Friday, August 24, 2012

High Five for Friday!

Not quite sure how to start off this High Five for Friday because this week has been....... eventful? Maybe not the best word to describe things, but the best I could come up because there were definite highs and there were definite lows, but that's life!  At the end of the day though, you gotta keep your head up!

Always best start out on a high note:

1. Best part of my week was spending last Saturday visiting and catching up with the one and only cousin Andrew (truly)! The hubs and I met up with him halfway between us while he was home from Oregon and we enjoyed some good food and the best company.  No one can get me laughing like Andrew!
 PERFECT weather, out on the patio at Cinco de Mayo!


2. We had BEAUTIFUL weather this week so I had myself a little solo picnic at lunch and it was delightfully peaceful.  Sitting out on the finally green grass, watching the sun beam down through the trees without sweating my bootay off.  I could really feel God's presence.
Pure peace and beauty

3. I've been out of school for over 2 years and amidst my excitement to start my Masters, I forgot not only what school was like, but definitely underestimated the big step I'm taking... These classes are TOUGH and I know I've still got it, but it's the first time I've taken time off of school and it's time to brush the dust off and get this party started.... However, I did look something like this several times this week....
 Complete panic.....


4. Even with chaos and meltdowns, I still learned a lot this week and just from the first week of classes have I been re-engaged with my passions for so many different areas of life and health.  When we had to pick just one area to focus on for an online portfolio -- I'll be posting that here as well -- I was flabbergasted because there were 20 options and I'm passionate about 15 of them!! AHHHHHH (was going through my head) and then I unexpectedly saw "Asthma" on the list and got very intrigued.  Having extremely severe asthma since before I can remember: 5 day ER stays, horrible flu's with every hour nebulizer treatments, limiting what exercise I can do, allergies, cold weather making me wheeze -- all personal experiences that came from my asthmatic experiences and how it's affected my life and the lives of millions of other children (and adults!).  I decided I wanted to go deeper -- explore the why's, the how's and mostly important, prevention strategies.  It'll be an interesting journey, personally and academically.  

Even though I chose this topic for this class, I was still reminded of all the other possibilities I want to invest my time and education in learning more about because passion drives me minute by minute, and boy do I have many of them!

5. Woke up this morning to a very unexpected but GREAT opportunity that I wouldn't have seen coming in a million years.... Let's hope it goes well!... (Sorry for the cliffhanger)....


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ode to our kiddos!

Oh yes, I am.... dedicating a post to those who bring me and my husband the best joys and moments of happiness in our lives and our marriage...And if we love our Poncho, Piper, Ruckus and Rory this much, can't imagine how much joy children will bring to our lives when we're hopefully blessed with them in the future. 

But for now, these are our kiddos! Nothing better than to come home to find 4 animals waiting for your love and affection and provide 24/7 unconditional love. 

Oh Poncho, what a cutie... how can you say "No" to that face!
(or AKA Chubs now that he's puttin' on some LB's)
Newest addition Rory sleeping on her Papa... Our little sweetheart
Piper and Rory, BFF's and always by my side... They're mama's girls :)
Oldest of the 4, leader of the pack: Ruckus, and a great big sis to Rory!
Sweetest face ever (of course I'm biased though)

How they both fit on this little chair, I have no idea
Ruckus and Piper love :)
 Daddy sayin' HI to his new baby girl!
Christmas 2011
.... And last but not least, my personal favorite (except that we're missing good ol' Ruckus)
  I love every morning I get to spend with my family in our bed.
All our babies... for now :)
Hope this inspired you to go give some lovin' to your kiddos (furry or human)

 FROM ALL OF US TO YOU! Hope you're having a great week!

Friday, August 17, 2012

REALLLLY High Five For Friday!

This has been a crazy hectic week, although it's good preparation for next week that will be doubly hectic with my Masters classes beginning! But darn am I glad it's Friday... wasn't sure I was going to make it till 5pm at my job without snoozing a little at my desk, but thankfully I pulled through! Linkin' up with Lauren for High for Friday!

My week in a nutshell:

3. Learned a very valuable life lesson on my lunch break this week... Doing a kind deed EVERY TIME you find an opportunity will truly make a difference in your day! I was at Burger Kind eating my trusty friend the BK Veggie Burger and saw a very elderly man in a wheelchair and alone straightening out his change from the cashier to put in his wallet and dropped several bills on the floor and couldn't reach them, so I got up and went over and pick up his bills and straightened them out for him.  He said "Thank you so much dear, that was so sweet of you" and he got a little teary eyed....  Changed my entire day.  


2. I got to go swimming with my "Little Sister" and 2 of her sisters, and they had the best time! So happy I got to include her 2 sisters who haven't been assigned "Big Sisters" yet so they got to join in the fun and do something they rarely get to do.  (PS: My husband is the best ever! He was such a trooper and a huge help since situating, watching, etc. 3 girls under the age of 12 who aren't very good swimmers was crazy hectic, and he was so sweet to one of the sisters who just loves him... and he even cooked us all up some Mac and Cheese -- what a man I've got!).  But.... I also got to take this gem home with me to remember the day....
.. Got too hectic for me to remember to put on sunscreen.. WHOOPS!

3. Our poor pups are super missin' us... All I want to do is cheer is up these precious faces at the end of the day :)
... My pups were ready for bed when I was! Cuddle time :)
5. Our kitty Rory, now 14 weeks old, hit a milestone! She figured out how to jump up on the windowsill... if you knows kitties, them and windows (especially when they're open) are BFF's!
PROUD MAMA.. She got up there and then was like, "What do I do now?!" Too stinkin' cute
...She wasn't quite feelin' the windowsill she had to jump on so reverted back to the windowsill with the couch next to it for her to sight-see and smell!

 6. Finally got to have a date night with my hubs and at the AH-mazing restaurant that catered our wedding <3



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sunday Lovin'

I ALWAYSSSSS try, no matter how tired or stressed I get, to pack my lunch for the following day so avoid that oh so easy trip to Subway, Panera, etc. where it burns $3-$10 in my pocket each time... Of course I fail from time to time, we're only human, but there are more benefits than just cost savings to packing your lunch -- there are also great health benefits.  
When you make something, whether to bring to work or school the next day, you control the ingredients, the portion size, everything! This was was exemplified to me very well a couple weeks ago!

My lunch made and packaged the night before:

 Pesto Primavera Spaghetti with a Spring Mix Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette!... All homemade!

I choose certain sizes of tupperware to make sure I'm not taking 3-4 servings of pasta for lunch, but rather a small 1-2 servings with a light salad on the side, and being the preparer, I knew exactly what ingredients where in what, how much, and by bringing my dressing separately, I controlled the next day how much I would use in my salad so it's not under or over dressed.  

Another day later in the week, I just could not bring myself to make my lunch the night before and knew going to bed Panera had free Wi-Fi and was just next door and so coughed it up that this would be my "free day" to go out for lunch.  The Wi-Fi took forever to load that I wasn't able to get my work done, I ended up spending $10 on soup/salad lunch combo that was extremely salty and overdressed. I also looked up the nutritional data for my meal when I got home that evening and holy-moly.... that was NOT healthy! I still love Panera, don't get me wrong...

In a nutshell, lesson learned! **Pack your lunch Katie** :)


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Preparing myself for the Masters in Public Health land...

After letting it all sink it that I'm starting my Masters.... then came the panic about where I'm going to study/work since my laptop and I are stationed out in the living room while my hubs gets to enjoy his lavish office he made out of the second bedroom of our house.  

Luckily, my in-laws moved (although much farther away so we miss them being just around the corner!) to a smaller cabin and needed to get rid a lot of their furniture and had exactly what we needed... a perfectly sized DESK! WOO HOO (all smiles)! An antique desk AND comfy chair too! My hubs cleaned and oiled it up to make it look pretty and onto organizing my soon to be new life...  

+ I think our cats like my desk area as much as I do considering they both somehow find a way onto the desk or chair at all times.... Double bonus!

And here she is folks:

Where I'll be thinking all my brilliant thoughts for the next 2-3 years ;)
 .... Can't make up my mind, but got my trusty printer down there!
Gotta represent my Alma Mater Emory University! Even if it's a dirty mouse-pad (whoops... we've been through a lot together)

Brief pause in the photos... Gotta take a moment to give my old glassblowing skills a pat on the back! Even though I made this January of 2004, still pretty darn proud!
 Gotta give myself some props for this beauty.. the only useful piece I made in that class!

I'll even show you this gem of a photo -- HELLO blast from the past! But beforehand... keep in mind glassbowing requires wearing certain clothes/glasses that definitely aren't so glamorous... EEK!

.... That furnace was HOTTTTTTTTT and BRIGHT (2,400 °F of bright orange molten glass!)
.... And last but not least.... the final and necessary touch to make my desk my perfect niche!
Lavender candle! Best thing to soothe me from stress of studying and assignments...

All together =
 Onto my Masters I go!.... Let's hope the desk makes me smarter (...and the classes!)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Things just got real....

It's actually settling in now that my brain isn't hard-wired where I dream about probability questions from Finite Math.  I'm starting my Masters and couldn't be more excited!

Since I start my job on Monday, I had Friday to rush and get everything I needed to get done to get prepared for classes.... and when I got back in the car, and looked down at my books and ID card, it all sunk in. This is really happening!!!!!

Things just got real...
(Not going to lie, I get giddy when I see the School of Medicine - makes me feel smarter!)
Got all my textbooks from the library (my wallet and hubby are happy!)
..... Now I just need a desk.... and an office.... Hmmm? Wish we had a third room in our house to make into my office.  My hubs got his Masters in Library Science first, so naturally, our second "bedroom" turned into his office and I'm out in the living room.  We'll see how this turns out!
I'm off to go swimming with my "Little Sister" and she finally gets to meet our doggies! If you want to change the life of a child, think about being a Big Brother or Big Sister in your area -- they even have a Big Couple's program.  Truly, your Little changes your life just as much as you change theirs.  Check it out and ask me for more details about what it's all about: Big Brothers Big Sisters :)

Happy weekend to everyone! 

Friday, August 10, 2012

High Five For Friday!


This has been an amazing week! A beautiful surprise because with my final exam being on Monday to start out the week, I was afraid it was going to be just a bummer.  Truly, this week just turned totally around in circles of greatness.  

1. FINITE MATH IS FINITO!!!!! Not quite the grade I wanted (even though I just needed to pass but I strive for excellence), but I'm proud!!

              An A-..... that'll do pig, that'll do :)
               .... Really should have been 1,000,000 thumbs up!

2. I'm on to my MASTERS IN PUBLIC HEALTH! Very excited to embark on this next adventure of my life.

  I GOT IN! My acceptance email before I got the official letter

Fall Schedule: Fundamentals of Epidemiology and Social and Behavioral Sciences! Bye-bye Finite Math... Hello FUN classes! Now which to be my concentration between these two... 

3. Golfing and lunch with my sister Christine whom I only get to see maybe 1-2 times/year... Nothing beats spending time with your family and it was good to get back on the golf course and some sushi in my belly with great company!

Christine with Big Bertha teeing off... Pretty sure this is the hole where she got a BIRDIE! GO Christine, she was killin' it!
  Snapped a shot before we devoured the plate! With Christine (my best sushi buddy), sushi is a must while she's in Indy!

4. It's been storming! Alex (my hubs) and I  have been so bummed thinking summer would pass and we'd miss out on one of our favorite things: watching thunderstorms. I'm very happy to have gotten to watch thunderstorms and for the much needed rain, but also blessed to not have lost power or had any damage like others.  Keeping all families whose homes, cars, electricity, etc. that were affected by these storms in my thoughts and prayers.
... Couldn't get a good picture of the lightning.  Lightning is so amazing to me, its strong power, but also its beauty.

5. MISTY MAY AND KERRI WASLH WON GOLD! These are truly the most inspirational athletes (to me).  Their teamwork, their passion, their power, their dominance, their dynamics and their personality.  Just love it.  Summer 2016 Olympics just won't be the same without you. 
... I snapped this when they replayed it after jumping on the couch in joy! 
My hubs is probably excited it's over since I get pretty loud and intense whenever I watched them play... Whoops!
6. I love all animals and especially our "kiddos." Always seem to find either one of our dogs or one of our cats fast asleep in a position that looks so uncomfortable, yet so cute and peaceful. 
This week's medal of cuteness goes to Rory
... Apparently this is comfortable?
7. I FINALLY GOT A JOB TODAY! Perfect way to end my week!!!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

America's Best Top Pizza ;)

Nothing more craved (in our house) and delicious than pizza! So easy to pick up the phone for delivery, but homemade pizza is tastier, cheaper AND healthier (you get to control the quality/cut/shape/etc. of the ingredients you use). 

Let's commence the drooling, shall we?!

For the crust:

Coach's Orders:
(for the whole sha-bang!)

1. Combine "pizza crust" or active yeast, 1 Tablespoon honey, a good dash of salt and 1 cup whole wheat flour in a medium-large bowl

2. Gradually add 1/2 cup whole wheat flour until not too sticky, then remove and kneed for a couple minutes with extra flour in your hands to make the dough elastic and expandable (2-4 minutes)

3. Once elastic, roll out into any shape you desire on a well greased/oiled/or buttered pan. Pull out as far as you like depending your desirable crust (thick crust, roll out less, thin crust, roll out more) -- Place on your pan and begin adding your ingredients!

4. (We prefer a pesto base vs. pizza sauce/marinara so here we go!) DELICIOUS! Once toppings are on, bake at 475 degrees for 12-15 minutes on the bottom oven rack to bake the crust and begin melting the cheese & cooking the veggies.

.....My attempt to create our my favorite local pizza! 

In the line up folks:
Healthy whole wheat dough
Pesto base
Several handfuls Mozzarella cheese
1/2 medium white onion, diced
1/4 red pepper, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
dashes of Italian seasoning, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes
Good heaping of finely chopped fresh basil and fresh spinach leaves

After baking for 3/4 of the time, add Romano cheese and marinara sauce on top during the last baking minutes.

Perfectly crunchy crust, oozy melted cheese, pesto perfection, warmed marinara and a host of veggie all in one delicious slice. How can you beat that my friends?! 

ENJOY A FRESH, HEALTHY PIZZA PARTY! (and cater to what ingredients you'd like!)


What's you're favorite kind of pizza? Traditional, BBQ chicken, Margherita, etc.?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

From Our Dinner Plate to Yours!

For dinner tonight was a healthy and delicious heaping bowl of....

Roasted Vegetable Couscous

To get you started, make the couscous ahead of time. Make EXTRA to enjoy for lunch the next day... perfect way to save any extra prep time, eh?! 

In the line up folks:
1 can vegetable broth
2 cups plain, dry couscous
1 lemon, zested
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, thinly chopped
1 cup fresh spinach
3/4 onion, sliced
1/2 red pepper, sliced
1/2 yellow pepper, sliced
1-2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon steak seasoning* (optional)
*give it all a nice spice and some extra garlic and onion flava'
Parmesan & Feta cheese (for topping)

Coach's Orders:
1. Boil 2 cups/1 regular can of vegetable broth with 1 teaspoon butter/margarine. Once boiling, pour in 2 cup plain, dry couscous. Such an affordable wheat/grain, extremely fast cooking, SO versatile with a perfect fluff as a main dish or to serve alongside something heavier! Cover and remove from heat.  


2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine onion, red pepper and yellow pepper and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and the dried basil, rosemary, oregano and *steak seasoning and lather those babies up... M motto is, your hands are your best utensils, so don't be afraid to dive in!  Roast veggies for 20-30 minutes or until cooked, but left with a char and crunch :)

3. While adding the cooked veggies to the couscous, add the zest of 1 lemon,  handful of fresh, chopped basil, a handful of fresh spinach leaves. Mix until spinach has wilted (about 3-5 minutes) and get ready to dig yo'self into this bad boy!

4. Once the spinach leaves have wilted, top with a small handful of Romano and feta cheese for over the top flava', some added protein and extra, healthy goodness :)




LEMON ZEST (and juice) HAS MANY HEALTH BENEFITS INCLUDING: free radical protection, eases urinary tract infection, helps relieve acne/skin problems, controls blood pressure and helps relieve arthritis symptoms/pain when used on a regular basis.  So fresh, so delicious, so versatile and :bonus: so healthy!

Friday, August 3, 2012

High Five for Friday!

This was a busy, but good (and fairly productive) week thanks to some special people!

1. Best part of my week, or probably best part of my year, was receiving the most special gift from a very important person after waiting for 10 years.... a picture.  (Below is not the picture, just indicative of my feelings and context upon receiving this great present!)

2. Our little Rory kitten is getting so big - 12 weeks old!!!

3.  100% on my test -- TAKE THAT Finite Math! Now just the final and then onto my Masters!

4.  A great lunch with my mom, brother and sister followed by (bells ringing!) long awaited/needed R&R with a massage and facial with my mom and sister! THANKS for the treat MOMMA, LOVE YOU!!!!!

5.  Funniest moment of the week -- an ode to my brother's creativity in keeping his car together after hitting a deer (hope the deer's okay!)... You never know what's coming next with my brother, always keeps us laughing.  Love you Mike!

6. IT actually, finally, never thought it would happen RAINED FOR almost AN ENTIRE DAY!... Forgot what rain was like.


                                        Super special gift
                        Precious Rory, not so itty-bitty anymore
                   TAKE THAT FINITE MATH, now whose the boss! ;)
Heaven on Earth... affordable massage and facials + time well spent with my mom and sister! The greatest amount of relaxation I can get happens here.
                    This was definitely worthy of a picture.....
                      LOVE the smell of the air after it rains....