Saturday, May 31, 2008

Caffinated Confessions

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

If I could afford it, I'd drink Pete's coffee most of the time. It's fairly pricey so for my everyday coffee, I like Seattle Best's Fair Trade Organic French Roast.



I used to drink my coffee with lots of 1/2 and 1/2 and sugar until I found that I had high cholesterol and needed to loose some weight. Then I weaned myself off of adding sugar and switched to fat free 1/2 and 1/2.

Except:

Last Fall I was hosting a coffee function at Miss Munchkin's school and a parent raved on and on about this:




Up till that point, I was such a coffee snob - I never touched that fake creamer stuff. But, just to humor her, I added some to my coffee and - oh my! It tasted just like those fancy Gingerbread Lattes at Starbucks! Only this cost less than $4 a cup. I was hooked.

But there was a problem - this is a seasonal flavor and was only offered once a year. So I did what any reasonable coffee addict would do - I stocked up. This stuff has a frighteningly long shelf life so every time I went to the grocery store, I took all of the Pumpkin Spice creamer off of the shelves and hid them in my vegetable drawer of my refrigerator at home. Inevitably the stores stopped carrying it so I switched to Fat Free Cinnamon Vanilla Creme. I can't, in good conscience, actually recommend the stuff because it has hydrogenated oil. Their website states:
Liquid flavors contain less than 0.5g of trans fat per serving. Although the ingredient statement lists partially hydrogenated oil, the amount is trivial. Therefore, it can be listed as 0 (per FDA guidelines) on the nutritional statement. COFFEE-MATE Fat Free, Sugar Free and Original have a 0 trans fat content.
But if you REALLY want to try it, or if you already use it, here's coupon for a Free Bottle (until June 2nd).

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Little Inspiration


I love to listen to music when I have to do something unpleasant, like housework or exercise. I even took my mp3 player to the dentist recently to drown out the whine of the drill.

One of my very favorite things to listen to when I have to run is the orchestral score from the movie, Transformers. The movie was *OK*, but the music was incredible. You can hear snips of it from Amazon and you'll see what I mean. It is very motivational with its strong strings, driving beat and ethereal choir. Kinda Angelic-Technology meets Pirates-of-the-Carribean sounding. I've heard it compared to the Harry Potter score, but I haven't heard that so I can't really say.

Apparently this movie score wasn't available to the public for a long time. It was only released after a large, organized public movement and online petition. Even now, copies of the CD are hard to find. But you can download it easily online now from various places (for a reasonable fee).

Check out the clip from songs #12, Arrival To Earth and #7, Bumblebee. From Amazon, just click the little arrow to the left of them and you'll hear a free clip. That will give you a taste of what I'm talking about. You might even get inspired and get up and do something exciting! :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How Many 5 Year Olds?

15

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets



How about you?

Evening Gift


Evening Gift, originally uploaded by MrsMama.

This beautiful sunset lit up our skies last week. I love the contrast between the vivid colors and the starkness of the silhouetted land. I roughly used the "rule of thirds" when I composed this. Theoretically, one should not place the horizon smack in the middle. Instead, fill the frame with whatever you would like to showcase and place major lines one-third of the way into the frame. Of course, rules can be broken, but I think it works here, don't you? :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

There's Honesty


I like weights. You know where you stand with them. Well, sometimes you're lying under them, trying not to let them crush you, but you see, you KNOW they'd crush you if they could. There's honesty.
T. Cambell

Monday, May 26, 2008

Barnyard Blather


Master Munchkin has a friend who lives in the country and has animals. Some of the jargon is new to him but he's slowly picking it up.

"You mean they're going to slobber their pigs!?"

and

"Their dog killed a White Leggered Hen."

Miss Munchkin has her own thoughts on the matter:

"I could never eat a pig that I knew. (pause) Unless it looked like bacon."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Life's A Bowl of...


Life's A Bowl of..., originally uploaded by MrsMama.

delight
wonder
beauty
longing

What's your bowl full of today?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Eye Update & A Sweet Crescent Kick

I ended up taking Master Munchkin to the doctor after his Freaky Eye Accident. Thankfully, there shouldn't be any lasting damage. The doctor gave us some steroid eyedrops to reduce additional internal swelling. We are breathing a sigh of relief and The Master has a bb in his pocket to show all his friends and a cool "boy" story to tell.


Miss Munchkin and I had our first full-gear sparring session in Martial Arts class. We suited up with padded helmets, gloves, shin guards and foot pads. Oh, and mouthguards. She had 5 years of Tae Kwon Do when she was younger, so sparring comes fairly natural to her. I am totally new to Martial Arts and I think sparring is, well, hard. There are too many things to think about at once - blocking your partner's attacks, pressing your own, staying in the ring, remembering that punches to the face are illegal, trying to look cool and nonchalant with a big piece of rubber in your mouth (am I drooling?). Anyway, MM scored a sweet crescent kick to the side of my head. It was beautiful. The teachers were thrilled. I was proud. That's my girl! (sniff, sniff) :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Freaky


I'm not sure I'm going to survive this Summer.

Earlier today Master Munchkin was in the front yard playing with a parachute/ball toy. When I went to check on him, he wasn't anywhere to be found. Stepping farther out into the yard, I spotted him. Apparently his toy had gone up on the roof so he shimmied up the tree next to our house to get it. I discovered him sitting contentedly on the roof.

Later, he came into the house with a quivering lip. He doesn't cry easily so I knew something was up. The story soon came out: he had been shooting balloons with his BB gun and a bb ricocheted into his eye! I gave him a thorough exam and settled him on the couch with an ice pack. There didn't seem to be any obvious injury so I thought we got lucky and gave him my best, "That's why I gave you those safety glasses" lecture.

Here's the freaky part: after we tucked Master Munckin in bed, he came out with a funny expression on his face. He told us that a bb had come out of his eye! What the heck!? Apparently it did not bounce off like we thought. There is not an obvious injury to the eyeball, so it must have been rolling around in his socket somewhere. For 5 hours. He said it just rolled out of his tear duct and down his face. Then he handed it to us.

Shudder.

I'm going to see how he's feeling in the morning; I may end up taking him in to the doctor, just to be safe.

This is going to be a long, long Summer.

Discover


Moth, originally uploaded by MrsMama.

GF Girl


A few months ago, we found out that Miss Munchkin was sensitive to many of the foods that I have been feeding her since, well, birth. The biggie is wheat, but she is also sensitive to corn, milk, beef, pork and several other foods. She has always been incredibly active and often hyper, but the last straw was her extreme moodiness. Once we removed these foods from her diet and added several supplements, she started feeling much better and acting much calmer.

It's been a learning experience for me - figuring out what to feed this girl (whose favorite foods are a hamburger and a glass of chocolate milk). Through some trial and effort, we've found a diet that she can live with.

Some of our lifesavers have been chocolate soy milk, Pamela's Wheat-Free Bread Mix, rice crackers and rice cereals, peanut butter, tilapia fillets, bison meat, and turkey hot dogs. She eats lots of fruits and some veggies. We've been able to recreate some desserts. Tonight we made a pizza that she could eat.

Her doctor feels that we will be able to reintroduce all of the foods back into her diet at some point - except gluten.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Grumpy


What is with the grumpy people around here?

Master Munchkin is grumpy because I wouldn't let him climb onto our roof so he could see a bird's nest tucked under the eaves.

My husband is grumpy because I served dinner on the back deck, which is OUTSIDE (gasp), where the bugs are.

Miss Munchkin is grumpy because I made her get up to go to school.

I finally sent Master Munchkin down for a long "nap" and I curled up in bed for a cat nap myself. I was almost asleep when the phone rang. It was the Master. He had gotten a hold of my cell phone and called me from his room to ask me if I could be "a bit less grumpy".

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Peony


Peony, originally uploaded by MrsMama.

These are blooming in our front yard right now. I love the color variations and their sweet fragrance!

GF No Bake Chocolate Cookies


Miss Munchkin is on a Gluten-Free diet and we adapted the following recipe so that she could eat it. I have to tell you - these are the best No Bake Cookies I have ever eaten! (And I have eaten a lot.)

INGREDIENTS:
* 4 oz butter or margarine (we used Earth Balance's Buttery Sticks)
* 1/2 cup milk (we used soy)
* 2 cups sugar
* 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (we used a gf, dairy-free brand)
* 3 to 4 tablespoons peanut butter, optional (not really)
* 3 cups oats, quick or old-fashioned (we used Bob Mill's gf)
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

PREPARATION:
Place chocolate chips, peanut butter (if used), oats, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Combine the margarine, milk, and sugar in a saucepan; bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Combine the hot mixture with the oatmeal and chocolate chip mixture; stir well.

Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Let cool and snarf.

Sidenote: Timing is tricky with no bake cookies. If you don't boil the sugar mixture long enough, the cookies won't set up and you will have to scrape limp, bendy cookies off of the wax paper with a spoon, hunch over the counter and scoop them into your mouth. It can be done, mind you, but it's much nicer when you can lift the cookies and carry them away (then you can eat them in bed or at the computer!). The key is not to start the timer until the mixture is at a rolling boil. I've found that the mixture gets a bit shiny when it's ready.

Monday, May 19, 2008

How Lucky Am I?




I have a friend who has a beautiful country home that is a visual feast, complete with pigs, a rustic red barn and cute little kids who run around with denim overalls and barefeet. She is so nice - she lets me bring my camera and drool over everything (except the children - I suppose one must draw a line somewhere).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mew!


Mew!, originally uploaded by MrsMama.

:)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Open Mouth, Insert Foot


I feel like I am constantly putting my foot in my mouth. I don't know why; I certainly don't intend to! I can't tell you how many times I find myself slapping my forehead in private and groaning, "I can't believe I said that." I can painfully recall embarrassing moments involving our Pastor's wife, my Boxing Coach and even my husband's boss. So I was quite happy to find this article, "Don't Say This - and Why". It probably won't stop me from making a fool of myself mispeaking, but perhaps it can save you a slap or two on the forehead.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Happy Friday


Hop over and take this Jane Austen quiz. I'd love to hear how you did!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Poem For You


A Poem For You, originally uploaded by MrsMama.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue;
But they don't get around
Like the dandelions do.
~Slim Acres

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Unexpected


When I signed up for kickboxing, I expected certain results such as stopping that lovely jiggle under my arm, and becoming fit enough to keep up with my children. But I didn't expect the pleasure of getting to know the people around me.

I have to admit that I've lived a fairly sheltered life. As a girl, I grew up in an Intentionally Planned Community, where everyone knew everyone and we were all fairly like-minded. During college, I hung out with people similar to myself - studious and rather predictable. As an adult, most of my friends are family-oriented moms who I've met though church or my children's school. And since I'm a SAHM, I don't often have the opportunity to interact with people outside of those circles.

But in Kickboxing, I partner with a short, single mother who rides motorcycles. I play shoulder tag with some really cool college kids. In Martial Arts, I am taught by a soft-spoken, gravity-defying young man from Japan and coached in boxing by a tall Irishman who would hold his own in a pub brawl. I've sparred with a crippled Indian disabled Native American and learned how to throw a double roundhouse from a gray-haired, energetic grandfather. These people are delightful and I've truly enjoyed getting to know them. They are different from me but it's OK.

Actually, it's great. And I didn't expect that.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Random Ramblings


I took Master Munchkin to the doctor yesterday. It seems that he was jumping on his bed during quiet time and caught/hit his little toe somehow. The top of his foot turned blue and he couldn't walk on his toe so I thought it might be broken. The doctor thinks it isn't but MM is going to be limping around for quite awhile.

Right now, MM is over at the neighbor's house. Again. They are building on the empty lot next to ours and the lure of heavy machinery, power tools, burning brush piles and giant mounds of dirt is just entirely too alluring for my young boy. Fortunately the neighbors are very nice and let him hang around occasionally and do odd jobs, like sweeping up sawdust and fetching various tools. They probably wonder why he isn't in school. Little do they suspect that he is learning valuable lessons even away from the kitchen table. The import of lending a hand to a neighbor, seeing how houses are built from the ground up, and learning basic safety around tools and machinery are all an important part of a boy's "education". There will be plenty of time for seat work. :P

Lastly, we are in the process of painting MM's room. It is going from a traumatic seafoam green, to a much subdued combo of navy and khaki. We moved MM to the Media Room downstairs so he wouldn't have to sleep amidst all the paint fumes. It seems to take an incredible reasonable amount of time for us to finish a project around here, so it looks like MM will be there awhile. He thinks it's fun, especially since he can watch movies before bed!

Monday, May 12, 2008

100 Day Update


I haven't given up my Fight of the Year, the 100 Day Onslaught. This morning, Round 1 went to me. I jogged to the mailbox and back (hey, don't forget we live in the country!) worked on the bag, and got in some arm and ab exercises. But then I got ambushed downtown by some guy named Einstein AND his brothers so Round 2 went to them. But I feel optimistic about Round 3 - it's kickboxing class tonight and that is a full hour of nonstop sweat and panting. And I'm bringing my hubby. Woo Hoo!

What You See


A Weed Is..., originally uploaded by MrsMama.

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
Thoreau

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!


I Wish You Could Smell This!, originally uploaded by MrsMama.

The lilacs are beginning to bloom outside Miss Munchkin's window. They smell heavenly!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Roundhouse


Roundhouse, originally uploaded by MrsMama.

Check out this kick! And his dirty feet. :)

Friday, May 09, 2008

6 No Nos


I recently read this article called 6 No Nos for Relating to Your Man. I think the advice is sound and appreciate the reminder. Definitely worth a read if you are a married woman!

100 Day Update


I recently started a One Hundred Day Onslaught exercise program and wanted to provide an update. I did get in 2 days with the extra 40 minutes of exercise but I've had a few setbacks as well. I've been having a sore elbow for some time now but it has worsened to the point where I can't ignore it any longer. It seems a few tendons in my right arm are inflamed and apparently boxing and punching with them 4 nights a week hasn't helped! I will have to take it easy in class and will probably have to postpone the extra push ups until I heal. Also, 2 guys named Breyers and Ghirardelli have been formidable opponents this week. I have to admit that they may have even won a round or two. But I'll still in the fight!

I'll let you know when I weigh in in the Lightweight division. :)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Nazca


Donna figured out that Rene recently visited the Nazca Lines in Peru. These are a set of figures (straight lines, triangles, spirals, a bird, a spider, a monkey, flowers) that appear engraved in the surface of the desert plateaus. What is so astonishing is that, technically, the Nazca lines are perfect. How the Incas achieved this without modern technology is amazing, especially considering the size and scale of the drawings. One has to fly over them to see and appreciate them fully. Right Rene?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

???


Master Munchkin: Why does (Miss Munchkin) need a razor?
Me (revving up for a lecture): To shave her legs. Do you want to know about Body Hair?
Master Munchkin: No. Can snakes sneeze?

Miss Munchkin, on the way home from school, after passing a new local business:
"What's a pub?"
"It's like a bar."
"Oh. Do we want to go to a pub?"
"No, why do you ask that?"
"Because you said, 'Oh Look, I wish we could go to that pub!'"
"No, I said, 'Oh Look, it's an Irish pub'".
"Oh."

Then, a short time later, "What's a hickey?"

So glad I can be of help. :P

Drifting


To cheer you on this dreary Wednesday, check out this guy.


Thanks, EolaĆ­, for introducing us to him!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Well, Where IS She?


Gentle Readers, you still haven't guessed where Rene went on her most recent adventure. If you know, just shout it out. And if you don't know, use Google and find out. Go ahead - it will be educational and good for you.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Digging In


Uppercut, originally uploaded by MrsMama.

It seems I have reached a plateau in my fight to get in shape. While I continue to gain flexibility and strength, I have stopped dropping weight. Since, according to my doctor, I still have 23 lbs to loose, I have decided that I need to do something above and beyond going to martial arts/kickboxing class 4 nights a week.

So yesterday, I came up with a 100 Day Onslaught (plan). Each day, for the next 100 days, my goal is to:

do 100 push ups (throughout the day, not all at once!)
do 100 sit ups
do 100 kicks
do 100 punches
exercise 100 minutes (classtime will count towards this)
not eat sugar or white flour

Sundays are a rest day.

If I can stick with this, I should be at or near my goal weight by my wedding anniversary this August.

Off to drag myself downstairs to my bag. Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Authentic


, originally uploaded by sapphire44443.

My Favorite Sister couldn't make it to my birthday party this year - she was out of the country. But she did send me a gift. On her visit to the Amazon jungle, she found these beautiful necklaces made by the locals. They are made entirely out of native plants and seeds and do not contain any metal. Even the clasp is a loop that slips over a seed - very authentic!

I love the necklace that she chose for me and think of her every time I wear it. Thanks Rene!

Behind the Scenes of a Flower Photoshoot


About Face, originally uploaded by MrsMama.

I had some lovely flowers left over from a recent photoshoot and wanted to do something fun with them before they shriveled up and died. It was a gorgeous day so I took them outside and held them up against the sky with one hand and shot with the other. I'm sure I looked rather silly, twirling around and around, looking for the perfect light, but hey - I think it was worth it!

I think this photograph is visually interesting because of the stong contrast between the blue and yellow. Also, the perspective is unusual. Most people shoot flowers by looking down on the front of them, with the ground as the backdrop. It's fun to do something different and a bit unexpected!

If you really want to know the gory details, I took about 20 photos and only kept the 2 best ones. I edited them in Lightroom, increasing the contrast slightly and bumping up the "vivid" slider. I didn't crop at all. 1/800 at f4.0, ISO 100, 50mm 1.8 lens.

So now you know.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Random Ramblings


Master Munchkin and I went to martial arts class this morning. Saturdays are family days, so the adults and kids train together (usually the kids are in 1/2 of the room and the adults are in the back, with a curtain pulled between us). There was a family of red belts, then me and MM and one other little orange belt. So the "lower" belts worked together and the "upper" belts worked together. I spent most of the class on my knees, pulling little boys' hair and "choking" them. The red belts worked on grappling and clinch holds. Even though they looked like they were having fun, they are all pretty intense and frighten me. just. a. bit.

I am feeling a bit down today. I am trying to focus on the positive - like Master Munchkin enjoying my white chili so much that he asked for a second bowl. And My Mister (husband) rubbing that tight muscle in my lower back. Ahhh. And the fresh pot of coffee that just finished brewing. And the fact that I have chocolate chips in the house and I know how to use them. There, I feel a bit better now.

Where in the World is Rene?




Rene recently went to a unique and fascinating place. Can you guess where it was from looking at the photos? Look closely. Do you see the monkey and the astronaut/alien?

Friday, May 02, 2008

I Think I've Forgotten This Before


Right now I'm having amnesia and deja vu at the same time. I think I've
forgotten this before.
-Steven Wright, comedian

Thursday, May 01, 2008

NDP


Today is the National Day of Prayer. Check out its rich history.

Praying is breathing out the spirit of man and breathing in the spirit of God.

"Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and persevering grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us."
Abraham Lincoln

Prayer is as natural an expression of faith as breathing is of life."
Jonathan Edwards

Grant that I may not pray alone with the mouth; help me that I may pray from the depths of my heart.”
Martin Luther

Pray often; for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan.”
John Bunyan