Friday, September 27, 2013

A round of applause for YOU!

Do you see that BlogHer ad over in my sidebar?------------------------->

I became a part of the BlogHer ad network several years ago and every time you visit here or click around or load a page I earn a little bit of money. Some bloggers make a substantial chunk of change each month but my blog income is pretty modest.

Early last spring, I was doing Jen Hatmaker's "7: A Mutiny Against Excess" book study and one of the non-profit organizations that she highlighted in a video was Kiva.

Kiva is a non-profit organization that facilitates lending around the world. Kiva lenders (individuals like you and me!) can make a micro-loan as small as $25 to individuals around the globe who are trying to better the lives of themselves and their families. The overarching goal is to encourage economic stability and eliminate global poverty.

While in the midst of that book study,  I decided that every penny I earn from this blog will go directly to Kiva lending. And guess what? By visiting my blog, you've helped me fund FOUR Kiva loans since February 2013!

Together we have helped:
1. Nana in Georgia (the country, not the state). Nana purchased grocery stock in order to start her own grocery business. To date she has repaid 15% of her Kiva loan.

2. Nyota in Kenya. Her loan was used to purchase ingredients to make food she sells to fellow villagers. To date she has repaid 33% of her Kiva loan.

3. Kadie in Sierra Leone. Kadie used her loan to purchase items to sell to her fellow villagers. She is trying to earn an income to pay her children's school fees. To date she has repaid 14% of her Kiva loan.

4. Felicien in Rwanda. Felicien is a potato farmer and he used his loan to buy fertilizer and quality seeds to increase his potato production. This loan was funded in the last couple of weeks so he isn't yet in the repayment phase.

THAT IS AMAZING and I just want to say thank you!

As you can probably tell, when it comes to lending I'm partial to women and/or countries in Africa. The cool thing about Kiva is that you get to choose the loans you want to fund and you can narrow it down by gender, country, sector, etc. I like that they include photos and profiles of the folks applying for Kiva loans.

Know something else very cool? Kiva has a 99% repayment rate meaning that very few folks default on their loans. When you receive repayment, you can keep it or re-invest it. I keep re-investing mine!

I'd love for you to visit and check it out.  Here is a link to my Kiva page. Please know this is a referral link. There is no pressure to join or make a loan--my goal in sharing this is to make you aware of how you've already partnered with me simply by visiting my blog. Thank you all so much!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

SMP 9.26.13

SMP = Seven Minute Post

I don't know about where you live but fall has arrived in Colorado and I am LOVING our weather of late. It has been perfect! Look at this forecast? Seriously perfect!
We had great luck last week shopping for a Homecoming dress for Sarah! Afterwards, we bopped in Charming Charlie and found some jewelry (cheap!) and still need to find some shoes but we have a day or two to get that wrapped up. Homecoming is this weekend. She's going with a group of friends which is just the way I like it. :)

I am SO excited about the season premier of Parenthood tonight. I'm sort of sad that NBC moved it to Thursday nights because it now conflicts with Thursday Night Football, but I can deal. Smile.

Funny story about Parenthood: Last month I was having dinner with some friends and one of them said, "OH my gosh you guys, I FINALLY watched Parenthood and I am hooked." Another friend, not realizing that our friend was in the process of working her way through all the seasons inadvertently gave away a pretty big spoiler which may or may not have caused our friend to break out in concerned tears over this plot line. Tears. Real live tears for a fictional character. It was sort of funny and yes, we LAUGHED, but it was also sort of sweet because if you watch the show you know that the characters feel real to you. They're very well written and so very relatable! This friend may or may not have texted me a few days later to tell me she was praying for that same fictional character. Good friends can handle each other's "crazy". 

Hope y'all have a rockin' day! I'm going to try my very best to find 20-30 minutes to take a much-needed nap. So I can stay awake for the Bravermans tonight. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Black Bean and Quinoa Salad

This is my very favorite quinoa recipe. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is technically a seed, not a grain and is high in protein and also gluten-free.

Black Bean and Quinoa Salad

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 red, yellow, or orange pepper, finely chopped
1 small purple onion, finely chopped
6 green onions, white and light green parts only, sliced thin
1/4 - 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
3 cups cooked quinoa. Here's how to cook quinoa perfectly every time!
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced (I use chipotle powder)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp soy sauce (I use reduced sodium)
salt to taste

1. Cook quinoa. I seriously use this method every time and have never had a quinoa fail!

2. Chop and dice veggies. Mix with cooled quinoa. Add rinsed/drained beans.

3. Mix olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice and soy sauce and pour into quinoa/veggie mixture. Stir well. I add chipotle powder here if I haven't used a minced chipotle pepper. Chipotle has a lot of heat so go easy at first and add more gradually. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Chill and serve. We like ours cold, but it's good warm too!

5. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food&Wine

Friday, September 20, 2013

SMP 9.20.13

SMP = Seven Minute Post

I haven't done a seven minute post in awhile and it's a perfect fit for my limited window of time this morning! 

I'm SO happy it's Friday. It's been a full week and I'm ready for a weekend. All of my kids are out of school today so we have a long weekend. We need it. Two of my three have some cold/allergy stuff going on and they're simply not getting enough rest. Rest is on our weekend agenda.

I'm heading to Denver later this morning to take Sarah shopping for a Homecoming dress. FUN! And later this afternoon I'm sending Abbey off camping with some friends. She is SO excited. The original plan (about a month ago) was for them to camp in Estes Park, but Estes Park has been incredibly affected by flooding so they changed their plans last week and will be a little bit closer to home. This friend's family doesn't camp like we do--they have a large camper and the campground has a heated pool. Abbey may never want to camp with her own family again!

I had originally planned to hike my last 14er of the season tomorrow but it's off now. September weekends are full and all but one of my hiking partners had to back out for various reasons. I'm okay with it. I need a Saturday at home and I'm a little unsure of the snowpack at 14,000 feet after all the rain we've had. I'm just going to get several on the calendar for next summer.

My seven minutes are up (I've been typing fast!!!!) and I'll sign off for now. Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Color Run II

The Color Run returned to Colorado Springs this year so I signed up team of friends from my church. None of them had done any version of a color run before so it was all new to them and we had a blast! It's seriously such a fun event. If you've never done one, I highly recommend it. Don't let the running part scare you--lots of folks walk instead, including me!
 We were team Blue By You. Corny, but clever.
Gorgeous backdrop for a morning run, huh? I was SOOOOOOO grateful the sun came out and the rain held off until the race was over. Original forecast was 80% chance of rain at race time.

We HAD to get a jumping photo...but it took several attempts. This one CRACKS me up. There are so many things that make me laugh but my favorite part is the photo bomber behind us.
This one is super funny too! Oh. My. Word. My one friend got cut entirely out...and I have some sort of shadow mustache going on. Sooooooo funny. They might kill me for posting this picture.
 But hey, we finally got a good one!
It was a SUPER fun morning with friends...we got some exercise together and we laughed a LOT. It was a great way to spend a morning!!!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


1. If you watch the news, I'm sure you've seen all of the flooding around Colorado. It is so odd and so sad at the same time. In the almost ten years we've lived here, I've never seen anything like it. We weren't affected by flooding but I think my town got around 7 inches of rain over three days. I'd be surprised if we normally get 7 inches of rain a year since most of our precip is snow! It's so bizarre. And the devastation is so heartbreaking. I'm hoping the worst of it is behind us. The sun was out yesterday (praise the Lord!) and there is no significant rain in the immediate forecast.

2. I came home from work one day last week to find Jack-the-fat-and-greedy-and-rotten-beagle had somehow managed to pull this cake pan off the countertop and help himself to what was left of my coveted, highly rationed Trader Joe's vanilla cake. Ohhhhhh man. I was not happy with the d-o-g.

3. John and the kids gave me a new nick-name a few weeks ago. Def-mutha.
"Def" because I really do not hear well and John insisted that's a cool way to spell deaf. Same with "mutha", I guess. I probably need to go in for a hearing test. My family is tired of having to repeat things over and over, and I got myself into a half-funny, half-embarrassing spot at a high school football game last weekend because I had to ask my friend to keep repeating something. Def-mutha. That's me.

4. I am loving my schedule this fall. I think I've finally found the right balance of work, home, and social time. I scheduled a day at home last week to catch up on household stuff and it was great. Also had some time to catch up with a couple of friends and get some big work tasks done as well. So perfect...I'm really liking the flow of my days and my weeks.

5. I saw a fox this morning on my walk. It came running across the trail about fifty feet in front of us. So cool! Makes me laugh that the fox didn't startle me, but the tumbleweed that blew across the trail a few minutes later did. Yikes.

6. When I got home from my first round of carpool yesterday afternoon, there were two big boxes on my front porch and this is what was inside.
I am so incredibly proud of John! This book releases on October 1st. It's available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes&Noble. Stay tuned. I think I can probably sweet talk him into letting me do a giveaway here.

7. This just makes me laugh. Every. Time. I. See. It. Guess what day it is?
Over and out! Have a great day, people!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Currents: September

Current Read: So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore. A friend let me borrow this book a few years ago and I sort of just skimmed it. I decided to buy and re-read it in hopes that it would give me some insight into the role that insecurity plays in female friendships (because oh boy, I believe it to be a huge issue). It's been an interesting read so far and while I've never considered myself insecure, my eyes have been opened to some ways that insecurity does indeed manifest itself in my life. Ugh. Convicting.

Current Playlist: Still stuck on 1D, but I throw Chris Tomlin in there pretty frequently too. 

Current Color: Pink. Which is surprising for a girl who's never been much of a pink fan. 

Current Drink: I really need to quit drinking diet soda. Lately I've had entirely too much. Yuck. It's so bad for you.

Current Food: I'm going to start a 10 Days of Real Food challenge next week. It basically means NO processed food for ten days. I eat a fairly clean diet anyway but am trying to get my family on board to do this with me because they love their processed food a little too much. :) 

Current Favorite Favorite: Stitch Fix. I've gotten two different "fixes" and think this is such a fun thing. Here's the post I did about my first Stitch Fix box. I forgot to take pictures of the second one, but I kept a top and necklace. By the way, that link is a referral link. I had enough referral credit after my first fix to keep the two items from my second box for free! 

In a nutshell, when you sign up for Stitch Fix, you pay $20 to fill out a style profile and receive a box of five hand-selected items. Keep what you want and send the rest back in a pre-paid mailer. Your initial $20 applies to the price of the items you keep. If you keep all five items, you get a $25% discount on the entire order. It's fun and different and you can customize what you receive (tops, bottoms, dresses, accessories). My advice is to be as SPECIFIC as possible and to offer SPECIFIC feedback, especially on price point. Let me know if you try it and love it! 

Current Addiction: Fantasy Football. Oh my word, I love it and can't get enough. 
This is my afternoon carpool-line indulgence.

Current Wish List: Honestly, a good night's sleep of 10+ hours would be wonderful. I'm not getting enough rest these days. 

Current Need: New running shoes! Mine have many, many miles on them and are starting to show some wear. Let's be clear though--I do not run. I just call them running shoes.

Current Ring Tone: Arkansas Razorbacks fight song! 

Current Triumph: That's right--a 123pt word! Maybe my highest score ever!

Current Annoyance: My washing machine's spin cycle keeps getting stuck and I open the lid to find that the load didn't finish spinning and is sopping wet. It doesn't happen all the time; maybe 2 out of every 10 loads. I have to giggle things around, but it eventually I can get it spinning again. I should probably let that be my sign to call a repairman because I'm not ready to buy a new machine just yet. 

Current Mood: Happy! (I'm such a morning person!)(My kids tell me I'm too happy in the mornings!)(John describes me as "Sunshiney"!)(I'm A-OK with all of the above because being happy is good for the soul!)

Current Blessing: Finally being able to identify and eliminate a pretty big source of agitation for me. The result? P-E-A-C-E.

Current Outfit: Jeans, t-shirt, cardigan. Really ready for fall weather and fall clothing!

Current Excitement: My husband has a new book coming out next month! I am so proud of him!!! Here is a link if you're interested in pre-ordering. More details soon!

Current Project: I don't have anything on my plate right now project-wise...that's a good thing. 

Current Link: I loved this post by Kelly (my real life friend!) about doing hard things. I can so relate.

Current plans for the day: Work, make a menu plan/grocery list, and do some laundry and cleaning. 

Happy Hump Day, people!

Friday, September 06, 2013

Friday Five

1. I had the most productive day yesterday! I got so many of those small mundane things on my to-do list crossed off. Schedule haircuts? Check. Mail birthday gift? Check. Paperwork? More paperwork? Check. Check. Those are the kind of things that weigh me down, but by noon I was feeling on top of my game again. I love feeling productive. It helps to have an uninterrupted block of time too. That is in short supply around here and the reason those little tasks accumulate so quickly!

2. I have never really liked wearing dresses. I maybe have two hanging in my closet, one of which I bought this summer to wear to John's parents 50th wedding anniversary celebration. I knew when I went shopping for it that it needed to be classic, timeless, and black! I found one that I really liked and is super flattering and best of all, I feel good wearing it. I get to wear it again this weekend because John and I have an event to go to at a fancy-schmancy place. I've never put much stock in the "every woman needs a little black dress" idea...until now. It's so true. I have zero stress about this event because of that dress.

3. I feel like some things in my life are shifting a bit. It's not the first time I've felt this. Webster defines shift as a slight change in position, direction, or tendency. I'm still processing some of this but a shift is definitely happening. And it's a good thing. A very good thing.

4. I texted this picture to Whimzie yesterday.
She asked me on Facebook not long ago if she was remembering correctly that I was the friend who would wash, dry, fold, and put away my kids' clothes in the exact condition I find them in the hamper. The answer is YES. I quit turning things right side out and unballing their socks and unwadding their skinny jeans a long time ago. I just don't do it. My kids are 16, 15, and 11 and are fully capable of doing this for themselves. We've had umpteen hundred discussions about it yet they remain unfazed. {Sigh}
So, yeah, those are "clean" socks in that photo above. They were washed, dried, "folded", and put away just like that.

5. I'm so happy it's the weekend. Weekends are so much more appreciated during the school year! Ours is a mix of fun and rest. Hope yours is happy!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Last things

Last thing I did before bed: Set my alarm and set my ringer to silent

Last thing I ate: Just finished up some Almond Butter pancakes--my favorite breakfast!

Last thing I bought for myself: Revlon lip butter in pink truffle--a great neutral shade and cheaper than my Clinique chubby stick.

Last place I swiped my debit card: Freddy's. I took my older kids for custard after school yesterday. Shhhhhhh...don't tell their little sister.

Last person I talked to on the phone: My friend, Terri.

Last person I texted: My boss.

Last photo I took with my phone: Abbey 'thought' she was taller than me on her tip-toes and I told her she wasn't, so she made me take a photo to prove it. Looking at it now, she might have been right.

Last song I listened to on my iPod: Best Song Ever (chosen by my carpool kiddos!)

Last time I went to the doctor: April. For my yearly exam. Awe.some.

Last thing I lost: My mind? Just kidding. I lost my earbuds but found them yesterday!

Last time I laughed out loud: At dinner last night. We always have the craziest dinner conversations at our house. Our kids are funnnny!

Last time I cried: Last night while listening to this song by the Goo Goo Dolls because my husband called me his "sweetest friend". I am so blessed I tell ya.

Last thing that frustrated me: realizing that a load of laundry got washed with liquid fabric softener instead of detergent. I asked one of my kiddos to start a load for me and in hindsight, I probably should have given that particular child a refresher course first. For the record, I re-washed it with detergent and now it's super soft and smells twice as nice.

Last tv show I watched: Duck Dynasty.

Last thing I gave away: Well, I tried to give a bag of kid's clothes to my friend but she was so influenced by Jen Hatmaker's book "7" (which was our spring Bible study at church) that she graciously declined to accept them. Her reason was that she already has a ridiculous amount of clothes for her daughter and has no business adding more. I tried to tempt her but she stayed strong and helped me brainstorm about whose hands I could put them in that *really, truly* needs them. I think several in our "7 group" finished that study last spring with true change taking root in our hearts and lives. I LOVE that. SO much.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

My brain thinks it is Tuesday

Long weekends are GREAT but they play tricks on my brain. I know today is Wednesday but my brain is in Tuesday mode. And yesterday felt like a Monday.


Here are some pics from my phone from our weekend.

Our teenagers were out with friends on Friday night so John and I got to hang with our "baby" and our baby wanted ice cream. It was a nice evening! We drove around Palmer Lake for a little bit as we were leaving, hoping to see a bear (that's always my wish when I'm in Palmer Lake) but had to be content with seeing a handful of deer.
Saturday, the five of us trekked down to Costco and grabbed some Mexican food on the way. Hacienda has GREAT outdoor seating but it started raining so we ate inside.
Of course we had to see the 1D movie. I thought it was great! Abbey did too. Sarah went with friends on Friday and evidently they had a theater-full of crazed fans. Our showing was pretty tame.
Monday morning, I got up and walked and our usual trail was overtaken by hundreds of runners. There was a marathon that morning (America's Discovery Trail, or something like that) and it was really neat to see those runners out en masse. I got home from walking and ran to Starbucks for my first pumpkin spice latte of the season and had to stop at the crosswalk for the runners to cross...and there were lots of them. Very cool! An the latte wasn't so bad. I love how the fog is lower than the mountains in the photo below.
I might have been sad Monday evening about going back to school and work if I hadn't had my fantasy football draft party to look forward to. Oh my word. It was a HOOT! About 3/4 of our league showed up to draft together and it was super fun! I have a great team...I'm so excited about football.
That's all I've got this morning. I have a VERY full day ahead so adios, amigas! Happy Hump Day!