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outside help

18 Oct

I’ve never been great at asking for help.

I’m not really sure where this personality trait came from.

I like to think that it is because I was raised as a strong, independent woman but in reality it is probably because I am stubborn and think that I can only rely on myself most of the time. Don’t get me wrong! I mean I love it when Kyle helps around the house. But lets just say that he hasn’t quite perfected the art of laundry. Like the time he left wet clothes in the washer for four days and the mildew smell just about made me loose my breakfast and want to run out of the apartment.

Regardless of the reason for my independence, this is a matter of fact. Normally I wouldn’t ask someone to go get me a napkin at a restaurant or for my husband to go get me a hot dog on his way home from work at 10 o’clock at night, but pregnancy has allowed me to break out of my self-sufficiency shell and start asking for some help. I don’t feel like it has gotten to the point of taking advantage of people, and I hope it never does, but I do feel like I have taken some pleasure in passing some responsibility to take some self-induced pressure off myself.

During my 14 weeks of pregnancy, I have felt guilty about one thing. I really have not eaten as clean and healthy as I was before we took our trip to California. For a while, nothing sounded good to me. And for a while, all I wanted was french fries and ranch dressing. And throughout this whole 14 weeks, I really have allowed myself to eat whatever sounded good to me at the time, and if that included pizza and candy corn, then so be it. For instance, my breakfast choices have been cereal or almost-plain oatmeal. My lunches and dinner: soup, pre-made salads, mashed potatoes, guacamole and chips, whatever. Nothing spectacular and certainly nothing blog-worthy.

On the other hand, there are a two things about this situation that has made me feel a bit less guilty than I thought I would. It has been nice to eat freely and not obsess about remaining gluten and dairy free. Also, I still have not gained much weight thus far, so this makes me feel that I haven’t over-indulged in potato chips and french fries to the point of insanity or danger.

But the guilt remains that I really have not been fueling my body or our baby very well and I most certainly have not been cooking much at all for my husband. Now that I am getting my appetite back and I am ready for some healthy food again I am sensing that it is time I need to start eating better and get back into the kitchen. The only problem with this is that I have NO culinary creativity currently (see list of meals above). Almost nightly I am texting Kyle to ask him what he thinks I should make for dinner.

Luckily, I’ve been contacted by the VeloPress company to help review their latest cookbook The Feeding Zone by Biju Thomas and Allen Lim. This book is very much geared towards athletes. Since finding out our great news, I’ve taken back seat in this area, but my husband is still working hard on his cycling endeavors. Even so, this book is not only for athletes. While thumbing through the pages upon its arrival, I was drawn to the short ingredient lists, minimal prep and cook time and clean, fresh ingredients. Simplicity with a purpose. And truthfully the generous protein servings and nutrient dense ingredients will be perfect for a growing baby. This book makes me feel comfortable with the time and nutrition that it will provide my family.

Tonight we try out Ground Turkey Shepherd’s Pie.

This recipe was really easy. And I will be honest that when I was piling the meat in with the mashed potatoes on top, I thought there would be little flavor, merely because there were so few ingredients. But I was wrong! It was great and very comforting on a chilly fall evening.

This recipe perfectly embodies what I mentioned earlier about there being good, lean protein sources as well as vital nutrients for both a growing baby and a training athlete.

I’m looking forward to more help from this source. I’ve got not problem leaning on chef Biju and doctor Lim for meals because otherwise, we’re back to eating cereal and spaghetti with jar pasta for dinner.

Kaleigh

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ease back in…

19 Jul

Hello friends!

It’s been a while!

It’s been a busy summer! So far, I’ve…

…helped coach a softball team.

…stayed up  all night  (all but 45 minutes), with a bunch of middle schoolers dressed up in a super hero costume.

…planned a vacation, and am anxiously awaiting to take it.

…celebrated two years of wonderful marriage to an amazing man.

…watch crazy lightening and thunderstorms on our balcony.

…thrown my husband a birthday celebration.

…been training for my first ever race, a 5k!

…tried to grasp and manage my new position at work.

…tried to stay as gluten, dairy, corn and soy free as possible.

It has been so busy and there have been so many things that I wish that I could have done (go to a few weddings, go to camp with our youth group, went to graduation celebrations, etc) but I’ve done what I can and that’s all I can do.

Amongst all this busy-ness, I’ve had hardly any time to tackle my reading list. So I thought to ease back into “blogging it up”, I would review a book that I started and finished quite some time ago.

A Homemade Life

by Molly Wizenberg.

I truly loved this book! It was like reading a blog but without having to wait for pages and photos to load. I loved that I could zoom right through this baby and I truly love the way Molly writes. It’s simple, clean and completely entertaining.

Molly tells of her life, bouncing around from childhood to present. Not only does she have great humor in her writing but it is accompanied by family, friends and personal recipes that have come right out of her own experiences. She openly speaks of moments of embarassment, pride, devastation and happiness, all rolled up in to her words and recipes. Reading this book makes not only makes me want to get in the kitchen and create my own family recipes but also encourages me to be a better writer. I can’t wait to try some of her decadent but simple recipes too! I loved this “diary” (of sorts) and hope to read her next! I highly recommend this book, especially if you have a love for food and living a full life!

So there you have it. An ease back onto the blog-wagon.

Peace be with you…

Kaleigh

LIFE

11 May

I’m back.  I know it has been like 15 years since my last post, and honestly it is because I have been LAZY! If you know me, you know this isn’t a huge surprise. Unless I get myself super motivated to do something I probably let it drift on by, and lately that is what I have been doing in regards to this blog.  Plus Kaleigh is killing it with posts, so I figured I would fade into the background for a while.  But hopefully that is all going to change now, I have a few ideas in the hopper on what to share with you all and my creative juices are starting to flow again.  This may be in part because my left shifter has broken on my bike.  I think it is just old, but this creates a void in how I have been spending my time, since I haven’t been able to ride my bike (Being able to shift is important it turns out) I have been filling up this spare time with other activities.  By taking some time off the bike I feel like I have discovered that I really want to do A LOT of different things everyday.  Working 40 hours a week, I usually get two days off, so how I spent those two days turns into a constant debate, usually I would spend a good 5-6 hours on my bike, but since that isn’t happening right now I have started to look at other things.

I’ve decided that I really want to learn how to rock climb.  Living so close to the mountains, I feel like it would be stupid of me not to spend more time in them doing things.  I really would love to get good at climbing and take a trip to another country to climb (I think this inspiration comes from a friend of mine who was able to go to Patagonia and climb a few years ago).  More realistically though I feel like I want to climb all the fourteeners in CO.  My best friend and I have been talking about this all year and hopefully soon we will begin our quest.  Along these same lines, I want to do some backpacking this year.  I love being outside and being able to get away from everything even if it is just for a few hours is so therapeutic.  Kaleigh and I really want to get out there this year, take advantage of being young and healthy and see what we can find.

I also really want to become a photographer.  After we got our sweet Canon for Christmas this year it has opened my eyes to how much fun taking pictures can be.  Again this is an expensive hobby, and realistically I probably won’t ever become super skilled in the photographic arts but I would like to be able to take some great pictures for our house, family and friends.  I wonder if there are any good books to help me figure out what I am doing, because let’s be honest, I have no idea what all those buttons and dials do on my camera.  I’ll have to look into that.

I really want to read…a lot!  I am kind of have ADD when I read, and I am constantly in the middle of at least three books, while purchasing more.  Take my current situation as an example…I am currently in the middle of Traitor to His Class by H.W. Brands, about the life and presidency of FDR, Better Off by Eric Brende, about living life without modern technology, and Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose, about Lewis and Clark.  I also have recently purchased and am eager to start Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and April 1865: The Month That Saved America by Jay Winik.  All of this doesn’t even take into account the numerous magazine articles that I am constantly reading from Mental Floss, Outside, Backpacker, and numerous cycling magazines.  It really is overwhelming when you think of it.  There is so much information out there and some many ways to get it, that even if you spent all day every day reading you would never get close to reading everything on your list.  Oh well one book at a time, or three in my case.

It seems like life is flying by.  Today is one of my days off and it is already half over! I don’t know what I have accomplished, pretty much nothing besides getting milk and watching stage 5 of the Giro d’Italia.  It’s a rainy day today and it seems like a good day to just sit down and read.  I have already had two cups of coffee but I feel like I want more.  Coffee really is addicting.  Kaleigh and I will be married for two years in July! That is crazy to me. On the one hand it seems like we have been married for much longer and on the other hand two years seems like a long time.  I wonder what year three will hold.

I am going to turn 25 this year.  I don’t quite know how I feel about that. 25 is halfway to 50, but it really doesn’t seem that old, I still feel like I am 21 or so though.  I have been thinking a lot about what I have done with my life so far, and what I still want to do which must mean I am getting more mature, although I wouldn’t bet on it.  It’s amazing how quickly life can end. You never know what is going to happen when you wake up, in fact you really don’t know what is going to happen when you go to sleep (I have been watching a lot of House with Kaleigh lately so I am well aware of various diseases and general medical weirdness). I guess the only way to live is in the moment, not to worry about tomorrow because who even knows what is going to happen in the next half hour, let alone tomorrow.  That’s how I try to live my life, in the moment. I guess it’s worked so far.

Anyway there you have it, a kind of random post about nothing really, but I am back to the blogging world and in fact there may be multiple posts in the works for today.  Thanks for reading.

about elephants…

21 Mar

I finished this book about a week ago and I’m still not 100% sure how I feel about it. The author Ralph Helfer has a unique writing style. In the forward he states that the story is only what had been told to him. The story was piece-y and it seemed more logical than real. The two main characters go through several trials and after a while I thought to myself, “Man, when will it ever end for these two?” This in turn made me feel like this story was not true at all and instead it was more of a fairy tale.

But isn’t that how life is? One trial after another. And isn’t that how your remember things? Generally you remember the big things in detail and everything in between seems fairly inconsequential.

But really, what do I know? I’ve never owned a elephant and I don’t know anyone who has, so maybe life is just plain magical when every day of your life you travel around with an elephant.

The book was good though. It was sweet and it was a quick read. I definitely recommend the book to anyone who has animals or if you just plain love animals. The relationship between the elephant Modoc and his trainer is really awesome and it made me think of myself and our pups. They have a lot of love for each other and always know what the other is thinking. Now, I don’t always know what the dogs are thinking and vice versa, but I certainly feel a connection with them. Therefore I can relate to and appreciate this trainer/elephant story.

I’m still not sure why I have such contradictory opinions on this one. It was sweet but it seemed too fantastic to be true. I’m not sure why I am so skeptical of its validity but putting all that aside it is a great story of love, friendship and overcoming trials. And that I can get behind.

And now I wish I had an elephant…

Kaleigh

 

but, what about the bananas?!

7 Feb

Oh bananas.

You are so wonderful. Your crazy peel sometimes makes you impossible to open, but it’s always worth the wait. Some people may not like you when you are mushy, but I’m not biased. I’ll take you as you are.

Your creamy insides make wonderful smoothies, overnight oatmeal, and “ice cream”. Your taste brightens and warms the best gluten free bread I’ve ever had and your sweet sugar power an athlete through exercise. And don’t forget your nutritional information. I mean, let’s face it, your the poster-child for a potassium super star.

Truly, you are amazing.

I’ve been thinking about bananas a lot lately and if you’ve checked out our What Are We Reading? page lately, you would have seen that I have been reading Banana by Dan Koeppel.

This is probably the reason for my current obsession with them lately. And as I mentioned before, I’ve had the best banana bread EVER this past month, so the thought of that is also still dancing around in my head and tickling my taste buds.

Despite those wonderful banana-y thoughts, I will warn you this post is slightly political in nature and if you think that I’m on a soap box, well I’m not. I’m merely on a “concerned” orange 60’s-style dinette chair, so deal with it.

I must admit that Banana was hard to get through. The cover said “fast-paced” but there we so many names and places and different scientists that it was hard to keep track and it bounced around a lot. In turn, it took me a little over a month to get through240 pages. Either way, the information in this book really rocked me.

Here’s the thing: most people are not aware that the bananas we eat today have created hardship, death, suffering, extreme heath problems for the people involved with producing them, and civil rights faux pax at its worst. The indigenous people of the countries OUR bananas are grown in (Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, etc) have been exploited in the worst ways possible.

Why is this? Well it turns out that bananas are fickle beasts. They are shipped to America in specially made ships from all parts of the world, mainly South America, and then put in elaborate ripening rooms, then are delivered to our grocery stores so that they are in there no more than 7 days. They are there to un-green and  fully ripen and then be bought or thrown out because they are “too” brown, or in my opinion just a little speckled. It’s a short amount of time in our stores for a lot of work. Bananas of the world are also being attacked by all sorts of diseases and bacterium. There are two that are particularly catastrophic and that affects both the bananas we put in our smoothies and the people who live off them to survive throughout the world. These diseases could virtually wipe out the worlds’ supply of bananas at an alarming rate.

To combat one of these diseases, the banana companies spray the bananas with a very toxic chemical. The workers who do the spraying have extremely high risks of getting cancer among other horrible fate’s and most certainly completely sterile. Not to mention they are already poor and many times have been forced to either work the plantations or be shot to death.

You really should read this book to find out more about the back story on all that these people have endured just so we could have bananas here. It is disgusting and it really further shows how selfish and money-hungry we can be as a nation.

There is so much more to this story but it is looking like there are two options. Either America quits eating bananas so the workers in the plantations do not have to meet such a high quota to fill our needs and they can just grow them to support their own, or we have to start developing a genetically modified banana that will be resistant to these diseases.

Immediately the thought of genetically modified (GMO) bananas sickens me. After reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, I’ve learned how farmers are indebted and locked in to governmental mandates because of these GMO’s. But the author provides the notion that because of the banana’s intricacies, there is little-to-no issues with this idea as there are with the GMO’s we think of here in America. It still remains to be seen how GMO’s affect the people who eat them, but one of the main scientists behind the GMO banana believes that with his work, there is no risk.

So, either we give up bananas or we try “test-tube” bananas.

It’s a quandary and kind of upsetting to me.

I really do love bananas and as a selfish American who has been raised to believe we absolutely NEED bananas (especially with oatmeal), which was in all reality the workings of Chiquita and Dole marketing, I don’t want to give up bananas!

Apparently conditions of workers have improved over the years, but countries have been destroyed by the banana companies. Families were decimated, lives were ruined. All for fruit? Is a creamier smoothie really worth it?

Or should we try a GMO banana? The author tasted a few. He said they were good. Different, but good. We’ve already adapted to a change in banana type once in our country’s history, why couldn’t we do it again? We already have PLENTY of GMO’s in this country. The author cited that in 2000, 90% of the corn American’s ate was bioengineered. Wow. And that was 11 years ago. Why not go ahead and try a bioengineered banana that supposedly has minimal risks? There are countries, especially in Africa, where countries almost completely rely on bananas for their food. If their food supply is wiped out by these diseases, doesn’t it make sense to start growing these resistant bananas to help them from starving?

On the flip side, do you know that Europe has outlawed any GMO’s from being produced in their country? If any product that contains GMO’s makes it into their markets , they simply don’t buy them. In fact they run from them. And isn’t it true that Europeans are generally more healthier than we are as Americans? A study released last Friday from the medical journal Lancelet, showed that American’s are averaging the highest BMI worldwide whereas the BMI’s in countries like France, Italy, Finland and Switzerland have not changed at all. If they won’t touch them, should we?

This is all very upsetting to me. The other night, after I was done reading this book, I mooked around our apartment with a very grumpy demeanor.

Also at the beginning of the book, I kept thinking, if the banana is in such a dire situation, how come we have not seen the affects of this at the market? Low supply of bananas, higher prices, etc. Well towards the end of the book, I was going to pick up some bananas at the store and the price had gone up $.06/lb. and a lengthy sign was posted about how the store was apologizing for the poor quality of bananas as of recent and that the weather in the providing countries was making it hard to provide the bananas we all expect. Hmmmm….

Is it really weather? I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t. I haven’t heard much about worldwide weather lately, all I know is that it has been cold cold cold here. It is the diseases? Has the banana begun it’s disappearance from our produce section?

What do you guys think? Should we give up bananas as a country or should we try a GMO banana?

Have you noticed banana price changes/declining quality where you live recently? I’m really curious! Please share!

And read this book! (if you’re interested)

All I know is the bananas have gone up another 4 cents and I’m considering buying the whole table at the store to freeze and hoard.

Just in case 😉

Kaleigh

A Wonderful Christmas = More Stuff

29 Dec

Alright so, have I shared with you that I am a borderline hoarder? With such a small space, this is not really productive. You really can’t tell walking into our house because thanks to years of working in tedious retail jobs, I am extremely good at organizing.

YES! It's color coded, and just in case you're wondering, so is my side of the closet.

But I mean, I am a proponent of “reduce, reuse and recycle”. I do admit I am mildly harkening back to elementary school platforms (or more recently, bureaucratic 60-year-old’s platforms) where the little green arrowed triangle is stamped on to our mushy little brains in hopes that we may some day throw that cream of mushroom soup can and our soon-to-be non-existent newspapers in the recycle bin and save the world!! (Cue Star Wars theme music)

But here’s the thing, I still have my Cabbage patch doll from my 1st birthday, Valentine’s Day cards from when I was 7, and I’ve taken up an ever-expanding collection of old clothes and various fabric in hopes that some day I will make something wonderful out of them.

Why do I still have these?!

And since some extremely lazy residents in our complex couldn’t walk another ten feet to dispose of their trash in the correct receptacle, we no longer have recycling in our apartments. So now I find it extremely hard to throw away beautiful glass jars (despite the fact I have not come up with ONE idea as how to repurpose them).

But wait, didn’t global warming get de-bunked? Shouldn’t all these ‘green’ practices that we have so happily adapted be making some sort of dent in this ‘horrible’ place we’ve created for ourselves? Who knows and really that’s an argument for another day.

Anyways, in our tiny little piece of the universe, it’s getting to be a bit much.The other day, as I was trying to pull out my gift-wrapping ephemera (i.e. re-used boxes, recycled tins and wrapping paper, ribbons, etc), I thought I was either going to be killed in an avalanche of stuff or have a panic attack complete with mental break down.

Watch out!

I even considered shelling out the extra dough each month so we can have a glorious chunk of real estate (comparatively speaking) for storage space, aka ‘a garage’. All of a sudden I had wholesome daydreams of a house (rented or bought is neither here nor there) with a lusciously green back yard for the dogs and multiple rooms complete with craft room for me and man cave for Kyle. Swoon!

Then… suddenly remembering our current balance in our checking and savings accounts… I dreamt of becoming a minimalist. Ravenously throwing things out left and right. Living off of dried beans and rice, no cable/internet, and the good Lord forbid, only two t-shirts and one pair of shoes, or shall I say sandals.

Don’t get me wrong, I am SO THANKFUL for the gifts we have received, but we are dealing with limited space here people! Luckily we received some things that are going to encourage organization. Yeah for bookshelves!

I believe the exact words I chanted upon opening were “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”

Is that blasphemous?

So needless to say the top of the list for resolutions and all that… CLEAN HOUSE!! But can I rid our place of things that I KNOW we will need at some point???

Ummmm…..

I think we need more storage.

My Summer Book Report

11 Oct

The Power of One.

It was AWESOME!

I am some what embarrassed to post about this today because I started reading it hmmm… 3 months ago! I give myself a C+ for the lateness.

I’m not a slow reader and it WASN’T boring, so I’m not sure what took me so long. It is a thick book…513 pages to be exact… things got in the way I suppose? Anyways, this book is wonderful! I would read it again.

From the first page it completely drew  me in. The story takes place in the 1940’s and is about a boy who is named Peekay. The story covers his life from about 6 years old to 19 years old. The book is filled with tragedy, humor, triumph, witchcraft, brotherhood and love. Peekay is a humble leader who seems to brighten every person’s life in which he comes in contact with, but what is the best part about him, is that he doesn’t even try to do it. With an utmost endearing and honest account of this boys’ growing pains and learning who he is, I found myself growing to love him as he was a part of my own family. I was rooting for him throughout the entire book.

The characteristic of this story that I loved the most was that there were so many instances where things that happened early in Peekay’s life, came back later as a suprising coincidence. These coincidences made the book seem life-like but also at the same time, kismet.

The namesake of the book did not really become apparent to me until about half-way through (probably because it took me so long to get there). Peekay’s big goal is to be the welterweight champion of the world and being an athlete, I loved this quote in the book:

“The power of one is above all things the power to believe in yourself, often well beyond any latent ability you may have previously demonstrated. The mind is the athlete, the body is simply the means it uses to run faster or longer, jump higher, shoot straighter, kick better, swim harder, hit further, or box better.”

This quote refers mostly of sports, but Peekay really does embody the power of one this power transcends athletics while inspiring all the people he comes into contact with, including the reader (me).

The book is HIGHLY recommended by myself! Please read it!!! If you’ve read it already… I would love to hear what you thought!!

Kaleigh