Monday, May 30, 2011

dear four year old,

look at her!

what? how!? why? WHEN??!

I remember four years ago, eating lime snow cones in the delivery room waiting for you to come. Daddy and I were watching Notting Hill, and I was trying so hard to focus on contractions, but instead I was laughing my head off at Hugh Grant.

To this day I am always laughing when you are around. 
You are the goofiest, sweetest girl....and you know it!

I love that all you wanted for your birthday was a fishing pole, but that you also will only wear the twirliest of dresses and sparkliest of shoes.

I love that you are usually wearing several band-aids and have scuffed up knees, but that you also love to  comb and comb and comb your hair, waiting for it to grow as long as Rapunzels.

I love that you are my baby. Sometimes I scoop you up in my arms and rock you back and forth....
....and then  you yell, "MOO-OOM!!! I am NOT a baby! 
Why do you always think I am a baby you silly girl!"

But moms are very smart, and usually right, and so I should tell ARE my baby, no matter how big you get.

Let's try not to get big so fast....

Happy Birthday baby girl!!

annnd......all she wanted for her birthday cake was chocolate cake with pink frosting... here you have it!
rufflecake copy

Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Buttercream

2 ounces semisweet chocolate
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup boiling water
6 TBS butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line bottom of two 8" cake pans with round of parchment paper, butter paper, and sides of pan.

Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot water and cocoa powder. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

In a bowl add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat butter and sugar until combined. Add eggs (adding one at a time) until thickened slightly and light colored (about 3 minutes). Slowly add milk, and melted chocolate mixture, beating until combined well. Add flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.

Pour batter into pan, and bake in middle of oven until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes.

Cool cake completely before frosting.

Strawberry Buttercream

3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup strawberry puree (a large handful of strawberries thrown in the food processor)
1 tsp pure vanilla
5-6 cups powder sugar (depending on how thick you want your frosting. I needed it a little bit thicker so the ruffles would hold up. Ruffle tutorial here.

cream together butter, puree, and vanilla. Add powdered sugar a little at a time until you reach the consistency you like.

Chocolate Buttercream (for middle layer)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup powder sugar 
3-4 TBS milk

Cream together butter, cocoa, powdered sugar. Add milk a little at a time. 


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

gardening for dummies


And by dummy,  I most definitely mean myself.

Year after year I learn something new out in the garden--and everything comes by trial and error (and believe me, there are more errors than I'd like to admit).

Each year, I'm brave and try something new--crossing my fingers and holding my breath that it will work. This year, for instance, was the first year that I did cold weather veggies (lettuce, carrots, radishes, peas), and thanks to some miracle they all survived multiple snow storms, and are still growing today!

I wish I could sit here and write a step by step gardening post.....but I seriously have no clue as to what I'm talking about.
But... I will make a teensy little list of tips--a few things that have worked for ME. I'm certain that one day when we move and I switch climate/soil/something, I'll be starting all over again--but see if any of these maybe work for you. 

1. Raised garden beds seem to be the way to go these days. We had a small one for a few years, but last year knocked the walls down and decided to expand (x5). Keeping the weeds out in a raised bed is 5000x easier, but instead we use a weed barrier on the ground.....
2. Use a weed barrier (its a black roll of tarp-ish material, but it's porous and lets moisture through).
This is my favorite invention ever. It's funny because last year I was researching them, and found so many people that did not like them--why?? Have you used this? Why wouldn't you like it???
I used it last year and it's the best my garden has ever been! I spread it out, stake it down, and cut holes where I need to plant (note: I don't use it for lettuce/onions/carrots/etc....I'm not going to cut 1000 little holes:) Since I don't use any sort of weed killer, this limits most of the weeds, and then it's easy to pull them up where the holes are cut.
3. Compost. I talked briefly about it in this post. Do it.
4. Chicken poo. If you have chickens, and therefore have chicken poo, you are awesome and I'm sure you know exactly what to do with it. Until I have a bigger yard to keep Charly faaaaaaar away from the chickens, I buy my poo in a bag, dried up, sans chicken.
5. Before I plant, I mix in a good amount of black rich soil from my compost, along with the chicken poo into the soil. My kids call the compost "vitamin dirt"--it's so good for our little baby veggie plants!
A few months in to the summer we add more compost and poo.
6. Use all available space. We have a small area on the south side of our house that gets ridiculously hot sun ALL day long. Tomatoes love ridiculously hot sun. The soil is absolutely terrible, so we decided to do tomato plants in pots out there--last year they thrived! This is something you can do if you don't have space for a full garden--just plant a few tomatoes in pots. (same soil+compost+chicken poo mix) I planted strawberries in pots on my front porch, and am still looking for other small items to place there too....
7. Label your plants. Not because it's cute, but because it's a huge help. Because I labeled everything last year--I still remembered what our favorite heirloom tomatoes were (radiator charlie). This year I'm going one extra step and keeping track of everything in a notebook, and writing down how it worked/whether we liked it or not. 
8. Put your kids to work! Teach them the difference between the plants and the weeds so they can help you out! Let them help you water. Have them pick out their very own veggie to plant--this will get them super excited about gardening/eating their veggies. Put them on "pest control". So far (knock on wood) we haven't had any bug problems. I don't use any bug spray, but the kids know the "bad bugs"--like snails, and will pick them out and throw them out of the garden.
Are they not excited about helping out?? Read them The Little Red Hen;)

This list is kind of pathetic.
But these are all things that I have found really helped me over the past few years.
I would love to hear your tips--what works for you?
 hayley burk this one's all yours:)
happy planting!

ps. I'd also love to know what YOU are planting?
so far we have tomatoes (17 plants!) bell peppers, jalepenos, chiles, tomatillos, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, carrots, peas, onions, a bunch of different herbs and lettuces, radishes, chard, and beets. 
After it gets too hot for the lettuce I'll have more space.....what should I do?

Monday, May 23, 2011

the day I ran up the mountain

aka: possibly the longest post to ever be posted. Does blogger have a word limit?

disclaimer: I love to read other runners race day stories.....because I run. If running is not your thing, and you do not care for all the details, here is the short version:
I ran up a mountain. It was hard. It was awesome. It was gorgeous. My legs burned. I finished. I want to do it again. soon.

I don't know where to begin with this one. I wish I could have filmed the entire thing--from nervous start to wonderful finish, with each slip in the mud, and sip of water in between. But you'll just have to take a peek at all of my mental notes.

Saturday I ran the Timpanogos Trail 1/2 Marathon
While not my first race, it was my first trail race.....and I was nervous. SO NERVOUS!! There were so many unknowns--and all those unknowns would be taking place  somewhere on top of a mountain, most likely by myself. What if I fell? How long would it take me--I had never run over 2 hours in my life. What if I didn't like it? What if everyone passed me, and left me to finish last? What if I just couldn't do it....then what?? Should I lie down on a rock and wait for vultures to take me away??
 I didn't know, and it scared me.

the elevation map.

I eagerly bounced out of bed early Saturday morning, in a quiet, sunlit house, ate my breakfast while I studied the elevation chart one last time, and headed down to the start.

Shoes laced, chapstick applied, a trip to the bathroom (because heaven forbid I have to use a bush!) and a few quick stretches and I was ready to go. I think.
water. check.
gatorade. check.
gu. check.
watch. check.
ipod--oh wait--I'm not racing with music. that was a first. a nervous first.

Exactly 100 other runners + myself, headed up to the start.
"Any questions??" the race director asked......and....

And they're off! I'm off!

Go slow. Slow. Slow. "Pace yourself"-- I repeated over and over in my head. I have a bad habit of starting much too quickly for my own good, and since I had no idea what was waiting for me over the next bend of the mountain (literally), I forced myself into a comfortable pace that would allow me to save some energy for know, so I wouldn't die, and stuff.

We ran right into the sun. I inhaled. Exhaled. I'M DOING IT!! This was it! I was so happy--I had been staring down this race and talking about it/worrying over it since February. It was finally happening!

We made our way up a fire road, and then took a steep turn to go up. Up up up and into a beautiful meadow that looked straight up at Mt. Timpanogos. A perfectly placed single lane trail right through the middle of the small valley--tall green grass brushing up against my legs and campers gathered around their morning fire, waving at the runners. I took as many notes as I could, wishing I had a little camera on me.

Our first short, steep climbs.
My first walk. 
Well.....I guess it can't really be called just plain old "walking". 
I have never walked in a race--I'm much to hard on myself, but I knew going in that this would be different than a road race.  I knew there would be some hiking involved. I thought my legs would get tired, and I would say, "ok legs, let's take a short walking break". 
What I didn't realize was that there were parts--steep parts--where my legs would 

Impossible to do so. Energy wasted on the up and down motion of running.

It was like instinct took over (are people born with natural trail running instinct? ha! who knows?!) 
I got down low in my [scrawny, very un-mountain-woman] legs and propelled myself up with exaggerated, but much needed, force.

And then back to running.

Another fire road.


Not mud like I was used to running was some kind of mutant cousin, surely mixed with paste. It had rained the entire week--rained and rained and rained, right up until a few hours before the race began. I ran along laughing--by myself--trying to place every step carefully so I didn't take a spill. It slopped and sprayed and reached up, threatening to steal my shoes off my feet. It licked and lapped up the back of my legs, my back, up into my birds-nest hair. The ground was sliding beneath me, and it took every muscle in my body to keep myself upright.

And this went on and on. and on. Around a big bend, some fast fun downhill, and finally! Back to single track. Some more crazy ups followed by sharp downs.

I'm doing it!! 
I kept cheering myself on. Mostly inside, but sometimes as I  would hit the top, and adjust my stride to the downhill pace a "Whooooooooo hooooooo!" escaped my lips. It felt good.

I thought I had a handle on things. I was doing it! Yes it was hard, but all very doable. I don't have a fancy schmancy watch to track my milage, so I had no idea what mile I was at--I was just trying to enjoy all of it.

And then.

dun dun DUUUUN!!!!

The Stairs. 

Yes, there were stairs in this race--let me just warn you, in case you decide to do it. I never thought a staircase would give me so much trouble. Giant railroad ties, packed into the dirt, rising a foot, sometimes more out of the steep, uphill ground. After only a few, my legs were dooooone.

They were screaming at me. I pushed up on the step, as hard as I could--walked to the next, and did it over again. Trying not to look up at how many more there were.

"Why are we DOING this?!!" I heard the man in front of me yell.

I met hikers on their way dowwwwwn, offering encouraging words. 
Down seemed really nice right about now.


I knew I would eventually get to go down. But I had to make it up first.
I continually had to remind myself of my reward that would someday come.

FINAlLY!! The Stairs were over. But the mountain was not.

Oh no.

This is where The Mountain actually began. 
Pushing off my [chicken] legs, pulling myself up an imaginary rope with my arms.

If it leveled out at all--even for ten steps--I forced my legs to run. 
My legs didn't want to run. 
They were jello. 
But I had to shake out the "burn", and I would say this--"shake out the burn".

Keep in mind I had no music on --a race first for me, and no Charly to talk to, so I took up talking to myself.

oh well.

I was guessing I was somewhere around 8 miles-ish. I knew I still had quite a bit of uphill to conquer.

Up up up.

I was feeling things in my legs I have never felt. New muscles were being born at that very moment!

"At that root I will run to that rock"
"At that tree I will run to that tree"

And so it went.

And then I was at the top!!

Oh but I wasn't.

"Does it just go on forever??!" I heard a voice behind me.

It was a moment like this that I had been so afraid of before the race had even started. What if I couldn't do it? If there was ever a time to think that, it was probably now. My legs were burning. 
My buns......OH MY BUNS.

But I knew I could do it. 
I never once doubted. I continued the push and pull. I synchronized my breath with the crunch of the ground beneath me. 
I was so thankful not to have distracting music blaring in my ears.
 I loved taking everything in--with all of my senses.
The mountain was picture perfect. 
The air fresh and clean--not to hot or too cold. 
I could taste salt from my body, and hear myself working to get up. 
Feel every part of my body working--for me.

A bit of a jog to shake out my legs and then back to pushing. The trees started to clear.

Don't celebrate yet. 

Run. Jog. Ouch. Placing each step carefully.

Hike. Hike. Run. Hike.

I made it.
Over the edge, I could see the general (down!) direction where the finish line waited. 
A little over two miles to go. I've got this.

Down down down. My body begged to fly. I tried to slow myself--I had never run down a trail so rocky and steep, and after having come so far I didn't want to end up a pile of twisted limbs crying in the bushes. I made a mental note to myself "practice running downhill", so I'd be ready for next time.

Next time.

I was already planning it.

Down down down I went. Limbs flailing, body tired, but willing to keep going.

My feet hit the fire road--I was almost done.

Down down down. I felt a surge of energy and let it have its way and take me to the end.
Right before I made it to the finish--I saw my family--my kids were cheering! Anyone who's run a race knows that this is the BEST part of it--seeing your little ones cheer you on. I could have continued on for miles with their support.

The race volunteer scanned my number and for the first time I stopped. Legs steady. I juuuuust about tipped over. My legs were jelly, and felt unattached to the rest of my body. 
But they did it. 

I hurried over to celebrate with my family.
First race done.
Relieved. Exhausted. Excited. 
Ready for more. 
Who's with me next time??

Sunday, May 22, 2011

the weekend. in food.

pretty big weekend in food around here. 
why, you ask? wellll.... I had my first big [trail] race of the year! (more on that to come) 
I had to make sure my body was fueled properly before hand, and gorged appropriately afterward.

 I've gotten a lot of questions in the past about what I eat pre-run, so I thought I'd share everything.....hold on tight, pretty exciting stuff here.
*I load up on protein (eggs, beans, lean meats Monday-Wednesday of a race week, and then cut back Thurs and Fri....I've just found that is what works best for me*

Friday, day before race:
Breakfast: Raw Oatmeal w/ strawberries, bananas, and almonds.
Lunch: Giant salad with 2 parts greens, 1 part awesome rosemary garlic bread, (toasted and cubed), radishes, 1/2 avocado, red onion and a simple honey mustard dressing (olive oil, white wine vinegar, dijon, honey, s&p)
Snacks: banana + almond butter, odwalla bar, gatorade
Dinner: pasta w/ marinara, LOTS more bread:), simple salad
lots and lots and lots of water all day

Morning of race (about 2 hours before): whole wheat toast w/ peanut butter and honey. Banana. OJ.
Hour before: Gatorade. Water. A few Sport Beans.
During run: water. gatorade. 2 GUs. Water.
Post run. Water. water. water. water. gatorade.
Let my stomach settle and then have whole wheat toast w/ extra avocado and salt. 
 Super chocolatey milk (in my opinion, the BEST recovery drink you can have:) 
Apple + peanut butter.
Dinner at Lone Star Taqueria for the beeeeeeest fish tacos + rice and beans + coke w/lime.
fish tacos

Sunday was a pretty typical day--whatever we can hurry and eat as we rush out to church (pb toast), our traditional after church snack of cheese and crackers, and and early dinner of soup, salad, and bread.

This soup is called "whatever I got, goes in to the pot." oh! she can rhyme!
I basically dig through the fridge and dump any veggies I have into some chicken stock, let it simmer for a few hours, and VWALLA! soup! perfect for all this crazy rain that is never, ever, ending.

garlic +onion +carrots+celery+sweet potato+green beans+diced tomatoes+collard greens+cannellini beans+chicken stock+oregano, basil, thyme, bay leaves=soup.

And then of course.....dessert. I needed something super rich, and extra indulgent.

I saw this recipe for brownies with peanut butter frosting on Ashley's blog and knew I had to have them.
browned butter browned with peanut butter frosting

Because I am in love with browned butter, I opted to brown the butter in this recipe.
If you like to brown butter too, I encourage you to play around with it a bit. I've learned I like to lightly brown it for use in pasta or veggie dishes, or in vanilla-y breads or cupcakes (like these). But I like to brown it a bit more when adding it to chocolate dishes--I think it makes the chocolate flavor more intense.
browned butter browned with peanut butter frosting

Browned Butter Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting
recipe adapted from Not without Salt

10 TBS butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt

Heat oven to 325°

To brown butter:
Heat pan on medium heat.
Cut butter in to pieces and melt in pan.
Stir continuously. Butter will foam up.
After foam subsides, small brown flecks will start to appear in bottom of pan.
Continue stirring, until butter has reached a nice brown color, and nutty aroma.
When you want to lick the spoon, you know it's ready.
Turn the heat all the way down.

Add sugar to browned butter and stir until well combined.
taste this. it is insane.
Add the cocoa and stir until well combined.
Remove from heat and let it cool down a bit (not cold, not hot, just warm:)
Add the vanilla.
Add the eggs, one at a time.
Continue to stir--the mixture will be thick and shiny.
Add flour and salt and stir until just combined.

Pour batter into a 10" tart pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (You can also bake them in an 8x8 and bake for a few minutes more)

Peanut Butter Frosting
6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) softened butter
¾ cup peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt 
Cream the butter and the peanut butter until combined. Slowly stir in the powdered sugar until completely incorporated. Spread over cooled brownies.

happy eating!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

almond butter!

Lately I've been trying to work more healthy fats into or diets, and call me crazy, but I can only cram so many raw nuts into my mouth. 
But I can spread dreamy almond butter on aannnnyyyyything (which also can be a bit unfortunate). 
mix it in to oatmeal, granola, smoothies....really, it goes with anything.

Here's how to do it:

1. Take almonds (easy enough), any amount you want (stock up at the bulk bins). 
I used 2 cups this time.
2. Roast almonds. Spread out on a pan, and roast at 350° for 10-15 minutes, until a bit darker brown and extra crunchy and have a nice "roasty" flavor. Yes, I'm sure roasty is a word.
3. Place them in to the food processor. Turn on food processor. 
let it go. 
and go. 
and go. 
add a pinch of salt. 
keep going. 
you may have to scrape down the sides every now and then.
going going going. 
Just when you think it's ready--it will be a paste-ish consistency, rolling around in your processor like a ball, let it go a few minutes more. The oils will continue to come out and make it even smoother. 
I have heard of people who swear that it never got smooth enough--but both with this and when I've made peanut butter, I've never had a problem. 
But if, you just can't seem to get it smooth enough, and are still processing after about 15 minutes, add about a tablespoon of coconut oil, just to smooth it out. 
But this came out perfectly all on it's own--you just have to be patient.
4. Taste. 
5. Spoon in to a jar. 
6. Taste.
7. Have little hands make a label for you. 
8. Taste and/or refrigerate 
almondbutter1 copyalmondbutter2 copyalmondbutter3almondbutter4 copyalmond butteralmond butter


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

a love letter, to my tomatoes

if you read this blog at all last summer, you may have noticed that I have a little "thing" for My Garden Tomatoes (so much so, that they are capitalized when written about, apparently). Weeks would go by and I would realize that I had taken more photos them, than my own two children.....whoops. So I find it appropriate that I write them a little lover letter.

from last summer.....
garden tomatoes....

Dear My Garden Tomatoes,

you arrived sometime late last June.
We had been waiting.
The first few of you that came were sliced, and rationed out evenly among us....we had been deprived of your sweetness for far too long.
But it wasn't long before you were weighing down the vines that held you, begging to be picked.
The boy and girl would sit outside and eat you, still warm from the sun.
We smashed you into salsas, sliced you on to pizzas, and ate you with just about every meal, all hours of the day.
And then October came. You had to go.
I tried to convince you to stay just a little bit more, but deep down I knew it was your time.
I stood out there with you in chilly air, and made a promise.
"I vow to never buy a tomato from the store", I said (although maybe I didn't actually say VOW, because who talks like that?)
But I promised you--I would await your return the next summer. 
I knew that store "tomatoes" were not "tomatoes" at all--
their orange crunchy disguise couldn't fool me.
We had spent the last few weeks of summer drying you in the oven to save for the winter months.
We gathered all of your green brothers and sisters off the vines to keep in the basement, and slowly ripen over the following weeks.
We would be ok for a few months I told myself.
Winter came.
We enjoyed basement ripened (doesn't really have a charming sound, does it?), tomatoes that lasted us until December--we used that last few for salsa to go with our Christmas breakfast.
From there we moved on to dried tomatoes.
On sandwiches, pizza, pasta--you name it.
We were content.
My mind started telling me I needed a BLT.
But I wouldn't. I couldn't!! NEVER.
I could wait it out until June.

So, My Dear Garden Tomatoes,
what I'm trying to say.....
is that.....
I caved.
I broke my promise to you.
I should have tried to wait it out--just a few more weeks really, but the bacon convinced me to do it.
Now don't worry--those tiny tomatoes weren't even that great--I ate them without thinking twice.
But boy did they make my sandwich tastey......
I'm so sorry, I hope you understand.
We did use greens from the garden, if that makes you feel any better.
Please hurry up and get here, so I don't have to do it again.

all my love,
blt copy
On of my favorite post-run meals:

whole wheat bread, toasted
a bit of mayo
lots of avocado
1 piece of (nitrate free!) bacon
your favorite greens


Monday, May 16, 2011

a sunday stroll.....

we spent the weekend cooped up inside with colds.....
listening to the thunderstorms while we slept, 
and spending our awake time thinking about more sleeping (or maybe that was just me).
so what we needed come sunday evening was some fresh air from the great outdoors.
their little legs ran and ran and ran and ran,
scooped up flowers and sticks and rocks,
dirtied their hands and faces.....
....and then we all came home and crashed again. 
well worth it.
runstars2kidshilltulip1bridge copy
the end.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

my journey to namaste

We are going to go back here.
Way way, wayway back.

I grew up very much a tomboy. My best-of-friends when I was little were my two boy cousins that lived right down the street. I learned to throw a football, climb a tree, and hit a bike jump (or fly over the handle bars) as good as the rest of them.
I played sports just for fun, and for community and school teams.
I ended up playing competitive softball for 8 years and basketball for 10.

Senior year. We won the school's first girls basketball trophy in years. 
let's not talk about my hair. or lets do.
I have always enjoyed physical activity of all kinds, and always did something for fun--until (as we read about a few months ago), there came the time in my life where I needed to do something for actual exercise...not just "for fun".

While I was never a "runner", it seemed as the easiest form of exercise to start up, so I did.
And that was that.

I remember the first time I gave any thought to yoga. 
And I thought it was a joke! 
It was 2003 and I was working at Sam Goody in Rexburg Idaho, while Robby and I went to school. One of my favorite parts of the job, was always having new magazines to look through (I am a magazine addict!!) It was during a phase of my life where I paid too much attention to celebrities and their business, and it was when Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt were queen and king of my little celebrity world.

I read an article about how Jennifer (can I call her that, like we are friends?) kept in such perfect shape and she claimed it was all thanks to yoga.


Here I'd been pounding my body on the pavement for years, throwing every ball I could get my hands on, and looking for every way I could to drip with sweat....and I was nowhere close to looking like she must be a big (non)fat liar. I most definitely shut the magazine and laughed. 
There was no way that simple "stretches" and chanting spells (so maybe I was still confused about what yoga was) could be that beneficial.

Over the next few years I heard more and more about yoga--all the promises, benefits, and magical powers it could give you. hoopla! Save it for the hippies.

Running was all I needed, I was sure of it.

silly girl. 

About three and half years ago, I decided to step in to a yoga class at our gym. Why not? I knew the teacher, and bonus--it was dark!! No one could see me making a fool of myself, while most definitely not getting a workout. I had to know what all this crazy talk was about.

note: not me.
Picture 17

It was a fusion class--yoga, pilates, and thai chi all mushed together and choreographed to an awesome playlist. I left without loving it or hating it....but for some reason I went back. 
It might have actually been for the music.

But week after week, I found myself back, still not believing that it could do much for me, but still there. For the most part just going through the motions, not really getting it, but doing it anyway.

inhale, exhale, yeah yeah yeah.

But there I was, again and again. 
After about a year of this, something just clicked. 
I actually started to feel the poses, instead of just doing them. 
I dripped a few drops of sweat onto my mat, and woke up the next morning sore.

I started to crave this class--and I'd make sure to work my schedule around it. I needed it each week.

Another year went by of just this class, and while I enjoyed it very much, I needed more. 
I needed to be challenged, both physically and mentally.

I started going to Abbey's other yoga class. I'd heard it was hard. Crazy hard. But I had to try.

hahaha for sure not me.
Picture 15
It was hard.

Bending and twisting every this way and that. 
How are these things possible?? What is she doing? What is she doing?
Why is everyone breathing so loud and whos feet stink??

All of these crazy thoughts......
....yet I was drip drip dropping sweat into my eyes and flooding my mat below.

I loved it. 

How did it happen?

There's really no way to explain it--but if you've been there, you know. 

Yoga is more than silly poses and magic spells (ok, there are no magic spells, darn). 

Without totally getting cheese all over you as you read this, it teaches you about yourself. 

How strong you are. It makes you pay attention. At first just in class--each pose--how you feel and how much you hate it. How happy you are when you finally get it. 

But then you start to pay attention more in other areas of your life as well.

My running has changed. How I run. How I breathe. I breathe. 
I feel so much stronger--I am stronger. For the first time in my life, I have a muscle! (confetti drop!)

And the more I do it, the more I can listen to and actually hear what my body needs.
And mostly, my body needs more yoga.

My challenge to you this week, is a bit harder than in weeks past. I don't think that there are many people who can just jump right in to yoga and enjoy it from day one (give it time!), but I really believe that it can benefit everyone! No matter your age, shape, or size. (just ask this lady)

If yoga is something you've been wondering about anyway, here's my little push for you to try it out.

If you think it's for deodorant-less hippies, believe me when I tell you it's not. It's for you too. (deodorant optional)

The first thing you need to do is find a teacher that you will mesh well with. 
Had my first experience been with a teacher who had me start out with crazy breathing and energy talk I would have been outta there! That's just not me--I needed someone who didn't take themselves too seriously. So explore your options. 
Second, don't give up. It will take time--it took years to finally click with me. 

And just know it's hard--but it's hard for everyone. 
The best part is learning to deal with the hard.

When you really throw yourself into it, it will wring you out, in the best of best ways possible.


ps come over and discuss your favorite and least  favorite poses on the facebook page!
pps. blogger temporarily deleted this post, and when it reposted all of your thoughtful comments were sorry! I loved reading all your thoughts on yoga though--thank you for sharing!

Friday, May 13, 2011

friday senses

first harvest.greenslettuce1 copysupper...

Harvesting: radishes. they are tiny baby radishes, but needed to come out to give the others room to grow, and we ate them happily.
We also had our first home grown salad of mixed greens and spinach, and it was awwwwwwesome. 
We assume that stuff we buy at the store labeled "lettuce", or "salad greens", is actually "lettuce" or "salad greens", but let me tell you….they've been fooling us! 
When grown in your own backyard dirt, the stuff actually TASTES, and needs very little to accompany it. 
We ate our greens with our radishes, a bit of parmesan cheese, a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of lemon, S&P.

plant your own: sprinkle lettuce seeds in dirt, sprinkle a bit of dirt over the top, add water and sunshine, and in a few weeks you'll have your own salad!

also eating: whole wheat spaghetti, tossed with olive oil, garlic, parm cheese, sundered tomatoes from last years garden, and chives and basil from the window.

Running: up the mountain.
Seeing: spring is finally hitting the mountain top! lots of snow melt and new buds on the trees.
Smelling: myself. whew! getting my last few workouts in before next weeks race.
Feeling: cold. warm. coldish warmish coldy warm. spring is weird.
Tasting: hot chocolate….but just at the beginning of the week when it was freezing.
Reading: after pacing and pacing myself, I finally allowed myself to finish The Book Thief. loooooooved it. Read it. soon.
Watching: Parks and Rec. I think this is my answer every time….but man that show is funny.
Anticipating: only a few more weeks of school!!! aaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!!!

feel free to play along in the comments!

Happy Weekend!

blogger has been crazy and my yoga post has disappeared (temporarily??) hopefully it will be back soon? I loved hearing your own yoga thoughts:)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

whole wheat strawberry pancakes

Thanks so much for all your awesome breakfast comments last week--
I love hearing what everyone eats! 
(see them here)

Here is another idea that is quick and simple, made with whole wheat, and perfect for strawberries that are coming into season. (we like them for dinner, and save the leftovers for breakfast:)
whole wheat strawberry pancakes

Whole Wheat Strawberry Pancakes 
( I usually double the batch so we have lots of extras for quick breakfasts)

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/8 cup ground flax seed
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups milk + 1TBS vinegar (as a substitute for buttermilk, which I never have on hand)
3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled, plus more for griddle
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups diced strawberries mixed with a bit of honey

Pure maple syrup, for serving

Whisk together flour, cornmeal, flax seed, sugar, the baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk together milk, butter, and egg. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined (mixture will be lumpy).

Preheat oven to 200 degrees (this is just to keep pancakes warm until the rest are done cooking)

Heat a griddle or large nonstick skillet to 350°F. Brush griddle with melted butter. Spoon batter onto griddle 1/3 cup at a time. Sprinkle with diced strawberries. 
Cook until edges are set, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip, and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter and strawberries, adding more butter to griddle and keeping prepared pancakes warm on a baking sheet in the oven.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Seedling Design Winner!

The winner of the Seedling Design gift card is Stephchows!!! (proof that tweeting a giveaway really does help:)!

Picture 12Picture 13

It's just about farmer's market season (or if you're lucky, it already is), so for those that didn't win, pick yourself up a market bag so you're ready!
Picture 14


my littles, ventura, summer 2010
We have had a weird week, which is really the only way to say it.
My thoughts coming in are getting tangled with those going out,
and time seems to crawl and then speed up without any advance notice.
My emotions have been hilariously roller coaster-ish,
 and I've eaten some reeeealllllly weird things, 
mostly schmeared, sprinkled, or frosted with some kind of chocolate. 

I was greeted this morning with little notes and scribbles placed on my pillow, and four wide eyes and matching grins IN-MY-FACE, anxiously awaiting my slow departure from dreamland. 

Hand drawn MEs (with giant yellow hair), and little "I love you mommy"s carefully written out in their favorite colors. 

Instantly, I was feeling better. 

With just a little reminder--so simple and drawn in crayon--
I am a mother
Better yet, I am THEIR mother. 
What did I do to deserve them? 
Given these two little balls of clay to shape and mold and help them learn and grow. 
(but thank goodness I am better at baby-growing than I am at sculpting!) 

 A perfect reminder to me, that all that matters is everything that I have--
my little stick figure family. 
My littles that see me so simply with yellow curls and large moles. 
A husband that knows exactly how to make me laugh (and can also draw a pretty mean stick figure)

So we have slowed down a bit. 
A few more games and extra snuggling at bedtime.
More I love yous--to family! friends! strangers!
 And most likely a future phone bill with 
waaaaaaay too many texts.
I feel so hip.

Sometimes I laugh and get so embarrassed that YOU come spend time HERE to read all my silly thoughts. 
I am really a big dork, I assure you. 

But as long as I have you here--I hope that today you will really listen. 
It's a brand new week--and I know you are busy with your lists and schedules and scheduled lists. 
But if you could just do me a tiny favor..... and slow down just a bit--just a teeny little bit.
Tell someone you love them.
Take time to really notice what is around you and what matters most. 

It feels really good, I promise.