A lesson in life from a gym rat

I probably should clear a few things up before I relay this story. First is… I’m somewhat of a gym rat. Next to home, it’s the place I “check in” to the most on Facebook. Secondly, I’m no stranger to floor work, namely in the abs area. I should have a core like Cameron Diaz as much time as I spend on the floor doing abs. Lastly, I Zumba so often i should certify so I can make the money not give it. I think that’s enough foreshadowing. I have a story for you.
I went to the gym Monday evening. We had a little time prior to class so my Best M and I decided to do a little floor work. Out came the balls and mats and medicine balls and we set to work. Like most moms I know; my target area is ALWAYS the dreaded pooch. I got on the ball in push-up position with the ball at my ankles and I proceeded to pull my legs up into kneeling position….20 times. I was feeling cool cuz MBM wasn’t attempting that little stunt and I was fine. We did some other work then headed into Zumba. It was a good work out/ much needed attitude adjustment. Fast forward twenty two hours, six minutes and eighteen seconds later… It hit. With a gusto my AB work H I T me…in the middle of Justice For Girls. I was on the floor curled in fetal position moaning incoherent strings of pleas to make it go away. I managed to get back home and toss back a few (12) Advil and then I tried to sit down and let the drugs kick in. It was the most excruciating episode of Wizards of Waverly Place… Ever. And that’s one of the more tolerable Disney shows.
We walked over to Rain’s soccer game three blocks away. It took me 20 minutes. The lady walking around trying to induce her labor lapped me thats how slow I was going. I made it to the park and I couldn’t stand upright, I looked less like Mom at the Soccer Game more like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. And I was anti social. And cold cuz apparently mid October at 6 pm in Utah is not exactly t-shirt weather. So each shiver induced more pain. That was the longest 45 minutes of my life and I’ve birthed three large babies NATURALLY.
By half time my overdose of Advil had kicked in and I was yelling TWICE as loud and TWICE as often to make up for my horrible first half. Oh and sprinting from the playground to the field just because I could.
So what I learned is this, my abs and consequently my stretch marks are gifts of life. I sacrificed my body to nurture life for another being. I was Christlike in my selfless sacrifice. So the next time I try to erase the reminders of what I can do when I don’t put myself first, I’ll put the medicine ball away and hug one of my kiddos instead. From now on the most intense AB workout I will be doing is when I’m sucking in my belly as I order three pieces of Chocolate Truffle Decadence to-go from the Cheesecake Factory.
Until next life lesson…..

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Delish Dessert Ashleigh Style

We’re veg.  It all started a few years ago with a Beth Moore study.  What began with a six week experiment that had me counting down the hours til I got to enjoy a big fat juicy burger; became a permanent thing.  That was three years ago.  I didn’t want to force my newfound food freedom on my family so I did continue preparing meaty meals when my DH was home.  A year and a half ago, DH decided he was going to try my new diet as a way to drop a few before a family vacation…that was eighteen months ago.

A couple months ago my DH approached me with his “discontent” shall we say with our limited repertoire for family dinner.  It set me on a search.  I picked up a FANTABULOUS cookbook called “Peas and Thank You” it is my new bible.  I love her because she’s hilarious, first off, secondly she’s raising a family and she understands my kids are not going to be excited about Indian Rice and Lentil Pilaf with steamed Leeks.  Lets face it, IM not excited about Indian Rice and Lentil Pilaf with Steamed Leeks! Anyway, I’ve cooked the entire book.  No I haven’t seasoned the book and served it up, but every danged recipe in it has graced our dinner table.  And they are great.  And they have my notes.  The book is well worn.  I’m looking into laminating it (heehee) and rebinding it because it’s falling apart.

In the meantime, myself and my passion for cooking have been reunited.  And I’m all out of recipes to try.  So I graduated to the next logical step…take all my old favorites and twist them into something we can eat again!

Anyway, as any vegetarian will tell you, it becomes a journey.  I have explored a few levels of vegetarianism, including Pescetarian (fish eating), lacto-ovo (egg and cheese consuming), and vegan, with a few bouts of raw thrown in for good measure.  I have settled in the middle of the road with “veganish”.  While I haven’t completely sworn off the dairy, I have significantly cut it down…except that 1/2 carton of sea salt caramel and truffle ice cream I ate last night….so I make this claim because while I’m going to do my best to be mostly vegan, I wouldn’t qualify my recipes as FULLY VEGAN.  So no mean comments about how honey is an animal product blah blah blah!

Tonight I tried Berry Cobbler.  It’s an easy fix, but man o man it was DELISH!

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IS your mouth watering yet?

Here’s the recipe….

You need:

2c Cobbler Mix (see recipe at the bottom)

1/2c smashed shortbread cookies (or nilla wafers) OR 1/2c smashed up True North Nut clusters…another good (vegan) selection at Sams Club.  I love these things!!!!

4T cold vegan margarine (Earth Balance comes in a stick…I love it!)

3c Frozen berries (Sams club has an awesome Triple Berry Mix that I used)

1/4c Wheat flour

1/4C sugar

Orange Zest…about 1/4 of the orange.

1/3 c Rice milk with about 1/2t vinegar to make it “buttermilk”

Ok….now what?

Preheat the oven to 400F

grease an 8×8 pan

combine the flour and sugar with orange zest.  Toss the fruit to coat.  Set that in your greased pan

cut the Margarine into the cobbler mix and mix with your cookies or clusters.  Add “buttermilk” and just mix til all is combined.

Add generously to the top of the fruit

Bake for 30M.

Easy right?

Yummy is more like it!

Enjoy!

Cobbler Mix

1pkg Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix…you know, the dry stuff?

1 box Betty Crocker Butter cake.

Mix.  Pretty easy right?

So as you can see, this isn’t TOTALLY vegan.  I know there are hidden animal products in the cake and cookie mixes as well as the cookies.  Like I said, not totally vegan…get over it.  But I am saving the dairy where I can….so I won’t feel bad about polishing off the rest of that carton of ice cream I started last night….just kidding!!

Until next brag….

Diversity Means….

I hate when I have the best of intentions at something and I get behind.  Case in point, school.  We’re in week 4 and you havent heard hem or hair from me since week one.  Yeah I suck.  In my defense, my laptop battery officially died…read about it here.  And so my laptop is now tethered to the wall.  That kind of defeats the purpose of a LAPTOP dont you think?  Anyway…more on that saga at a later post.  Lets talk about Rain.

I have one girl.  One whole daughter if you know me, there was this one little time for about four months when I thought I was going to be blessed with two but well….I have O.N.E.  I’m a girly girl-to the hilt girly girl.  So at the expense of sounding like those moms on the toddler beauty pageant shows, I will tell you I want(ed) with every bone in my body to have a little girl follow in my 5 inch high heeled shoes.  What I got was a goalie owning soccer playing hockey checking skull t-shirt wearing Rain.  It’s taken me a while to get used to, but I am slowly embracing this.  On the upside the skull shirt is glittery.

SO, A few weeks ago my beautiful girl came home with a Reflections packet.  She explained she wanted to participate because the theme intrigued her.    She wanted to do this project because she wanted to show that Diversity means Being Yourself. Diversity means….that beautiful smart child of mine has figured out; at 11 years old that embracing her differences is the key to her success.  She has been thus rewarded.  Her entry has been moved onto district.  I’m so proud of her!

Just another proof positive that she does have her head on straight!

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Look at that smile!!!

Until next brag….

A shout out to Apple

I have a MacBook.
I’m kind of a snob about it. Kind of like I’m a snob about my coffee, my chocolate and my food. As my DH will tell you, I appreciate the “finer” things in life,as is evidenced by their pricetags.

The problem with wanting to partake in the “finer” things on a Dave- Ramsey- single-income-family-budget is that I find the constant need to justify my expenditures, therein my expensive taste.  This weekend has been a testimony to my “right” decision.

We’ve established I have a MacBook…and an iPhone…and an iPod touch.  DH owns an iPhone, iPod, iPad.  Guess it’s safe to say we are steeped in the apple flavored kool-aid.

I purchased my MacBook from my dad…how I came into it is another post.  Suffice it to say I paid a FRACTION of the price new.  I’m a sucker for a deal, so this was equivalent to the angels descending upon me with heavenly voices and ethereal sounds of harps.  I have loved my Mac but recently have been disappointed.  Things had slowed down significantly, and I was having internet issues.  Then the battery died….leaving me chained to the wall.  Like watching the aging of a family pet, eventually it becomes a reality that you will need to put the beloved pet down for the humanity of the fur baby and your sanity it’s the humane thing to do.  I was trying to come to grips with that feeling with my Mac.   As a last ditch attempt we took my tech-baby into the Apple store.  (I’ll admit here,  that this was for selfish reasons too, I was certain I could speak to my DH’s tech saviness enough to pull a new laptop out of the visit).  Three days and three visits later I have a renewed happy Mac.

Turns out I had about ZILCHO RAM.  After that small tweak, I have my lightning fast Mac back.  But while tech-baby was in the “hospital” they replaced my cover, keyboard housing and trackpad (covered under extended warranty) updated a bunch of stuff, cleaned out my cache, and showed me some tricks next time something like this happens.  Ask me how much they charged me???  ZILCHO!  Kinda like the amount of RAM I had.

They troubleshot it, fixed it, updated it, and did it all out of the kindness of their hearts.  Then referred me elsewhere to pic up my RAM sticks just incase I needed instant gratification of lightning fast speeds (I did).  They didnt make a penny from me this weekend, but they did make a customer for life.  It is the customer service.  It is doing whats right.  It’s taking the time to deal with this blonde sometimes clueless chick, her three crazy children…three times in a 72 hour period, and not batting an eye.

I’m still chained to the wall…But it’s not Apples fault.  The battery is only supposed to have a 300 charge life…mine charged 598 times.  Another testament to the stellar product,no?  Secretly I’m hoping to find a Mac battery at a yardsale but because you and I both know THAT won’t happen I’ll eventually have to break down and get a new battery.  As for now, I’ll be making love to the wall…but I’ll be doing it at lightning fast speeds.

This is Mac.  I will spend the money up front to guarantee the the continuation of the service I’ve received up to this point.

As we deal with the ending of an era with Mr Jobs handing over the reigns of his empire and subsequently his passing this evening (this post was in process before the sad news) I am afraid most of all that Apple will lose sight of his vision.  This is my shout out to Apple….don’t CHANGE !!! You are PERFECT just the way you are.

Cue the Christina Aguilara “You are beautiful”

Until next brag…..