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hap-bee halloween!

Olive says “I hope you had a ‘Hap-bee’ Halloween weekend!!”

Is there some kind of competition for cutest dog costume contest?

Some may think it’s silly to dress up animals for Halloween, but I think it’s just so darn cute.  And besides, with no human children to speak of we must spend our time doing something!

We did have some Halloween fun with humans this weekend as well.  Saturday night we headed over to our friends’ house for a party with our Sunday School class.  We had sort of potluck with lots of delicious food, roasted marshmallows and a pumpkin carving contest!  I was the proud wife of the best carved pumpkin winner. Here’s the husband’s masterpiece:

Not bad for a graphic designer, eh?  :)

Anyway, I signed up to bring a pasta salad to the party.  The main dish was slated to be ribs, and when we arrived our sweet hostess proudly announced that they had grilled 15 pounds of ribs - “so eat up!!”  haha. Lovely:)

I don’t mean to be cynical at all – this is one of the sweetest couples you’d ever meet, but I have to admit that I cringed a bit at the announcement.  Anyway, I usually sign up to bring some kind of side dish or salad when we got to parties, so that I’ll for sure have something substantial to eat that is vegetarian. And for this particular occasion I decided to go with a classic favorite.

Summery Fall Couscous Salad

Even though it’s technically more of a summery dish, I knew it would be a hit.  Plus the recipe makes a huge amount, perfect for parties and potlucks.  Seriously ya’ll, if you get a chance, please make this salad.  Once people get past the “foreigness” of couscous there is no holding them back.  Sometimes I even make it just to have at the house – and the husband eats it like candy:)  If you’re making it just for your family though, you may want to half the recipe.

The stars of this salad:

My sweet friend, Grace, also brought a tasty salad that was meat free, so I enjoyed some of that, a few chips and some bread!

And a s’more of course.

Anyway, it was a great time.  You really can’t beat good food and great friends, ya know?

After the party Saturday night, we stopped by Redbox to rent a movie – The Greatest.  Have you seen it?  If you don’t mind movies that make you bawl for an hour straight, then you should definitely rent it!

Jon loves to rent really sad movies with me and then fall asleep and make me watch them by myself.

Case in point:  When we were in Tokyo a couple of years ago, we got in bed to watch P.S. I Love You.  Um, yeah.  Talk about a tear jerker.  Within 5 minutes the husband was fast asleep, and I was left to be sucked into this horribly sad movie all by myself.  I got revenge, however, when he woke up to me sobbing uncontrollably at 1am, begging him to tell me why he made me watch it all alone.  And that is no exaggeration, my friends.  I was an complete mess.  If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean.

Anyway, so last night was pretty much a replay, but not quite as intense.

Needless to say I woke up after only about 5 hours of sleep, puffy eyed and tired.  I’m sure everyone at church wondered just what kind of party we had Saturday night, haha.  o’well!

Naturally, it is now almost midnight, and I still have some tasks to finish up.  I’m working on something for tomorrow’s post that I’m pretty excited about.  Heather is having a special post this week where she’s linking other bloggers who took on a recipe that is a challenge and is out of their comfort zone.  I love challenges like this!  Stay tuned…

See you guys tomorrow:)  Let’s start strong for another week!

What was the craziest or funniest costume you saw this weekend? While it wasn’t super crazy, on Saturday afternoon at about 4 o’clock I happened to glance out our front window, and there was a Peter Pan and Tinker Bell walking down our street.  I know it was the day before Halloween and all, but there was just something funny about it:) lol.

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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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bring home elsabeth

Good morning!

Are you happy to be starting a new week?  I am.  As much as I used to dread Monday morning, I am so thankful these days that the end of the weekend doesn’t hold an impending sense of doom.  Of course I was by no means springing out of bed with a smile on my face at 6:30 this morning, but I’m not sure that’s even possible anyway!

We had a slow and easy weekend…just how I like ‘em:)  As I’m sure you can all identify…they are few and far between.  So, we soaked up every moment.

Saturday morning Farmer’s Market trip was picturesque – with the beauty of fall only intensifying every day.  I ate an apple on the way and was positively starving by the time we left!

We picked these up for the baby – and she was a happy girl:)  And don’t worry, they’re vegetarian. Peanut Butter to be exact.

After leaving the market (one bushel of swiss chard in tow) we stopped by Starbuck’s for a soy half caf latte for two.  Aren’t coffees the best when they’re shared?  Having my own straw just isn’t the same.

The rest of Saturday included a long walk down to Main Street.  There was a vintage car show going on downtown, and we were hoping to scope it out, but as we progressed toward Main, we began to notice a disappointingly steady stream of vintage cars cruising past us.  By the time we got there, there were only a few stragglers remaining:(  So, we just turned around and headed back home.  Stopping for mini photo shoots along the way.

Doesn’t matter what kind of face or noises you make, this girl refuses to look at the camera.

Honestly, I was a bit lazy all weekend as far as food was concerned.  I made a huge batch of crock-pot taco soup on Friday, and we ate it probably 4-3 times between then and Sunday.  At least it was delicious!  Leftovers are the way to go in my book:)

Crock-pot Taco Soup

Ingredients

1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed (really you can use whatever kinds of beans you want!)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans – you got it, drained and rinsed
1 small onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 can sweet corn, no salt added, drained
1 can rotel
1 can diced tomatoes
3/4 small can tomato paste
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
about 1 cup water

Directions
1. Dump everything into the crock pot and turn crock pot on low.  Allow to simmer all day.
2. Come home from work, give it a quick stir, and eat up! But careful – it’s hot!

It’s really very complicated.

*You may want to add more or less water, depending on how thick you want it.  The husband and I like it nice and hearty!
**I know this recipe has a lot of “cans” in it – and I know you’re technically supposed to limit canned goods, but sometimes convenience just wins out.  Sorry.  Actually, no I’m not.

Served with a side of homemade corn chips, sprinkled with sea salt and baked at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Watch them closely because they go from not quite done to charred in about 1 minute flat.  Not that I would know.

I also had a side of leftover roasted kabocha squash.

You may have noticed this really hideous looking squash in my fall post a few days ago.  I basically sliced it up and roasted it at  400 degrees for about 25 minutes.  And let me tell you, I have eaten it for about 6 meals since then.  I have tried butternut squash once and honestly really didn’t care of it.  This guy is a whole different ballgame folks. If you haven’t tried kabocha squash – stop reading right now and go get one.  You won’t regret it.  It was a bit expensive (around $5 I think), but it’s lasted so long, and was totally and completely worth every dime.  Every time I get ready to eat it leftover, I just toss a few wedges on a cookie sheet and re-roast them.  Tastes like the first time every time!

Anyway, before I go I wanted to let you guys know about something called “Share the Love Week” going on over at a really lovely blog, 3 Boys and a Little Lady.  I just stumbled upon this blog about a month ago, and I haven’t been able to stop reading since.  Right now their family is trying to bring home the little girl they’re adopting from Ethiopia, Elsabeth.  I don’t think I’ve really mentioned this before on the blog, but Jon and I have a huge heart for adoption.  We hope and pray that we can adopt a child one day, but since we aren’t quite on that road yet, I’m excited about the opportunity to help out a family that is.  Emily is having an auction of sorts with different Etsy shops, and all the proceeds go toward their adoption fund.  It starts tomorrow morning, so please check it out if you get a chance!

Love you guys!

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roadtrip time

The snacks are packed, Olive’s loaded up, and the husband and I are off for a fun and eventful weekend!  When I come back, I’ll officially be trained to teach yoga.  Hooray!!

Thanks for all the well wishes over my first class…you guys are way too sweet:)

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

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can’t help but love her

This girl has been very naughty today.

Doesn’t she look evil?

I had an Outbox conference call today, and she waited until 2 minutes into the call to decide that she absolutely could not wait another second to go outside and relieve herself.  So, I’m sitting at my desk with the call on speaker phone, trying to learn a new program that we’ll be offering to clients.  She comes prancing in, collar jingling at what seems an unnaturally loud decibel, and jumps up, putting her little paws on my leg.

Anytime she does this, she gets this very knowing look in her eyes that says “take me out NOW, or else!”

Sometimes I forget who’s the adult and who’s the dog.

Seeing as how there is no way for me to let her out right away, I reach down to pick her up (and make her stop staring at me) at which point she scoots back really fast, slipping on the wood floor and landing on her face.  She immediately regains her footing and in is instantly back on my leg, staring me down.  This routine ensues for another several minutes with me throwing her silent threats by motioning with my hands to say “no more treats!” and “I’ll spank you!”  To no avail.

All I can say is good thing it wasn’t a video conference call.

Anyway, we’ve since made up…but next time there’s a conference call on the docket, somebody’s going to her kennel!

You know I can’t help but still love her:)

Today was a stretch and strengthen day per our training schedule – a perfect opportunity for PiYo!  The Tuesday class at our gym is really challenging.  The type of challenging where you’re swearing half way through that you’ll never go back.  And yet you do…because you love the way it makes your muscles sore, but so strong.

I threw down a handful of grapes on the way out the door.

Apparently I should have thrown down a lot more because half way through the class my energy hit rock bottom and my body was begging for fuel.  Oops.

By the time I got home, my body knew exactly what it wanted.  I really didn’t have a say in the matter.

For the perfect egg sandwich – mix up one free range organic egg + one egg white, sea salt and black pepper, pour it into a small microwavable bowl and cook it for 2 minutes.  Don’t forget to spray the bowl first!  Not that I would know any other way;)

I sandwiched it between a toasted cinnamon raisin Ezekiel muffin – the perfect little sandwich in under 5 minutes flat!

Side note: I wouldn’t actually suggest using the cinnamon raisin muffin variety for this sandwich.  My heart said yes, but my tastebuds said no.

Lunch today was simple as I was trying to get ready for my conference call and didn’t have much time!

Amy’s low sodium Lentil Vegetable soup

I also had a few tortilla chips with salsa and more grapes on the side.

I’m currently drying some tears – the result of a really emotional thank you/explanation email to one of my principals from last year.  You know, sometimes I still miss my teaching job so much it hurts.  So thankful to God that I know it was the right decision.  Time to pull myself together, though, because I’ve got one precious little hour left in which to finish off my list of to do’s!

Don’t forget to enter the chia giveaway.  These chias need a loving home!

Oh, and if you missed my PiYo guest post at the lovely A Side of Sneakers yesterday, go check it out!

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