Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I want to be a farmer

Well, at least part of me wants to be a farmer. What is it that would draw me to this kind of life? I’m not completely sure.

My dad grew up on a farm. I LOVE hearing stories about his childhood. My grandfather was a share cropper (meaning he did not own the land that he farmed so a portion of the money he made went to the owner). My grandfather loved being a farmer, but my grandmother hated it. He actually tried to do something else because my grandmother was so unhappy, but he went back to farming. My dad grew up (and was actually born) in a farm house that did not have central heat and air or running water. He tells stories about his chores, the crops they grew, the animals they raised, and life in general on the farm.

Anyway, part of me wants to be a farmer. I think I am drawn to it for several reasons, but it just seems like a simpler life. I know it is hard work and the work is never done, but the life itself seems like a simple one. You are obviously dependent on God for the growth of your crops (the kind of dependent I should be in each part of my current life). You see the miracle of birth and creation with animals like cows, chickens, pigs, etc. There must be a satisfaction in eating the meat and crops grown on your own land. You know what those animals have been eating and you know what you have put on the crops (as in chemicals).

I currently struggle with the dissatisfaction I have with my job. There are days I enjoy it, but I feel like it’s a job and not a calling. That bothers me, but at this point I have no idea what to do about it. As an accountant, it is hard to see that I am helping mankind. It just isn’t obvious. It seems like a farmer can easily see the impact he is having in the world.

I can see myself driving an old beat up pickup truck much easier than I can see myself in an SUV or family car. I have always wanted to drive a pickup. My dad has had a pickup since I was in middle school. Every time I go home (including last December when we went to their house for Christmas), my dad will toss me the keys and we’ll go for a drive. I really enjoy it.

Growing up in Amarillo, I grew up surrounded by farming. The Texas panhandle is the cattle capital of the US. These folks are generally friendly folks. To me, it is really beautiful to see farmland as far as you can see while driving down the highway. I like the wide open spaces. Even though I don’t enjoy the wind, I like to see an occasional tumble weed blow on by.

As I drive to work each day, I pass acres and acres of empty land. It won't be without development for long unfortunately. But for now, I drive by a field of horses while on the other side of the road the cows are grazing. I have especially enjoyed seeing the calves over the past month or so. Mixed in are also some antelope. It seriously makes my day to see these animals every day. I look for them because they are not always near the road. I have thought several times about pulling over and taking some pictures, but I haven't done that yet.

There are several (probably more like many, many) reasons why this might not be a good idea for me.
1. I know absolutely nothing about being a farmer.
2. I don’t like to sweat.
3. I don’t like to be too dirty.
4. I like to sleep late.
5. While I like to listen to country music and wear cowboy boots, I am definitely a city girl.

Wouldn't it be fun to be known as Farmer Mindy (I guess you wouldn't know because your name isn't Mindy)?

Clean bill of health

Max got a clean bill of health yesterday from the vet. This was M’s first time to visit our vet. He said Max is now a little over 80 pounds. He’s almost 8 months and one week old and weighs a little over 80 pounds. I hope by the time he’s 12 months he doesn’t weigh 120 pounds! We can tell his growth has slowed so I think he’s close to his adult weight, but of course, what do I know?
The vet thinks we discouraged Max from eating his food because we were giving him his fish oil pill in his food. At first, he would eat it with his food. Then he started eating around the pill and just eating the food. A week and a half ago, he stopped eating the food as well. We feed him twice each day, and he pretty much stopped eating at the morning feeding. M also told the doctor that we thought Max wasn’t drinking enough because of the color of his urine (don’t I sound technical). So the doctor suggested that we soak Max’s food in water and then feed it to him even if it is still sitting in water. This will possibly make him interested in eating it (I have no idea why) and will get more water into his system. If that doesn’t work, we’re supposed to incorporate some wet dog food into his food.

Last night, he ate the watered dog food with no problem; however, he hadn’t eaten food all day so I’m sure he was hungry. This morning he gobbled it down as well. Maybe this will solve the problem. Only time will tell.

And now we put the fish oil pill inside a hot dog. He's certainly a smart puppy. Now not only does he get his food in water and without the fish oil pill, he also gets at least a little piece of a hot dog each day.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A picture says 1,000 words

This picture for example. These were not 1,000 nice words like "sweet little Maxhead", "aren't you a cutie", "you're such a good boy." These were words of shock and upsettedness (is that a word?) like "ouch", "that's going to cost me", "I did not want to buy new glasses this year." Nice.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Happy Anniversary M!

Today M and I are celebrating our 5th anniversary. These are some of my favorite pictures from our wedding. It is fun to remember that day. It went by so quickly. There are things we would both change if we had it to do over again, but I loved every minute of it. And here we are 5 years later.
What have I learned in the last 5 years? Definitely more than I could write here.
  • Marriage is not like one long date.
  • Although I avoid conflict like the plague, it is important to get it out in the open and resolve it.
  • I never thought I could love anyone as much as I love M.
  • My best friend in the whole world is my husband.
  • It is important to go on dates with M.
  • Even though I love M dearly, marriage is still work...sometimes less and sometimes more.
  • When the Bible says that wives are to submit to their husbands and husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, husbands actually have the harder part of that. And submitting is a beautiful thing...trusting your husband and allowing him to lead where the Lord directs.
  • Sometimes two pretty smart people can make a bad decision. You just have to admit it was a bad decision and move on. Unfortunately, you can't go back and undo it.
  • I can miss M during the work day even though I saw him in the morning and will see him again after work.
  • M cannot know my expectations unless I tell him what they are.
  • I cannot get mad at him if I did not let him know my expectations or dreams. He cannot read my mind.
  • Somehow I love M more today than ever before.
  • God is the only one who loves perfectly.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I am...

I am: a child of God.
I think: about going to culinary school.
I know: God has a plan for my life.
I want: to have a house full of children.
I have: too much to do at work right now.
I wish: I had more confidence in myself.
I hate: that I feel burned out and don’t enjoy my job more.
I miss: fiercely my family and friends from my life in Texas.
I fear: the day a really close loved one passes to the next life.
I feel: old. I turned 31 today.
I hear: Cirque du Soleil music from my iPod right now.
I smell: the warm cinnamon crunch bagel I just purchased from Panera Bread.
I crave: having a really close girlfriend in Colorado.
I search: for the next recipe I want to try.
I wonder: if I could have a more satisfying career/job doing something else.
I regret: that I don’t recognize each day as the gift it is.
I love: my husband.
I ache: for days when life seemed much simpler.
I care: too much about what other people think about me.
I always: freak out when I have to talk in front of a group of people.
I am not: outgoing.
I believe: the Bible is the Word of God.
I dance: not often enough.
I sing: all the time though sometimes it is just in my head.
I don’t always: wipe Max’s paws at the door when they’re wet like I’m supposed to.
I fight: to put my husband before myself.
I write: what is going on in my head on my blog.
I win: hmmm…I’m not sure about this one.
I lose: a lot. I just don’t have a competitive bone in my body.
I never: enjoy getting out of bed early in the morning.
I confuse: thinking I am pleasing God with my good behavior with pleasing God with what is in my heart.
I listen: to a LOT of music. I love it!
I can usually be found: at home. I am definitely a home body.
I am scared: of coming to the end of my life and wishing I had taken more risks.
I need: to be reminded of people’s love for me.
I am happy about: celebrating my 5th wedding anniversary April 26th.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

8 months old

Max is 8 months old today. So that means we've had him almost 6 months. It is hard to believe! What did we do with all our time before we had Max? It feels like my life has changed so much since getting him. I know he's a dog, but I love that dog. Here are a few pictures from this week. I took this picture today so you could see what Max officially looks like at 8 months. Don't you want to know what I was saying to make him turn his head like that? (And doesn't our grass look great?)
We started leaving him in our bedroom this week. We are slowly expanding his space to see how he does. I thought I put everything that was at risk of Max vandalism away, but apparently I missed the toothpaste. Yep, he chewed on both ends of the tube. I'm not sure if he got a taste of toothpaste or not. Thank goodness I had just purchased an extra tube.

Yesterday we played in the backyard with Max's favorite toy - the Flying Squirrel. This is our 3rd Flying Squirrel. Number 1 fell apart from the extensive use. Number 2 got stuck on a roof in the neighborhood. It has since fallen down and been given to some of our neighbors to pass along to us. Number 3 has been on two roofs this week as well as in our neighbor's yard 3 times. What can you do? Thankfully, we have nice neighbors who toss it back over the fence for us.

One year ago

One year ago today was an interesting day. It was not fun, but it definitely created a memory I won’t soon forget.

M had an appointment in Castle Rock (about 45 minutes from our house) to have his wisdom teeth removed. His dentist referred him to an oral surgeon here in Colorado Springs, but for some unknown reason that oral surgeon has an office in Castle Rock where he actually does the procedures. In fact, all the folks who work in his office in Castle Rock live in Colorado Springs because they also work at an office here. Weird!

So we woke up on April 24th to snow (after a really nice weekend of warm temperatures). It was actually snowing pretty good, but we made it to the oral surgeon’s office without any problem. The oral surgeon himself was late because of the weather. I believe M’s appointment was around 9:30 am. He had his wisdom teeth taken out and we left Castle Rock for home around 10 or 10:30. By this time, there was quite a bit of snow on the ground. So we got on the highway to go home. We were stuck on the highway for most of the day and didn’t get home until 5:30 pm – 7 hours later!! Even worse than poor M being stuck in the car with no food or drink after having his wisdom teeth taken out (thus not being able to take the pain medication) was that as soon as I pulled onto our street I got the car stuck in the snow. We ended up walking about 2 blocks home in the blowing snow. The wind was blowing toward us so hard I could barely walk in it, add to that the fact that we were walking in deep snow, it was not fun. We just had to leave the car in the middle of the road where I got it stuck until the next day. We got up the next morning and went to dig our car out of the snow along with 3 or 4 other people doing the same thing. It was crazy!

Thankfully, today the weather is much nicer than this day last year – in the 70s in fact. And thankfully, we are now both without our wisdom teeth and won’t have to experience at least that part of this story again.

Grilled Flank Steak with Tomato, Avocado, and Cucumber Salad

Grilled Flank Steak with Tomato, Avocado, and Cucumber Salad
Cooking Light March 2007

I made this for dinner last night. I really enjoyed it. The flavors in the salad were really good together. I have to say I love avocado, but I rarely buy it because it ends up going bad before I use it. I bought several this time around and we ate some on a hamburger the other day. That was yummy! This is another recipe I would definitely recommend. Our meat was a little tough because I cooked it longer than I should have. I am not so hot on the grill. We generally like our steak medium-rare. This was closer to medium or maybe a little more done than that. It was still yummy though!

I have been going through my older Cooking Light magazines recently. I got rid of several years worth before we moved to Colorado, but I have all the 2006, 2007, and 2008 (to date) issues. I decided to pull the 2006 and 2007 Spring issues out since the recipes tend to be seasonal. There are so many recipes that it is impossible to try them all since I don't cook something new every single day. I really enjoy trying their recipes. My only problem is that I have no idea where to store all the magazines. I can't bear to part with them while I'm still actively using the recipes from them. Let me know if you have any ideas!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Prosciutto-wrapped Chicken Breast with Roasted Green Beans

Prosciutto-wrapped Chicken Breast with Roasted Green Beans
Everyday Food April 2008 p. 61

4 oz green beans, stem ends removed
2 tsp olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half
3 thin slices prosciutto
Lemon wedge, for serving

1. Heat broiler of toaster oven (or oven). On toaster-oven pan (or a small rimmed baking sheet), toss green beans with 1 tsp oil. Season with salt and pepper, and push to one side of pan.
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper; wrap with prosciutto. Place chicken, seam side down, on other side of pan; rub with remaining tsp oil.
3. Broil until chicken is opaque throughout, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve chicken and green beans with a lemon wedge.

This recipe is only one serving. I bought about a pound of chicken tenders and used them all for this recipe. M and I really liked it. The proscuitto had a wonderful flavor with the chicken. Rather than roasting green beans, I just heated canned green beans on the stove with a couple of slices of bacon in the pan. We also had cucumbers and white onion in vinegar and water. This is something my parents used to make during the summer when we would have hamburgers. I’m not a huge fan of cucumbers, but I really like them this way because the longer they sit in the vinegar and water the more they taste like pickles rather than cucumbers.
We enjoyed this meal, and I enjoyed it even more because it comes together so quickly with really only one pan if you roast the green beans. M made one suggestion for this meal. He thought it would be good with a cordon-bleu sauce or a honey mustard sauce. I’ll have to try that next time because that sounds good to me as well.

Monday, April 21, 2008

My dog ate my...

car registration. That is a sentence I never expected to say. For the past several weeks we have been leaving Max in the laundry room while we're at work. To that point, he had been staying in his crate while we were gone. So the laundry room was the next step. After I picked up the license plates and registration for the new car, they ended up sitting in the laundry room for a while. Thus, Max got a hold of the registration. So I got to go back to the DOT...fun. That place is seriously crazy busy. The Girl Scouts should camp out there and sell their irresistibly delicious cookies.

It seems like Max has not been feeling well the last couple of days. Generally, he is so excited to eat. He runs around and gobbles that food up just in case someone comes in to steal it. However, since the middle of last week he hasn't been that excited about it. I'm not sure what it is...is he tired of the same ole' food, is he not feeling well, is he too hot to eat? I am leaning toward either the first or the last idea. I have been watching him closely, and he is still using the bathroom regularly. So I don't think he's sick although I could be wrong. He is still very playful although he seemed pretty tired over the weekend. We like to just wear him out on the weekend while we're home, and this weekend the weather was BEAUTIFUL so we spent some time with him outside. He loves that! We are still feeding him two times each day. So if he's not interested in one of those meals, he generally eats really good at the next one. Because this is so unusual, I have been leaving the food out until he eats it.

Occasionally, I put treats and peanut butter in his Kong (one of the best toys). He really enjoys this. One day last week I told him I would give him a treat and some peanut butter. When I went to the pantry, we only had chunky peanut butter. I wasn't sure whether I should give it to him or not but decided I would since I told him he had some yummy peanut butter coming (I know he probably had no idea what I was saying, but I had to be true to my word, right?). I watched him playing with it and noticed something on the floor next to him. He had licked all the peanut butter out of the Kong and left the peanuts behind (on the floor for me to pick up, of course). How did he even do that? So from now on, we'll stick with the creamy peanut butter.

I think Max had a fun weekend. Friday night we had a couple over just to visit. They brought their 2 1/2 year old Golden Retriever. Max really enjoyed playing with Trigger. He just can't get enough of other dogs. He really loves them! They can come up to him and start barking, and Max will just wag his tail. Then Saturday M played with him outside throwing the ball for probably half an hour or so. The day was so beautiful we decided to also take him for a walk and throw his Flying Squirrel. He was exhausted the rest of the day. Yesterday M played with his ball again outside with him.

What inspires you?

I recently started reading a Christian fiction book series (written by Karen Kingsbury) recommended by my dear friend M. I am ashamed to say I was a bit skeptical about these books. I guess I thought it wouldn’t be very interesting, have a good story line, or something. I was completely wrong, and I have really enjoyed reading these books. There are 12 total in this series (broken up into 3 different series). I have read the first seven books and am picking the next 3 books from the library today. I feel like I have become so involved with the Baxters who are the main family in the series. In fact, not only do I really enjoy this series, I believe God has used this series to get me excited about reading His word again. I hate to admit that I have been having a hard time with this for quite a while now. However, I am now reading and absorbing and meditating on God’s word and enjoying it so much. It has brought a new joy to my heart in recent days. I am so excited about it. I hate that it took a book series to get me excited, but I am so glad God will use even a fictional book to get my attention.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

4/12 New Recipe

Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Maple-Chipotle Sauce
Cooking Light March 2008

I made this last Saturday but didn't eat any until last night. We decided to try the new Mexican restaurant in our little town since I was leaving town for Utah (again) the next day. I started to make some mashed potatoes before I left for the airport but didn't have time to finish them. So I told M what he should do to finish them. He made some of the best mashed potatoes I have ever had. He apparently added a lot more butter than I would have put in them and a lot of horseradish. They were yummy! He is the new mashed potatoe maker at our house.

If I make this recipe again (which I plan to do at some point), I would possibly decrease the amount of maple syrup and increase the amount of the chipotle sauce. I actually used more chipotle sauce than the recipe called for because we both enjoy a lot of flavor. The taste is pretty good, but it is a bit sweet to me.

I would definitely recommend this recipe if you like pork tenderloin.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Smart puppy

Max is one smart puppy. He enjoys laying on our big and soft bed. While I was changing the sheets the other day, this is where he was admiring my hard work. He was laying on the down comforter and pillows waiting for his chance to get back on the bed. Isn't he smart?

I don't think he has been changing much lately. It seems like he has stayed the same size over the last few weeks. I'm not sure if that is true or just my imagination/perception. His newest thing is playing ball. If I sit on the floor in front of him and roll the ball to him, he will pick it up in his mouth and roll/toss it back to me. He will do this over and over again. I wish we had a video camera so I could prove it to you. It is really funny!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

4/8 New Recipe

Last night I made something I saw on Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals show while I was home sick last week. M and I both liked it. It had good flavor (although I thought it was pretty salty), and the chicken stayed moist rather than drying out. That is my pet peeve about cooking any kind of meat. I don't like dry meat. You should give this recipe a try.

Honey Nut Chicken Sticks

Monday, April 7, 2008

Last weekend in March

The last weekend in March my folks came to visit. They came Thursday evening and stayed until Monday morning. We had a pretty low-key weekend which was nice. I cooked dinner a couple of nights, we went out one night to celebrate my birthday early, and one night we ordered pizza because I was not feeling well. I was able to take off Friday while they were here just to hang out. We didn't do much because it ended up being cold and a little icy outside. We ran a couple of errands Friday and went out to eat. We also generally play dominoes or cards while my parents are here. This is the only time M and I play either of these so that was fun.

Saturday we ran a few more errands and then went to the Olympic Center for a tour. There are 3 Olympic training centers in the US and one of them is here. This was not quite what I was expecting, but it was still pretty neat. We weren't able to see anyone training while we were there, but our tour guide is a weight lifter. The ladies will be qualifying in May I believe so we'll be looking to see if she made it to the Olympics or not. Her husband is a wrestler and is also hoping to make it to the Olympics.

Saturday ended up being a beautiful day in the 60s so we decided to leave Max outside for the first time. We got home, and Max had escaped. We were gone between 5 and 6 hours I think. He chewed through some landscape drain pipe and squeezed out between the fence and the house. You can see below that he must be a contortionist because there is no way he could just walk through that hole. We haven't fixed the hole yet, and he has gotten out a few more times while we've been home. The same neighbor has had him both times he got out. They have a golden retriever, Bealle, who is 4 I think. They enjoy playing and running around. At least he has a friend in the neighborhood.

Speaking of friends, some girls who live in the cul-de-sac next to our house got a golden retriever puppy last week, Ranger. This is the family who had to put their yellow lab down because of the hip displaysia. They came over on Friday morning and said their puppy was lonely and asked if Max could come over to play. Isn't that cute? They only kept him for about an hour, but I thought that was so cute. When they brought him back home, his head was covered in slobber. I think he had a really good time playing. I hope they will come ask him to play again sometime.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sickly Again

I woke up last Sunday morning not feeling well. My throat was sore and I had a hint of a cough. We went ahead and went to church because we were going to miss the next weekend. After church, I decided to take a nap, hoping I would feel better once I got some rest. That was not the case. I felt even worse when I woke up Monday morning so I decided to stay home and get more rest. My parents left Monday morning so I stayed in bed half the day. We were going to leave Friday for St. Louis so I decided I better go to the doctor and get over whatever I had so I wouldn't be sick around M's mother.

I was able to make an appointment Monday afternoon with a doctor not too far from home. I was the only patient in the waiting room which was nice and quickly was taken back to see the doctor. They were surprised to see my temperature at 103 degrees and my heart rate was 130. They felt this was dangerous so they took me to the surgical room and let me lay down. They measured my heart rate laying down, sitting up, and standing up. I think they also checked some other things, but I was pretty out of it. I had to wait for the doctor for a while so I just stayed on the table and tried to take a nap. He came in and told me how serious the situation was and that he would have me feeling better before I left the office. I took a gram of Tylenol and waited 40 minutes or so to see if that impacted my fever and heart rate. It did nothing. So then I got a shot of some other pain medication. I had to wait a bit longer to see if that did anything to the fever and heart rate. They were both down a little bit so the doctor let me go home. He told me he thought I just had a mean cold and sent me home with a painkiller prescription. I didn't realize at the time that he didn't give me anything for my sore throat or cough.

I woke up again on Tuesday with a 103 temperature. I probably don't have to tell you I was miserable. Wednesday was a bit better, but M started feeling badly. We ended up canceling our trip to St. Louis and both going to the doctor on Thursday. Turns out we both had bronchitis. Congratulations to us! We both came home with 3 prescriptions and have been trying to get better ever since then. I am feeling much better, and M is on the road to recovery I think. I am beginning to feel stir crazy. I have basically been home a whole week. I have left to run a couple of errands since then, but that is a lot of time to spend at home when you don't feel like doing anything but sleeping. We can't wait to get a good night's sleep with no coughing and be able to enjoy the day again.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

April 2008

April is a big month around our house. Other than tax day, we will be celebrating my birthday, our 5th wedding anniversary, and my brother's birthday (the same day as our anniversary). I have always LOVED April!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

3/29 New Recipe

Spiced Chicken and Greens with Pomegranate Dressing
Cooking Light March 2006 p. 255

This was delicious. I really liked the salad which had oranges and dried cranberries. It was very tasty. My dad who is a meat and potatoes guy also really enjoyed this. I will definitely make this again.

3/27 New Recipe

My parents came into town last Thursday to visit for the weekend. I'll have to upload a couple of pictures later on. I tried this recipe while they were here. I could not find it on the internet so you may have to purchase the magazine or ask me for the recipe.

Balsamic Skirt Steak with Polenta and Roasted Tomatoes
Everyday Food March 2008 p. 96

This was pretty good, but it always takes me longer to cook meat than the recipes suggest. So by the time the meat was finished the other items were cold. My mom wanted the recipe so I guess that's a good sign.