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ahhh, the weekend

Happy Monday!

Any exciting things happen over the weekend?  Or did you get lots of rest and time with people you love?

I got a little bit of both.  Friday and Saturday were super super nice days….like the kind of days that feel just like spring.  It was seventy degrees and sunny, and the husband and I took full advantage of it!  In the afternoon on Friday, Olive and I went for a drive with the sunroof down to run some errands and surprise Jon with a drink at work.  Sadly, he had already gotten one without us, but we still had a good time.

don’t worry – she got a bath on Sunday:)

Saturday we had plans to head back to my hometown to watch my little cousin play in the championship game of her basketball tournament…and even though I knew we needed to spend every possible second at home packing and getting work done, we just couldn’t resist taking a long walk around our neighborhood during the morning.

We know the path from our house to downtown quite well after many afternoon walks and early morning runs…and I don’t know how many more times we’ll get to spend time on it before we leave our town.  But I’m pretty sure it will be few or none.  So we walked.  And walked.  And stopped to take photos before walking some more.  And got chased by a huge dog.

As we were heading back home, we passed a fenced yard that was home to this dog.  It was barking like crazy and jumping up on the chain link fence.  I said to the husband “that dog could totally jump over that fence.”  The words had barely even left my lips and his front paws hooked over the top of it, he pulled himself up and over he went!  Barking and running after us.  Talk about scary!  He really wanted to eat Olive in one big bite.  My motherly instincts kicked in and I started running at him, screaming (probably not the smartest move in retrospect).  It worked mostly.  He definitely slowed down a bit…but kept following us for another several hundred yards.  Every few steps I would turn around and shake my fist at him. ha.  Olive was completely oblivious to the whole episode.  Must be nice to be her.

Aside from that it was a lovely walk.  Wearing shorts and t-shirts, we were still sweating…it really was that warm.  We soaked up every last second of it. And then arrived back home to realize that we had exactly twenty minutes to shower and be on the road.  We’re fast like that though.  And we even had time to make waffles for breakfast (before the epic walk).

We spent the rest of the evening after the game hanging out with my mom and step-dad.  We cooked up a fun dinner of couscous, broccoli, steamed cabbage, tofu for me and grilled chicken for them.  My step-dad and mom even volunteered to try a bit of tofu, and they actually kind of liked it!  Well, she kind of liked it.  He tolerated it.  But I was just happy that they were willing to try!

Sunday was just the perfect end to an already amazing weekend. We went to Sunday school and church and then the husband took me to one of our old favorite mexican restaurants from our college days.  We’re beginning to feel the urgency to hit up all our favorite places before we leave town…and I don’t mind a bit!  After lunch we took a little bit of a nap on the couch, and then made a Starbucks run to get woken back up.  I also had a very happy snack!  Along with part of a chocolate chip cookie.

2 tbsp homemade almond butter + a banana.  I only ended up eating about 3/4 the AB though

We spent the rest of the afternoon working on some Outbox financial matters.  We use Quickbooks for our bookkeeping, and let me tell you – that program can be confusing!  We had to go back through our records from the year, and rework some stuff we had put in incorrectly.  It was a long process, but it felt so good to get it done!   After several hours of working we broke for a dinner of mexican pasta, and then I talked to my grandma on the phone while I whipped up a batch of super-charge me cookies for the husband!  So church, mexican food, nap with husband, Starbucks, productivity, talks with Grandma and cookies.  Really, truly doesn’t get much better than that in my opinion.  I could spend every single Sunday exactly like that.

So that’s the weekend.  This week should be a little bit exciting as there’s a huge winter storm predicted for tomorrow night.  I think my Arkansas friends might be getting the same one, no?  If the weathermen are right (which is definitely up for debate) we’ll be snowed in for awhile.  And honestly?  I wouldn’t mind a bit.  I could use another Sunday for sure:)

I hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Have you ever used Quickbooks before?  What do you think of it?

What was the best part of your weekend?  (I love this question:)

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friday photo fun

Happy Friday!

Am I the only one who feels like this week has seemed sort of long?  I’m so glad it’s Friday!

I’m off to teach PiYo this morning, and then I have a tutoring appointment right before lunch.  The rest of the day I’ll be just working around the house – Outbox, moving etc.

While this week has seemed long, it has been great as far as food is concerned. I’ve incorporated so many more juices and raw fruits and vegetables, and I feel great for it!  It’s cool the way your body starts to crave those things when you give it lots of them. I’ve been craving fresh juice and green smoothies so much this week.  The only downside is I’m going broke over produce.  But it’s so worth it.


I’ve also been eating a lot of salads, which is not usually my cup of tea in the winter months.  Almost every lunch this week has been a plate of fresh greens with lots of toppings.  The key is to make a really full, great salad with lots of textures and flavors.


I made a batch of tahini salad dressing that I found in Crazy Sexy Diet, and the creaminess has left me craving more after every meal.  It’s so basic – a mixture of 1 cup tahini, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 minced garlic clove. Whisk it all together, adding water until you reach the desired consistency.  I love simple ingredients that create a lot of bang!

I’ve switched my additions up a little bit each day, but it’s been some combination of tons of spring mix and spinach, pinto/black beans, chopped carrots, chopped bell pepper, onion, unsweetened dried cranberries, corn, diced avocado and chia seeds.  Perfect!  It has helped a lot for me to make a large batch of the dressing ahead of time and even pre-chop all the veggies (except the avocado)…then all I have to do is throw it together and it’s done!

I’m thinking I’ll probably top off the week by having another one for lunch…I really might turn into a big lettuce leaf.

Switching topics.

Remember last Friday when we talked about geese, and I told you all that I used to catch ducks when I was little?  Well my Grandma has come through with the evidence (thanks Grandma!!).

These showed up in my mailbox yesterday and gave me quite a laugh.

Photo 1: candice luring the duck to shore.

Photo 2/3: the catch.

is it just me or is that a very large duck?

I love side bangs, don’t you? I should totally rock those again.

Photo 4: HELP!!

thank you mom and Cristen, for being completely oblivious to the duck attack;)

Photo 5: Quote from my grandma – “This one has nothing to do with ducks.  Tom was a big cat.  Seems you’re trying to lift him.”

looks like it’s not going too well….for me or Tom…

There are many things that are funny to me in these photos, but one in particular is that in my quest to grow my hair out – the image in my head of what I want eventually is uncannily close to photos 1 and 2. ha!

Happy weekend ya’ll!

What is something funny or crazy that you did as a child? What are you most looking forward to this weekend?

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cupcakes in the house

I’m feeling better since yesterday – I think it helped to get everything down on paper.  It’s funny how that is always the way it works.  It was also encouraging to hear that not everyone is content in their current career.  I wouldn’t wish that on any of you guys, but of course it feels good to hear that I’m not the only one.  So, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

I realized yesterday that we have exactly one month until we have to move out of our house – eeek!  I’m going to have to get going on all the packing.  I have too many memories of being up until 3am the night before a move, so I’m going to try my best to not let that happen this time.

Yesterday was my busy day of the week – full of tutoring and then yoga in the evening.  I truly think it may have been my best yoga class yet.  It definitely was my biggest class, and I got some really nice feedback afterwards.  I haven’t been able to tell my students about the move yet because my boss wanted me to wait a little while, and it’s really hard to carry on with them as usual, knowing that I won’t be there in a month.  I feel like I’ve built a lot into that class, and I’m getting really sad to have to leave it.  I really hope I can find another yoga position in OKC sooner rather than later!

Continuing with my focus on eating more fresh/raw fruits and veggies (ala Kris Carr) than I have been, I had the most epic salad yesterday for lunch – I can’t wait to share it.  Usually in the winter salads just don’t sound that good to me, but I could eat this salad no matter what the weather is like…it was that delicious.  I made a new tahini based dressing, which really was the star of the show.

But what am I doing talking salads right now?  We’re supposed to be talking cupcakes!

I made these cupcakes for our Sunday school party last Friday night, and as I mentioned before they were a big hit!  No one suspected they were vegan, and when I saw a couple people go back for number two, I knew I had done something right.

I found this recipe in my Vegan with a Vengeance cookbook (you really must check it out!), but you can also find it online here.

Lemon Gem Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar – I used organic cane sugar
  • 1 cup rice milk – I used almond milk, but I think these would turn out fluffier with rice milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

Icing

  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance
  • 1/4 cup almond/soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • Enough water to achieve desired consistency

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 12 muffin tins with papers or grease them
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, milk, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest
  • While mixing, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, combining thoroughly
  • Get a good taste of the delicious lemony batter. mmmm
  • Pour batter into muffin tins, filling them about 3/4 of the way full
  • Bake for about 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the cupcakes spring back when you touch them.
  • Allow cupcakes to cool completely before icing them.

Icing

  • Whisk the Earth Balance until it reaches a fluffy consistency.  Add in the almond/soy milk and lemon juice and stir.  The mixture will look a bit odd, but don’t fear!  Begin mixing in the powdered sugar until it is all well combined and smooth.  Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

The ingredients aren’t necessarily healthy as there is plenty of sugar (though I used organic cane sugar), but they are vegan and delicious!  So, they’re more of an occasional treat – but it’s so awesome that vegan baked goods can taste this good.  Further proof that you can be vegan and still eat all kinds of delicious food!

And they’re pretty easy to make, too!

First, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

Use the small section of a grater to get your lemon zest.

Then mix the oil, sugar, almond milk, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest in a mixing bowl.  Pour the dry ingredients into the wet, and mix thorougly.

Pretty batter!

After your batter is mixed well, fill 12 muffin tins a little over 3/4 of the way full.  These cupcakes don’t rise very much, so you’ll want to really fill them up!

I went back and added more to some of mine

Bake until they spring back when you touch them and a toothpick comes out clean!

In the meantime, mix together the Earth Balance, soy/almond milk, lemon juice and powdered sugar, adding water until you get your desired consistency.  Place the icing in the fridge until ready to use so that it can harden up a bit.

Allow cupcakes to cool completely before using the icing.  It really is more of a glaze and will run right off the sides if the cupcake is warm at all.

And there you have it – animal free and unbelievable tasty!  I will definitely be making these again in the future.

Today I’m playing catch up on some stuff around the house, and then I have a hair appointment this afternoon before tutoring.  I’m still contemplating whether to let her cut my hair again or have her just trim my bangs and try to grow it out.  I’m so torn about it, but right now I’m leaning toward growing it out.  I can always go back and get it cut if I change my mind, but I think I’ll feel disappointed if I let her cut it all off.  You never know what I’m going to do when I get in that chair though:)

Hope you all have a wonderful Thursday!

If you could only have one dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be?? Mine would either be chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing or peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream – yum!

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thank you

Wow.  Thank you all so much for taking the time to offer encouragement and advice regarding our dilemma from yesterday.  I love how I can always count on you guys for great perspective, and I really appreciate every single one of you so much:)  I love you guys!

The husband and I are still weighing out the options and considering all the input we’ve received.  We have yet to settle on a decision, but I’m just praying that between our considerations and God’s provision, something will work out soon.

Yesterday we spent the day with my mother-in-law; she had to have out-patient surgery, so we went to be there for her and spend some time with my father-in-law at the same time.  Thankfully, her surgery went really well and within several hours she was in the car headed home.  What a relief!

Before we left on the two hour drive to get there, I whipped up a green monster from the book.

5 romaine leaves, 1 cucumber, 1/2 an avocado, 1 banana, 1 scoop Amazing Grass, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk and ice

Unfortunately it was another semi-fail.  I gulped it down just like the day before, but it was not that enjoyable.  I’m honestly not sure what the culprit was this time…maybe the romaine?  Also, I think it was just a bit greener than my usual, so it may take some getting used to.

I also packed some snacks since I knew we’d be on the road most the day.

I brought along carrots and pretzels with a side of salsa, which I ate within the first 20 minutes we were gone.  And later I munched on two brown rice cakes with natural peanut butter and a banana.  One of my favorite things about roadtrips (however short) is eating snacks along the way…especially healthy snacks that make you feel good!

On the way down we also stopped at a deli that I have only been to a couple of times, but that has a pretty incredible salad bar.  I piled up a ton of spinach and mixed greens and then added some dried fruit, walnuts, almonds, onions, bell peppers, peas and a drizzle of honey mustard dressing.  I’m sure there were a few other things I threw on too, but sadly I was so hungry I totally forgot to take a picture!  It was a really beautiful salad.  The restaurant is called Jason’s Deli, and its only about a mile from our soon-to-be house so hopefully I’ll have plenty of opportunities to take pictures of my salads in the future.

After a full day of driving and hanging out with family, we set out on the long drive back home, stopping at Pei Wei in the city to grab some stir fry.  We have eaten Pei Wei in the car so many times in the past couple of months – I’ve completely lost count.  I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it either!

Lately I’ve been struggling a bit with everything that’s going on.  I’m excited about it all – moving, new job, new house – but at times I let my excitement become overshadowed by all the hard decisions and uncertainties.  Especially the uncertainties.  Remember in January when I decided that my word for the year would be peace?  Well, obviously it’s a very appropriate word with everything going on right now, and I have to be honest…I’m not doing too well at maintaining peace inside.  The last couple of nights have been especially hard.  I’m just worried about what the next few months are going to hold.  I feel like I need to get some sort of job in this time before we move, but I’m not sure who is going to hire me for such a short amount of time.  I’ve thought about subbing at the school, but I’d like to use that as a last resort.  In Duncan (where my in-laws live) it only pays about minimum wage, which if it was something I loved and really wanted to do it wouldn’t be a big deal.  But since it’s not really something I want to do, minimum wage seems a bit discouraging.

I realize that in sharing all this I’m risking appearing to be high maintenance, prideful, discontent or a plethora of other not so great things, but it’s just weighing on my heart and as many of you probably know, it’s very therapeutic to write it all out and process through everything.  I think I’m just going through a phase in my life where I’m trying to figure out what the heck I want to do…I have some leads for sure, but haven’t landed on anything definite yet.  Since I left my job last July, I’ve been actively pursuing, searching and thinking about where I’m headed, but I feel like all of a sudden it’s coming to a screeching halt, and I’m about to waste four months just doing something to make a little money and pass time. I hate the thought of that.

Anyway, sorry to be a debbie downer.  I know that this is all just temporary and that I need to stay positive…but as always it’s easier said than done:)  How sad too – because I promised you guys cupcakes today and instead gave you this.  But tomorrow there will be cupcakes, I promise (for real this time:)!

I hope you’re all having a great Wednesday, and again – thanks for being so great!

Are you or have you ever been in a place where you feel uncertain about the future or about where you’re headed personally? Do you feel happy and content in your career? Or do you have moments where you feel confused and unsure of what you want to do?

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peace in heart and body

Well, I’m coming in a day late with my recap of the weekend. The husband and I spent most of the weekend in our new city, and I spent this morning playing catch up with some of the things I didn’t get to even think about doing.

On Friday I really enjoyed hearing all of your stories about geese!  I had no idea that so many people were afraid of them, ha!  It seems that several of you have some kind of scarring memory about a run-in with a goose as a child – never knew they could be such ferocious creatures.  In fairness I think I must clarify that I was catching the smaller, cuter white ducks…not the geese as shown in the picture.  And it sounds like it’s a good thing based on all your stories!

As I mentioned on Friday, we went to a party with our Sunday school class.  We played a game that Jonathan and I had gotten for Christmas called What’s Yours Like?  I was a bit skeptical about it in the beginning, but it ended up being pretty fun!  Everyone had brought different desserts, and there was definitely no shortage of sugar.  I took cupcakes as planned, and I’m excited to share them with you tomorrow!  They were a hit.  No one knew they were vegan, and our friend Greg went back for a second which let me know that they truly passed the test:)

Saturday we got up and after doing some tasks around the house, headed to the city.  We had plans to drive through our future neighborhood to get some ideas for the exterior of our house.  Jonathan carefully crafted a fun design that resembles a craftsman style, and now we’re just trying to get inspired about a color scheme.  While we recognize that building a house is going to be a lot of work, we are pumped to get to pick out everything and make it unique to our style as much as possible. We also met with our builder and signed our contract! Our names are written in blood…there’s not turning back.  Yay!  Building should start in the next month, and we’re looking at about 4ish months until it will be done.

gotta love that Oklahoma red dirt

The biggest decision (of many) that we are trying to make right now is where we’re going to live between now and the time our house gets done, which will be around the end of June.  Both Jonathan’s parents and my mom and step-dad have graciously offered to let us live with them.  We are so thankful for family who are supportive and will sacrifice to help us out. But the big decision is looming of which one to go with.  Jonathan’s parents live about one hour and fifteen minutes from his job, so he would have to commute back and forth everyday, which would be really taxing on him.  Especially considering he’ll be working on Outbox in the evenings as well.  My mom and step-dad only live about thirty-five minutes from his job, but the situation is such that Olive cannot live with us there.  So, we would need to figure out somewhere else for her to live, and it will be really hard for us to have to be away from her for 4 months.  I honestly cannot imagine it right now.  I know some people probably think that is crazy, but those of you who have pets surely understand…right?  But living with my family would be so much less draining of a commute for Jonathan, and more convenient all around (i.e. dropping by our house to check progress, finding a church to get involved in in the city etc).  If we are unable to find somewhere for her to live, then that will obviously make our decision…but even if we do find somewhere we are still torn as to what to do.  Too many decisions!!  The good news is we love both of our families, and living with either one, while being an adjustment, will be great.  We are very blessed. I’m hoping to get some new perspective from you guys on this!

Anyway, so Saturday night we headed to my hometown and got to watch my little cousin play basketball.  I hadn’t seen her play in years, and I had the best time!  I was a super proud cousin too because she played so great.  I think she scored the first ten points of the game all by herself!  She’s super cute, too:)

My sister played on the state championship team when she was a junior, and now a giant picture of her team hangs in the gym.  We got a huge kick out of taking our picture with the Cristen of 1998…I’m sure anyone walking by thought we were ridiculous, but that combined with my cousin being so embarrassed was what made it quite funny.  Maybe you had to be there.

The husband and I partied late with my family and didn’t get back home until late. We spent Sunday morning at church, and then headed to the city once again to meet my mom and step-dad to show them our lot and walk through a house that has our floor plan.  It was fun!  But I realized one thing really quickly – looking at houses after you’ve already signed a contract for yours is like looking at wedding dresses after you’ve already made the purchase for your big day.  Not a good idea.

All in all it was a busy busy weekend, but I’m pretty sure that’s becoming the norm these days….and we’re okay with that. I’m really making every effort possible to stay in a routine in the important areas of my life during this super chaotic time.  I’ll be sharing much of the journey with you as the months go by!  And for starters, that’s going to mean getting a lot more sleep.

The last few days I’ve been focusing more on getting a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables in my body.  When things get busy, stressful and/or crazy, the first thing I tend to slack on is having fresh food around.  While we were in the city I picked up Kris Carr’s new book, and I’ve really been enjoying it the last couple of days.  Sometimes a little inspiration goes a long way!  I’ll share more about the book as I keep reading, but so far it has really helped me get back on track.

I’ve been starting each day off with some warm lemon water, which is great for your skin (and we all know I need that!).

Green monsters have also been a daily staple.  Unfortunately the other day I ran out of spinach, so I got creative and decided to try broccoli!

I wouldn’t recommend it.  The only way I got the entire thing down was to chase each sip with water and picture all the amazing nutrients coursing through my veins with every swig.  It was not pretty.  I think I’ll stick to leafy greens for now.

I also had an apple mid morning

For lunch yesterday I threw together a concoction I haven’t had before, and it totally rocked!

baked sweet potato, Earth Balance, black beans, salsa, broccoli

I’ve always thought I only like sweet potatoes baked as rounds or fries, but those days are long gone!  I do think the key for me was having different foods mixed in with each potato bite – it helped break up the mushy texture, and all the flavors worked so well together.  Delicious!

Unfortunately, last night didn’t exactly go as planned.  The husband and I got a late start to the grocery store, and by the time we got done with all our shopping it was 9pm.  I was so tired and hungry, so we stopped at our favorite mexican restaurant.  I ordered two black bean tacos and ate a couple handfuls of tortilla chips.  Not exactly clean fresh food on the chips, but not a bad choice for a restaurant either!

One thing I love about Kris’s book so far is her stance on perfection.  It coincides exactly with my thoughts on the topic.

“The crazy sexy diet (not a diet, but a lifestyle) is an optimum way of life.  Let it be your foundation, a home base to come back to whenever you veer off.  The cleanse is intended to give you freedom from obstruction and liberation… It’s not meant to create or support more stress in your life.  As I said earlier, there’s no such thing as perfection.  Perfect is beige.  Obsessing over every bite is completely contrary to the purpose ans spirit of my book.  Your overall goal is to have a peaceful feeling in your heart and in your body.

With that, I’m off to bed…I hope you all had a great weekend and are enjoying the start to the week!

Any advice on our living situation?  What would you do?
Less than half the commute, but being separated from our baby?  Or a much further commute, but keeping our little family together?  Ahhh!

What was the best moment of your weekend?

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