Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Does It Work Wednesday?

A local TV station has a weekly segment called "Does It Work Wednesday?" They test products to see if the advertising claims are true - typically infomercial goods.


So when Leah pulled out Barb's new "Eggies" this weekend (let me assure, no laughter was had at the thought of Barb buying these!), I knew I had to document the process. In case you're like me and have never heard of "Eggies"...



So we opened the box and puzzled over the pieces - four per eggie.



We had to actually read the directions...


...but we eventually got them put together.


Then it was time to crack the eggs right into the eggie. This step didn't go quite as smoothly as on the ad.


But once we decided to crack them into a measuring cup first, then pour into the eggie, things went a little more smoothly.


Then it was into the pot!


And when we pulled them out?! Some were just fine, others were not quite cooked. The whites looked really spongy, which is not exactly how they should look. BUT, we sure didn't have to peel a single one. So if that's what you're looking for, here you go!



So does it work? Well... it's debatable. I'd say... keep your $10 and do it the old-fashioned way. They're not really that hard to peel, are they?!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

best

I just had the best run of the year.

I didn't run particularly far. I actually turned around early.

I didn't run particularly fast. It was actually slower than yesterday.

But on my run this morning, I got caught.

in the rain!

Let me explain. I've been running since May, four to six days a week, in the morning. And only once - all summer long - did rain prevent me from running during my desired time.

So this morning, when the heavens opened, I smiled. As raindrops soaked my shirt and shorts and shoes, I celebrated. It felt so good.

I got home right when Brad was getting up. He just looked at me. For some reason he wouldn't give me a hug.

So this, even if it's only a brief shower, is desperately needed and refreshingly welcome. At least to me. Jazzy, not so much.

Monday, August 29, 2011

"stay"

I have to admit that I said Jasmine would not come inside, except for maybe in the kitchen (only the easy-to-clean tile kitchen) in extreme weather. Yes, I did say that she might do that. Stop it with the selective memory. Because the garage is full of things she could get into, and we've all heard about Kansas weather, if not experienced plenty of it.

And we've had our fair share of extreme weather lately. It's hot. Stinkin' hot.

And Brad and I started school again last week, so she doesn't get as much attention during the day as she did all summer.

So, some afternoons Jazzy gets to come into the kitchen and lie (my sister is appalled right now - if she actually reads my blog). She's close enough to keep an eye on us and hear us (she doesn't like it if we leave the kitchen/living/dining room - she stands up and peeks around the corner until we come back), and she gets to cool off, but she's still not shedding her hair or getting dog smell all over the rug/couches. (Yes, I love her, but we run 5 mornings a week, so she doesn't smell great.) It's kind of nice to have her nearby. But I'm still not tempted to let her off the tile.

And that was a lot of parenthetical statements for one paragraph. 


(Okay, so maybe I've just become a sucker for those eyes. How could you resist that face?!)

She's become really good at "stay"-ing. She knows the consequence is going back outside. If we open the door to let her out before she's ready, she'll hide behind the counter. Food and ice - or a dragging, if we get that far - will draw her back outside.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Worship

This morning, I did not go to church. Brad was busy with a church work project (yes, on a Sunday... long-ish story), and I decided to stay home since he had my car and the truck is lacking a bit in the AC department. Lame excuse, I know.

Instead, I walked Jasmine, leisurely. I made a menu for the week and got groceries. I tackled the pile of laundry.

Then I found myself in the kitchen. I made cinnamon rolls.

And somehow, that act of baking became an act of grateful worship.


As I measured and melted and mixed, I thought gratefully of all that had to come together in order for me to bake - the flour, sugar, butter, eggs, milk, yeast, and salt. Later the cinnamon, sugar, and brown sugar... Seemingly simple, yet a complex coming together.

As I measured and melted and mixed, I thought of my mother and grandmothers, who I had watched do the same, so many times, thankful for their example of love and caring.

As I methodically kneaded, I thought of my family: Sarah and Jamie and mom, celebrating Sarah's last day at Seattle Mennonite. Daniel, in Great Bend, hopefully finding meaningful companionship. Dad at Grace Hill, where we grew up. Hannah and Jason in Chicago, presumably also at church, hearing words of encouragement. Brad working on an elderly woman's house in south Wichita. I am thankful for their support, encouragement, and honesty.

I dropped the dough into a greased bowl and turned it. I glanced around the messy kitchen, thinking of how to tackle the mess.

And then I decided to rest.

When the dough had risen, I rolled it out, spread it with melted butter, cinnamon sugar, and brown sugar. As I rolled it, cut it, and laid the spirals into pans, I thought of my co-workers, my church family, and my friends, thankful for deep and meaningful relationships.

I have yet to enjoy one, but as I do, I will remember how grateful I am for all that I have.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

vulnerability part 2

This is my second try at this post... I somehow deleted the whole thing. I hate it when that happens. Argh. Here goes nothing.

A few times in the last month or so I've posted about my faith. I won't go into detail again since I already posted here, here, and here

1. new Bible... there's something refreshing about having a nice, blank book, without underlining or sticky notes or marginalia (from my teen years, no less).

2. e-mail daily devotional - I subscribed to the United Church of Christ's Stillspeaking Daily Devotional, and I love it. You can read an example here.


3. The Daily Examen
     1. Become aware of God's presence.
     2. Review the day with gratitude.
     3. Pay attention to your emotions, being open to being aware of your responses as life-giving or life-diminishing.
     4. Choose one event/moment from the day and pray from it.
     5. Look toward tomorrow.
I think this prayer "works" for me because it's not a recitation of a memorized verse or a completely open "just pray" moment. And that makes sense to me - focus without too much control.

I'm not sure anyone out there is terribly interested, but I wanted to share, just in case.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bad boy?!

Brad's new talent... being the naughty kid! (This is the video of "don'ts" that they made to show kids on their first day of school.)


day 1

Today was the first real day of school. Yesterday my sixth graders came for WEB activities (Where Everyone Belongs) in the morning and a short schedule in the afternoon (each class was only 15 minutes). So I can call today the first real day.

So far, I have great kids. I'm pretty sure. There are a few kiddos I'm going to have to work with. But they are good.

My day:

5:16 am - wake up, go run
6:10 am - shower, get ready
7:00 am - head to work
7:40 am - first bell rings, help kids with lockers for 10 min.
7:50 am - frantically go through class expectations and syllabus for Expressive Language Arts
8:40 am - 6th grade pod mtg. with admin (start seeing spots), then round 2 of frantically go through class expectations and syllabus for Expressive Language Arts
9:29 am -frantically go through class expectations and syllabus for Language Arts (head really starts hurting)
10:45 am - realize I have a migraine and finally tell the kids they can visit quietly because I'm not feeling well - they were wonderful!
11:03 am - dismiss kids, head to my other school
11:17 am - read student handbook to study hall kids
11:57 am - send study hall kids to lunch, find a dr. pepper and some ibuprofen, eat lunch, start to feel better
12:33 pm - plan time! working in a quiet, dark-ish room can do wonders
1:22 pm - gear up for the last round: frantically go through class expectations and syllabus for LA
3:00 pm - send kiddos home for a good weekend.

I still can't believe I got a migraine on the first day of school. I can honestly say I've never felt like that before in my life... But the kids were understanding and sweet, I got over it fairly quickly, and Monday's gonna go great now!

It was pretty basic (and probably a little boring) today. Regardless, I loved it (other than the massive headache and queasiness). I am happy to be teaching all sixth grade this year, no seventh. I love these kids. They are sweet and attentive and kind and respectful so far. (Of course I'm not going to let that stop!) And I'm excited to go back on Monday and get into real teaching.

Friday, August 12, 2011

content

"...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through God who gives me strength." -Philippians 4:11-13

It's so easy to fall into a habit of discontentment. I could most definitely continue to be frustrated about our school's new health insurance policy. I could be upset that I still have to travel. I could complain about sharing a classroom.

I could. I certainly could. In fact, I already did today. (And I felt very guilty and convicted. Hence, this post.)

But what good will that do?

Nada. In fact, complaining, other than the occasional and necessary venting session, makes me feel worse. I wallow. 

Instead, I'm going to work on being content (and even thankful) whatever the circumstances. (I know. It's a big commitment. That's why I publishing it here, so I'll be more likely to hold myself accountable.)

content:  adj. ... satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else. 

I am learning to be content in the fact that I have health insurance and a job. I am learning to be content in my home, whatever state of fixing up it happens to be in. I am learning to be content in the relationships I have and in the fact that there are many people who care deeply about me (and my contentment). I am learning to be content with my classwork.

I am learning. I'm not very good at it yet, but I'm learning.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

SOL: "sanity savers"

At this time next week, I'll be sitting in inservice meetings. I am ready to go back, ready for the routine, ready for the time with amazing co-workers. But at the same time, I'm not quite ready to give up the relaxed freedom that comes with summer. I'm not quite ready for two classrooms and two buildings. So I just thought I'd share a few things that I hope will save my sanity this school year.

I have amazing co-workers. They make me laugh on some of the most stressful days.

A cleaning schedule. Following this (which we have been, pretty closely, for the past few weeks) means that we won't spend half of every Saturday cleaning. (Okay, it's probably not that long, but it seems like it.)

My pretty blue planner. Pretty much everything goes in here.

Piano! I've started a new mission: learn a new song every month. I'm not very good about actually practicing and learning to play new songs. I like to just sit down and play songs I already know. So one a month sounds like a pretty good goal for me. (And to think - I used to have to learn 3-4 new songs a week for piano lessons. Wow.) August's Song of the Month: "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" by Chicago.

Loretta. It may seem silly, but having a new car is a big relief... great AC, a CD player that works and iPod hook-up, and reliability/a warranty means a lot less stress than my old car provided toward the end of its life-cycle.

My new "presents to give" box. Two friends are having babies before Christmas - their gifts have been sewn and placed in here. I also have a few other things hanging out in there for various people/occasions - so some gift-giving is taken care of already.

Decaffeinated iced tea in my new cup. This cup is important because (a) it doesn't sweat, (b) it fits in my cup holder, and (c) it is more than 12 oz. The tea is important because I get horrible headaches if I'm dehydrated, and I like to start the day with something other than water - and I'm going to try to avoid regular pop consumption once school starts (I got into some bad habits over the summer).

Brita the Bernina. (I got on a little "let's name things" kick after naming Loretta.) I like sewing stuff, especially stuff that doesn't take much time or effort. Stay tuned for some posts about fun projects I've been working on.

Running. I'm now bound and determined... I ran a 5k (and a brutal one at that), so I'm not going to stop running. Seriously. I'm in some kind of shape. It's finally fun again. And since Brad is going to try to get up and work out in the mornings, I'm going to try to get up and run in the mornings. 5:15, here I come! (don't laugh too hard, dad!)

Chocolate. Enough said.

Not pictured: my camera. Obviously, I like to take pictures, but it's a little difficult to take a picture of my camera. (I had a bunch of pictures I wanted to post this week, but, unfortunately, our computer had a minor, fixable meltdown last week; in the recovery, several folders of pictures were lost, including my "July 2011" folder. Bummer.)

The fam. Love 'em.

I'm sure this isn't an all-inclusive list, but I wanted to share a few.

What are your school year "sanity savers"? I might need some more!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

De-clutter... Space #2

There's nothing to thrilling going on around here today, just some more adventures in my attempts to de-clutter. My feelings won't be hurt if you don't read any of this post. 

The only other space that my de-cluttering made a noticeable difference in was the sewing room/guest bedroom. This room is pretty "blah," but it's functional, which is what we're going for right now.
Before... (although the fabric on the bed is actually a couple of "projects-in-progress" so it's not really clutter, just a mess - there's not a good excuse for the cutting mats, though.)

 
 These are several boxes of miscellaneous supplies and fabric from both my grandmas. Just sitting where I put them when I brought them home.

 This is the box I used to keep my fabric and supplies "organized." It worked well... not. (Remember when it was cool to say that - you know, say something you didn't mean and then add "NOT!"? Obviously I do.)

 Thread and more fabric - again, so well "organized."

My basket of more fabric and my to-do projects.

After... (and actually, when I was gone this weekend, Brad got help moving the gargantuan aquarium and stand to his classroom, where it will hopefully be a great habitat for native Kansas fish - but won't make my house smell like them.) I'm thinking about rearranging. And finding an actual queen size bedspread, since that one is the giant twin my mom made me once upon a time when I was obsessed with yellow.
 This was just last week, but the bed does have another project-in-progress laid out already.

The closet! This is a big difference. Instead of a big box of stuff and several little boxes and an overflowing basket, I have this set of drawers, emptied and swiped from the study when I organized that room. There were a couple scraps of fabric that wouldn't fit in the drawers, so they're in one of those plastic tubs. One of my favorite parts is that the vacuum fits in here now. 

So there it is. I don't think there will be any more big transformations as I continue my mission to organize and get rid of stuff, but I'll be sure to share my revelations along the way.