenderloin (or regular pork loin)
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup water
Glaze
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions:
Combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub over roast. Place in slow cooker with 1/2 cup water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. About 1 hour before roast is done, combine ingredients for glaze in small sauce pan. Heat and stir until mixture thickens. Brush roast with glaze 2 or 3 times during the last hour of cooking. Serve with remaining glaze on the side.
We actually used some of the leftover glaze to stir fry some veggies to eat on the side of this fabulous pork. 


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