Sunday, July 15, 2012's in the bowl

Southwest Chicken Bowl

I don't know what it is about bowls but I have a thing for them. I like them. All sizes - itty bitty, small, medium, and big. I have quite a collection. Just this morning as I was unloading the dishwasher and commented that I wished I had more storage space, husband suggested maybe we get rid of some bowls. Guess my affection for bowls is obvious.

I like to serve a meal in a bowl, especially dinner. There are many dishes that are suitable for serving in a bowl other than soup and salad. I begin with a starch base such as pasta or rice, add a protein, vegetables, a sauce and possibly a few condiments for topping. Last night I served Southwest Chicken in a bowl. A base of yellow rice, southwest spiced chicken with pinto beans and corn and then your favorite toppings - shredded cheddar, sour cream and chopped green onions for me. I was hoping to have leftovers for today's lunch but alas, that did not happen. It was that good!

Other favorite meals in a bowl at our house include:
Taco Pasta
Peanut Butter Chicken
Burrito Bowls - our family's version of beans and rice with toppings (we've been calling it this for years because the girls would eat it without a fuss when they were little; sounded like what they ordered at Chipotle)
Pork and Asparagus Rice Bowls
Fried Rice
Spanish Rice - I add a bit of taco meat
Beef & Broccoli
Pepper Steak

The options are endless. Do you have a favorite dinner in a bowl that you serve at your house?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Lucky Day

Oh, lucky day!

There was a box waiting for me when I arrived home today. Look what was in it! Ten copies of Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward for my book club. I won them in an on-line contest - - can you believe?

We've already selected all of our books for 2012 but it looks like we have our first selection for 2013.

What was the last thing you won? What are you reading?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Life is good...and so is zucchini.

It's been 2 months since I last posted anything here. I guess you could say that I just haven't felt that it's been necessary. The desire to write a new entry hasn't been what it used to be. That is not to say that I don't think of you often, just that I've been busy living and have found other things to take precedence. There are only so many hours in a day. Know what I mean? Plus the fact that I came across this quote last week and it pretty much sums it up for me:

"The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel."  Steven Furtik

Since the last time I shared, much has happened. Namely summer. School is out. Alison moved home from college. Swim team has started. We've celebrated 2 family birthdays - - a 16 and a 44 (neither of which are mine). Lawman has been gone for training, National Guard and just today is finishing up at the annual Country Stampede music festival. We've had family gatherings, a rodeo, a wedding in Nebraska, and the issue of a refrigerator that went ka-put after only 4 1/2 years.

I have found myself in a slump in the kitchen. It's just been too hot to cook therefore, I haven't. Wonder how long it will be before the family notices? (teehee) Today I was the recipient of a zucchini drop-off. In order to use it up this week (I received more than what's above), I decided I would make a chocolate zucchini cake. The family will probably appreciate it and maybe this small act of kindness on my part can give me a few more days of reprieve from cooking.

Until next time ~

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Day in the City and the Wind Tunnel Home

J.C. Nichols Fountain

I got a play day today! I spent the day with the high school Spanish classes as a sponsor for their annual field trip to the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum. They had just recently completed a unit on Spanish Art/Artists and it culminates with a trip to the Nelson to see some of the actual pieces they study. What a great way to put learning into action!

After a very informative tour of the Spanish art, we were off to lunch at Rudy's for some authentic Mexican food. I noticed on their wall that they have been chosen as "The Place Where the Locals Eat." Always a good sign of great food.

Next stop was the Plaza for a self-guided walking tour of the fountains. The kids were assigned to small groups and they had to have their pictures taken with several of the fountains to use in a class project. I got to be the photographer for Madison's group.

The weather was a bit warm -  93 degrees - so by the time we were done with the walking tour we were all in need of a cold drink and a cool place to sit. Panera won out and we all enjoyed frozen drinks or ice cold lemonade. Ah! It hit the spot. Once we had cooled off we headed back to the above fountain to sit in the shade or dip our toes in the water while we waited for the rest of the group.

My view.

I chose to find myself a comfortable shady spot. My purse became the perfect pillow. I closed my eyes and managed to get a few moments of quiet under a beautiful shade tree while hearing the sound of the fountain (photo at top). Perfect ending to a beautiful day.

Or so I thought. I somehow managed to forget about the ride home....93 degrees, no air conditioning, 2 hours. It was like riding in a darn wind tunnel! It was so ridiculously warm that the bus driver pulled over to a service area so that we could all get a cold drink about 1.25 hours into the ride home. It was really for her benefit, not ours. She obviously has experience in this sort of thing...I noticed she had shed a layer and was also wearing a headband to catch the sweat running down her brow. Experienced? I think so.

I found it so ridiculous that I got the giggles. Of course my girl thought I was nuts but she was a good sport. She told her friend about me laughing and the 2 of them had the best time poking fun at me.

I shared a conversation with the mom in front of me. We were both complaining about how sweaty we were and that we were sure we would have to peel our underwear off when we got home because they were so sweaty wet! And we reminisced about our childhood in the late 60's, early 70's and the fact that we didn't have air conditioning in our homes or our cars and how every road trip was a wind tunnel! Oh, the laughter. It did me good.

(Ok, not sure why everything is centered but I'm too worn out from that wind tunnel ride to try to figure it out!)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Changing the Landscape

This flowerbed has been a sore spot with Lawman and me for years and years. When originally planted it was done so with one of those "kits" you can order from a magazine. You know the kind, you see the landscape plan and order box 1, 2, 3 or all of them. A kit of parts. Last year we were so fed up with it that we yanked the smaller plants out at the beginning of the season and just left it bare. Lawman took out the last of the big stuff this season.** I'm sure the neighbors hated it. This year we tackled it.

We had a lady that runs a local nursery come out and look at it and provide a rough layout and list of plant materials. We met with her Saturday and purchased the materials.

The morning was cool and breezy but Lawman and I were on a mission. We worked like dogs but the end result is so worth it. We're both looking forward to watching it grow and take shape this summer.

Plants include: Incrediball Hydrangeas, Golden Meadows Hosta, Pink Saucer Anemone, Daylily and peonies (existing).

**When one removes the big bushes, it makes it evident that the next project is going to be replacing the siding. Ugh. We did the opposite end of the house 2 years ago because it was in bad shape. Guess we'll be doing that again. There's always something.

Silver Lining

The Columbia Restaurant, Tampa, FL - March 2012

Most of you know that in September 2011 we found out that Lawman was going to be deployed to Afghanistan with the National Guard. When you find that out, you begin preparing - - mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physically.  Part of our preparation plans included a family vacation before he headed out.

In March, we packed our bags for spring break and headed south to Treasure Island, Florida. We traveled there in May 2010 and all agreed it was the best family vacation to date. Deciding where to go this time was easy due to our fond memories and always being in need of sun and warm temperatures after the winter months.

Here's a glimpse of our week in the sand and sun:

The view of the strip from our balcony at Crystal Palms Beach Resort.
The view from my perspective.
Lawman and his precious girls.
One of my favorite pictures from the entire week - - the happiness is evident!

 Absolutely love the light. We went to the beach daily to watch the sunset.

We said "yes" to the parasail again.
A storm rolling in. Doesn't the sunlight look like a heart?

Note:  Every cloud has a silver lining and that lining was revealed a week ago.  We received word that the deployment has been cancelled. I'm not going to lie, it was tough at first. For 8 months we've been psychologically preparing for his departure. That's not an easy thing to do and now that we finally felt like we were ready to get started on this journey in order to get it behind us, they pulled the rug out from under us. Now we're celebrating this change in plans and we're praying that in the coming months, they don't tell us to prepare again. Thanks to many of you for your prayers. I think it's safe to say that they've been answered.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mission Accomplished

3rd Place in my age group - Moms Running For Others 5k
Mission :: Complete a 5k with both of my girls.

Mission Accomplished :: 14 April 2012

In January I made a list of goals for 2012. One of those included running a 5k with both of my girls.

The thing about setting goals is that generally, the only way to achieve them is through hard work. One step at a time. Literally, that was the case for this particular goal.

A local Mom's Club was hosting a 1 mile fun run for kiddos, a 5k and a 10k to honor a young mother (Amy) who lost her life to a flu virus that attacked her heart a couple of years ago. She was a teacher and volleyball coach at the high school in a nearby district. She left behind a husband and 4 small children.

This group of mom's hosted the 2nd annual Moms Running for Others event to support Amy's family. When I heard about this event I thought it would be a great place for me, as a mom, to run with my girls. And so we entered.

My goal was to finish. We thought if we could do just that in under 35 minutes, we'd be doing good. Well, we met that goal.  Our finishing time was 33:47. And to top that off, I managed to place 3rd in my age group. Who would have ever guessed? I told my husband it just meant that there weren't very many old ladies running!

The icing on the cake was crossing the finish line with both of my girls and being able to say that "We Did It!"