Saturday, March 31, 2012

Six Word Saturday


Today, ah glorious Saturday.  The day you sleep in, leisurely wake up when you feel rested, lay around, do a whole lot of nothing...Ha!  More like up at 6am, cleaning the kitchen, getting breakfast ready for two hungry kids already waken from their slumber.  Oh well, a mom can dream right?

Today I am linking up again with the wonderfully fabulous Cate over at Showmyface.com and sharing my Saturday in 6 words. You can too by describing what is going on in your life in 6 words and linking up.






Here are my 6 words:

To be honest, nothing going on!


For once, although I did do all of the above, for one Saturday, the first Saturday in a long time we don't have to race out to a basketball game, nor are we helping any one move today.  We really don't have anything pressing plans wise.

I am however going to get dressed here in a little bit and go have girls only coffee (hot chocolate for me, thanks) with a few of my besties. 

And then later this afternoon I think we might take the kiddos to a kids music show that is at this new Eat, Art and Theater (E.A.T) venue not too far from our house.  I think they will like that...

But other than that....nothing *truly* planned.  Just some hang out time with the family.  Nice.  Peaceful. Quiet. (Ok maybe not quiet).

I have to run, little miss is done with breakfast and she is getting antsy in her high chair.

What does everyone else have on their agenda? 

Hope you have a WONDERFUL Saturday and Sunday.  See you Monday!

Friday, March 30, 2012

"Baby" Rainbow Frittatas

OMG...I decided against the Quiche that was on my MPM this week and made "Baby" Rainbow Frittatas instead and so glad I did.  Not to toot my own horn (toot-toot) but they were ahhhmazingly delicious. 


I am calling it "Baby Rainbow" Frittatas because they were mini ones that I made in my muffin tin and they were so colorful with all the different vegetables I put in them.

Want to know how I made them?  Well you are in luck because I am going to share (the recipe not the actual frittatas because there are none left). 



Ingredients

8 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 cup diced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup grated zucchini
1/2 cup grated squash
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup diced green bell peppers
1/2 cup diced red bell peppers
1/4 tsp of salt & pepper (optional; I typically only use pepper)


Directions

1.  In large skillet or WOK (which is what I always use) saute the mushrooms, zucchini, squash, green and red bell peppers.

2. Beat the eggs, water, mustard, garlic salt, regular salt and pepper in mixing bowl.  Add tomatoes and sauteed vegetables. Mix.

3.  Pour into greased muffin tins or 10x13 casserole baking dish.  Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle.

Saute Vegetables

Mix Vegetables Into Eggs/Mustard/Water/Seasonings

Pour into greased muffin tin or casserole dish.


And voila!

You have "Baby" Rainbow Frittatas.

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You can eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
And you can switch them up by adding other vegetables or meat.

These are "vegetarian".



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What I'm Lovin



So it has almost been a week of eating vegetarian only meals and it hasn't been that *bad* at all. Not that I thought it was going to be bad but I thought it might be a little more difficult than it has been. 

Here are some things that I am lovin from this week as I began my vegetarian eating journey.


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I have been snacking on carrots, broccoli, celery, dipping it in hummus. 
I *love* hummus. 
I love making my own hummus too
 but when I do buy it I buy Sabra Hummus. 

They also have these Hummus to Go snack packs with pretzels.



How cute are these?


A couple meals this week I used Tofu. 

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For my Soba Noodles & Vegetable Stir Fry
I diced up some Tofu, marinated it a little bit in soy sauce and then cooked
it to add to the meal.  I also used some in the Vegetable Fettuccine meal I made.



Chocolate chips for my chocolate fix.
I bought some chocolate chips to add to our Banana Nut Muffins
but the chocolate chips did not survive long enough. 
We snacked on them throughout the week so by the time
it came to make the muffins they were MIA.


I found a handful of these do the trick when you just HAVE TO HAVE chocolate.

(By the way the chocolate chips have nothing to do with my
vegetarian diet but rather I had to have chocolate at one point
this week and this is what I had on hand.)

Chinese Style Vegetables with Oriental Seasoning
Quick & Easy.
What did you think I chopped all of my own
garden fresh vegetables?
(Ocassionally when I have time, I do make it fresh (er) but not this week).
Ha!  I Am Not Superwoman.

What are you lovin this week?



Thursday, March 29, 2012

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thinking Out Loud



I know that I just did a TOL post a few days ago...but I have so much swirling in my head these days that it really helps to get it out.  We are on day 3 of vegetarian eating and it is going much smoother than I anticipated which is great.  No major fusses by anybody (yet). I thought with the switch that I would be hungry all the time but it is really just the opposite.  While I am at work I have been snacking on carrots and hummus and then lunch I have been taking leftovers from the dinner the night before which is working out well.  I am making sure I eat protein for breakfast which carries me through to lunch no problem.

I had small group last night and we prayed for direction with regard to my feelings about my trip to Ethiopia that I am still trying to come to terms with.  I know some might say snap out of it and move on but it has not been that easy for me and in talking with some of my friends that went on the trip, we all have been struggling a bit; each to a different extent.  We had a call a week ago with everyone to touch bases and it was great to see and hear from everyone.  Since I feel that only they can understand my feelings it was very  nice to be able to share some of the struggles with them.  Not to say that others don't get it but it is just really hard to explain. 


I showed my slide show of pictures at two church services this past Sunday.  It went well.  I am crossing my fingers that some sponsorships will come from it.  It was really hard to narrow down what pictures to show since I had so many but I think I put together a good selection that shows the good and the bad.  The good; tons of pictures of the children playing, smiling and simply being children chasing after the bubbles we blew for them. The bad; the living conditions, the dry river beds, the lack of livestock, water, crops. 

It is Spring Break in our neck of the woods.  And it is raining of course.  Every year, never fails.  I know I should be grateful for the rain for it brings the green in our area but it does get depressing.  It was so nice this past Friday and Saturday; Saturday I was so motivated and got so much done inside and outside of the house.  When it rains, it takes all I have to even go grocery shopping.  This girl needs sunshine!  We don't have anything to exciting for this week since I used up two weeks of vacation with my recent trip, no more time off til around July. But all is good.  We will just have some extra quality time together doing nothing.  LOL.

I finally started reading a new book.  I had several that I have been reading over the past couple months and have finally finished them.  Curious to know what I was reading?  Go here.  Now I am reading a book that I won off my dear friend Jill's blog, Compassion Family.  Are you a Compassion sponsor?  If so, this is the blog to read.  She is an advocate for Compassion International and I am lucky enough to call her my friend.  And the book, Becoming A World Changing Family.  If anyone is interested in reading this book after me, I would be more than happy to pass it along.  Leave me a comment or email me.  Ohh and another book that I will be reading soon is a book that was started as a blog and happens to be written by a lifelong friend of one of my good friends:  Hollywood in Heels by Charity Gaye Finnestad.  It is available for download April 3rd.  I have a feeling it will be pretty saucy.  I will let you know unless of course you want to download it and read it yourself, which you are more than welcome to do.

I need to go to Home Depot this weekend to get the rest of my planting supplies for our garden.  I have a few new ideas I am going to try.  I am hoping they work because last years garden was not very successful.  Little hands picked a lot of the garden before everything was fully ripe.  I am going to do some more hanging garden baskets but refuse to buy the *Topsy Turvy* devices.  I am going to make my own thanks to some neat ideas from Pinterest.  Stay tuned for a tutorial that I am working on. 

Alright, enough rambling for now.  I think I cleared my mind a bit so I can relax a little this evening before heading to bed.

Hope everyone has a great Wednesday.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Why Vegetarian?


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This is for my blogging friend, Shelly over at Lush.

Why not? 

Actually, I do have a good reason for going this route. I had my gall bladder removed a few years ago and ever since then I have had issues digesting meat.  Mostly red meat but meat.  There are certain things that I just can't eat and when I do, I pay for it dearly.  Not to elaborate with to much detail but I would end up spending a lot of my free time, sitting, in a place I would rather not (read between the lines).

I have been going back and forth with taking the leap for a couple years now and decided that now is no better time than any (plus I was *finally* able to get my husband on board to at least try it for a couple weeks if not longer).  This past January I gave up caffeine which wasn't as hard as I thought so I decided to just keep going on the *healthier* road. We decided to go the Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian route because I just can't part with cheese.  Me and cheese go way back; we have a lot of history and I really don't want to break up with it.  And eggs are such a good source of protein and the kids love scrambled eggs for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

I know some might argue the vegetarian diet isn't necessarily healthier. I think it is what you make of it, like anything.  Many people would say the healthiest is a well balanced *complete* diet.  But what is complete?  Who makes the rules (people that don't know my body)?  There is so much information out there about all kinds of diets my head just spins thinking about it.  This I hope will be healthier for me and my body and that is what matters the most.  I figure it can't be any less healthy than how I had been eating, right?  So what do I have to lose?  Nothing.  If I find that it isn't working for myself or my family for that matter than we will change it up a bit again.  I can do that. 

There really are so many more options for vegetarian meals.  Here are a few sites that I have been surfing for ideas.

PETA
All Recipes
Compassion Cook
Food.com


If anyone has any other sites you use, please let me know.  I want to make sure to present as many options to my family for breakfast, lunch and dinners so not to get bored.

Menu Plan Monday



Good morning!  Another weekend has come to a close, you know what that means....MONDAY. 

I am linking my menu up with I'm An Organizing Junkie of course and this week we have a big announcement.

I have finally twisted my husbands arm persuaded my husband to try vegetarian meals.  There are many meals that I have cooked over the years without meat without anyone really noticing so I am hoping that it wont't be to noticeable to the kids.  Vegetarian diets have come a long way through the years. There are so many more options these days.  I have been wanting to switch to a more vegetarian diet for awhile now since me and meat just don't get along these days and now that I have his backing, it will be much easier. We have decided we are going to still eat eggs and milk products so technically we will be eating a Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian diet. 

menubutton



Here is what I have on the menu for this week:


Sunday

Taco Bake w/Morningstar *Meat* Crumbles
Mexican Salad


Monday

Vegetable Fettuccine
Green Salad

Tuesday

Black Bean Burritos
Brown Rice w/ Corn & Salsa

Wednesday

Soba Noodles w/Tofu
Stir Fry Vegetables

Thursday

Broccoli Quiche
Apple Sauce

Friday

Spinach Lasagna
Garlic Bread


Saturday

Date Night


What's cooking in your kitchen this week?








Sunday, March 25, 2012

View From Here









Notice anything? 


I know it might be hard to spot. 


What is missing in this cart?


Do you give up?


Need a clue?


It moos, clucks or oinks.
.
.
.
.
.
.


NO MEAT!



We have taken the plunge and have decided for a healthier tomorrow to start a vegetarian diet.

Technically, we have chosen an Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian diet which means we will still eat eggs and dairy products.

You would be surprised how many recipes and options there are for this lifestyle.

I know I was.


And also to my surprise my grocery bill was no more than it usually is and looking at my cart I feel like I bought so much more.  Who said it was more expensive to eat healthy?


Here is what I had for breakfast this morning.



Toasted Cheese and Jam Sandwich. 
Thank you Ethiopia for turning me onto this. 
So so good. Really it is, try it.


Here is what I made for dinner tonight!





Kidney Beans, Black Beans, Morningstar *Meat* Crumbles, Taco Seasoning, Cheese and Fritos. 
Then we rolled it into tortillas with a dab of sour cream.  Yummy!

We paired it with a Mexican Salad.




Add a little chipotle dressing and it is DELISH.

Hungry?



Saturday, March 24, 2012

Six Word Saturday



Wow, it has been awhile since I have done one fo these...Almost forgot what to do...Almost...

I am joining Cate over at Showmyface.com for another 6WS.  Want to join in the party?  Describe what is going on in your life in 6 words.  Show us pictures, explain or not.  It is up to you.  This is your 6 words, well kind of Cate's too since she is the host and then make sure to link up.





I have two (is that ok?) I hope so...if not rules were meant to be broken, right?  I am such a rebel.



Missing my friends in Ethiopia, Africa.


If you haven't been reading my blog much or at all, maybe a new visitor....I was over in Ethiopia for a few weeks and now I have been back a few weeks.  And I am still missing the people, the atmosphere, everything.  It has been hard to get back into the swing of things to be honest.  If you want to read more about my adventure, go to my features tab and select Trip to Africa...there you can find tons of stories and pictures of my trip.

Now onto my second.

Moving day.....
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but not for us! 

Scared you didn't I?  MIL is moving so husband is spending the day helping her out.  I am hoping that today is as great weather as it was yesterday.  It was almost 60 degrees which given the past week when it snowed twice, that is perfect moving conditions, as long as it doesn't rain.  Since we rented a truck we are taking a run to the local dump too.  Something we should have done a long time ago.  Tons of rubbish in our shed to get rid of. 

What are you doing this lovely Saturday? 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thinking Out Loud



It snowed again last night.  For the 2nd time this week. Luckily, not to much so still navigable (is that a word).  I can still drive in it, there, that is what I meant.  But seriously, snow at almost the end of March.  I need sunshine.  I am going to have to escape to Ethiopia again for some warm weather.  Maybe Arizona?  I hear it has been pretty warm there.  My dad and grandma live there whom I miss terribly.  I have not seen either of them for almost 4 years.  Yikes, that is a long time.  I really need to make a trip down there to visit or get them up here whichever is easiest.  Back to Ethiopia, I miss it.  I really miss it.  I miss the people.  I miss the friends I made.  I miss the awesome traditional food.  I miss the villages.  I miss the easy going atmosphere.  I miss it.  I have been back a couple weeks now and it is still at the forefront of my mind. The trip is not something that is going to be easily forgotten. I just went through many of my pictures last night and started my slideshow.  I have a presentation at church this Sunday.  I hope people get as excited about helping Megaladi as much as I am. I presented the Adopt-A-Village to my sons teacher last week.  Hoping that comes through.  I think that would be such a good learning experience for the kids.  To walk along side a poor village.  Watching the progress over the next year. Seeing their money "do something" life changing. My trip was life changing.  We are not moving to Ethiopia, although if I could figure out a way to make it happen, I would in a second.  I know that seems pretty drastic to some but if you ever get the chance to go there you will know what I mean and why I would uproot my family. We have however talked about some other life changes that we will be working through over the next couple months that perhaps might move us into that direction at some point.  I will have to wait to share those until a couple things come together. I made Easter Jello Jigglers last night in the easter jello molds I had from last year.  They turned out very cute.  Hayden scarfed them all down.  I think I ate one. I will have to make more tonight so Kaylyn can have some. I organized some of our churchs food pantry last night while Tyler was at youth group.  I hadn't organized things since I have been back; it needed to be done.  McDondalds Hot Chocolate is really good and so much cheaper than Starbucks.  Did I mention I still have not been drinking caffeine?  Yup.  I did drink a tad bit while in Ethiopia at the coffee ceremony that we went to in Harar and I did have a coke while there but for the most part still not drinking caffiene at home.  Drinking lots of Crystal Light still. Mmmm...good.  Anywho, I think I am done rambling for now. 


It is Thursday almost the weekend!  Do you have anything fun planned for the weekend?  What is going on in your head today? 


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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Melancholy



Reflective thinking.


Unsure of what tomorrow will bring.


Changing seasons.


Life changes.


Fear of the unknown.


Excited yet
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Melancholy.



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Source

 


Cleaning Out The Clutter



It is kind of funny how with every changing season we all feel the need to do some cleaning.  Or maybe that is just me?

I do summer cleaning of purging the old winter clothes and cleaning out toys before summer birthdays.
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 I am over at Parent Palace today.  Read more.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sometimes...




Pinned Image


Thank you Pinterest for this.  I could not have said it better myself. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Two Weeks



It has been two weeks since I have left Ethiopia and have been home. 

Even now two weeks later, I am still chewing on a lot of things.  I have been taking *inventory* so to speak of a lot of things, trying to figure out my next step.  I feel like things are a bit in limbo.  So many things I would like to do just unsure of how to go about it. 

If it was simple, I would pick up my family, move across the world and live with the people of the villages that I visited.  Sharing the word.  Sharing our lives.  Sharing our heart and souls.  But I know it is not that simple, unfortunately.

So now what?  I have seen the day to day lives of these people that touched my inner being.  I see how they live with so little and us with so much abundance.  I know I should not feel guilty for the opportunity that I, we, have been given but how can I not?

It has been so hard not to go into each of our closets, toy bins, cupboards, and just start purging.  Getting rid of the *wants* and just living with the *needs* which is still more than many in Ethiopia have.  More than many in most Third World Countries.

I don't mean to ramble (necessarily) but I mean seriously, they do not have clean WATER.  Something we *probably* take for granted EVERY.DAY.  when we are taking our morning shower.  It is there when we turn on the shower.  Hot water to bathe ourselves. 

We want a drink of cold water.  We go to the sink faucet or better yet the filtered water out of the refrigerator. 

Dirty clothes.  We throw them in the washer. 

So basic yet so hard to come by for them.  Water alone would make such a huge difference in their lives.  Can you help me get them water?


Megaladi needs sponsors.  They need sponsors bad.  To help GHNI on ground staff help them transform their village and become self sustainable.  $12.00 a month is all it takes. 

I have seen the difference sponsorship has had on other villages like Hurso.  This village now has a school.  And Garmaam now has a health post.  We visited both of these villages while we were there and it is truly amazing what can be done with so little money when the villagers alongside GHNI staff and volunteers work hard and believe in transformation.

It is real.  It is tangible.  The difference your sponsorship can make. 

If you are interested in sponsoring Megaladi, visit the sponsorship page here



Friday, March 16, 2012

Confessions of A Non Superwoman #18





It is that time again..to come clean with some confessions.  I just need to get them off my chest.


1.  I have been home from Ethiopia for almost two weeks now and I have yet to fully unpack.  I am living out of a suitcase in my own home.  Hey, at least I moved it into the bedroom yesterday.  It had been in the living room for the past week and a half.

2.  I cleaned underneath Kaylyn's high chair cover yesterday and it was just disgusting.  I can't  believe I have been having her sit in that. 

3.  Last week, the first full week back, I can count on one hand how many times I did the dishes.  Cut me some slack I was suffering from some major jet lag. 

4.  I can also count on half of one hand how many loads of laundry I did.  Thank goodness for my husband otherwise we would have had no clean clothes.

5.  I have yet to print any of my pictures from my trip yet.  I am so bad about this these days. I take TONS of pictures and then never get them printed, framed or anything.  I am going to try and work on it a bit this weekend because I need to make a slide show too.  Do you do this?



Photobucket


Do you have some confessions you want to share?  I know I can't be the only one falling down on the job these days.  C'mon, you know you want to.  You will feel much better, I promise.

T.G.I.F

Doing anything fun this weekend?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Make Up Your Mind...



Weather! 


We went from spring last week (just hovered around 60 degrees) which was very nice since I had just returned from Ethiopia where it was very, very hot and dry (90+ during the day, around 60-70 at night, I think).  But as quickly as it was spring like weather, it was GONE, just like that.

Oh how I miss thee.  Vitamin D does a body good.

Last week we were able to get out in the yard.  The kids could run their silly's out which made for a happy momma since I still had quite a bit of jet lag.  We went to the park one afternoon for an afternoon of sliding and swinging.  So much fun! 

And this week, well, its been raining like cats and dogs.  AND we woke up to snow yesterday, in MARCH!  It was snowing in March which is really odd in this area.  In the mountains around our region maybe but not in the city.

I wish Mother Nature would make up her mind.

I want to roll the car windows down and sing my heart out with the sun shining down on my face!  I want to be able to let the kids run and run and run til they tire themselves out!  I want to go to McMenamins on a warm Saturday afternoon, listen to some live music while sipping on a a cold drink.  I want to wear shorts, sandals and tshirts!  Is that too much to ask?



Taken On The Plane Somewhere Over The Atlantic Ocean






What has the weather been in your neck of the woods?


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Letter from Milli



While I was away on my trip to Ethiopia we received our first letter from Milli, our Compassion daughter.  Thankfully, my husband left it for us to open when I got home.  I am so glad he did because I was so excited to see it when I returned.  I have been like a kid waiting for Santa Claus since I wrote the first letter to her a couple weeks ago, hoping and praying that we would get a return letter soon.  And we did.  However her letter was actually written shortly after we sponsored her.  How neat is that.  She hadn't even received our first letter and already wrote us.


Although a portion of the letter was "canned" meaning there were general written questions and her answers there was also a translated letter on the back.

She has 4 siblings.  She loves the bible story David & Goliath and the color blue.  Her best friend is Pauline.  And they love to jump rope.  Her favorite school subject is Math.  (I have to give her props for that because Math was always my least favorite).  She likes to eat rice.

Here is her letter verbatim and as translated:

Dated:  11/14/11


Millicent greets you and shes happy to write to you.  She says they have already planted and they are now weeding. The land looks beautiful since everything is green. She will visit many places during the Christmas holiday.  How will you spend your Christmas and wishes you a Happy Christmas.


She requests that we you pray for her parents and her brothers and sisters.


I am so excited to learn more about her and her family.  I truly hope that with our sponsorship we can make a huge impact in her life.  Giving her a better tomorrow.

As I receive additional letters from her I will share them with you. 

On a sidenote, Compassion International is currently in the process of setting up sponsorship for children in Hurso which is one of the villages that I visited when I was in Ethiopia.  As soon as the children are selected for that village, I hope to sponsor one from there since I have seen first hand the conditions that they live in every day.

Interested in sponsoring a child?

Visit Compassion International for more information.





Help make a difference in the lives of children in need. Now is the time to sponsor a child.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Little Bit Lost




I have finally got over my jet lag almost a week later.  Then the time change and trying to get back in to routine....which has brought me here since blogging has been part of my routine for the past year and a half.  But routine seems a bit mundane now that I am back from Ethiopia.  (Did you read my posts and see the pictures?  Go to my Features tab and select "My Trip To Africa")

Routine.  Is there one?  Does it mean anything anymore?  I can't decide.

I have so much to say yet nothing to say if that makes sense?  I feel like much of what I have to say doesn't matter anymore after what I experienced in Ethiopia.  I feel like it is all so trivial.  Petty almost.  I feel when I do talk about what I saw, how I feel, it is so hard to put into words verbal or written unless you experienced it yourself. 

I feel a bit lost.  I can't seem to get my feet on the ground.  I am back in mom mode, wife mode, employee mode and all but everything is kinda blurry.  I look at things a bit differently now.  I seem to be a bit calmer which is probably a good thing. 

I am flying by the seat of my pants.  Not sure what is coming next.  I have so many things I want to do with what I have learned and experienced but do not know where to begin. 

Things are still raw and I am trying my hardest to find direction and to put things into action. 

As I knew it would be, this trip, was a life changer. 





Menu Plan Monday



Hello!

It has been a while since I have linked up with I'm An Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.  It feels kinda weird since I was gone for two weeks in Ethiopia and even before then things were a bit chaotic before I left (to say the least).  Want to hear about my trip and see pictures?  Check out "My Trip To Africa" under my Features tab.

I am now just trying to get back into routine which has been much harder than I anticipated.  But I am going to try...so here it goes.


menubutton



Sunday

Skirt Steak
Loaded Mashed Potatoes
Caesar Salad

Monday

Spaghetti & Meatballs
Green Beans

Tuesday

Ham & Cheese Homemade Hot Pockets
Corn
Applesauce

Wednesday

Cheese Quesadillas
Spanish Rice

Thursday

Breakfast for Dinner

Friday

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

Saturday

St Patrick's Day!  Dinner Out!



What do you have on your menu?  Anything good?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Over Stimulated & Jet Lag



Sounds a bit like an oxymoron, doesn't it?

Home sweet home. 

I made it home yesterday after a very long flight.  I have jet lag.  I am way over stimulated, overwhelmed and exhausted emotionally.  I was back into mom mode within minutes of coming home.  It all finally caught up with me about 1am last night.  I am emotionally exhausted now.  I wasn’t able to think much, feel much while I was there in Ethiopia immersed in the day to day but now that I have had a few days of *western abundance* I am over stimulated and overwhelmed by.... 

Everything that we do. 

Everything that we have.

I was told I would probably feel this way when I returned.  And I do.  I look at all the options.  All the opportunity that we have and I almost get sick to my stomach.  We whine and moan because we can’t have this or that and think life isn’t fair because we can't keep up with The Jones.  Now grant it, I know we, most us anyways, work hard for what we do have but never the less, is it all really necessary?  All "they" want or rather need is water. 

I am now in reprioritizing mode yet trying to strike a balance which I know will be a difficult task but one that I feel certain we must do.

I want to live a more abundant life in the healthier sense of the word.  Not by accumulating things but rather building healthy and lasting relationships.  I want to give of myself and my family more so than we ever have.

Now the real work starts. 

My first to do is to find sponsors for Megaladi, the most poverty stricken village we visited in Ethiopia. 

Are you willing to help?

For $12.00 a month you can help transform a village to become self sustainable.  If you don't have an extra $12.00 per month in your budget, can you share my plea with others?



Monday, March 5, 2012

doei tot zo



Bye.  See you soon.

Thank you Africa and Amsterdam for sharing your country & city with me. 

I have had a most unforgettable experience the last two weeks.

Some emotional days that is for sure but ones I will treasure for the rest of my life. 

I will be back one day, hopefully sooner rather than later.

I would love to go back to the villages that I visted in a year or so to see the progress.  I am certain it will be night and day.  No longer will they not have clean water to drink or food to feed their family.  It can happen.  It will happen. 

Next time in Amsterdam, I would love to bring my family and stay longer.  I know there is so much more to this city than I was able to pack into two days.  I did however get a glimpse of this city of historical buildings, beautiful architecture, canals and museums.  I WILL be back. 

I missed my family.  I can't wait to grab hold of them and give them hugs and kisses. 

Off to the airport I go.




Image Detail
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City of Cheese



I have died and gone to cheese heaven.

O.M.G.

Tons of cheeses and breads.  Two of my most favorite things in the world.  And the pastries here.  They are like works of art.  Articulately decorated.  They are so pretty I don't want to eat them.  But I did. 

I think I have gained 10lbs here in the last two days, I swear (but I try not to most of the time; swear that is).

I didn't find the original cheese place that I was going to go to a tasting at because I got lost.  But it is all good because there are plenty of cheese shops that give samples and the Cheese Mongers will answer any questions you may have about the cheeses.  Plus in my being lost I found so much more of the city.  Great fun explorin the City of Cheese which is what I am officially calling this place now.  I bought several kinds.  One with Pesto that my husband is going to L.O.V.E. I don't care for pesto all that much but this cheese is dreamy.  And I also bought some Gouda because it is goooda. (LOL)







I met some friendly Italian University students at the hostel I am staying at.  I had breakfast with them this morning.  Hostel staying has been such a pleasant experience.  It is the cheap way to travel and the hostel I am staying at has a full restaurant, pool tables, foosball tables, free wi fi, breakfast included and many other amenities that I just can't think of right now. 

As I am typing this I am sitting in a McDonalds not too far away from my place (lol) that has wi fi having a cold drink before I head out on my next excursion.  Wi Fi is everywhere in this city.  And I mean EVERY.WHERE.  They are wired that is for sure or unwired in this case, right?

I am going to try my luck on the bus again to get me to the Anne Frank House.  From the map I have had at my nose all day it looks like it is to far to walk.  I think earlier in the day I *may* have been close to it but not sure. 

Funny thing, they have toilets throughout the city that you have to pay to use and most establishments charge you .30 euro to use the bathrooms even if you buy something.  Kinda weird.  And they are able to smoke in establishments which is unheard of in the US.  My lungs need some fresh air.

I am going to head out again into the big City O'Amsterdam.

Catch you later.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Live From Amsterdam



It is....live from Amsterdam.

It is 945pm here.  It has been a long two days and that is putting it lightly.  Between flying for what seemed like eternity and then getting dropped off by the bus at the wrong place. I decided not to take the train like I originally planned because to many connections.  So yes, the bus.  I haven't take a bus in ages nor will I again for quite some time except here in Amsterdam because taxis are to expensive for my frugal mind.

The bus however, nice enough driver, but he dropped me several blocks from the hostel I am staying at.  I had to hoof it with two suitcases (over the hills and through the woods).  Luckily, they had wheels but it still was quite the feat and sight for that matter.  I felt like the gal (Amy Adams) in the movie Leap Year rolling her bag down the road in the Irish country side in high heels, however in my case I am not Amy Adams, not wearing high heels nor was I in the country side.  It was in a great big scary city that I have never been to.  I made it though after asking a few nice dutch people.  I wasn't wearing a jacket and one of the men I asked thought I was cold but I told him I was used to the cold and furthermore I was pretty warm anyways, having already walked several blocks dragging rolling said suitcases.  If you remember yesterday I was in 95 degree heat in Ethiopia so this quite honestly was a nice change; no jacket and all (I brought one, just wasn't wearing it at the time).  Kinda like the weather in Oregon. 

So I have been out exploring the city all day today. Beautiful city!  All the canals through the city.  The architecture of the buildings, just gorgeous.  I figured out if you just follow the train tracks or the canals you can get to and from just about everything around the city and not get lost.  Which is a good thing because I am a bit directionally challenged in my own city and more so in a city I am not familiar with. Until I figured out the whole train track and canal thing, I had a city map stuck to my nose and you could clearly tell I was a tourist.  And bikes, they ride bikes. Bikes everywhere.  If you are not paying attention you will get run over.  Mopeds too.  I heard there are 700,000 and some odd bikes in the city of Amsterdam.  Wow!

You want to see some pictures of the beautiful city of Amsterdam?  Well I am going to show you some anyways, so there.  Many of these were taken while I was on the canal tour from the little tour boat.

















I went to the Van Gogh Museum today too.  I could not take pictures in the museum for obvious reasons.  The art work was abbbsoulutely breathtaking.  I sat in one of the rooms in complete awe.  I was in Amsterdam looking at original Van Gogh paintings.  How cool is that?  I THINK it is pretty cool.  Did you know Van Gogh died when he was only 37?  Such a shame.  So talented, gone too soon.  I didn't realize he was that young. And another fact that I learned today was he reused a lot of his canvases because back then canvases and art supplies where hard to come by and very expensive.  There are several of his paintings that have other paintings under neath and only recently has these been determined through x-ray photographs and analysis of the canvas. 


I bought several small prints of his work.  I can't wait to get home to mat and frame them.  I have the perfect spot in mind on our living room wall.  They will look gorgeous.


Here are the prints that I am going to frame:



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Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night Painting
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I am beat so I am going to call it a night and visit with you all tomorrow.  I hope you have enjoyed the pictures that I have posted so far.

Have a great day/night wherever you may be.

Goede nacht (Good Night).

Ciao & Goedenmorgen



Goodbye to the beautiful people of Ethiopia and Good Morning to Amsterdam.

After a very very long flight from Addis, I have arrived in Amsterdam.  We had to sit on the tarmac for  1 1/2 hrs because there were people from Karthoum still on the plan because they could not land on the way down due to a sandstorm.  That made for double booking so it took some time to figure things out and get luggage figured out as well.  In the end we all got where we were suppose to be.  I think. 

It is bittersweet as I sit here and type this post.  I am going to miss Ethiopia dearly.  The people in the villages that we visited will always have a special place in my heart and will always be in my prayers. They really touched my soul.  They are so grateful for what they have which is very little.  If only us *fringes* were more like that.   I have witnessed first hand what it means to live in poverty.  With nothing.  Literally nothing but hope for a better tomorrow.  They live for today because that is all they may have. 

The hardest hit village that we visted was Megaladi which is about 45 minutes out side of Dire Dawa.  They do not have ample food to feed their family regularly. They have no clean water.  No medicine for those that are ill.  No transportation.  No livestock. No means to produce income. Nothing. 

We broke bread with them.  We broke down communication barriers.  We shared with them that we want to help them, but they also need to help themselves.  They understood.  They want to become self sustainable but they need a little bit of help to get there. 

Would you be that help?


Each of the 4 volunteers who went on this trip have commited to secure 25 sponsors each for a total of 100 for this village.

For $12.00 per month you can help make a huge impact in this village.  You can help transform this village into something great.  We have seen what $12.00 per month x 100 sponsors can do.  Check out Garmaam, one of the other villages that we visited and has been sponsored this past year.  They have water.  They have a health post.  They have livestock.  They have become self sustainable.  It is possible.


Let's do this for Megaladi. We need to do this for Megaladi. You and me. 




Friday, March 2, 2012

View From Here

























Dire Dawa, Ethiopia.
February 2012

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