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Hello from Washington DC!

Yesterday was a full day of traveling, but somehow I was able to eat really great food.  Love it when that happens:) We finally got here last night at about 5 and ventured into DC for a little bit of nighttime sightseeing.

I can’t wait to recap it all, but I gotta jet right now because the husband and I are going to miss the bus!  eek!

Be back later!!

P.S.  Thanks for all the great recommendations for sights to see and things to do in DC!  Hope you’re all having a great week:)

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weekend recap and another trip!

Hello!  Happy Monday:)

This morning has been crazy – I got up early to clean our house and then had to stop mid-clean to run and get my hair cut.  I’m still technically not done cleaning, but I’m getting there.  After not posting for the last couple of days, I’ve been itching to check in.  Cleaning can wait!

But it can’t wait too long, unfortunately, because tomorrow morning we are leaving for another cross-country trip, except this time by plane!

We’re headed to Washington D.C.!  Jon has a work conference there this week, and he’s going to let me tag along.  I’ve never been to our nation’s capitol before, so I’m really excited!

We’re leaving early tomorrow morning and coming back on Friday night.  It just so happens that this weekend is homecoming here in Stillwater, and my brother-in-law and sister-in-law are coming to stay with us Friday night.  So, I’m trying to get our house ready for guests and everything plus getting us packed and ready to leave tomorrow – it’s going to be a busy day since I’ll be tutoring all afternoon.  My excitement is serving as great adrenaline so far, though.  Let’s hope it lasts well into the night:)

This past weekend, we were in my hometown celebrating my mom’s birthday.  I made her a cake, and we took her out to eat and whatnot.  I also led my mom through her first yoga class, which was really fun.  We’ll call it birthday yoga:)

Then we went to church on Sunday and met my grandparents afterward for lunch.  It was definitely a weekend well spent – I loved getting to just relax with family.  One of my favorite things:)

I’m so thankful to have my grandparents in my life:)

Saturday morning I rose early to get a head start on baking my mom’s cake!  Last week Jenna posted a recipe for a Bohemian Wedding Cake (full recipe here), and the minute I saw it I knew it was THE cake for my mom’s birthday.  I mean, it had pumpkin in it – how could it be wrong?

Before I got started baking, though, I needed some fuel.

This isn’t just any green smoothie.  I knew I’d need to be able to ward off my pumpkin cravings (and stay out of the cake batter), so I decided to have a green smoothie, fall style:)  I added 2 big handfuls of spinach, 1/2 cup pumpkin, 1 tbsp molasses, 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1.2 cup almond milk and ice.

Yes, I know it sounds gross, and I must admit I was a bit nervous with that first sip.  But just like adding spinach to a banana smoothie, adding spinach to a pumpkin smoothie doesn’t alter the flavor at all!  It was absolutely delicious, and I still got my greens in.  Score!

I digress.

Back to the cake.

I started by mixing together all the dry ingredients – brown sugar, baking soda, whole wheat flour, white flour, pumpkin pie spice

Then mixed the wet ingredients – pumpkin, oil, vanilla, molasses, 2 eggs.  I almost made this vegan by simply switching to flax eggs, but no one in my family is vegan and I didn’t really have time for experimentation.  So, I stuck with 2 organic, free-range eggs.  I also added a quick store-bought cream cheese icing at the end.

Next, mixed them all together…

And poured ‘em in.

Into the oven it went while I raced around doing Jillian’s 30-day shred DVD and packing!

After it finished baking and I allowed it to cool completely, I added the frosting.

Perfect.

Everybody at the party seemed to enjoy it.  Everybody except my sister that is, who insists that she just isn’t much of a sweets person.

I always doubt my baking, but when my mom had another piece on Sunday afternoon, I knew they weren’t just trying to make me feel good when they said they liked it:)

And for the record, I thought it was delicious!

All in all the weekend was a success!

Now it’s just time to play catch up…and get ready for our trip!

Any suggestions on places to visit or sights to see while we’re in DC??  I’ll be flying solo one day while Jon is in meetings – so any recommendations would be great!

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feelin’ like rip

Thanks so much for all the support about our decision to not run the half marathon.  It sounds like we’re all striving to avoid comparing ourselves to others and doing what’s best for ourselves.  Amen to that!

Today has been one loooooong day I tell ya.

I feel like Rip.  Van Winkle that is. (Ely – that’s for you:)  Yes, we’re on a first name basis.

Last night the husband and I stayed up well into the wee hours of the morning working and boy did I regret it this morning.  I am not a happy camper when I don’t get sleep.  I would absolutely love to get 8 hours a night, but inevitable I always (including tonight!) end up staying up working on stuff and only getting 6 or so hours.  Not cool. Probably might even help with my breakouts if I hit the sack at a decent time each night.

I don’t know whether it’s harder to have to go to the office when you’re exhausted and sleep deprived or work from home.  Working from home is tough because you have to motivate yourself and there’s no one around to through you an elbow when your head starts to droop at the computer.  However, at the office you have to exert extra energy being social and meetings others’ expectations.  Hmmmm…

Anyway!  When I got up this morning I felt so out of it…I almost felt kind of nauseous.  I actually did try to lay back down for a little bit after the husband left, but to no avail.  The day was just passing me by and I couldn’t handle just lying in bed.

Unfortunately my lack of sleep left me with little appetite, and I literally couldn’t stomach breakfast.  Finally about 11:30 the urge for a baked potato hit me like a ton of bricks.  Have no idea where that came from, but bring on the starch!

toppings included: salsa, a sprinkle of Daiya vegan cheese, sea salt, pepper and a smear of Earth Balance

With a side of my current favorite green.

I spent the day running errands, working on Outbox and trying convincing myself to not go curl up in bed. yay.

I did manage to do a little baking as well.  Last Sunday a friend of mine from Sunday School told me about this cookie recipe, and then I saw it on Tina’s blog yesterday.  Seeing as how I was looking for a dessert to take to a friend’s house for dinner tonight, I figured it was just meant to be.  Besides, it’s the easiest recipe ever known to man.  Perfect for a day like today.

Ingredients
1 can pumpkin puree
1 spice cake mix
1/2 bag of dark chocolate chips

Directions

  • Dump everything together and mix mix mix!
  • Drop spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 10-20 minutes.  The original recipe said 10 minutes, but I ended up having to bake mine for much longer to get them done in the center.

Next time I would probably make smaller cookies.  Also, you should know that these cookie are very unique.  They are kind of more like a cookie/muffin/bread.  I honestly think they taste a lot like pumpkin bread.

Either way these guys loved them!

Okay, so maybe this little guy didn’t really have one, but he sure looks like he had a few doesn’t he?!  Cutest little cheeks ever!!

The year before I taught I was Henry’s nanny from the time he was 3 months old to the time he was 14 months.  Now he’s such a little boy and I can’t even believe he’s gotten so big!  Here’s a picture from our time as full-time buddies.

I promise he really did like me!

Anyway, now he’s a big brother and little Sam looks just like him.  So cute.

The pumpkin cookies were definitely a hit though – you guys should try them!  They’re not the healthiest cookies out there, and there aren’t vegan – but they’re easy and delicious so score some points for that.

Well, peeps, I’m gonna get off here and stumble into bed so I’ll actually be able to do some planks and down dogs at PiYo in the morning.  It’s no good if the instructor can’t even function!

How many hours of sleep do you feel like you need each night?  How many hours do you actually get?  Also, do you and your significant other (if you have one!) go to bed at the same time or are you on different schedules? Jon and I have always been sticklers about going to bed together.  These last few weeks it has gotten really tough though because he stays up to work so late.  Sometimes he’ll just come lay down with me for awhile and then he’ll go back to work some more.  That way it still kind of feels like we’re going to bed together.  However, I never can truly fall asleep until he comes for real.

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what’s in a name?

Hi!

Thanks for the support and encouraging comments on yesterday’s post.  Honestly, after I hit publish last night I laid awake in bed for awhile feeling very unsure about my post.  I really do try to always keep it real here, but being open is sometimes freaking hard!

I just don’t want to seem like a complainer, but guys…sometimes life is hard.  On those days it’s kind of a challenge to find a balance between staying positive and uplifting while still being real.

And to be perfectly honest, there is nothing that drives me more crazy here in blogland than when people come across as perfect on their blogs.  While I didn’t actually address this issue yesterday, it did come up in the comments.  It seems that most of you feel the same way.  Let’s just lay it all out there – there have been times when I’ve considered no longer reading some blogs because they just seem too perfect.  And whether they are perfect or whether they’re not – it really doesn’t matter – it is a negative force in my life to read about it everyday.  It’s extremely difficult to avoid the comparison trap when all you read each day is the perfection in people’s lives.  I have to constantly keep myself in check with this issue – finding myself trying to measure up to someone else’s style, recipes, photos or exercise routine.

And speaking of exercise routines, this would probably be an excellent time to make known that the husband and I will no longer be running our November half marathon. You know, the one that was originally supposed to be a full marathon?  After a lot of contemplating and discussion, we’ve decided to step back from racing for now.

With trying to get our own business off the ground + Jon working full-time and me almost full-time, there really isn’t enough time for training.  We tried to make it work, but sleep was the main thing being sacrificed.  We try every night to get in bed before 11pm, but when there are deadlines to meet sometimes it’s just not an option.  And seeing as how getting adequate sleep is one of the most important parts of long distance running, it isn’t healthy or smart for us to keep pushing it.

Being the perfectionist that I am, this decision was really difficult for me at first.  And to bring this full-circle, I realized that a lot of it was due to comparing myself to other bloggers. When you see countless bloggers running so many miles a week, it can make you feel like a failure if you’re not doing it too.  In my quest to defeat perfectionism though, I was able to step back and realize that my life is not the same as anybody else’s…and therefore I have to make the best decision for my body and for Jon.

Besides, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but the husband designed the branding for the entire race – from the participant’s guide down to the finish banner.  So, we’ll be running all over the place on race day, getting photos for our website (and cheering on all the runners!). I’m super stoked about it – I love races! Although I know I’ll be wishing we were running, I’m glad we’ll be going to support everyone and our business!

So that’s that.

Now that we’re through all the heavy stuff – let’s move on to the food!

Breakfast this morning was a green monster, per the usual.  Oh, green monster, how did I ever live without you??

I spent the morning working on my yoga class for tonight and trying to get iPhoto and Flickr to be friends.  The story of my life.  They are currently on speaking terms, though we still have a loooong way to go.

About 10:30 I got so hungry, so I heated up one of my favorite whole wheat pitas and had a big blob of creamy hummus for dipping!

So, if you follow me on twitter, you may know that I had a major life experience this morning.

I lived through my first earthquake!

You have to understand, Oklahoma does not get earthquakes. Like, ever. I never would have dreamed that I’d ever feel one.

So, picture this.  I was sitting on my couch with Olive looking up idioms for tutoring students and dealing with flickr when all of a sudden I heard a sound like the entire house rattled.  I actually didn’t feel anything, but it was such a strange noise – I literally thought to myself “that sounded like how I’ve heard earthquakes described.”

I glanced at Olive to see if she heard it, and she was sitting up with her little ears perked looking around.  However, here is a prime example of a downside of working from home.  There are no other adults around to confirm that you’re not crazy when crazy stuff happens!

So what did I do?  The only logical thing – I went on about my business and forgot about it.

About 30 minutes later, I went to check my phone and realized I had about 5 missed calls and 2 texts from the husband, and a text from my mom, wondering if I’d felt the earthquake and making sure I was okay. ha!  I couldn’t believe it.

Anyway, apparently it was a 4.3 on the scale and was felt all the way from north Texas to Arkansas and everywhere in between.

With all that excitement I completely forgot about lunch, and suddenly I looked up and I had 15 minutes till I needed to leave for tutoring!  Considering everything I still needed to do before leaving, I knew a lunch on the go was in order!  So, I whipped up a brown rice cake sandwich with natural peanut butter and half a banana.  It was delish.  But somewhat messy.  Have you ever tried to bite into a rice cake sandwich? Unfortunately I failed at getting a picture in all the madness.  I lived through an earthquake – can you blame me?!?

By the time I got though with all my tutoring appointments and taught my yoga class I was starving for dinner.  Enter leftovers of my favorite meal.

cooked spinach, vegetarian refried beans, rotel tomatoes and vegan (Daiya) cheese wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla a doused in spicy enchilada sauce.  With a side of baked corn chips (corn tortillas) and homemade guacamole.

Dessert was simple.

two little oranges (only a portion is in the picture)

All in all I’d say it was a banner day – a nice way to balance out yesterday methinks:)

Oh, one last side note.  I’ve told you guys how much I love meeting with international students, right?  Well, I love it more and more everyday.  Hanging out with them is so refreshing + I think I learn more than they do!  Awhile back I mentioned one of my students, Nada, who is super sweet but also beyond talkative and a bit high maintenance.  Well, she really threw me for a loop on Monday.  We were chatting along just like normal when all of a sudden she said “blah, blah, blah…when the little one comes.”

Say what?!

“Little one?” I asked.

“Oh, yeah…I’m expecting. Did I not tell you that?  I’m due in January.”

“Um negative on that.  I would remember if you had told me that.  I’ve been meeting with you for weeks – how can I not know you are pregnant?? So, is it a boy or a girl?” I asked.

“It’s a girl.”

“Aww, how sweet (beginning to get over my initial shock at this point). So what are ya going to name her?”

“Well, I have a couple of names in mind, but one I’m really leaning toward….Lupus.”

“Ahem. Excuse me?”

“Lupus.  That’s what I’m going to name her.”

So, I then had to gently explain to my sweet little Egyptian student that Lupus might not be the best choice.  I mean, sure it’s cute and all…but oh the pain it will cause for that poor child!

I felt bad to shoot her down, but I also felt it my duty to shelter the baby from a lifetime of humiliation.

Oh the joy of international students:) And I can say that because I was one.

Now that I’ve sufficiently talked your ears off!  I’ll be signing off.  I’ll see you all tomorrow!

G’night!

P.S. I can only imagine the google searches that will come forth due to this post!

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getting real

Tonight the husband and I got a serious hankering for some diet coke.  So, we decided to take an evening walk down to the grocery store before dinner.

It is quite ironic that we have three (yes, three) cars, yet we walked to the grocery store.  But I love our walks.  With the husband working evenings on our business, we don’t have as much time for them as we used to.  I miss them.

Once we got there, I sat outside with Olive, while he ran inside for the goods.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about contentment.  I am the world’s worst about getting in too big of a hurry all the time.  While I love the idea of slowing down and enjoying life as it is now, I don’t practice it very often.  I’m always wishing for the next thing. Always thinking that things could be just a little bit better if only…

Lately I’ve really been struggling with this, and the last couple of days I’ve actually been able to recognize how detrimental this is to my life.  I count myself very blessed to be in the stage of life I’m in.  I’m so thankful that Jon supported me in leaving my job so that I could pursue what I’m passionate about. And I’m tired of surrendering to discontentment and allowing fear to defeat me.  I’m slowly starting to realize something about myself – I’m afraid of being successful.  I think that part of my discontentment at this phase of life is due to not allowing myself to succeed.

I allow three things to defeat me on a daily basis: procrastination, being paralyzed by fear and making excuses.  I’m still diligently trying to figure out why I allow these things to interfere with my goals and dreams, but I’m working on taking steps toward overcoming them.

The other night Jon and I laid awake for hours, him letting me hash out every angle of this struggle.  I’m so thankful that he pushes me to challenge myself, to take myself to the next level, and most of all to believe in myself.  I don’t know why he believes in me as deeply as he does, but sometimes that’s what keeps me going. Before we went to bed that night, he walked me into our office and made me put down my new commitment on our chalkboard closet door.  Everyday when I see it, it reminds me that I really am stronger than I think I am.

side note – the coloration on this pic is way off.  Our walls are not bright yellow:)

It’s so normal in the blog world to always focus on the positive, and I really don’t want to be a downer, but surely I’m not the only one who struggles with this?  Am I alone in being my own biggest obstacle to achieving everything I want for my life?  Sometimes I just ask myself “why are you procrastinating on the things you care about most?” “Why are you not focusing your intentions on the things that are most important?”  “And why do you spend more time wishing for things in the future, rather than living in the present?”

So that’s me lately.

And so as not to leave on a dreary note, here’s some amazing fall food that has been warming me through and through:)

Making homemade pizza crust

The best thing about this crust was the process of making it.  There’s something therapeutic about making homemade bread.

Unfortunately it was a total fail.  I used too little yeast and didn’t let it sit long enough + I used all spelt flour when I probably should have incorporated in some white flour.

Even with leftover veggie spaghetti sauce from the other night and shredded vegan cheese, it still tasted terrible.

The side of broccoli saved the day!  Sprinkle on a little sea salt, and you’ve got yourself heaven on a plate.

I also used that same leftover homemade spaghetti sauce in a mix with kidney beans and sauteed swiss chard.  All piled on a tiny bed of pasta.  The sauce was definitely the star of this show.

Oh wait.

I take that back.  The kabocha squash ruled again!  I seriously cannot get enough.  I actually bought a whole ‘nother one this afternoon.  I’m thinking maybe soup this time…

Yes, I think soup could be just the thing.

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