Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Birthday Girls


I wish I had a scanner so I could scan in photos of Mama M back in the day . . . back when we were both younger and a little less wise.

But since I don't, these photos will have to do! And since it is ALSO TINY GIRL's BIRTHDAY, she's in a few of these as well :)

this is right after Tiny Girl was born :)

Tiny Girl is about 9 months here and very interested in buttons :) Hmmm . . . maybe I need to go blonde again . . . sorry I digress .. back to the the M!

Camera Happy Mama . . .

He's lovin this . . .
M, it's a good thing you're so kind and fun to be around . . . otherwise most people would have to hate you for how darned adorable you are!! Seriously!

No comment . . . just laughing my arse off :)

(we really loved this cabinet at MckMama's)

Happy Birthday To You!
Happy Birthday To You!
Happy Birthday Mama M!
Happy Birthday To You!

(this is my gift to you--NOT singing the song but typing it instead--your ears are welcome!)

I have been Blessed to have you in my life since God quite literally threw us together! You have the gift of bringing fun and sincerity to everything you do. You seem to embody the perfect balance of a joyous person--you love life and seek fun and yet are a responsible and loving Mama with incredible patience. You taught this tightly-wound single Mom how to loosen up and enjoy life a little more in the day-to-day way back in college; and you're still teaching me life lessons now that we're (*ahem . . .barely!*) in our 30s!

I know we joke about how lucky you are to have Mr. Wonderful--and you ARE :) Or how lucky you are to have 5 healthy and adorable children--and you ARE :) But they are also SOOOOO LUCKY to have you for a Wife / Mama! And I am lucky to call you my Bestie!

Happy Birthday to the Bestest Bestie Ever!

Love you M!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Morning Prayer

Accountability is a tricky thing. No one really wants to be held accountable and yet so much more gets done when they are. Myself included. I wish I was completely self motivated and was one of those super-humans who can set a goal of daily activity and just do it. I'm not Nike. I mean, I can set goals and I can get things done . . .don't get me wrong . . . but I know for myself that I need some level of accountability. It's why I love being a business owner with clients and project deadlines--I have to answer to my clients and those deadlines. I'm good under that kind of pressure . . . that accountability.

But beyond work, who holds you accountable for your daily habits and lifestyle goals? If you're married, maybe your spouse? I'd love to know if this is true--if you and your spouse hold each other accountable in a good (non annoying) way? Cuz I think that is SO cool . . . like a real partnership. That's something I dream about . . .

But until then I need to build in other accountabilities. One daily habit I'm TRYING to build is daily morning prayer. I used to be great at this but the last few months I've fallen way short of my goal. I'm not talking about saying a little prayer as I get out of bed or even about listening to a sermon or great message . . . I'm talking about intentional quiet time with God. I find my day goes SO MUCH BETTER when I start with Him. ya know?

So last week, my friend Red and I were lamenting this similar problem (not being consistent with our morning prayer) and we decided to do something radical! And hugely inconvenient! We decided to become each other's Morning Prayer partner. So Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays we'll call each other at 5:30 AM and spend 30 minutes in prayer with each other. Out loud on the phone together . . . we each make our prayer requests, we each pray aloud for each other and lift the other up to the Lord. And then usually I'll stay in prayer for about 10-15 minutes after we get off the phone. It's amazing!

Now even though I'm a morning person, I don't much enjoy HAVING to do ANYTHING at 5:30am. And this morning I really really really didn't want to get out of my nice cozy bed. Oh yes, I really do need to get out of bed for this call so I don't fall asleep on my friend. And in fact, I take notes and journal so I need to be fully awake. And I slept until the last possible minute--I set my alarm for 5:25am--giving myself just 5 minutes to spring out of bed, make a stop in the bathroom, put on my robe, grab my glasses and my journal and be set for the call. And the whole time I'm thinking "I could just pray on my own today cuz I could use some extra sleep .. . " but then Red answered with relief in her voice and said "Oh, I really need this this morning." and I realized that so did I. Sometimes we need that accountability--even for things that are good for us and that make us feel good.

And, can I tell you a little secret? My Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are going MUCH better! "The best part of waking up is Jesus in your cup!" hahaha! That's an inside joke with some other Bible study ladies . . .but it's also true :)

Now I need to get up on my own for the other days of the week.

Oh, and starting this Friday I'm going to try my hand at 6:00am Water Aerobics at the Y! Y? Cuz I'm Crazy! . . . oh and cuz another friend of mine goes and so I have built in (you guessed it) . . . accountability!

Said a prayer for all you Bloggers this morning! May this week be filled with Blessings for you all!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Partial Wannabe (Breaded Pepper Strips with Homemade Ranch!)

So WAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYY before she was uber popular . . .way before she had numerous shows . . .and before she built her empire . . . back in the day when it was just her and her one little Food Network show . . . I LOVED . . .

Rachael Ray and 30 Minute Meals. I know, I know, people either love her or are annoyed by her . . .but I LOVE 30 Minute Meals. I think she's brilliant. I don't actually want to be RR, but I do admire the empire she's built and love her recipes . . . and I think she's adorable . . .and think it'd be cool to have a food show . . . and would love to travel around the world and get paid for it . . . but I'm not at all attracted her husband and don't envy her insanely busy life . . . so yeah, maybe I'm just a partial Wannabe :)

So this morning I was watching her and she made "Fresh Baked Chile Fries with Fresh Ranch Dipping Sauce" and they were so different from what I was expecting . . .and looked yummy and kinda healthy . . . so that's my weekend food blog. You can watch that episode or go to her site to see it done well :) or you can read this blog post with TONS of photos. Tigger even got involved for a bit :)

You'll Need:
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup buttermilk
fresh herbs (chives, dill, parsley)
Salt & Pepper
Peppers (Poblano and Bell)
Parmesan Cheese
Spicy Brown Mustard

Work It:

Da Ranch:
You'll need Buttermilk, Sour Cream, garlic, herbs and salt. That's it! I had no idea how easy making ranch at home would be--plus buttermilk is low fat and you can do a lowfat sour cream a and it's pretty darned healthy! Ama-za-zing! RR's recipe called for 3/4cup each of buttermilk and sour cream, but for dipping sauce I recommend a full cup of sour cream and a little less buttermilk.
Here are my herbs all layed out like a cute heart! I've got Italian Parsey, Chives, Dill, and Garlic in there.

You want to use a garlic press or really mash up the garlic so you don't get huge chunks in your ranch.




Plus Salt . . taste and then a few grinds of salt and then taste again before you add more . . .
Look at that pathetic whisk! It's all mangled . . . no idea how it got that way . . . wierd. Anyway . . .
Then put it in a container and into the fridge for a bit while you make the breaded peppers (a.k.a. "vehicles for dip")
Da Peppers: RR used Poblano and Jalepeno. I'm not a fan of heat, so I used the oh-so-exciting Bell and Poblano (which was living on the edge for me! but Poblano's are sweet and mild but do have just a HINT of heat; and for this non-heat lover it was perfect! I use RED bell's because Red are supposed to be better for you because they contain Lycopene, a cancer fighting carotene)

Slice up the peppers: You want them to be in strips you can hold and dip (not too small)
I just slice down the sides until you're left holding the stem and seeds.
Tigger wandered into the kitchen about this time and wanted to show me his sweet knife skills:

Also, cut with the skin side down, easier to slice through.
That's Tigger in the back ground throwing out his hands and saying "Whoa! Check it!".

You can slice a little ring around the stem . . .and then cut the membrane attaching the stem from the sides and pull out the entire seed pod. The heat is in the seeds! Trust me, I got one seed stuck under my thumb nail and then accidentally licked ranch off that thumb later . . . it burned!

throw that nasty thing away!
Remove the membrane and the rest of the seends and slice away. Plus then you'll have cool rings. You COULD do ALL rings I suppose . . . but my peppers were a little on the limp side and I wasn't sure the rings would hold up as well as strips.
Da Breading:
You'll need 3 stations: 1) Flour 2) Egg, mustard, a little buttermilk, a little flour 3) breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese and any seasoning you want to add

here you can see 3 eggs, about 1-2 Tbsp spicy brown mustard a spash of buttermilk and a Tbsp of flour.

It makes a much thicker egg wash than I'm used to and it turned out GREAT cuz it was more like a batter than breading!

there you go! for being "Unkept" I love the look of a nice organized breading station! Before you start breading, get two cookie sheets sprayed with oil and preheat the oven to 400 degrees!

Tigger jumped back in to help--he manned the flour station. If you look in the background you can see an "Unkept" pile of stuff still from Christmas on an end table . . . waiting to find a permanent home. Shhh . . . don't tell the pile of stuff but that probably IS its permanent home!
Okay, back to breading!

I like to use a fork for the egg batter--lots less gunk on your fingers!
Then dip in the breading--I apparently forgot to take a photo of this.
Place them on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 400, then flip and bake for another 6-7.

Dip them in your homemade ranch and you're good to go! They are VERY yummy! Like even better than I imagined. Oh, and the ranch is SO tasty and refreshing! I'll never buy Ranch again!
This would be a GREAT SuperBowl snack! I'm not a huge football person so I ate them for dinner.

I think RR would be proud . . . :)