At least we're moving forward!

From Gold to Green

I left the gold colored landscape of Northern California last week for the Green Mountain State. Summertime in Vermont is quite glorious if you can avoid the man eating mosquitos. Yesterday, my dad, mom, brother, and I headed out to a new adventure. We decided on AuSable Chasm- an attraction in New York’s Adirondack Mountains on the other side of Lake Champlain.

This was very, very special because I hadn’t spent a whole day with my brother since he left California back in September, and my time with my dad is limited when I visit because he works. When I was told they were taking the day off, I felt like I had won the lottery! What a treat.

We headed out across Lake Champlain on the Grand Isle ferry. It’s a quick trip, but the sun was shining and the views are lush and soothing.
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And then a wave comes and soaks you!!
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We drove south down routes 9 and 22 through gorgeous little towns filled with brick buildings, past old stone walls separating farms, and incredible limestone homes. These houses made me so jealous considering what we can buy in San Jose for the same amount of money.

I’ve only ever been in this area one other time, and Chris and I saw Rainbow Falls at AuSable Chasm from the road. Growing up, I had seen the photos and really wanted to check it out, but we got there after closing that day.
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The old bridge and pump house are majestic.
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Little did I know as we started down the trail that I’d soon feel like I was back West again!
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We hiked down along the trails and couldn’t believe we were in the Northeast.
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We then rafted lazily down the chasm eroded over time by the river.
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After our journey, we headed into Essex, NY for lunch right on the lake and a little bit of antiquing which is one of my favorite things ever!!

Then, back on the ferry.
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We were so beat! It was a great day exploring with some of my favorite people.

Almost There…

My students are facing finals, and I am soooo glad that I’m not in high school anymore.  While I’m working everyday, I’m dreaming of what’s to come!

Things that I am saving for the summer:

  • Organize recipes and cookbooks.  Make a binder of all the loose papers I have.
  • Try to go pescatarian for an anti-inflammatory diet.  See if back and overall health improve with the changes.  Come up with lots of great new recipes.
  • Buy a house.
  • Move into said house.
  • Study “good works” in the Bible.  Get over my anxiety about studying the Bible.
  • Cook at home more.
  • Make a website for my business and finalize my new business plan.
  • Learn how to stick to a budget.

Things I have been doing that will help my summer be totally rocking if I can keep them up:

  • Losing weight.  Legs and arms are already looking quite nice!
  • Not crowding every day full with stuff to do.
  • Being realistic about what I can accomplish, give, do, etc…
  • Staying conscious of where our money goes.
  • Praying that God will meet all of our needs even though I won’t be working as much.

What I’d like to do this summer:

  • Go on a long vacation to Dawn Ranch in Sonoma and swim in the Russian River all day long while sipping lightly chilled rose as Honey chases birds.
  • Not babysit every single day.

What I will actually be doing this summer:

  • Celebrating 5 year of marriage!
  • Going to the beach with my favorite dog as many times as possible.
  • Being outside as much as possible.
  • Going to Vermont for a family reunion.
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Next time, we’re getting goggles! Photo credit: Chris Dods

Even though I’ve tutored for so long that my brain is mush, it’s been a great day!
1. I got on the scale at Weight Watchers and was down 4 lbs (total of 13 so far). Goooo me!
2. I enjoyed an amazingly yummy Frappuccino as an afternoon pick me up. Holy cow was it good.
3. I saw my first solar eclipse as an adult- and didn’t burn my retinas, thanks to this nifty tip from my hubby. (See photo) He’s awesome. Xoxo
3. I made a ton of money.
4. I only have two more days of real push before summer! Hooray.

I ruined strawberries for Chris.

He hasn’t eaten one in three years, thanks to my lazy ways.  I signed us up for the “Extra Fruit Option” with a CSA way back when, and it was WAY too much!  We were getting at least 6 pints of strawberries each week on top of all the other fruits and veggies in box.  As much as I love fruit, that is just too much for one girl who doesn’t know how to can and whose freezer was chock full. Plus, the berries weren’t even that great, so I wasn’t super motivated to maow down.

So the strawberries just sat on the counter and rotted.  Week after week.  I’m sure that I don’t have to tell you that that is gross.  And old, gunky strawberries smell really, really disgusting.  Chris is sensitive about food as it is, so this certainly didn’t help.

He’s refused to eat them since.

I stopped eating them for the most part, too, but that was because I was convinced that the fruit isn’t that great.  Really, I didn’t even like strawberries until I moved to California.  Growing up in Vermont, we couldn’t wait to go berry picking at Mazza’s Farm Stand on River Road, but the fruit was never very sweet or red, and they were really tiny.  That’s sort of what these CSA berries were.

U-pick berries at Mazza’s

But last summer, I bought a carton of berries on the corner.  I took them to fellowship to share, and they were awesome.  And I realized how perfect a great strawberry could be- sweet, juicy, vibrantly colored, and perfumed.

Street vendor selling fruit

Strawberries are now a go-to food for me, because on Weight Watchers, they are 0 points.  Hooray!  I eat them for breakfast or for a quick snack when I want something sweet.

I even accidentally introduced my niece to them back in March.  We were buying some at Whole Foods, and I let her hold one in her little hand and munch while I was shopping.  Little did I know that she had never tried one before!  Oops.  It all worked out, though, and she LOVED it!

Last week, Chris said, “I miss strawberries.”  I felt really, really badly and apologized for my past mistake.  I said that he should give them a try again and told him of the fruit I’ve been getting at Zanotto’s down the street.  Their berries are delightful.  My mission for this summer is to make it up to Chris.  Maybe this is a start:

Delish! And pretty too.

More Poppies

This may seem like the tiniest little thing, but I got great joy out of some poppies on this morning’s walk.

I have never seen this variety- with the paper thin petals making a poof ball- or poppies of this gentle purple color.

Taking the time to look around, listen, and pay attention makes life that much more pleasure-filled.  Sometimes, I get a kick out of something that I’ve seen and enjoyed a hundred times before- like an avocado tree with fruit on it.  Other times, I discover something new.

It doesn’t even take any extra time, but it makes everything more wonderful.  That’s the best part.  I don’t have to fit it into an already busy schedule!

Makes me excited for what I’ll find tomorrow.

 

Morning Smoothie

I have to have breakfast before I get going every day, or else I turn into a crazy lunatic.  Really.  Not joking about this, people.

Because I’m often running late, though, I have to be really fast about it. For that reason, I’m a big fan of smoothies… but there’s one problem.

They’ve got a great texture and are tasty, but they usually don’t fill me up.  I find that I am hungry an hour or two later, which defeats the purpose of a meal!

This may be that I don’t do dairy, so my concoctions are mostly fruit and a milk-substitute.  Today, though, I made one that is super healthy and creamy and kept me satisfied for a few hours.  I think that it’s the flax seed oil that made the difference, because everything else stays pretty much the same.

Anyway, it’s a quick, delightful way to get the day going.  Even better- this recipe is gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and vegan.  Yet it still tastes good.  Hooray!

Berry Smoothie
makes 16 oz of gf, df, sf deliciousness

Blend the following ingredients together:
2 C frozen berry mix
1 C unsweetened almond milk (Almond Breeze)
1 T rice protein powder (Nutribiotic Vegan Rice Protein, plain)
1 T flax seed oil
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or more, depending on your preference)
1 handful fresh spinach (washed)- optional

Weight Watchers PointsPlus Value: 5

Enjoy!

We Can(‘t) Do It!

Tonight, I can honestly say that marriage can be trying. I am currently sitting in the car, stranded, because of a flat tire.

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Now don’t go thinking that I can’t change it. I’m actually really good at that. I’m stuck because there is no key for the final lug nut.

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Where, you might ask, is this vital tool? Good question. No one seems to know. While I’ve been driving this car for the last 6 months, it’s Chris’, and I’m going to throw this one into his court!

It didn’t help that when I called him, he responded, “I thought it might be that one. It looked off the other day.” WHAT was that?!?

Granted, he’s on his way to rescue me, but that makes me mad!! I wanted to take care of this on my own- like the modern day lady I am- but I can’t because I don’t have the right parts.

Maybe he did this so that he could be my knight in shining armor… But I think he’d say I wouldn’t need rescuing if I didn’t run over curbs so often.

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