Saturday, December 6, 2014

2014 Winter

I love that the girls are old enough that they can go outside & play by themselves!

Santa: I know Him!!!

I love how much Jessie loves Santa. Maggie loves and believes in him too. As much as she believes in God. Even though she doesn't want to visit with him in person ("He knows what I want.")

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tae Kwon Do

When Maggie was 3, the movie "Kung Fu Panda" came out. She decided right then that she needed to learn Kung Fu. We figured she would forget about it. Do we even know this girl?? Almost daily, we would drive by a school. And almost daily, Maggie would say "Dat's where I will learn Kung Fu." 
When she got into kindergarten, I started looking into it, though not too seriously. She didn't mention it as often, but it would still come up occasionally. Then we moved and we had a little more disposable income. Maggie started talking about it more and we thought it would be good to get her into something active. She's not interested in team sports. So we found a dojo called Victory Martial Arts and let her try a few classes. She was hooked!

She started in January 2014 and has progressed steadily, always passing to the next level: white, orange, yellow and now green belts. She is learning self defense, balance, confidence and how to break boards! Yes that is correct -- Mr Jeff insists that each student breaks a board prior to moving to the next belt. It usually takes her a few tries, but she has always done it. She is doing so well that other parents are commenting and Mr Jeff mentioned that she is catching on quicker, sometimes just my watching.

She's loving it and says she's taking it all the way to black belt!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

9 years old

NINE?!? Too soon. This fantastic girl is nine years old and I can hardly believe it. The past year has seen a lot of changes with our move to Brookings, but she has taken it in stride. She is now in 3rd grade at another school (Camelot), making new friends. She is in her 4th year of Girl Scouts as a 2nd year Brownie. She still loves animals. She started Tae Kwon Do in January and recently earned her Green Belt (4th belt progression). She still loves to read.

Food: Spaghetti
Sport: Tae Kwon Do
Animal: Platypus
TV Show: Uncle Grandpa
Movie: Guardians of the Galaxy
Favorite thing at school (that isn't recess): Science
Color: Yellow
When you grow up: zoologist
Song: Party for One (Muppets movie)
Book: Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone; Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Season: I like summer because the water park is open and every thing is hot. I like spring because everything is in bloom. I like fall because of all the colors. And I like winter because of the pretty white snow.
Holiday: My Birthday (if you want to count that as a holiday)
Snack:ants on a log
Friends at School: Amber, Courtnie, Hailey, Kyle, Jordan, Sam J 
Places you want to go: Disney World, Disneyland, Mall of America

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Fresh Start

The beginning of September is a little bit like a fresh start. Another year of school starts: Maggie started 3rd grade in a new school; Jessie began what is most likely her last year of pre-school/day care; Rocky started his 2nd year of his quest to become a tenured professor at his alma mater; and I started on my 2nd year at my alma mater's biggest rival. It's been a challenging year, but one full of blessings.

As it's a fresh start for the school year, I decided this is also a good time for a fresh start for other things: my work out routine [though to be fair, I did a pretty good job going getting to spin & weights class throughout the summer -- food continues to be my weakness], meal planning, blogging [both here & my wine blog]. We will restart our church home search.

September, it's the new January!

Friday, July 25, 2014

My Sweet Jessie

I recently returned from a work trip to Dover, Delaware. [not high on my list of places to return to!] So the other night, after my return, I was snuggling Jessie and she looked at me and said "Your eyes are beautiful. Your nose is beautiful. Your teeth are beautiful." I told her she was beautiful. And she continued. Naming many body parts and telling me I'm beautiful.

Of course, eventually, she got into the fact that my poopy and underwear and sandwich wraps are beautiful as well.

It was nice while it lasted.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Tweeting from #SHRM14 [140 charaters or less]

The SHRM conference had an app to use at the conference, which was great for following the schedule, viewing presentations and even taking notes! Until ... I got home and all my notes ... Gone... Lost to cyberspace. They could possibly exist somewhere, but I'm not holding my breath that they will return. At least I did do some tweeting of my notes during the conference, and some retweeting of other's notes. There were a lot of great thoughts throughout the weekend, and I really don't want to lose them. So here are some of my favorites:

Looking forward to annoying all my non-HR friends :) RT @weknownext: Stay connected at #SHRM14

RT @weknownext: Heather Abbott:  "Each one of us must seize the opportunity to pay it forward." #shrm14

RT @joelyoh: Says @RobinRoberts "Make your mess your message." #shrm14 #hrstrong

@RobinRoberts focus on the fight not the fright #SHRM14

RT @jbbreier: @RobinRoberts thanks for going on a first date with all of us! #SHRM14

#shrm14 the vendor expo is a tad overwhelming!!

Where are the martinis? RT @krice87

RT @mfaulkner43: Your job isn't HR. It's to help your business do what it does. @sbrownehr #SHRM14

#shrm14 everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself

RT @TrishMcFarlane: Meet people where they are, not where you expect them to be.  Sage advice from @sbrownehr #shrm14

#SHRM14 @tomfriedman 7 years ago Twitter was a sound, 4G was a parking space, big data was a rapper

#SHRM14 @tomfriedman Google doesn't care what you know-Google machine knows all. Google only cares about what you can do with what you know

RT @mfaulkner43: “@akaBruno: There are still middle class jobs? #SHRM14” There's still a middle class?

In line to get @tomfriedman autograph in my new book! #shrm14 // OMG he actually asked me a question!!#geekedout @tomfriedman #shrm14

Love that Jessie had to call me to ask if I'm coming home after #shrm14 #ofcourse

#SHRM14 stepped outside #comfortzone last night & ended up meeting other higher ed HR professionals!

@Eric_B_Meyer "what am I, a lawyer?" Great line! #shrm14

#DavidNovak #SHRM14 solve the biggest problems that occur most frequently & your business will grow

#DavidNovak #SHRM14 people don't start thinking until 10 am. In fact most of you are probably still asleep!

RT @googlegirlny: #DavidNovak #SHRM14 2 reasons why people leave they don't feel appreciated and they don't get along with their boss

#davidnovak #shrm14 if you know what needs to be done, DO IT or someone else will

RT @chiu_jen: As you rise up, celebrate other people's ideas so they will bring the ideas to you  #SHRM14

@Eric_B_Meyer loved your presentation would have liked more discussion on navigating thru #ADA. my hands are getting tied a lot #shrm14

#shrm14 top 6 words for #HR : document, document, document, communicate, communicate, communicate

Perfect take away from this week! RT @mjcbama: I totally agree! ""Walk on the beach every chance you get" Mrs. Laura Bush #SHRM14

When you live in the White House, you not only live w ghosts of presidents past, but w echos of the voices of the people #shrm14 @laurawbush

RT @GingerDodds: How are you #transformed by your experience at  #SHRM14 ?

RT @crystinegalvan: It's the job of every American to step up, find your pitcher mound and take a stand. #SHRM14 #LauraWBush

@laurawbush have to disagree that work is NOT the most fulfilling thing in life. My family is MUCH more fulfilling to me. #shrm14

@wschiemann #shrm14 50% of employee exit surveys are wrong or incomplete as people don't want to burn bridges

#shrm14 listening 2 info on new cert from SHRM. getting that this is about control. Control over test, knowledge base. A little about $

#shrm14 #newcertification seems like there was a huge disconnect/lack of communication regarding this with @HRCertInstitute
I think I will need to go through the #SHRM14 hashtag again soon to pick up additional words of wisdom that I may have missed. I did make some new twitter & real live connections so the information will keep coming!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

#SHRM14 Day 2

Today was crazy busy! Started at 7 am with great session on evaluations, then Tom Friedman, met up with some colleagues from Altru Healthcare in Grand Forks, great information from vendors and ending the evening at EPCOT at the HRCI reception. I'm a bit in information overload, so for now, I'm just going to share photos.

Off to the HRCI Reception at EPCOT!!

I really am learning :)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

#SHRM14 Day One

Here I am at the SHRM Conference in Orlando! I can hardly believe I'm really here, but it's been quite the trip! I was originally to arrive yesterday, late, but an overbooked flight in Minneapolis lead to an $800 flight voucher if I would spend the night there. And of course, I jumped on that (perfect for our trip next year!)

I got in today with enough time to check into my hotel, take a shower and get over to the convention and hear Robin Roberts' keynote address. She was funny, emotional and had some great insights, including:
*God has 3 answers to prayers, yes, not yet and I have something better in mind.
*your destination may not look like you thought it would.
*I was grateful, but not content.

I am still in awe of just how many people are here. The vendor fair was crazy busy. I got lost a couple of times but still ended up with 2 bags full of stuff. Fun stuff to take to the girls, a couple of books to read, and lots of drinks and snacks.

When I got back to the hotel, I walked over to Downtown Disney -- so much stuff and so many people.

Tomorrow is going to be another busy day. Lots of great sessions, more time with the vendors, and maybe even another 17,000+ steps!

Monday, June 9, 2014

My Weakness, #ReasonsICantLoseWeight

I love bread. I would give up all other vices for bread. I believe I could live on bread, cheese & wine. I doubt I would be successful on a gluten-free diet (and honestly, I pray I don't have to try!) I especially love sourdough bread, but for a long time I was afraid of it. Not sure why, I do just fine with making regular bread. But I really only LOVED the sourdough you can get on the West Coast. Store-bought sourdough just isn't the same.

Then, Pinterest happened, and I stumbled upon a post for this bread that doesn't require yeast in the starter or when actually making the bread. Who would have though that was the key??

Don't be fooled into thinking you can do this quick. This bread takes TIME. Like all weekend time. You want to be sure your starter is frothy and thick. You want your dough to have LOTS of time to rise, rise and rise some more. I usually start Friday evening and bake Sunday morning. If you dare to take it on, read the recipe, 3-4 times, then read it again. Follow the recipe (except the part about waiting to add salt -- I've been addin the salt with the rest and it's been fine each time). TAKE YOUR TIME. DO NOT RUSH.

But oh man, it is SO worth it because this is the BEST. It reminds me of my past life, when I was single, working for the airlines and when I would spend extra time in San Francisco on the Wharf and go to Boudin Bakery for clam chowder in a bread bowl. I plan to spend time this summer making bread bowls, freezing them, and bringing them out in the fall for chili (as I'm probably the only one in my family who would eat clam chowder).

Saturday, June 7, 2014

I Would Like Some Cake

I made the mistake of letting Jessie scroll through Pinterest before her birthday. Luckily, I had already scoped it out and was able to push her to pick the cake I had kinda already decided on.

Blue Velvet, cream cheese frosting and some blue candy melted to look like ice. I totally cheated on the cake and got a box mix -- more because I knew Jessie would want to help and if she spilled too much, is only be out a couple of bucks [though I totally expected my counters to be stained blue for a while!] I also under-estimated the amount of blue candies (blue raspberry Jolly Ranchers) I would need so we ended up with less ice than I wanted.

Jessie got her little Frozen set (minus Hans who is apparently somewhere in the house) to put on top. "Dey are stuck in the snow!" according to Jessie.

She loved her cake! I'm glad I let her help; I loves seeing how proud she looked after finishing.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Happy Happy Birthday Jessica Fae!

My sweet 4 year old!
A study in contradictions (as most 4 year olds are):
Independent, yet still very much a Momma's girl.
A girly-girl. Who loves Spider-Man, Robin & Hawkeye.
Loves her princesses and wants to be beautiful while playing in the sand box.
Can't understand why she has to go to "sctool" EVERY DAY (while Sissy is on summer break), but misses her teachers on the weekend.

I do love being your Momma and we are blessed to have you in our family, even when we are frustrated with you (or you with us). I can't wait to see what God has planned for you!

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Progress!! While my weight continues to fluctuate, I feel like I am seeing some progress in the mirror. I need to work on my eating habits. My Vegan for Lent was extremely unsuccessful. As I'm standing in line to wait to pick up my latest Bountiful Basket -- which I really decided to do because we NEED to eat more fruits & veggies and I need to be more deliberate about just serving them. Taking an apple or orange with my lunch each day will help me from grabbing Cheez-its. I'm swearing off pop. I probably need to take some time away from wine. Drinking my calories is such a weakness.

I know I can't do this alone. The spirit and flesh are weak!! I have started beginning my days reading through the Bible on my phone and my prayers include strength to eat right and not skip the gym. I know with His help I'll get there. And even if my weight doesn't change, at a minimum I'm healthier and can keep up with the girls!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

More Cooking with Girl Scout Cookies (Thin Mints)

This year, we grabbed a case of Thin Mints and threw them directly in the freezer. What is better than frozen Thin Mints? Perhaps only Thin Mint ice cream! In the past, I've just done a simple vanilla ice cream and crushed Thin Mints in it. This time, I used Alton Brown's chocolate ice cream recipe, exchanged the vanilla for mint extract and crumbled in the Thin Mints. YUM!!!

This is the original recipe from Good Eats, Churn Baby Churn II:

3 cups half and half
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 ounces Dutch-processed cocoa powder
8 large egg yolks
9 ounces white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla (for the Thin Mint ice cream, I only used 1 tsp of the mint extract)
1 sleeve of Thin Mints crushed (if making thin mint ice cream)

Whisk 1 cup of half and half with the cocoa in a saucepan. Combine with remaining half and half and heavy cream. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.

Whisk egg yolks in large mixing bowl until they lighten in color. Gradually add sugar until smooth.

Slowly ladle one third of hot cocoa mixture into the yolk mixture whisking constantly (which is why I use a mixer) to temper eggs. Return this mixture to the saucepan with remaining cocoa mixture. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently until the custard thickens slightly & coats the back of a spoon.

Add vanilla (or mint), and cool to room temp (about 30 minutes). Cover and refrigerate until temp drops below 40 degrees (overnight works best).

Pour into prepped ice cream maker and process. About 5 minutes before end time, sprinkle in crushed Thin Mints. Serve with whole or crushed Thin Mints. Enjoy!!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Cooking with Girl Scout cookies

Normally this is not a topic I would even consider -- I mean really, who has extra Girl Scout cookies? Well, this year, I do. We, er I, overestimated the area's desire for Shortbread and we ended up with about 2 cases more than we needed. And people aren't exactly clamoring for Shortbread!

There are a lot of options out there, but most called for crushing the cookies and making into a crust. Then I found one to use the cookies to make tiramisu. I've always wanted to try to make tiramisu and this seemed like a fun way to use up some of the cookies (and perhaps sell more boxes with the recipe!)

I think next time I will add cocoa directly to the mascarpone mix so it wasn't so grainy.

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
8 oz mascarpone cheese
1tablespoon cocoa
Mix the above together.
8 oz heavy cream
Whip the heavy cream to stuff peaks and then fold in the mascarpone mix.
5 tablespoons of brewed coffee (or 1/2 coffee and 1/2 coffee liquor)

To plate the tiramisu:
1 shortbread cookie
1 tsp coffee
1/4 cup mascarpone mix

Layer as many times as you like. This will make approximately 7 servings of tiramisu with 2 layers.

Yum yum!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Eggs

I always think that dying Easter Eggs is so much bigger than it ends up being. We don't eat many hard boiled eggs though I do plan to eat all these -- should be a good before work out snack! This year, I saw a post about using Kool-Aid.

It looked like a good idea -- strong colors and much better smell! We used just 2 tablespoons of water for each packet of Kool-Aid and only the grape was an odd color (more black than purple).

We put eggs in the mix, dribbled the mix on the eggs for a tie-dyed look, and, in Jessie's case, used the spoon as a brush.

It was a lot of fun and the eggs look great. I like the colors much better than the Paas packets. Definitely doing this again!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Blessed (and Frustrated)

As I walked back from spin class this afternoon, I waffled on whether or not I really am frustrated. My weight doesn't seem to have changed and my clothes seem to fit the same. My thighs are still big, but wait, is that some muscle definition I see there? And how lucky am I to work 5 minutes from the gym? A gym that doesn't charge extra for classes?

We just "survived" a long winter -- bitter cold, snowy/windy days -- but we were never hungry. I wasn't ever worried about surviving the winter. We always were warm and had plenty of food.

Our little family is healthy. Trips to the doctor come once or twice a year and the most illness we have to worry about is a cold here & there or a splinter.

Today, the sun is shining, there is a slight breeze. I can hear bird singing. So my pants are a little tight. Today I am going to be thankful that I have pants! I have the clothing I need to protect my body -- which is strong, even if it has a little fluff. It is my body. I am still on this weight loss journey. I enjoy my spin and weight classes. I like my fitbit, which helps me stay on track with my food and my steps. I want my body to be a Holy Temple for God; I want to be disciplined so I can enjoy that one Girl Scout Thin Mint without wondering where the entire sleeve went! I want to be able to enjoy the spring weekends by walking or playing with my girls and not worry about being winded once we get to the park.

14. Therefore my friends, flee from idolatry. 21. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord & the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table & the table of demons. 1 Corinthians 10:14, 21

Food is not my reward and exercise is not my punishment. I'm doing a 4 week Bible Study in preparation for Easter and this was last Friday's verses. It stuck with me this weekend -- what are my idols? Has exercise become one? Food is -- definitely. It's time for me to spend more time with the Lord, taking time to pray before hitting the snacks at work! One bag of Cheez-its is all it takes to throw off my calorie intake! So I'm learning and remembering that I cannot do this alone. If I seek God's guidance and assistance, I CAN make this happen.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


There's a blizzard warning for tonight, but it was in the 50s today so we took advantage of it and walked to the park (TWICE!)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Night at the Museum

Or really at the Zoo! Last night Maggie & I spent the night at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls at the first ZooZnooze. The zoo has hosted sleepovers like this for Girl & Boy Scouts, but we were too late to register. It was a pretty amazing night!

We got there at 7 pm and the evening started with a pizza party and animal encounters. We met a Indian Star tortoise, a hedgehog & a lizard. Maggie really liked Bolt the lizard & Ellie the tortoise, and thought Sonic the Hedgehog was cute. But her favorite one was Bolt because he's pretty cool and his spines he uses for protection.

After the animal encounter, we did some stations to learn about animals. Maggie thought the giraffe skull was pretty cool.

We then got to take a night your of the zoo. We saw the caribou, llamas, primate house (with monkeys, apes & lemurs) and the red fox.

We then returned to the museum to get ready for bed & pick out a movie. "Night at the Museum" was the overwhelming favorite. Though it wasn't long before Maggie said she was ready for sleep.

In the morning after breakfast, we met a skunk and red tailed hawk. Then we got to dissect an owl pellet to determine what the owl has to eat. We discovered a rodent skull in ours!

We ended our time at the zoo with a morning tour. We did get to see the giraffes, though it was still too cold for them to be outside.

It was a very cool overnight adventure and Maggie is already looking forward to the one in the fall -- either another family or this time, with Girl Scouts!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dinner & a Movie

Many years ago, TBS used to have segments about cooking during their Friday night movie, and the meal always matched the movie. And I've wanted to do something like that for some time. Finally tonight! We did our dinner & a movie with Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2. We were able to find a list of all of the foodimals from the movie and we served:

Tacodiles with Flamango salsa, Pickle People, Bananastritches, and Watermelonphant punch.

Both girls enjoyed helping me make the Pickle People. Aunt Tammy & Cousin Taylor came over to eat & watch the movie. I really think we'll have to do this more often. I've seen a lot of ideas on Pinterest for a lot of Disney movies and I think the girls would really enjoy it, especially helping make the menu!

Friday, February 7, 2014


I'm starting to become frustrated. Starting, well, not really, it's a feeling that's been bubbling for some time. I've been working out for almost 6 months, logged over 360 miles and 40 hours (of distance & time that I actually recorded). I've sweated and returned to work flushed, a flush that lasts at least an hour after spin class. I've added lifting weights. Yet, my clothes aren't fitting better and the weight is not coming off. Now, I know that the weight didn't come on overnight [even if it seems like it did].

I now realize I have to change my eating habits if I'm going to get this going. I need to get this jump started and working out alone is not doing it. So I think I'm going to start the Daniel Fast a little earlier than planned. It's taken some prayer consideration, but I'm feeling led to start working this into my regular diet. I'm starting to look at meals and think, "could I make this Daniel Fast friendly?" Could I have black beans instead of the meat?  Would I still enjoy it? Would I feel full?

We shall see ...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sore sore sore

So much truth here. Weights class. I've been to 3 classes so far and I love it! I think I've finally figured out this gym thing. I do not do well at the gym on my own. If I'm in a class, I push myself harder, faster.  
It is amazing how sore various muscles can be after just 30 minutes of weights. I'm excited to see where I am at the end of this semester.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Who IS That?

Ugh. Is that really me? Yes. Yes it is. A year ago, all the weight I lost after I had Jessie started creeping back. In the last year, I've put on more than 20 pounds and gone up 2 sizes. 

I started really noticing the gain when Maggie & I went to Girl Scout camp & my shorts were a bit snug. Then my rings started feeling tight. Suddenly none of my clothes fit right. I kept telling myself I'd do something about it later. Later never really comes, does it? Until, well, you just HAVE to do something or just give up. 

So when we started work at SDSU, we also joined the Wellness Center. With Rocky's alum status and both of us working, we got a huge discount. And classes at the wellness center were included. After a few weeks I decided to check out the spin class.

I spent last fall going to spin class, averaging probably twice a week with a goal of getting to the gym 3 times a week. Unfortunately, the scale kept going in the wrong direction!! Which means more drastic measures need to happen.
 This is me right now. A little definition, but way too much fluff. My plan is to continue going to spin (and loving it), trying to hit all 3 classes at lunch time. I decided to add a weight class twice a week and start watching what I eat, adding more fruits and veggies, less processed food. I'm also planning to attempt the Daniel Fast over Lent (not just for weight loss, but those will be other posts). But, I'm not putting out a numbered goal. I'm not on a "diet." I want to be healthier and I want my clothes to fit.

I want to track my progress, my successes, my 2nd chances (not failures :) and see where I end up!