Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It's All About Me

Well I have been tagged by Kristi to write six random bits of information about me. Kristi is "supermom" in my opinion - lots of craft ideas, makes her food from scratch, great product reviews on her site. You can tell that she really does her research on her topics.

So here ya go - six completely random bits of info on me. Enjoy. :)

1. I cry during pretty much any movie we watch. In fact I cried watching Benji (anyone remember these movies?) when I was five or six years old. It's been waterworks ever since.

2. I LOVE to journal.... and look for journals.

3. My favorite character in any book I've read is Anne Shirley. A dream vacation would be to go to Prince Edward Island. I'd be nervous that it's not as beautiful as I picture it in my mind.

4. I didn't like ice cream until I was 18 years old, and even now... don't love it.

5. I am terribly disorganized. I use the excuse that L's an engineer, and therefore incredibly organized, so.... it's my job to balance him out, right?

6. I switched colleges four times before graduation, and majors as many times, too. Call me indecisive.

I am tagging my friend, Kristin, who has two lovely little guys. She's a super creative, incredibly talented mom and graphic designer. She's also really athletic and sweet and fun to be around and... we miss them!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Label Reader

Has anyone ever noticed that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is everywhere? In everything? Now that E's palate is broadening, I feel like I spend an extra hour in the grocery reading labels. Let's use ketchup, for example. HFCS is in nearly every bottle, even the ones advertised as "all natural" (beware, people - "all natural" often doesn't mean all natural). I contemplated buying the organic for many minutes, but the price was outrageous in my opinion.

So instead, I found a recipe for ketchup that I plan on making after I'm done with this post (am I crazy?). We'll see how it turns out. I guess it wouldn't be that big of a deal, if she didn't eat much ketchup. Now, E's starting to love the stuff (ugh....), so it makes me more nervous about what she's putting in her body. Plus, I'm a little wary of what she eats at daycare, so at home, I try to be sure she gets good food.

As we've been finishing jelly or jam (it seems like that takes forever for us), and as we've collected other glass bottles, I'm saving them for when we make our own, hopefully healthier version.

Anyway, Friends, please read your labels. Most of the time you're not buying "just ketchup" or "just jam", etc, but other ingredients you don't want in your food. Keep your eyes peeled and read your labels - it's really eye opening.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Random Awesomeness

1. We got to see some friends from our old Bible Study group yesterday. It was fun. J is adorable and completely laid back, and E made herself at home at B's mother's house - trying to steal food whenever she could get it. And I only took two photos of the kids together. Two.

2. I'm addicted to the Olympics, and more specifically, the Phelps Phenomenon. Yay for eight gold medals.

3. I'm not impressed over the whole Russia/Georgia thing - especially during the Olympics when the world is supposed to be able to come together for a week or whatever it is.

4. L's leaving for DC in a couple of days, and will be gone for a week. I'm a little nervous trying to think about working, getting the kiddo ready for daycare and doing all of the chores around the house.

5. E's gonna miss her daddy. So will her mom.

6. I don't think many chores are going to get done. :)

7. E's new word is "water", except that it sounds like "wawa". Completely cute. She is talking so much now.

8. I got my haircut yesterday, and asked the hairstylist if she would like to come and style it every morning, as it's likely that it'll never look this good again. She said no.

9. E blows kisses whenever she says goodbye to her daycare worker. I like their relationship together (and the fact that our husbands work together).

10. I made cheesecake the other night (and it was GOOD), which happens to be L's favorite dessert. Am I the best wife ever or what? Never mind the fact that it's also my favorite dessert, and that I ate the majority of it...

11. I don't know why I've never made cheesecake before. It was easy and much cheaper.

12. L's been working a ton of hours this weekend, trying to get ready for his trip. I'm a little jealous of how close he'll be to the White House, etc, but will live vicariously through his photos.

13. I hardly ever water my plants anymore. How hard is it to remember to water once a week?!

14. E's discovered ketchup, and it looks like even green beans taste better with it.

15. There's an exercise class that I want to join - word on the street is that it's addictive. We'll see if that's true.

16. We watched the Saddleback forum with Obama and McCain, despite the criticism surrounding Rick Warren. Personally, the conversation was enjoyable to watch, and it seemed I liked a lot of what Obama said, and a lot of what McCain said. And some things I didn't like about both. Sigh.

17. E and I are loving the blueberries from the farmer's market. They are SO SO SO much better than the store bought berries.

18. E has learned how to smell flowers. Well, sometimes she gets it. Other times she confuses it with blowing her nose, and so you can imagine what comes out sometimes. Still, it's cute.

19. I'm so lazy today. Hence, two posts.

20. I promised E that we'd head to the beach after her nap, because it's been almost two weeks since we were there last, and it's HOT here. Now it's raining. Bummer. Ah well... off to find other equally fun activities for the kiddo.

Book of the Week

This isn't the best photo, but I really enjoyed reading this book. I'm not the most creative person (though Amanda Blake Soule did help me realize that each of us are creative in our own way). I want to encourage E to be creative, so this book has a lot of great ideas.

There are recipes for all natural dyes, glue, as well as patterns for different projects. She encourages us to get outside, and use items from nature for art projects like pine cones. She teaches that we need to make room for creative play with our children, and that messes are just a part of life. :)

Anyway, for any of you looking for different ideas for your child, or just new inspiration, this is a great book. I really enjoyed it, and am in the process of reading it again.

Hope that you all had a lovely weekend!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


One of the things I do appreciate about my job is my supervisor. In the very short time I've known her, C has helped rekindle my passion for social work and my attitude for life. In school my profs were very active politically (for better or for worse, they fought for what they believed in) and socially. They make you believe that yes, one social worker can change the world.

Well, you graduate and being in the field was a little disheartening. I just felt like the system (and there are many in the field) was so flawed. The administration was too far removed from the trenches of working with clients, and it was always about numbers. And money. And the lack of money, which means the lack of service.

Truly, there's no wonder why there's such a high turnover in social work. Now, people know going into the field that the pay is ridiculously low, but you believe that making a difference will make it worthwhile. Then you get into the field, and suddenly it doesn't feel like you can make a difference - almost as though the system is preventing change. So you have crappy pay and a frustrating job. Hmmm....

After speaking with C the other day (and many of her views are different from my own), I became very aware of my cynical attitude. She is very involved in many grass root movements. She spoke about change, and how it feels like the system doesn't believe that anyone can turn their life around. We were chatting about one situation she knew about, and in the back of my mind I was thinking "Really though? Do you think she changed?" But I listened politely and asked some questions, trying to get the full story. She had such a refreshing perspective, and spoke with such sincerity and passion, almost to tears over this story. I couldn't help but feel a little chided over my doubtful attitude.

Driving to work today, I was thinking more about our conversation, and it just dawned on me: if I don't believe in change, then what do I believe as a Christian? As a social worker who is also a Christian? Can one person truly change? By God's grace, I've been changed (and it looks like I need more changing!). If I can change, surely anyone can change, yes?

Now I won't get into how closely linked social work and Christianity is in my mind, and how there is also an incredible disconnect. But wow, of course, change can happen... and it does happen all of the time. Christ brought change. Freedom. Life. Thankfully, He is also living in me, so that I may share His love with others, that they too may be changed.

I'm realizing that this is an all over the place post, but I'm re-thinking the role that I've been living, and what role I *should* be living. Boy, in day to day living, it can be really tempting to become complacent and think the worst, blaming it on "reality". As a Christian and a social worker, I have such wonderful access into others' lives. What a joy and blessing to have this opportunity. It's also quite a challenge.

So can change happen? Oh, Lord, please forgive my cynical nature, and give me an active faith to share your love with those around me.

Good Food

One good thing about being part of a community garden is that you get fresh produce each week. The other day it was a little chilly here - in the 60's I think? It kind of put me in the mood for a warm meal, like soup.

It's become my version of vegetable soup, because it was everything in my refrigerator that needed to be used up. I used chicken stock, shallots, carrots (shown above), garlic, onion, broccoli, zucchini and rice in the soup. Bonus points for me: all of the vegetables were locally grown. It was yummy, though the leftovers are still in the refrigerator waiting to be eaten. It's now warm here, and I'm craving summer food. :)

Yesterday was a picnic for my work. We invited all of the families that we serve, as well as all the of providers. It was fun meeting some of my co-workers, and clients, too. I brought a cheese tortellini salad, and it was a hit. I just threw some Parmesan cheese, red onion (though I wish I had added more of this, but I love the stuff), black olives, and spinach in with the cooked and cooled tortellini and some Italian dressing. Three people asked me for the recipe, but it seemed that most people just loved the dressing. :) But seriously. Who doesn't love Italian dressing? It's my favorite.

Anyway it's off to tend to my hungry and tired child. She hasn't napped today (which equals no work on my part), and we have L's work picnic tonight. Hopefully she can make it a few more hours before bed.

Friday, August 8, 2008

And the Week Ends...

So my first week has come to an end. It was a crazy week - working an extra day, adjusting to our new morning (and evening) schedule. Honestly, I have to applaud all you moms who workout of home full time. Wow. Talk about a balancing act.

Thanks for all of your well wishes and prayers. E's adjusted to her daycare routine beautifully, thank God. She has slept both days for lengthy periods of time and comes home in a great mood. Work has gone well for me - I'm already feeling more confident than a day or two ago, so that's encouraging. :)

And more good news about the job - it's just a couple minutes walk from the farmer's market! Oh the temptation!

Working has given me a new sense of urgency to get some stuff done around my house. I've been getting up earlier to do a couple of chores (which doesn't seem to work out well). In the evening the television has been turned off a lot more so that we can spend time with E, and doing more chores. Also, I've been exercising in the evening too - going for bike rides or doing yoga or going for a walk. So far, so good. We'll see how long it lasts. :)

Anyway that's been my life. Not really exciting or probably even interesting to read, but my life. :) Hopefully more interesting reading will come a little later. :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

First Day

Well today was my first day leaving E in daycare and heading to my "other job". It was only a half day today, so I was more confident about leaving her. L dropped her off, and later told me that she did well - no tears, etc. When I went to pick her up, she looked pretty tired (and D, the daycare lady, told me that E was laying down on her and probably would have slept, but she was trying to keep the kiddo awake since I was due to come soon).

E loved sitting on everyone's lap, shutting the door (her obsession right now), and listening to all of the stories that were read to her. This made me feel so much better, and now I'm not as concerned about tomorrow. Of course, my kiddo does NOT nap well in other places, but maybe she'll be so tuckered out from playing with the other kids that she'll crash? Here's to hoping.

My day went well - pretty uneventful. I realized that there appears to be much less paperwork up here (and about a 1/4 of caseload as downstate), and the services seem better, too. The system is just completely different here, so it'll take a little getting used to. It does seem to be a very family friendly place to work, which is a relief, too. C, my boss appears very laid back. Yay for that.

Anyway, other than that, life is same ol' same ol'. E did have her very first taste of corn on the cob over the weekend. She enjoyed it, though she had a hard time holding on to it properly (it kept slipping from her hands). She seemed to enjoy it raw more than cooked, but ate it both ways. We're corn lovers in my family (in fact, my siblings and I worked at a corn stand our entire jr. high/high school career), so it seems like E is enjoying its yumminess, too. Though, in this picture it looks like she's kissing the corn, doesn't it?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Blueberry Fun

Yesterday was busy, but my dad and I fit a couple hours of blueberry picking in the afternoon. It was fun and relaxing, though I was hot and hungry after we were done. We were able to grab 13 quarts before we left, so it was a good feeling to know we have some local berries for the winter. I thought about taking the kiddo with me, but after our strawberry picking adventure, I knew that she wouldn't have the patience to be there long enough to pick the desired about of blueberries. Maybe we'll take her again before the season is finished.

So, obviously we've been doing a lot of freezing today. We've already filled one gallon bag of blueberries, and MANY more to go. We've also frozen green beans and peas (thanks, Dad!), too. It's been a busy food day, but it's fun watching our freezer fill with lots of goodies, knowing our tummies will thank us later. :)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Lavender Body Scrub

This has been a chaotic week, trying to get my schedule figured out for next week, visiting daycare and organizing E's life for that (and ours), buying what I need to buy (all done!), and researching cell phone plans. L was out of town for a couple of days on business, and E is still getting adjusted to her sleeping schedule from camping (who knew it would take this long?). We're getting there, though, so I'm feeling much more prepared for Tuesday.

Thanks to all who offered activities that E and I to do. We've been outside a ton, played with other kiddos, read lots of stories, did chores together. She has started helping me in the kitchen (thanks, Kristi). Just yesterday, she helped me add all of the ingredients to the body scrub we made, and "helped" me stir.

This body scrub was fun and easy to make. I've had my eye on this recipe for months, but was in the process of using up all of my commercial products. Now that we've run out, I made this scrub, and now my skin feels so soft!! I used lavender essential oil (use it for E's wipes), and canola oil instead of olive oil. Anyway, it was a quick project that E and I had a good time doing together.

Well, it's off to do more chores. Now that I'm going to be gone a couple of days a week, I'm suddenly feeling the urgency to do all of the deep cleaning I've been putting off for weeks. I definitely thrive on procrastination!

Have a good weekend, All!