Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunrise Yoga

What better way to greet the Sabbath day than to watch the sunrise, to listen to wonderful acoustic music and to stretch through a Sun Salutation before you head off to your Sunday activities?

The sunrises in Southern Florida and Keys were some of the most amazing I've seen.   




You can find complete Sun Salutation Instructions at Yoga Life


“Sunday is the core of our civilization, dedicated to thought and reverence.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Sabbath, then, refers to a day of rest from labor . . . . Although the fundamental concept is the cessation from labor, this alone does not exhaust the idea of the Sabbath. It is not to serve solely as a convenience for man by which he might rest from the labors of the days which precede; there is a religious aspect as well. The Lord blessed the Sabbath Day and hallowed it, thus making it a holy day, a day of worship, a day of devotion, a day to contemplate those things that pertain to God and man's relationship to him(The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, p. 113)

The purpose of the Sabbath is for spiritual uplift, for a renewal of our covenants, for worship, for rest, for prayer. It is for the purpose of feeding the spirit, that we may keep ourselves unspotted from the world by obeying God's command.                                 - Ezra Taft Benson

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What's for Dinner Wednesday:

Parmesan Crusted Chicken Cutlets with Toasted Pine Nuts

We LOVE this dish at our house.  We have made some major changes in the way we look at food and what we eat in our house, trying to focus on eating less processed and more whole foods.  Why wait for "New Year's Resolutions"?  And this has helped us bridge the transition between foods we loved  and foods we should love.


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 egg
2 TBS Mayo (real mayo - best if you can make it yourself but store bought will work)
seasonings - we like garlic powder and lemon pepper
1 C or more shredded Parmesan cheese (like shredded right off the wedge - bigger shreds work best)
Olive Oil
Pine Nuts


Using a sharp knife, press chicken down and slice in half to make flatter breasts pieces.  Like you would if you were butterflying breasts, except you will end up with two pieces for each chicken breast.

In a bowl big enough to dip chicken into, whisk egg, mayo and seasoning until completely combined.

Place shredded cheese in another bowl.

In large cast iron skillet add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan and heat on high until oil shimmers and pan is hot.

It won't take long so begin to dip and coat your chicken.  First in the egg mixture, then in the shredded cheese.  A sparse coating of the cheese is all you will need.

Place coated chicken in hot pan and wait!   Turn pan down to medium heat - cast iron holds it's heat really well and can burn quickly if you don't watch it.  Don't flip it until it has browned and crisped, releasing itself from the pan - this will take a few minutes.  But don't go too far, you don't want blackened chicken.  Flip and brown/crisp the second side.

Be sure the chicken is cooked all the way through.  Remove from pan to a plate.

Add pine nuts to pan and allow to brown for a minute or so.

Remove all from pan and serve together all crispy and warm with a fresh salad or topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella for a great Chicken Parm!

*I have not tried baking it on parchment paper but I am hopeful that will work just as well!

{Quotes to Cook By}

“Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.” 
― Michael Pollan

“He showed the words “chocolate cake” to a group of Americans and recorded their word associations. “Guilt” was the top response. If that strikes you as unexceptional, consider the response of French eaters to the same prompt: “celebration.” 
―  In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

“Eating's not a bad way to get to know a place.” 
― Michael PollanThe Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Adventures in Infertility #100

#100  End of the Year Party!

Let's Party!!  Deviled Eggs for everybody!  And who's up for some infertility games??  We have  Pin the Sperm on the Ovary  and Sorry Life.  That's right!  Your two favorite classic board games have combined to ruin your day in a hilarious way!


So...this is it!  I did it!  And you read it!  What were you thinking?!    

Who would ever believe anyone would have so much to say about infertility?  Not me.

I thought a lot about what to say on this last post.

Should I talk about what my husband calls my "obsession" with taking a good family picture? 

"Obsession" is such a bad word.

Just because I need everything to look perfect for one second in time every two years when there is a picture take of us that is not done as a couples selfie?

Just because I meticulously research clothing color combinations and make my husband try on 10 different shirts to see which one matches better with what I wear?

Just because I tear up when I get a giant "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" style zit on picture day and Windex didn't work on it it didn't get edited out?

Just because I sat and stewed when we got our pictures back, and refused to smile WHILE SINGING IN THE CHRISTMAS CONCERT because I hated the way I looked in each and every picture?

Should we have taken pictures when it was lighter out, it was a half hour before sundown - maybe that's why I look so tired? Maybe I should have done my hair myself?  Or maybe I should have eaten less or taken less fertility medication? I should definitely worn less eye make up and no lipstick!  Where did I get the idea that make up would look good on me?  Do I always look like that?

Should I have worn the same colors I wore last time?  I liked how those turned out.  Didn't I?

Why can't everything just go right for one second in time for us!!?  Just one second for a happy memory captured on film?

Well, anyway, I think "Obsessed" is a bit harsh.  Don't you?

Should I talk about how I walked out of the chapel at church on Sunday and directly into a group of, I kid you not, 10 women holding babies, standing in a half circle around the doors exiting the chapel? 

I felt my uterus skip a beat (thanks for that one Monica Geller Hyphen Bing).

Some of them I had never even seen before, brought in no doubt, to make me feel bad about being barren.  How did they know?!

Some sort of intervention for my uncooperative baby makin' parts, no doubt!

It was like a a slow motion battle as I tried to free myself from the ring of fire.  The delicious smell of baby powder and spit up assaulted my nostrils as I was pummeled with fuzzy, soft blankets.  The sound of binkies being sucked on was deafening. It was wonderful and horrible all at once.  I barely escaped with my uterus.

I know!  Maybe I should talk about life.  How great it is!

I think Life is like a roller coaster...

It can be exhilarating to climb to the top of the highest point but the real fun comes as you laugh and scream through the fast drops, plummet down the steep slopes and race through the low points that bring your stomach up into your chest.

You see, it is the balance, the difference that makes the whole ride exciting.  Don't be afraid to let go of the safety bar every once in a while and put your hands in the air.

Henry David Thoreau said, "The question not what you look at, but what you see."

And maybe I should talk about humor.

Happy Trails and Many Adventures to You Along Your Way FRIEND

*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, December 8, 2014

Monday's Matter: FHE

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

How do you gather your family for FHE?  Do you have a creative way to get everyone into the same room to interact together?

I usually just yell gently call out, that IT IS TIME FOR FHE!!!  TURN OFF THE TV!!!  Ahem,  I mean "it's time for fhe, would you please turn off the tv?"

Ha :)

So tonight, I think I will try singing some sort of gathering song...

{Prayer}  Not it.  Oh c'mon!  I said it last time ;)

{Song}  We Wish You a Merry Christmas (and a Happy New Year!!)

{Lesson}  Tonight we will be having FHE infront of the TV.  That's right.  The Packers are playing tonight's Monday Night Football game.  Hopefully we won't be struck by lightening ;)

We will be making FHE coupons for our friends.  It will be a coupon for a free FHE lesson and treat given by us for our friends and their kiddos!!  Wahoo!!  I am totally psyched out of my mind about this idea.

If we can't get invited over for FHE at your house maybe we will bribe ourselves into an invite by tempting you with a lesson and cookies! Just kidding, we love you guys and want to spend time with you.

I thought it might be nice to deliver them WITH treats.  Cause everything goes better with a treat!

{The Idea}

Write a sweet note with our offer of a FREE FHE LESSON and TREAT and attach it to this Ice Cream Shop FHE Chart and deliver it with a pint of ice cream!!  What?  Exciting I know!

Ice Cream Shop FHE Chart

{FHE Doesn't Have to be Perfect, It Just Has to BE!!}

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Adventures in Infertility #99

#99 Problems and a Baby Ain't One

These made me LOL!  See Infertility CAN be funny.  You just have to know how to look at it ;)

*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 #98

#98  "Well, At Least No One Poops On You"

Sometimes when people find out we haven't been able to have kids they feel obliged to comment.  The most oft heard comments have been...

#1 Why don't you just adopt?

#2 Just Relax, It will happen when God thinks you are ready.

#3 My (sister's friend's brother's librarian) was infertile and they stopped trying and had twins.

While I appreciate where these comments are coming from, I love it when someone hits me in the funny bone with wit that would make even the craziest hormone-pumped-clomid-laden-barren chuckle.

The best one I have ever heard has to be, "Well, at least no one poops on you!"

Let's give it up for the funny people of the world!  We need more like you funny friend!

*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 #97

#97  Christmas with the Infertiles

Christmas.  Oh how I loved Christmas growing up.  The beautiful, magical lights, the warm smiles and beautiful songs, the delicious cookies.  I am not ashamed to admit that I believed in Santa Claus until I was in junior high school.  I would lay awake on Christmas eve listening for the jingling of his silver bells or the sound of reindeer hooves on the roof.  I would tip toe out of my room early in the morning to find a doll or stuffed animal tucked under the tree just for me and I would carry it with me back to dream land until morning.

And every Christmas I can remember I have wished for snow.

Christmas can sometimes be the hardest time of year for those without children.  Think of all the joy little children bring to Christmas...the delight they find in the simplest of traditions.

My cat doesn't really get the importance of the family Christmas photo.

My dog can't seem to understand why I would make so many Christmas cookies for just two people and then not let him eat some.

My sweet friends don't notice how lonely it is for us during this most joyous of seasons because they are busy (and rightly so) making memories and keeping up traditions with their own precious families.

But we aren't going down without a fight!

We have a real, amazing smelling tree each year which we carefully decorate with ornaments collected, 2 a year, as anniversary presents to each other representing something special that happened that year

We participate in a holiday choir

We go caroling

My husband plays Santa for various activities and family and friends

We decorate the house and watch Christmas movies

We serve at the Salvation Army

We spend time visiting others





Yet, there is still something missing...Is it the wide eyed smile of a child gazing up at a fully lit tree?
Is it the tinkling of laughter and pitter-patter of little feet as everyone races for the living room on Christmas morning?  Is it sweet babes snuggled in bed as visions of sugar-plums dance in their heads?

Yes. But that is not all.   I feel like we spend too much time feeling like we are not enough.  Like we don't deserve the happiness and joy that others seem to have.  We are afraid to have fun.

Sometimes I think of the Savior's admonition that we be like unto little children and I hear Him whispering to me, telling my heart that children find the fun and joy in life and so should we.  They take no heed for the bad weather, they remain unconcerned with the fall they just took that made them cry or with the scolding and time out they received - when an opportunity for fun comes into view they race for it, hearts pounding, smiles stretched from ear to ear, grateful for the moment.

So while we are waiting, wishing and hoping for little one's to join our family of two

We will be wishing and hoping and praying for you

That together we might be able, just for a minute or three

To enjoy the feeling of being a kid at heart, knowing all the joy that this Christmas may be

*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, December 1, 2014

Monday's Matter: FHE What Shall We GIVE?

At our house, and millions of others around the globe, Monday nights are set aside for family.  A Family Home Evening (FHE)!!

Opening Song:  O Come O Come Emmanuel (Piano Guys!) Sing ALONG TIME - Really belt it out!

Prayer:  Me! Me! Oh Pick MEEEE!  ;)

Dashing through the snow!!!!

Okay, no snow but still dashing, running really, trying to get everything "done" for Christmas.

When, I ask you, did Christmas turn from a joyous season of love and celebration of the birth of the Savior of the world to an all out buying frenzy?  Every commercial is tempting me to buy something, to make merry by spending money, insinuating that no one will have a "Happy Holidays" without these purchases.  The TV shouts about deals...Black Friday Week!  Thanksgiving Day Sales!  Black Friday! Small Business Saturday!  Cyber Monday!!  My newspaper is bursting with advertisements from local shops and the front page had a big sticker on it today advertising a Holiday Sale!

What do you remember from your favorite Christmases of years gone by?  Was it the awesome expensive gifts your received or purchased?  Maybe it was the massive amount of time you spent shopping, dragging your tired body from one loud-holiday-music-playing-over-decorated-and-over-priced-store to the next?  I know!!  It was the crazy amount of energy you put into ignoring family and friends so you could get the house ready for holiday visitors!  How about the super high credit card bills and low savings account balances?  No?  That's not what you remember? Oh.

Well me neither!!

Some of my favorite Christmas memories include playing board games or doing puzzles with friends and loved ones.  Sipping hot cocoa while watching Christmas movies that warmed our hearts.  Sledding on days so cold it made our noses and cheeks red.  Caroling songs of the Savior's birth through the neighborhood.  Attending local nativity events and church Messiah sing alongs.  Walking hand in hand down Christmas Tree Lane Ooing and Ahhing over the beautiful light displays. Pondering what it might have been like, in the stable, long ago for Mary and Joseph and their new baby who was born to save the world.

Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mt. Crumpit,
He rode with his load to the tiptop to dump it!
“Pooh-Pooh to the Whos!” he was grinch-ish-ly humming.
“They’re finding out now that no Christmas is coming!
“They’re just waking up! I know just what they’ll do!
“Their mouths will hang open a minute or two
“Then the Whos down in Who-ville will all cry Boo-Hoo!
“That’s a noise, “grinned the Grinch,
“That I simply MUST hear!”So he paused. And the Grinch put his hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow …
But the sound wasn’t sad!
Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn’t be so!
But it WAS merry! VERY!
He stared down at Who-ville!
The Grinch popped his eyes!
Then he shook!
What he saw was a shocking surprise!
Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN‘T stopped Christmas from coming!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?”
“It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
“It came without packages, boxes or bags!”
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more!”
(Dr. Suess, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, New York: Random House, 1957.)

I thought for FHE tonight it might be nice to watch these short videos and talk about ways to make a return to Christmas for our family.  To leave behind the emptiness that comes from the mass commercialization of the season and make a conscious effort to remember the importance of this time of year and to plan activities that help to invite that special Christmas spirit.

Watch and Discuss:

VIDEO:  "What Shall We Give"

VIDEO:  "The Reason Behind Christmas"

VIDEO: "The Gift" Parts 1 and 2

Looking for more great ideas?  Check out this talk by Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf "Seeing Christmas through New Eyes"

{FHE Doesn't Have to be Perfect, It Just Has to BE!}