Friday, February 28, 2014

Date Night Done Right! Star Wars Yoga

Wondering what to do on this rainy day? 
Try a little yoga! A little STAR WARS Yoga...

First set the mood by lighting the room with little white twinkle lights or candles, get out your yoga mats or towels and make your way through these awesome poses!

May the Force be with you.

Remember to breathe like Darth Vader

(This guy ^ is awesome!  He has a tumbler and posted these a few years ago.  Too fun!)

Watch the video, you must...

{Date night doesn't have to be fancy - it just has to BE!}

Thyme for Dinner! Lemon Thyme Potatoes and Green Beans

{Lemon Thyme Potatoes and Green Beans}

We have a few types of thyme growing our garden and I have been surprised by how often we use it.  It is a very versatile herb. It goes well with fish, poultry and beef, thyme enhances the flavor of just about every vegetable and it is a wonder in tomato sauces.

4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
2 Cups frozen, cut green beans
1/4 C melted butter
1/4 C olive oil
1 TBS Lemon Pepper Seasoning
1/2 TBS Garlic Salt
3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only

Preheat oven to 425

In large bowl add melted butter whisk olive oil, lemon pepper, garlic salt and thyme leaves.

Add Potatoes and Green Beans to bowl and stir to coat.

Spread Potatoes and Green Beans out on shallow baking pan in a single layer.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Turning once or twice until potatoes are tender inside, browned and crisp on the outside.

{Quotes to Cook By}

“They lay on their heathery beds and listened to all the sounds of the night. They heard the little grunt of a hedgehog going by. They saw the flicker of bats overhead. They smelt the drifting scent of honeysuckle, and the delicious smell of wild thyme crushed under their bodies. A reed-warbler sang a beautiful little song in the reeds below, and then another answered.”
― Enid BlytonThe Secret Island

“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” 
―  Holy Bible: King James Version

“It's when the seed grows up that it is known as a tree. Nobody calls the "seedlings" as "trees" and no seedling is ever useful because it doesn't produce fruits! You got to grow up!” 
― Israelmore AyivorThe Great Hand Book of Quotes

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What's for Dessert Wednesday : Lime in the Coconut Doughnut

BEST Doughnuts EVER from Cherry Tea Cakes Blog.  Check it out here  Cherry Tea Cakes.

Lime in the Coconut Donuts
for the donut:

1/2 ounce packages yeast
1/4 cup hot water, roughly 110 degrees in temperature
1 1/2 cups milk, scalded and cooled
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup shortening
5 cups all-purpose flour
canola oil

Lime Mousse

1/2 cup pure lime cocktail syrup
1/2 cup simple syrup
4 large egg yolks
1 package unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups whipping cream

Pina Colada Frosting

1/3 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup pineapple coconut juice blend
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
flaked coconut to garnish

Dissolve yeast in warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Add milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening and 2 cups flour. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping bowl frequently to incorporate. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in remaining flour until smooth.

Cover and let rise until double, 50-60 minutes.

In the meantime, begin to make the lime mousse.

Bring lime syrup to a boil then remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and pour a little bit of the lime syrup in while whisking (this is to temper your egg yolks so they don’t curdle). Add warmed egg yolks to hot lime syrup until well mixed.

Measure 1/4 cup of whipping cream in a bowl and sprinkle it with the gelatin. Let it rest for 5 minutes.

Place the bowl in a microwave for 45 seconds (microwave for 10 seconds at a time and check it in between) or place the bowl in a pan of barely simmering water, stir to ensure the gelatin has completely dissolved.

Whisk the gelatin/whipping cream mixture into the lime syrup mixture and set aside. Whisk occasionally for approximately an hour or until the mixture has the consistency of an unbeaten raw egg white.

Whip the remaining cream. Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the lime syrup mixture. Fold in the remaining cream and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Return to making the donuts. Turn dough onto floured surface; roll around lightly to coat with flour. Gently roll dough 1/2-inch thick with floured rolling pin. Cut into solid rounds.

Cover and let rise until double, 30-40 minutes. At 25 minutes, begin to heat vegetable oil in high-sided stock pot to 350°.

When the vegetable oil is ready, slide doughnuts into hot oil with wide wooden slotted spatula. Fry until golden brown, about 1 minute on each side. Remove carefully from oil and drain well.

Make the coconut frosting. make the Pina Colada/coconut frosting. Heat butter over low heat until it is melted. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar until smooth. This will take a little arm work! Stir in tablespoons of pineapple coconut syrup one at a time, until desired consistency. Add in rum extract. Set aside until ready to glaze. Warm the glaze gently if necessary.

Take each donut and insert a butter knife into the donut. Carefully cut the inside to loosen any stuck dough and create a pocket. Remove the mousse from the fridge, and put into a piping bag, and pipe into donut. Repeat on all donuts.

Dip the donuts in the Pina Colada glaze and set on rack. Sprinkle glazed donuts with flaked coconut or dip in sprinkles or other toppings to garnish

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Adventures in Infertility #24

#24 Infertility Happens to the Funniest People

August 2013 - TV Funny Man Jimmy Fallon reveals "Awful" 5 year infertility struggle, that ended in the happy birth of daughter Winnie Rose by a surrogate.  Watch the Interview

"We've tried a bunch of things," he explained. "Anyone who's tried will know, it's just awful."

See, even Jimmy Fallon needs Ben and Jerry's sometimes.

And in Other News...

 *Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #23

#23 {Infertility From the Husband's Perspective}

"You not getting to be a mom is like Michael Jordan not getting to play basketball."

"You haven't lived until you have strapped a sample cup into the passenger seat and sped off to the lab!"


Find out what other husbands have to say on the subject...

The Husband's Perspective
"It’s frustrating to fork over tons of money and still not be pregnant. Most people get pregnant for free. At worst it costs a nice dinner or a couple of nights at a bed and breakfast (or a case of beer, for those who are into big surprises). Then there’s us. We’ve spent lots of money trying to get pregnant. And it’s hard to watch the savings be depleted. It’s difficult to watch the financial goals we’ve worked towards for many years slip out of reach. It’s hard to not get resentful and frustrated"

Inside a Husband's Mind Dealing with Infertility
"Me: What are some things you would tell other men to help their wives feel more at ease about the whole process?
Him: At ease… funny that. I guess don’t give up, even if she’s thinking about giving up, pick her up and let her know she’s not alone. If you really plan on being a father, you can do nothing less"
Shooting Blanks: A Husband's Perspective on Infertility
"Of course having children (even just one child) would be like winning the lottery, but as long as your spouse is your best friend and you can laugh together no matter what — you've won the jackpot. "

Dear Darling Wife: Infertility From the Husband's Perspective
"As a man, I am somewhat more detached from the struggle of infertility. I don’t receive monthly biological reminders that we aren’t yet on the path to parenthood like you do. I don’t experience the same hormonal swings, and I don’t have all the same chemical reactions reminding me of our situation. But I still feel the emotional pangs and the spiritual questions as I wonder frequently why we haven’t yet conceived."

 *Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures In Infertility #22

#22 Baby Names
The Infertiles Top Baby Names

Boy: Vul

Get it?  Vul Gariety...Vulgari(e)ty?! Vulgarity!  Ha!

Girl: Charity

Charity Gariety.  'Cause it rhymes!

Unisex:  Seven

Because if it is good enough for Costanza it is good enough for Gariety.

 *Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday's Matter: Sometimes You Win Sometimes You Learn

At our house and millions of others around the globe, Monday nights are reserved for family.  A Family Home Evening!  

I love John Bytheway.  If you are not familiar with him you should check him out on youtube.  He is an inspirational/motivational speaker who is the author of many books and has a hilarious way of explaining things.  He also does a spot on Barney Fife impression!

Watch and Discuss: What's in Your Backpack? By John Bytheway

Discussion Suggestions: 

What kinds of things are a challenge to you?  
What are some ways we can overcome difficult things in life?

Activity:  No More Than We Can Handle (AKA Stick a Skewer in a Balloon!)

You Will Need:
Balloons (at least enough or 3 per person)
A Pack of Wooden Skewers
Vegetable Oil
Duct Tape

The Object:
To get the skewers into the blow up balloons without popping them.

What Each Item Represents:
Balloons = Us. You, me, each of us.
Skewers = challenges and trials of life
Oil = the protection of the Holy Ghost
Duct Tape = Strengthening Ourselves in the Lord

"We do not know the future, but our Father in Heaven does, and He will lead and guide us if we let Him. When we are in tune with the Spirit, we will see many small miracles happen in our lives. I have found that having the ability to see and recognize these small miracles is based upon my spiritual worthiness, my willingness to be obedient, and my desire to not allow myself to become complacent and caught up in worldly and personal pursuits.
We all face many trials, struggles, and temptations regardless of what stage of life we are in. But we have been counseled to put our trust in the Spirit, which “leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously”.
When we keep the commandments, He will tell us in our minds and hearts what we should do so that we can know the direction we need to go in our lives. By the power of the Holy Ghost, we “may know the truth of all things”."   - Excerpt from Obeying the Whisperings of the Holy Ghost by Ronald T. Halverson
How It Works:
Blow up the balloons half way (you want some rubber give left at the top and bottom of the ballons).  Coat the skewer in a little big of oil.  Slowly poke the oiled skewer through the tie off area and out the top.  It shouldn't pop, but if it does just try again.  If we have the Holy Ghost to guide us we can withstand anything.
Place 2 patches of duct tape on opposite sides of the balloon.  Poke UN-OILED skewers through the balloon at duct tape points.  We will not be required to go through difficult trials alone.  The Lord will strengthen us.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Garden Glory: Save $$ By Learning to Arrange Flowers Yourself

"For the beauty of the earth..." Flower arranging is an art form. Here are a few of my favorites from Pinterest. Check out the VW Garden Blog and Flower Wild for more great ideas! Ever the penny pincher, I have learned that  it is so much cheaper to purchase and arrange your own flowers. In fact, many community colleges offer floral arranging classes (that's where I took mine) that will teach you basics.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Date Night Done Right: Alex Filippenko Lecture on Dark Matter

Okay, this was really more of a full on date DAY but it still counts. Wednesday Michael and I drove to beautiful Fresno, CA to hear Cal Professor Alex Filippenko speak in a San Joaquin Valley Town Hall presentation on Dark Matter.

It was held at the William Saroyan Theatre in the Convention Center complex in Fresno.   And it was packed with lots of old people people of all ages including high school and college kids.

He loved it.  I LOVED it.  We loved it!  He did talk about physics and Cosmology and Astronomy but he also joked around and showed models and examples.  See that apple ^ he must have thrown that thing around 20 times.  But the best part was...The Aussie teaches just like this guy!  (He uses a baseball instead of an apple but same style similar examples - Expanding Universe = Fat Santa Filippenko vs Expanding Universe = The Aussie rubbing his belly.)

He also talked about trying to save the Lick Observatory...take a look if you have a moment HERE.

For lunch, we stopped at the Cheesecake Factory and split the Macaroni and Cheeseburger!  It was amazing!  Fried Mac and Cheese on a burger!  Yum-O!

It is a burger with DEEP FRIED Mac and Cheese on top of it!  Do you understand what I am saying?Scrumptious!

After that what was left to do but take the long way home through the foothills?  We got lost on back roads, saw cool things we had never seen before, all with the windows rolled down and music blasting on the stereo.

Michael took some great photos along the way.

A perfect date with my sweetheart.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Adventures in Infertility #21

#21 Facebook Faux Pas

A few months ago my sweet husband "liked" someone's wacky post and got a private message from them back saying something like:

                     This is a facebook game!  You liked my post now you have to choose a wacky phrase from                          the list below and make it your status update - without any other explanation.  Message this                          to whomever likes your post.  Keep the secret and keep everyone guessing!

Not wanting to offend my husband searched through the list for something unoffensive that people would know was NOT true.

Before I tell you what he chose let me tell you why he chose it.  According to him, he picked it because it couldn't possibly be true - no MAN could be what the post suggested therefore everyone would know it was just a joke.

** love you honey**

He chose...

Drum roll please...

"I never thought it could happen to me, but it did!  I am pregnant!"

(Do you see?  He thought people would know HE, a man, could NOT ever be pregnant.  It was an honest mistake.)

Guess how many emails and FB messages I got with heartfelt congratulations?  Too many to count.

It was a crazy few minutes before I realized what had happened and why people were "weeping with joy" for us.  I may have screamed I screamed a "Howard Dean Scream" and calmly asked him to delete the post.

I may or may not have snuggled with Ben and Jerry and the Hubby that night as I replied to all those emails and messages (they are all great snugglers! Especially that Cherries Garcia).

Once again I was humbled by how many people are wishing and hoping right along with us.  I hope we don't disappoint you!

 *Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #20

#20   So You're Infertile...Now What?

1.  Take comfort, you are in good company and are not alone.  It just feels that way because people don't talk about infertility as much as they talk about pregnancy.  According to the CDC, the number of married women unable to get pregnant after 12 months of trying is 1.5 MILLION.     CDC US Infertility Stats

2.  Know who you are!  You are Awesome!  It's okay to be you.  Some pretty amazing women struggle with infertility.  Julia Childs, Nicole Kidman (and a whole host of other celebrities) and a lot of the women from the Bible like Elizabeth, Hannah and Sarah.

3.  Cry.  Give in and have a good old ugly-faced cry.  Don't keep it all bottled up inside.  Infertility has hurt your feelings and you should let it know once in a while!

4.  Hope. Pull out the onesie you bought when you were first married, exchange baby name suggestions with your spouse, talk about what good parents you would be and how much you would hate changing poopy diapers all day.  Nothing puts the fear into Infertility like someone who dares to HOPE.

5.  Don't Worry.  Be Happy!   Don't let the well placed sympathy of others make you feel like it isn't okay to be happy with your life.  We get one shot here on this earth, don't let something you have no control over ruin your happiness.  After all, this isn't your fault.  You cannot direct the wind but you can adjust your sails!

And when things get too tough refer to #3 and know that it is okay to feel angry, lonely, sad and hopeless sometimes and it is ALWAYS okay to eat cupcakes.  Don't forget to share one with your hubby who probably feels the same way you do!

 *Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #19

#19  Unexplained Infertility AKA Unlimited Testing with No Results Infertility

Hysterosalpingogram = $1200 x 2
Ultrasound = $125  x 7
MRI = $880
Fibroid Removal with Robotic Assist Laparoscopy = $6000
Semen Analysis =$112 x 2
Fertility Dr. Office Visit = $450 x ?

Having awkward funny stories about infertility to tell your friends?  PRICELESS!

 *Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday's Matter: Kindness Matters

At our house and around the globe Mondays mean family night.  A Family Home Evening!

I have heard from our friends  no one inparticular, that FHE can sometimes be redefined as Family Home Fighting?  Because there are just two of us here at the Aussie and the Owl, okay three if you count our cat Sirius and we are just like you perfect, we have no idea what you are talking about ;)

Sometimes, when people love each other, they can still disagree.  So don't worry if your FHE turns out to be a brawl, it happens to the best of us. In the immortal words of Dori, "Just keep swimming.  Just keep swimming!"  and you will get where you need to be.

The Discussion:

The Activity:  Random Acts of Kindness!  Be the answer to someone's prayers.  This activity is inspired by a blog post I read from a woman who did 38 random acts of kindness for her 38th birthday.  You can read about her experience here.  The act can be simple or grande, just look for opportunities - they are all around you.  Go and bring some sunshine to someone's day!

Some of my favorites from her list are...

4.  Inconspicuously dropped coins on the playground for children to find while they played (my girls are really good at this apparently.  No, no one choked on a random found penny.  Yes, LOTS of squeals of delight floated through the air as we walked away!)

8.  Bought a gift card for groceries and turned around  and handed it to woman in line behind me.  I wasn’t prepared for the look on her face.  I immediately left before I started to cry.

10.  Dropped off several hand written thank you notes and doughnuts at the police station.

16.  Tucked happy notes in car doors in parking lot wishing people a good day full of God’s blessings.

22.  Taped change to vending machines (I actually saw passersby stop and take pictures of the machines without taking the money).

25.  Delivered handwritten Valentine cards to the local assisted living facility.

31.   Wrote a letter to old friend and mailed it (yeah, the total old fashioned way).

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Lime In Da Coconut ~ Tropical Decor

Every now and then I like to feed my tropical addiction...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What's For Dinner Wednesdays: Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and Sour soup is one of the few soups my Aussie likes.  Sometimes it is the only thing he gets when we go out. We've found that we can replicate our favorite recipe at home with fresh ingredients and less time than it takes to drive across town to the restaurant.  We made it for his birthday last year and even those who don't like "spicy" food enjoyed seconds!  I like more veggies in mine while he enjoys less vegetables.  You can make it any way you please.  Enjoy!

6 Cups Chicken Stock (or Vegetable Broth)
2 TBS Garlic and Red Chili Paste
4 TBS Soy Sauce
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 C White Vinegar

Bring all ingredients to a boil.  

1 Cup Julienne Sliced Carrots
1 Cup sliced mushrooms

Simmer for 5 - 10 minutes or until veggies are crisp tender

4 eggs, beaten

Swirl the raw eggs into the broth with a whisk, gently, as you pour them in.  They will create long strands of cooked egg.  Pretty!

5 TBS Cornstarch and 5 TBS Water mixed together

Whisk into soup and bring to a boil to thicken.

2 Cups  cooked shredded Chicken or julienne sliced cooked pork
1 tsp sesame oil

= optional add ins =
1 C diced tofu
1 (7oz) can sliced bamboo shoots
1 (7oz) can sliced water chestnuts
Birds Eye Chilis

Simmer for 2 minutes until all ingredients are warm.

1/2 Cup chopped scallions for garnish

Serve warm with egg rolls from your favorite take-out restaurant.

{Quotes to Cook By}

“Did you know you can drink food? It’s true! It’s called soup, and I eat it with a fork. I’m as efficient as the government.
― Jarod KintzA Zebra is the Piano of the Animal Kingdom

“Anyone who tells a lie has not pure heart, and cannot make good soup.” 
― Ludwig van Beethoven

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Adventures in Infertility #18

#18  Facing it Head On {Like a Collision}

I think that God must have a pretty good sense of humor especially when it comes to us and our fertility issues.  I feel like He must be trying to make it easier for me to accept my lot by making me face it head on.  Kind of like Kevin McCallister on Home Alone when he goes out of the house and tells the world "I'm not afraid anymore!" (Mmmm....Home Alone....Now I just want a lovely cheese pizza just for me).

Here are some of the things I have been blessed with over the years {and what they have taught me}:

For 3 years in a row I was asked to speak in Church on Mother's Day, about the importance of Motherhood. {It kept me focused on something instead of having a pity party for 1}

In one day 12 of our friends/family members/acquaintances told me they were pregnant.  12 is a lot right?
{1 or 2 might make me feel a little sad but after the 10th I just had to laugh and let myself feel the joy of the situation}

We were offered the chance to adopt a baby out of the blue and then the family decided to go with someone else. {And I believe it worked out better for that sweet boy that he isn't in the same town as the birth mom and her family told us because we said yes she was willing to consider adopting to a couple who had been waiting a long time}

I work at a job where EVERY day I get asked at least once, by strangers, if I have children and why not.
{It gives me a chance to come up with witty replies and not take myself too seriously}

We have, what the Drs like to call, "Unexplained Infertility" which means we are both healthy baby makers but for some reason we haven't made a baby.  Every Dr. has said the same thing to me.  "Maybe you just need a vacation." Ha. Ha.  {I think maybe they are right, we should take more vacations...somewhere tropical and warm!}

I have had many very close friends struggle with infertility for a year or two and it was hard to watch them be angry and sad and hopeless and hopeful and depressed.  But, eventually they all had children of their own. {It was easier for me to relate to them because we have been through more than a decade of this - and sometimes all a friend wants is someone who understands}

If I had a nickle for every baby shower I've been to, I'd have a LOT of nickles ;)  Thankfully, I have lots of friends and those friends have lots of babies.  Beautiful little miracles.  {It's good to be happy for others, just because they have something you don't, it doesn't mean you are less important}

I had the joy of having a large mass in my abdomen and doctors were unsure if it was cancer or a fibroid for months.  It made me feel pregnant.  Nausea, indigestion, heartburn, frequent urination, bulging abdomen, etc.  I got to have ultrasounds, MRIs and lots of pelvic exams as they tried to determine what it was and how best to treat it.  Once I complained about how it was making me feel and a Dr quipped "It's like being pregnant but without the baby!"  Hilarious.  Best part was one of the girls at my office was pregnant at that time and when she felt nauseous or tired she got to take a break and go put her feet up.  I got to take over for her and pull double duty. {I learned that prayer can get you through anything,  it won't get you around it but you'll get through it. The more people that prayed for me the better I felt and in the end I didn't have a baby but I did have a scar that reminds me of all those who wished me well and kept me in their thoughts and prayers for all those months.}

And even though it may not seem like it to someone looking from the outside in, I am one lucky woman.

 *Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #17

#17 My Infertility Jealousy Top 10 (It Might Just Surprise You)

A few things I am green with envy over...

10. The Handmade quilts that girls get at their baby showers, I'm talking to you Erica ;).
9.  If you have kids then you have someone to pluck your old lady chin hairs for you, when you are too old to see them for yourself.
8.  Having an excuse to get out of things you don't want to do.  "Little Judy is sick, so I can't go to your boring thing."
7.  Having a bona fide excuse to eat whatever you want and gain weight and have people say you look "Glowing" while you are doing it.
6.  I have a feeling infertility support groups are not as fun as "Mommy and Me" groups.
5.  Something to talk about at a functions with all women.  Face it, sooner or later it all comes back to poopy diapers and birth stories.
4.  A baby is a great reason to have gained weight, a new cat?  Not so much.
3. Even Bella got pregnant - by the undead!
2. Everyone understands if your house looks like a tornado hit it.
1. People believe you when you say you are happy they are pregnant.

 *Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #16

#16  People Watching in the Waiting Room

 *Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!