Wednesday, March 30, 2011

kitchen self portraits revealed

Here we go, taking over the internet one self-portrait at a time. Thanks to those who participated in my funny little game. I had such a great time looking at everyone's photos. I hope you had fun!

In case you are dying to see mine again, here's more me:
click here

First we have Jesse. She is my little sister. I love her to pieces, and I absolutely love all the pictures she took. She said she would lay in bed and laugh herself to sleep thinking of ideas. I nearly fell off my chair laughing when I saw what she came up with. She has turned into quite the little cook, so be sure to check out her blog, Diaries of a Cookaholic, for some great recipes and witty narration.

Love this!
isn't she gorgeous?
what are you doing?
you didn't
you did!
She cracked an egg on her head for me. Now that is love.
Bun in the oven, er... baby in the oven?
I laughed for about 20 minutes straight after I saw this picture!!!
I love that look he's giving her... "what are you doing, mom?"
Stay tuned for more of Jesse "Getttin' Dirty in the Kitchen" at the end of this post!

I've mentioned Delia and her really fun blog a few times. I don't know her, but I was tickled that she participated in my little photo challenge. See here for the post on her blog.

I love how she captured the motion of her and her little boy spinning around in the kitchen. Precious.
Here are some from my darling friend Ashley pouring over a vintage cookbook.
This is probably my all-time favorite picture of hers. She looks so cute and old-fashioned.
I love her bright red lipstick, and those cookies don't look bad either!
I love the sink full of bubbles, getting ready to tackle those dishes. What a great angle!
Too fun!

 Here's my friend Debbie. I love the classic black and white photos. And, I love her kitchen!! She and her hubby re-did a lot of it themselves. She had before and after photos on her private blog, and it is amazing what they accomplished!
Debbie's got a knack for sneaking in healthy ingredients. I wonder what she disguised in this cake batter....
I love this and her cute little ladybug helper.
I couldn't help but notice the little action figure perched on the shelf in the background.

Fun fact about Debbie: she grew up in South Dakota! She's got a really fun blog, The Happy Scraps. Check out the whole post on kitchen self portraits on her blog here
This is a really fun shot, in her sink faucet. Very creative!
I think every mom could use one of these signs somewhere in their house, love it.
The inside of the dishwasher, good one!

One of the fun things about blogging is meeting new people. I'm glad Heather found my little photo challenge and took part. Check out her blog here, and the original post on her blog here.
I love this idea... leaving your project out on the counter to be worked on at random intervals of the day. In Heather's case, its scrapbooking. Brilliant!
Love this dramatic pose and her apron too!

Another fun blogger found this photo challenge. Check out her blog, Southern Gnome. (This is totally a sidenote, but did anyone ever see "Gnomeo and Juliet?" We took our kids to see that and thought it was ridiculous but hilarious). Anyway, I especially love her post about starting your plants in eggshells.
That's a great idea.
Hmm, I wonder what she's making.

OK, now a few more from my sis to wrap things up. She's such a crack up. Thanks again for everyone who played. I had a lot of fun seeing what ideas everyone had.
That's hot. :)
That's so cool.
I'm in love with her pink kitchen!
And the most adorable cookbook I've ever seen.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

take your kitchen pics this weekend!

Sorry it you're sick of my advertising this! Last one, promise. If you want to play, this is just a reminder to take your kitchen self portraits this weekend. I'll be posting them on Monday night, and there's a little prize for a random participant. Have fun!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

lessons i'm learning from running

 As some of you might know, I am training for my first half marathon, to be ran on my 29th birthday! woot woot! I'm only up to mile 7 on my long runs, so I've got a way to go until I can cross this half marathon thing off my bucket list. It's nothing to brag about yet... so here's what I've learned so far.

*If you're signing up for an event, register early- it motivates you to train and will probably save you money. I signed up online, and googled my event before checkout. I actually found a $5 dollar coupon code. sweet! So remember to look for a coupon.

*Map out a training schedule. See Runners World and Hal Higdon for good resources.

*Pick a day for your long runs (mine is Saturday). If you can, find a friend to run with and go early to get it out of the way. We went at 6:15 last weekend and it was awesome. If you're already committed to running that day, commit yourself one step further, wake up at the crack of dawn, and get it out of the way so it doesn't cut into family time. I can't go that early every Saturday, but when I can it feels so good.

*I don't have a gps watch, I wish I had a gps watch, but I'm getting by with a regular old sports watch I've had since high school (my first Valentine's gift I ever received Troy)! I know my average mile, and I just time myself when running outside to estimate my total distance.

*Train with Gu, sports beans, etc. That's what i've been told. You don't want to surprise your body come race day throwing the stuff up cuz you weren't used to it.

*Hydrate and eat enough. Be responsible and take care of yourself properly! My husband will not let me go to bed until I've drank at least a whole glass of water.

*Cross train. I've been doing 2 short runs (3-5 miles) a week, and 2 days of strengthening. I've noticed I had to build up the muscles surrounding my knees and elbows (of all places) or else they will get really sore.

*Learn about proper breathing. I read a really good tip from Sheena, a fellow blogger and runner here. (if you're into running, read the whole post, its great)!

*Run in the right shoes. Proper shoes have always been a big deal to my family. When my grandpa (ultra-marathoner and shoe salesman) found out I was running my first half, his first question was, "What kind of shoes are you running in?" Sadly, I was still using the Mizunos he sold me over 5 years ago. But with our tax return, I was able to get a new pair. Another smart money saving tip from Sheena came in really handy for me. I went to my local running store, was properly fitted, and then asked if they had any models from last year. Lucky for me, they did, so I bought brand new running shoes- that fit me properly- at half price. (I'm all about online shopping, but since I need an extra narrow, it's hard to find the exact fit without trying them on first. And many online stores don't ever seem to have the correct sizing for my foot anyway).

*Ask all your running friends for good advice.

*Pamper your feet when you get home. After my shower, I use a few foot tools from target to scrape away the dead skin and blisters. Then I slather on the lotion.

*Don't cut your toenails before a 7 miler. ouch.

*Weaning your baby in the middle of your training is tricky! (tmi? sorry!) I have literally been pregnant/nursing/pregnant/nursing/pregnant/nursing since 2005. It's been awesome, and I wouldn't change a thing for the world, but I really have to say that it is so nice to be reclaiming my body! I feel so freeeeeeeeeeeeee!

*Have your husband or friend make a sweet playlist with some surprise songs to train with.

*Run without headphones once in a while!!! There is a half marathon in the redwoods, and one of the rules is you can't use headphones. Can you imagine taking in the beauty, with soft fern beneath your feet, smelling the delicious trees, listening to nature all around you, really using all of your natural senses. i can't think of a more perfect setting to run a half. My mom grew up there, I've spent many summers there, and miss all my family who lives there. I realllly want to run this one day.
Alisa Knight. Do you read this blog? Can I run this with you someday?

*Who said running has to be all about you? A smart suggestion from a friend that I've been doing with my kids- after my workouts at the gym, I take them to the track and let them run around it 3 or 4 times. Sometimes they race. They LOVE it and it's great exercise for them too. I signed them up to run the kids race on the morning of my half marathon. So now its a family event, and they love "practicing" for their big day.

*Run outside! Until last weekend, I'd been doing all my running at the gym, some on the treadmill, and some on the track. I'll continue my short runs there, but running outside is a whole new experience.

*All things in moderation. Balance out your life. Don't obsess about it. Map out your schedule, eat well, get enough sleep, and keep the other aspects of your life in check. There is a time and season for all things. Be in a spot where you can handle what it takes to go out there and train. I actually went out with the X-Country team in high school a few times, but ultimately gave up. Back then, it just wasn't for me. I was a dancer, really involved with my church, and just didn't have the right mindset and commitment level to run long distances. Running is something I had to "grow into" and now I really look forward to the work, the sweat, the alone time, the ability to set my mind on cruise and just let my legs carry me. I'm thankful I'm able to do this.

*Baby steps. If you're anything like me, you won't be able to go out and run a half without training first. For me it started with a 5k. Then another 5k. Then a 10k. And now I'm ready to tackle 13.1 miles.

*Train like you mean it. Your body is one amazing machine! Even though its hard and sometimes you will want to quit, push yourself and see what it can do!

*Pick a goal and stick with it. 1 mile. 5k. 10k. Any goal. Maybe its 50 sit ups a night. Or to tone your arms. Something to improve your health or quality of life. As soon as I told myself I was going to do this, I haven't looked back. (For years I told myself "I'm not a runner." "I can't run more than 2 miles." But I got so tired of telling myself that. Why not?) So now I'm going for it. For my first, I'm not training for an amazing finish time. I just want to be able to finish. To say I can do it. For me, it's totally a mental thing.

My first race ever! 5k, 2009
My second race ever! another 5k, 2010
My 3rd race! 10k, 2010

Now I'm ready for the next step. 
13.1 or bust!

Anyone else out there have any good advice?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

how to cook lentils

Here's a few pictures from our St. Patty's Day. You can see that we ate very healthy that day :)
I experimented with lentils, since they are green. They were very easy to cook, behaving much like rice. But once they were cooked, I didn't really know what to do with them. I have a recipe, and the flavor was great, but the texture was unappetizing. Has anyone ever cooked with lentils, and have any advice on how to prepare them in a dish?

The Leprechaun Trail
Breakfast of champions! My kids did not feel well for the rest of the day, and I am sure its because I let them eat such an unhealthy breakfast! That's why we only eat this once a year!
Mint brownies with mint frosting
Green jello
A pretty bowl of lentils. The picture of our meal didn't turn out very well.

How to cook lentils:

1 cup lentils
1 1/2 cups water

1. Rinse under cold water and sort out any stones or dirt clumps.
2. Boil water or stock, then add lentils.
3. Bring to a boil again, reduce heat, cover, simmer 45 minutes.
4. Don't add salt until they are done cooking, it will make the tough.

Now I just need a good recipe to use them with!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

self portrait in your kitchen photo contest info

4 Things to Know:

1. I've extended the date! The new deadline is Monday March 28. 
Email me your favorite photo(s) at,
or if you'd rather post it on your blog, just leave your blog link in my comments so I can link you up.

2. There will be a prize! I will choose a winner from You could be the winner of this:
or one very similar. i've been making lots of these little hair clips lately, and the fabric i send you might be a little different than what is pictured.

3. Big thanks to Jen at Tatertots and Jello...
She has so many fun ideas of her own, 
and it is the mecca of all blogs if you ever want to "get featured."

4. You can link your pictures yourself, right here, and I'll re-post this with the rest of the results:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

perfectly chocolate cake for match day

We all know tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, but for some people there is much more to the day than green, luck, and Irish heritage. Tomorrow is "The Match." If you recognize the term "match day," you may have been through it or know someone who has. It's the big day when all the medical students across the U.S. find out if they've been accepted and where they will be going for the next 3-7 years of their medical training, called residency. Monday they find out if, and Thursday they find out where. You rank all the interviews you had, and you are elated if you end up matching. A few will not match, meaning they will have to scramble to land a spot that wasn't even on their list and may not be the specialty they chose. They may have to go through the process all over again next year. It's a grueling, scary process that will test all your hard work, patience, and faith. Needless to say, it is a big day. We have some good friends who just found out they did indeed match!!! (They find out where tomorrow). I am so happy for my friend, and wish her all the best. I cried with excitement for her and her husband when she texted me the big news.

I made this cake for my friend to celebrate the news. I have to tell you, the Perfectly Chocolate Cake recipe on the back of my Hershey's cocoa is one of my go-to recipes. I love the cake and especially the frosting. Here's the recipe.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March Madness brackets

Do you like basketball? 
Does your loved one?
Mine does, and currently has a broken thumb from playing it.

March Madness is here, and its time to fill out your brackets! We play in a family league, and it is so fun. It makes watching all the college games exciting and is a fun way to connect with loved ones.  It's so easy, just go to to create your league. It can take as little as 2 minutes to fill out your bracket, or if you actually care about making informed predictions, do you some research based on the team's winning/losing streak. It'll make your hubby so happy if you at least pretend to care :) Our brackets are printed out and on the fridge. I'm totally gonna beat him. For the final round, I picked BYU vs Ohio State. He picked Notre Dame vs UConn.

Have you filled out a bracket?
Who do you predict for the championship game?

Monday, March 14, 2011

kid craft- paper four leaf clover shamrocks


four hours.
six kids.
one me.
spring fever.
need a craft project!

These 4 leaf clovers came to me during my sleep.
Yeah, sometimes I dream up crafts.
Couldn't wait to give them a try while babysitting on Saturday.

easy, no mess, cheap, cute

Supplies Needed:
green paper
green ribbon
scissors or paper cutter

What to do:

Pick out some green scrapbook paper.
Cut four strips of each paper 1 inch wide by 6 inches long.
Face the wrong sides together and staple at one end.
Here you should be grabbing 2 papers in each hand. Make a heart by flipping the paper to secure at the bottom and staple again.

Once you've made 4 hearts, assemble like so: Line up the 4 hearts. Put a ribbon between the middle two. Place a piece of felt at the end. Staple everything together.
PhotobucketYou can make the hearts two sided or one sided. You can also use ribbon as the stem instead of felt, like you see in the second example.