Saturday, May 6, 2017

Pain in the Back

The past two weeks I've been trying to get over a back injury. Well, more like a back tweak. I haven't been able to do much more than just get myself ready in the morning. Thankful I have a loving husband that made sure our house was in order and who plugged in my heating pad for me. Needless to say I am now super far behind on my garden! All those plants from the nursery, all those seedlings I grew, and all those dahlia tubers I divided are still waiting to be put into the ground! It's totally stressing me out, but the good news is that nature is behind this year as well. I am comforted by this quote:

"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished"

So, I'm not going to hurry and risk hurting myself. I'm going to try to let some stuff go and just slow down. All of the things that are supposed to get done will get done eventually. It's not about my time, it's about God's timing and right now I'm apparently supposed to slow down.

How about a few little book reviews! I'm not sure if this is fair, but I'm going to review the sequel even though I never reviewed the first book.

After You- Jojo Moyes
It was painful getting through the second book. The cliches, the awkward story, and the forced relationships. I mean there was no part of me that believed these characters. Lou was the root of all her problems. Any connection I felt with her in the first book was nowhere to be found in the second. Basically, don't waste your time with this forced sequel.
Today Will Be Different - Maria Semple

After you is the sequel to... wait for it... Before you. They both take place in England and are about a woman named Lou. I don't really want to go into too much detail here because it would be spoiler alert city, but there were some controversial themes in the first book. I enjoyed parts of it well enough that I picked up the second book to see where they would go with the story.

Lately I have been giving myself some grace about finishing books that I'm not enjoying, but there have been a few sequels lately that I've just pushed through and Today Will Be Different is another one of those. Although it isn't technically a sequel, it takes place in the same world as Semple's other novel, Where'd You Go Bernadette? There is a moment where one of the characters recalls meeting Bernadette, and all of the readers rejoiced! Mostly because Where'd You Go Bernadette? had characters who were funny and enduring. 

I felt like through most of Today Will Be Different, Semple was trying to capture some of the magic from her other novel. The main characters share many of the same traits but they fall flat in this second attempt. They are neurotic and amusing, but never enduring. It was almost like the main character, Eleanor, knew how intolerable she was and just couldn't help herself. If you spend most of a book cringing instead of rooting for the main character, you have another book worth skipping.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Grow Grow Grow!

Prepare yourself for a lot of photos of dirt and small plants! In an effort to keep my gardening costs down a little bit this year, I decided I would give growing seeds another shot. This is something I've tried in the past with mixed results. But this year, I am all in. 

I chose a mix of flowers and veggies seeds, got a little seed starting kit, and some soil.

Alyssum, Zinnia, Columbine, Lupine, Sweet Pea, Poppy, Zucchini, Tomato, Beans

I covered them with the plastic lid and placed them in my guest room with the curtain open. The plastic lid was key. It created a little greenhouse effect.... the good kind.

In just a few days there were little seedlings sprouting from almost every spot!
I had no luck with the Columbine. Maybe they were dud seeds?

These guys were magical to watch burst out of the soil.

Their first day outside!

I had so much fun with the first batch, I decided to start another batch with the leftover seeds and some found objects! It worked too!

Now I just need to figure out where I want these guys to go! They are ready for the ground.
I have a few places in mind for my little farm, but I'm a little undecided. The weather lately has been so weird! Usually I'd be digging up my winter garden (daffodils, bluebells, etc.) but everything is a month late! It feels wrong to dig up flowers that are still blooming or haven't started blooming yet. If I don't get some of these seedlings and my dahlias in the ground soon I won't have blooms this summer when I want them! We are probably past the last freeze, but I'm going to wait one more week before I really get planting. Maybe I'll start another batch of seedlings this week to keep me busy!

Monday, January 9, 2017

2016 in Review.

2017. 2017. 2017. 2017. Sorry... I'm trying to get used to typing it. I feel like I just got used to 2016 and now it's history. And WOW! What a history 2016 made. For so many people all I heard was how hard/miserable/sad 2016 was. I'll admit that I'm inclined to see 2016 through the lens of those people. There were some hard moments. Some times when I was sick/tired/miserable but I have to admit that there were some other moments that were just out of this world. So those are the moments I'll hold on to when I look back at 2016. So here is a little year in review. Pretty much just the highlights.
When your husband tells you the weather report and tells you to pack your bags for your birthday, you get pretty excited!

When you end up at the Happiest Place on Earth... 
You pretty much can't smile any bigger.

Did I mention that it was my 30th birthday?! It was basically the best day ever. Somehow the park wasn't too overcrowded and we had such a blast! I felt like a princess and people were even calling me princess! 

When we got home I was able to celebrate with friends and family as well. It was a great party, but the highlight was absolutely when everyone sang me happy birthday. I don't think that it was recorded, but to me it sounded like the most harmonious version ever sang by a bunch of people who can't carry a tune!

I reorganized my living room into a dream reading room!
I planted these...
And they turned into these!
We spent time in Yakima with my oldest brother, Marcus and his wife, Tamara! We tasted delicious food, drank delicious wine, and played Trivial Pursuit!

I had probably my best crop of tomatoes ever and...
Holy smokes! Raspberries! Which made delicious jam!

No Hawaii for 2016, instead we spent a week in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Caught some sun, saw one of the wonders of the world, and watched one of my besties, Nicole get hitched.
At least once a year I like to go out camping with my family. This year it was at our family friends' property. I got my fix of s'mores, ladder golf, and spike ball.

In September we got the chance to go back down to Southern California for my college roommate, Jenna's wedding. Seriously, 2016 can not possibly be that bad. We went to Disneyland twice. TWICE! I mean no joke, multiple days in 2016 were spent in Disneyland. I have nothing to complain about ever. (Also, best husband ever, right?!)
Our traveling wasn't done for the year though... In October we hopped on a plane (well... many planes)
for Uganda and Malawi. Pictured here is Peter. The little boy my parents sponsor. He was so sweet and adorable!
I've been working at Children of the Nations (COTN) now for a little over a year. Traveling this time to Africa was so different from our trip in 2013. Not only was it planned so much better, but I felt so much more invested in the stories of these children and students.

Each time I've been in Africa (twice now) I'm amazed at how close I feel to God there. In a place that has seen so much pain and suffering the way that the people worship and the stories they tell, it's so obvious that God is moving there.

In the last two months of the year, Brian got the flu and I got something pretty close to the flu, so everything was kind of a blur. We enjoyed as much of the season and family as we possibly could though!

So yeah, maybe everyone should do a quick look back on 2016. Try not to pay attention to politics or things that happened outside of what you can control. Life is pretty amazing in those little moment and a year shouldn't just be judged by the headlines.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Year of...

According to the Chinese calendar, I was born in the year of the lion.  I'm not really sure what that means, but it sure does sound ferocious. So I guess I like that. I could look up what 2017 is supposed to be... but I'd rather just give it a fun name! 

2017 the year of the daffodil. 
The daffodils I bought in 2016 bloomed in 2017!

Doesn't sound ferocious does it? That's OK though, daffodils may not be ferocious, but they sure are determined. Their bulbs get planted in the fall. They spend the entire freezing cold, wet, and miserable winter in the ground. The whole time they are just waiting for the right time. The right time to make their way above ground and bloom. They are determined to make it through whatever is happening around them and in the end they bloom with a bright hopeful flower. Daffodils are one of the first signs of spring, and to me that means they are flower of hope for the future. So yeah... not ferocious... but I'd take determined any day.
2017 Resolutions
#2: After spending much of the last month of 2016 with a terrible cold, I'm needing all the extra vitamin c I can get! So far I'm knocking this one out of the park. Every day of 2017 I've had an orange. 
#3: I miss running. My knee is still holding me back from it, but I can still get moving and history has taught me that the best way to get motivated to get moving is to sign up for a race! I've already had a few friends volunteer to join me too! I may be walking, but it's something!
#4: Now that I'm working a schedule that is pretty much 9-5 (and not at a restaurant), I really need to plan my meals our ahead of time.
#5: Why do I need to check my phone every ten minutes? The answer is that I don't. So, baby steps with this one, but I deleted the Facebook app from my phone a few days ago. So far it's been pretty freeing! 

#1: Read at least one book a month.
#2: Eat more oranges.
#3: Walk or run a race.
#4: Meal plan.
#5: Be on my phone less.

#1:I was pretty horrified when I was trying to remember back to how many books I had read in 2016. Seven.  I haven't kept a list any where so it could have been a few more, but probably not even ten. The past couple of years I've been slowly slacking on reading but this is such a low for me. I'm really hoping that I not only reach my goal of 12, but that I surpass it.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Looking at Resolutions.

There must be something about January.... Something about this month that makes me want a fresh start. Something that makes me want to get moving, get creative, and get stuff done. I've noticed that as I get further into the year I get a little worn down and my energy and awareness for these things starts to lag. A few things that this obviously manifests itself in are my blogging and my reading. So as with every January for the past 6 years I'm going to give it another go. 

With blogging, with reading, and with the resolutions that started it all. 

Looking back on the past couple of years worth of new year's resolutions, I mostly see success. Where I maybe didn't reach my goal, I still made an effort and something about me was improved by challenging myself. 

Let's take a quick look back.

#1 is: Be Fearless....No matter what, don't be afraid to do anything that makes me happy.
#2 is: Travel more
#3 is: Read 100 books
#4 is: Drink more water
#1: Give more
#2: Read with meaning
#3: Take more photos and learn more about photography
#4: Run a half-marathon
#5: Eat clean

#2: Make chores a priority
#3: Save Money
#4: Eat out less often
#1: Run for fun. Don't get injured. Run another half-marathon.
#2: Read for fun.
#3: Show more love. 
#4: Plan a trip somewhere I've never been.
#1: Read 30 books.
#2: Stretch.
#3: Sign up for a race.
#4: Blog at least once a week.

It's probably hard out in blogland because you didn't know me before 2010, but I can tell you that working on these resolutions made me a more healthy, thoughtful, and adventurous person. When I began blogging I was probably drinking around five Diet Dr. Peppers a day (minimum), I wasn't exercising, and I ate microwaved dinners regularly.

No I didn't succeed at them all. I didn't end up reading 100 books in 2010, but I did read 73 books and that's pretty much incredible if I do say so myself. I did run a half-marathon in 2011! I actually ran two, then ran another in 2012! I've traveled to many new countries (and continents) and I've greatly improved my eating and water drinking habits (No more diet soda and I don't even own a microwave any more).

Looking back at these resolutions makes me excited about what the future will bring. Maybe in a few years I'll look back on this blog post and be amazed at how far I've come. 

Daisies on the last day of 2016
The last few days of 2016 I spent cleaning my house and getting my fridge full of food. I love waking up in the new year to a clean house and a healthy meal. It's like the ultimate reset. All the dirt is gone and I'm ready to start fresh. I couldn't pass up these daisies at the grocery store. Not quite ready to bloom in 2016, but watch out 2017!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


January is a month that I usually can't stand. I've even been known to say it's my least favorite month. So much so that if I can, I try to get away to someplace warm.
This photo is of my family in Maui for the NFC championship last year. 
This was how we spent this year.... Much colder, but equally as happy with a Seahawk win!

The end of 2014 was such a whirlwind between getting married, going on our honeymoon, fixing up the house, and the holidays. I'll be honest, it was exhausting. Wonderfully so, but still exhausting. It felt like I couldn't catch up. So this year, the lack of events and dreary winter weather are actually a welcome relief. I feel like I've finally been able to catch my breath and settle into my new life. 

Today is the 27th of January and I have not read a book this month. This is probably the first January that has happened since I graduated from college. Part of the problem is that I haven't been inspired by some of the books I've been picking up. So I've decided to pick up a book that I read a few years ago that was one of my favorite, The Alchemist. I believe that when a book comes to you at the right time it can capture and inspire you. If a book comes to you at the wrong time in your life then you probably think the book wasn't any good. I know a lot of people ( my husband included) who didn't enjoy reading The Alchemist. Maybe it didn't come to them at the right time in their lives, or wasn't their preferred genre, but I want to see if I still love it as much as I did the first time I opened its pages. I'm thinking about spending the next few days speed reading so I can finish before the 31st..... 

This month I've gotten the chance to do one of my favorite things.... Bake! Banana bread, pumpkin cookies, and pecan chocolate chip cookies!

Pecans are delicious. Chocolate chip cookies are delicious. Put them together and happiness and joy collide. This recipe is from my Grandma Pryde. 

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pecans
2 cups shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon water
4 eggs
5 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
12 ounces chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In a large mixing bowl cream together shortening and sugars. Mix in vanilla, water and eggs. In a separate bowl sift together dry ingredients. Slowly mix dry ingredients with eggs mixture. Stir in chocolate chips, then add the pecans. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper ( this is my preference for almost every cookie I bake, it makes cleanup way easier) scoop spoonfuls of dough. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

These cookies are super easy and oh so yummy! 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Oatmeal Inspiration.

I'm back to my whipped oatmeal days this morning. It was yummy, warm, and satisfying. It also reminded me of when I was just starting this blog. 

Lately I have been thinking a lot about how much I miss writing here. There was a time when I was writing everyday and was inspired to try new things and read more books. 2014 was the biggest year of my life (Seahawks won the Super Bowl, went to Hawaii twice, got engaged, bought a house, got married, went on my honeymoon) and I only blogged about it through March. I like to look back and see the pictures and read about what was going on in my mind at any given point, to see who I was and what I was feeling. I wish I had that for this past year.

I also like to share my goals and resolutions. When I was actively writing about them, I was actively pursuing them. 

Challenging my mind to create coherent sentences within meaningful paragraphs will be another benefit of blogging again. Where I work it's more important to have a good smile than it is to sound intelligent so having an outlet like this is important. 

I'm not sure if I'll start taking photos of everything I eat again or if I'll resolve to read a certain number of books, but I think for now I'll stick to thinking about being my best possible self and sharing it with you.

So for now I'll leave you with a photo of my yummy breakfast....