Archive | March 2013

Mini Monday: Springtime in the City

During the weekend I transplanted my seedlings into the raised beds in our backyard:


And now this is happening:


While each bed is covered with a freeze blanket, I’m pretty sure this won’t end well…


Where’s My Motivation?


I was an actress in a past life and I always got a kick out of the “What’s my motivation” element of creating a character. Today as I sit at my desk writing a blog post at 2 pm I’m wondering where my motivation is — it certainly doesn’t seem to be here.

Just like any job, some days are easier than others. Today doesn’t appear to be one of those easy days. Not that anything is wrong, but I just can’t seem to find my work groove. And, of course, it isn’t a quiet day. With my vacation looming, there are plenty of projects I need to get wrapped up and I am running out of time.

Things I should be doing:
• Video editing
• Learning new Jazzercise routines
• Writing copy
• and Washing the dishes (okay this isn’t work related, but I totally need to do it)

Things I am doing:
• Writing this blog post
• Checking our Pepco account to see what the electric bill will be this month (clearly super important)
• Thinking about how much I have to do (but not doing it)

I’ve still got a few hours to turn the day around before teaching tonight, so we’ll see what I can get accomplished. Here’s hoping that the classic demotivational poster I found can help me get it together!

Cooking for One

While my husband has been in Afghanistan dinner_3.18.13I’ve tried to be healthy, but there have been stretches where that effort has failed miserably. Last weekend was definitely one of them! Between cupcakes and dinner out with friends at a local pub on St. Patty’s Day, I ate more than my fare share of junky (but very tasty) food.

In a quest to get back on track I cooked lentils, carrots, garbanzo beans, and spinach in a spicy tikka masala sauce and enjoyed that along with some fresh (but not made by me) garlic naan for dinner last night. Unfortunately I am out of my husband’s fabulous homemade curry (or it’s hiding so far back in the freezer that I didn’t see it…), but it was a pretty tasty meal despite purchasing the sauce.

In the afternoon I cooked the lentils and carrots so that when I got home from teaching Jazzercise I could throw it all together and simply simmer the pot until everything had warmed through and the spinach had wilted. I did have a bit of a stirring mishap, throwing a carrot and some lentils onto the stove while try to get the spinach mixed in, but other than that it was a very successful dinner (and left over lunch today).

The dish was quick, healthy, and I am starting to feel slightly redeemed from the weekend. Cooking for one can be tricky, but I have a few more fairly simple meals just for me on this week’s menu — French onion soup (using just enough cheese and whole wheat baguette) with a green salad tomorrow and a salad of grilled chicken, corn, black bean, pepper, and quinoa is on the docket for Thursday. I am teaching Jazzercise Monday through Thursday this week, so I’m excited about having options for easy to make, healthy dinners already planned out.

Mini Monday: Return of the Iced Coffee

You know I love coupons! I mean, I’m not like those crazies on Extreme Couponing, but I do love a good deal. And what’s a better deal than getting something you actually want for free? In an attempt to get rid of this case of the Mondays I seem to have, I kicked off my morning with a free medium iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts. Of course, I don’t think DD expected it to snow while this offer was taking place (yes, it snowed this morning… I’m so over winter), but we all know I can handle a cold drink on a cold day. Just wish I would have worn my gloves!

Free Iced Coffee

Hint of Spring


Despite last week’s pseudo snow storm and the morning downpour yesterday, we have had some gorgeous, sunny days recently. It seems that the tame winter we’ve had isn’t planning to put up much of a fight with spring and I am definitely not complaining.

I was up early both days last weekend (to teach Jazzercise Saturday morning, then to drop off a doggie crate at an adoption event for the lab rescue group we work with on Sunday) so I did my best to enjoy the warmer weather thanks to my extra time. The highlight was definitely coffee outside Saturday morning with some friends which included the chance to snuggle with a black lab puppy who happened to be out for his morning constitutional.

After a lovely morning out and about, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the mini daffodils in our front yard had bloomed. I hadn’t noticed them on my way out to class so I am certain that they opened up after 8:30 am when I had already left. It’s either that or I am not very observant… My mother-in-law bought the flowers for us the spring we purchased our house and I’m happy to see they are going strong for a fourth year. I’ve been keeping an eye on the tulips and am hoping that they bloom before I head overseas. I would hate to miss them!

Since it was still before noon when I got home from teaching, enjoying coffee and running errands, I decided to replant my garden seedlings out on the front porch so I could continue to soak up the sun and enjoy the warmer temps. Many of the tiny pods needed thinning and I thought they could all benefit from some additional room to grow. Hopefully spending the next few weeks in their slightly large pots will prepare them for taking on the real world. They are heading out there in two weeks whether they are ready or not!

Less enjoyable tasks from the weekend (mostly performed on Sunday) included dusting the floor (how a house with only radiant heat has so much dust I’ll never know), doing laundry, and cleaning the kitchen. It’s a glamorous life I lead, but someone has to do it.

Mini Monday: A Helping Hand


To kick off the week I headed to the store to buy groceries for our local food pantry. Throughout the season of Lent our church is collecting items to help those in need within the Capitol Hill community. The list of items — which fit on a business card — will meet the needs of a family of four for two days. This morning I managed to get all the items from the list below (except the dry milk) for less than $15. And it only calls for two packages of noodles. I picked up a case. I also added a second can of tuna since four people cannot make sandwiches with only one.

I had two thoughts as I paid for these items — what a simple way to help people dealing with a challenging time in their life, quickly followed by how devastating it is to know that so many people struggle to buy enough food to feed their families.

No matter where you live, if you have a chance to pick up a few extra items at the grocery store once a year or every week for your local food pantry, I encourage you to do so. A simple act of generosity doesn’t just benefit the recipient, being fortunate enough to share is a gift in itself.

This list meets the needs of a family of four for two days (no glass containers):
• 2 cans of green vegetables (12-15 ounces)
• 2 cans of yellow vegetables (12–15 ounces)
• 2 cans of fruit (14–16 ounces)
• 1 can of pork and beans (12–16 ounces)
• 1 can of tuna (6 ounces)
• 1 jar peanut butter (16–18 ounces)
• 2 boxes of macaroni and cheese
• 2 packages of dried soup/flavored noodles
• 1 box crackers
• 1 box cereal
• 2 packages dry milk

The Joys of Snail Mail

I’ve always loved checking the mail SnailMailand finding a brightly colored envelope, a small package that contains a gift that just happened to make someone think of me or a postcard from a friend or family member’s recent travel adventure. It’s lovely to know that someone who is somewhere else in the world is thinking of you enough to find a card, write a quick note, and drop it in the nearest mailbox.

Snail mail is one of my favorite things about Christmas, my birthday, and our wedding anniversary — during these three times of the year I can count on receiving some clever and heartfelt cards mixed in with the usual bills, magazines, and assorted junk.

Since my hubby has been in Afghanistan I’ve been sending cards to him as well as small packages with chocolates, comics, and other assorted little goodies. After the holidays, he took a book of stamps back with the intention of doing the same. Well, I shouldn’t say intention, he has been sending me letters and postcards, but I hadn’t been receiving them until quite recently. His first letter was mailed on Feb. 3 and arrived on Feb. 25 while the second—mailed only two days later on Feb. 5—just arrived yesterday! But despite the delays, this week alone I received a postcard on Monday, the letter yesterday, and another postcard today all of which added some much needed sunshine to a pretty gloomy week.

Making my mailbox every cheerier today, I also received a cute card from my parents for Administrative Assistant Day. Since I work for myself I am my own assistant, but my mom and dad figured I probably wasn’t going to buy myself a gift. Opening their Snoopy card definitely made me smile.

I know that sending a card takes a bit more effort than shooting off an email, but it really only takes a few minutes to let someone know you are thinking of them. And for 42 cents (or something like that, thanks to forever stamps I really have no idea what the cost of a stamp is anymore) and the cost of a card (or time spent making a card), I’d say that’s a pretty good use of a few minutes of the day.

(And yes, I love Snoopy, how can you not?)