Thursday, August 17, 2017

0-200 Challenge

I'm not sure what possessed me to do this, but I decided to do a 0-200 challenge. What's that? I'll tell you what it is!

It's a simple work-out. I mean really simple. I downloaded 3 apps. Each of them is a different workout. I got pushups (which is only 0-100, thank heaven!), sit-ups, and squats. The app takes you through each day's workout, including resting intervals. All you do is pick whichever day you're on, and follow the directions. Super easy (the app, not the pushups...).

This is the app logo for the pushups:

Kid you not, I picked these apps because of the logos (they're all similar). I judge apps by their covers... This was a good choice though. Seriously.

The apps want you to work out each day until you are able to accomplish the entire 200 (or 100). I am not doing that. There is no way on this earth that I would be able to do sit-ups, pushups, and squats. Guys, I can barely do pushups as it is, and that's probably only because I have to tote M around in his carseat (that kid is HEAVY!). Instead, I am doing them one each day. This means it's going to take me 3 times longer, but I am more than okay with that. Slow and steady wins the race.

I am not a fan of workout blogs or fitness journals. That is a lifestyle I will never fit into. I am a huge fan of relaxing walks and couch cuddles. I'm going to keep posting about this challenge, but realize it's going to be an average mom's experience. That means I will likely curse the sky with every sit-up, and fall over after 15 squats, but I'll let you know about those. Don't expect to see a peppy "I feel great!" in my posts...honestly I'm going to have jello legs and a headache. Again, I don't know what possessed me to do this. No one even asked. But now that I have started, I have to finish cuz I ain't no quittah!

I've done each exercise once (so I've been doing this for three days). Here is a picture of that result:

Pretty dang good for having had M 4 months ago! (This is the most I've ever weighed without a baby in there, and I love it! I am not doing this to lose weight. Honestly, I love my weight, my body, and my jello legs.)

Don't let that smile fool you, though. I did the squats today at work (great desk exercise) and then walked 100 miles around the junior high helping C and B find their classes (16 teachers...16...parent teacher conferences will be fun...). My abs still ache from sit-ups, and my arms hurt from pushups (or from carrying M, it's tough to tell which is harder). Through these aches, I'll find the joy. Hopefully you can find it with me!

If you want to do the challenge with me, let me know so I can shoot you support emails/texts (because everyone needs a good gif to keep them going).

Wish me luck, guys! And if you see me wobbling down the street, you'll know it was squats day.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Recipe Review: Sausage and Cabbage

If you want to just snag the recipe, jump to the bottom.

A little bit ago, I got the "Irish Cooking Bible" as a gift. I honestly couldn't tell you if this is legit Irish food or not, but so far it's been good!

Tonight I made Smoked Sausage and Cabbage (page 72 if you have the book).

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but not what came out. It was bitter, sweet, and savory all at once. The cabbage was slightly bitter. I used sweet onions so, obviously, they were sweeter than the cabbage. For sausage, I couldn't find smoked sausage, so I used an Irish sausage from Johnsonville.

The directions are really simple. It would have been really hard to mess this up.

Step one was to cut the sausage and brown them in a pan. So I did, like so:

Mind you, this was before they were browned.

I honestly have never cut a sausage before in my life. They're a little icky. The weird wrapper thing that holds the squished stuff together...ew. Super tasty, but ew.

I also have never cut cabbage. It said to cut it coarsely, so I left it big. I also got a little carried away:

That is definitely more than 6 cups. My bad. The amount of cabbage wasn't a huge problem. It was the size of my skillet that was a problem:

 I need a bigger skillet.

So these are the only steps. Cut and brown sausage. Cut and brown the cabbage and onions. No big deal.

After everything is thrown together, the book says it should look like this:

Mine turned out a little less photogenic: 

The towel looks amazing, the food looks less colorful. I realize they don't typically photograph actual food cooked the way it says it is, but I like to pretend it's attainable by following the recipe. 

Finally, we ate it. It wasn't bad. It's not something I could eat every day. I would get a little...bored...with it. Maybe if I had other things with it, like potatoes or something. Next time. 

Richi loved it. He ate a lot of it. His review: 

"The only thing I would change is the sausage. I would add more sausage!" 

There you have it! It's a very simple meal. Took less than ten minutes to make (not including my fight with the cabbage). Super nice for a weeknight like tonight. I'll probably make it again. Not right away, but maybe later in the fall.

K, now for the recipe:

1 lb smoked sausage, cut into 2-in. pieces (more sausage is probably better)
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 cups coarsely chopped cabbage (more cabbage requires more space, just fyi)
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
3/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp caraway seeds
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Cook the sausage in a large skillet (they mean large) until browned. Remove sausage to a plate.

2. Heat the oil in the same skillet (get all that sausagey goodness leftover). Cook the remaining ingredients in the skillet until the onion is brown.

3. Add the sausage back. Cook covered for 5 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before eating.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

An Unofficial Guide to Family History: Build a Foundation for the Future

It's been a long while since I posted about family history. I'm sorry. I said before that I will be posting as I am working, and right now I have been hitting dead ends.

One thing, though, that is often overlooked in family history is the future. It makes sense because it isn't called family future. Something that is very important, though, is record keeping.

You can browse family history documents, like censuses and marriage licenses. That's not what I mean though. I mean journals, photos, etc.

One of the most important things I have received while working on family history is a book of poems by a great-grandma.

I've never read a poem that touched me nearly as much as this.

I've also gotten the opportunity to help my grandma mount her travel photos, which comes with stories of the places she has visited. After an afternoon of mounting, I cannot stop smiling.

Photos, personal writings, they are what bring your ancestors to life again in a way official documents can't.

What does that have to do with the future? Well sometime, you will become the past. You are laying a foundation for the future. Someday, your descendants will want to know who you were, not just where you lived. It's important you start building that foundation.

But writing in a journal can be really hard to maintain. I understand. There are many ways you can keep a journal, though. You don't need to write down the events of each day in order to keep a good journal. In fact, sometimes less is more.

It's easy for me to sit here and tell you to write in your journal. After all, I write in mine. From ages 8-16, I wrote in my journal daily. While that is great, it isn't necessary (especially if you ever have to move, journals weigh a ton). You only need to write what matters most to you. Did you see something amazing? Did you hear a song that made you smile? Did you talk to someone who touched you?

Sometimes we aren't good with words. That's alright. I have a journal that I fill with words, but then I also have what I call my adventure journal. Instead of loading it with words, I load it with items from "adventures" I have. Then I jot a quick sentence about what I loved, or hated, about the experience. There are a lot of movie tickets and playbills in there. My descendants will know how much we enjoyed entertainment.

Here, this is what my adventure journal looks like:

As you can see, it's just a blue book (bonus, it's the "Diary of River Song" if you watch Dr. Who). The pages inside are just blank, not lined, nothing fancy.

Then I use acid free mounting tape to attach the items. When it comes to tickets, I tape them on one side so they can "open" up like a small door. Underneath I write what I enjoyed.

These definitely aren't "pinterest" worthy photos. My journal is far from those beautiful creations people post online. But that's alright. A journal is personal. If you want a fancy journal, with beautiful handwriting, then do it! If you don't care, then don't sweat it. The most important aspect of journaling is the information. It's meant to be a preservation of your memories, not a showpiece for the world.

Right now, you are living in what will be considered the past. You are making memories that will mean the world to someone who isn't even born yet. If I had a journal of the lives of my great-great-grandmas, I would be in heaven. I am here because of "average" people living their lives. I am here because one day someone probably took a road trip that changed their life, or maybe they met a funny stranger. Who knows! One day, your descendants will thank you for taking the time to jot down "I really hated that Justin Bieber song". Give them a chance to get to know you. Let your memories survive the eternities. Write in a journal.

P.S. I started writing this post in September of 2016, and finished in August 2017. Just in case the first and second halves seem disconnected.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Longer Time, No See

Last time I posted, I had every intention of writing often, I thought maybe I'd make some profound statements about marriage. Maybe I'd give expert advice for other first time moms. Instead I neglected my blog and lived my life.

I could attempt to fill you in on every little detail of the past year, but let's be serious. I don't even remember what happened yesterday. Life zooms by so quickly that everything blurs together like riding a train in the rain (near a plane with your friend Jermaine). Unlike a train in the rain, though, life doesn't stop to let you off. Instead you have to enjoy the ride, jot down the important details, and relax.

That's what we've done this year. We've grabbed the memories we can with pictures and journal entries. We've relaxed together after long days and weeks. We've enjoyed every tiring second of every exhausting day

The trite phrase "they grow up so quickly" is often said sadly, as if to say watching the baby grow isn't amazing. M is growing quickly. Amazingly quick. But that's the fun! Every day he learns something knew. He astounds us with his talents. His smile and laugh melt our hearts (he thinks he's hilarious). Every day we get to cuddle him, help him, guide him, and love him. It's incredible to watch him experience life.

That sounds like we know we won't have him long. As if he was born with an illness that could take him at any minute. That's not the case. There are many, many families out there riding that train. That is not our train. We got lucky. M was born 5 weeks early, but never saw the NICU. He was placed in my arms when they pulled him out (well, as much as he could have been with me so medicated), and we got to come home the same day I did. I wouldn't trade that for the world, but I also don't plan on taking these moments for granted. I don't know what the world holds for M or our family, but for now we are enjoying every small moment.

Speaking of moments, here's the one I am enjoying right now:

Night time is one of my favorite times. Mostly because I am a huge fan of sleep, but also because he talks in his sleep. He coos and giggles. I don't know what angels dream about, but I bet it's marvelous.

I am not promising I'll be back, but you might just see a little more of me around. (And if you don't re-read this post, because it's likely nothing will have changed.)