Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 goals

(in no particular order)

Make bread. 
I changed this from "Make bread consistently" because my husband is a little doubtful that that is a good goal. But after looking at bread that is a week past it's expiration date and noticing that it still looks okay and wondering how, whatever is in that could possibly be good for us, I am determined to try. Without a bread maker. With good quality ingredients.

Make a quilt. =)

Have one internet free evening a week and one internet free day a month.

Increase our giving.
We saved well last year and we would like to continue that and focus on our giving this year.

Continue our "state of the union" weekly updates.
This fall Christopher and I began weekly discussions about our marriage, our goals and what we are doing to reflect those. Turns out he is energized by the "big picture" and I am energized by actions toward goals so we are making time to talk about both ... works out pretty well, don't you think?

Research CSAs and hopefully find a good fit for us
We will continue to buy mostly organic eggs, milk and meat and I have plans to improve my little garden this year. I was given a canning pot and I will can this summer again and there is chatter about a marathon tomato canning session with some work friends. Basically, I think we will eat really well this year!

Finish memorizing Colossians.  have the first chapter memorized and have three left.

Be more intentional about building relationships.
This is a vague goal but my ideas include: having lunch regularly with my grandma, write letters (like real, snail-mail letters) to several people who I think would really enjoy that, figure out how to invest in relationships at work (this has always been very difficult for me), and put more time into my friendships here.

I'll be working over New Year's ... hoping for a couple of uneventful nights at our suddenly busy hospital.

Happy New Years and many blessings to you and your families!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

We have spent the last couple of days driving through WI, attending a candlelight service, feasting on food prepared by our moms, eating cookies for breakfast, skyping, and spending time with family. Loki has helped us unwrap gifts and is my constant companion while at the Brenna household, as we think he knows that I didn't initially live here. We will see some friends and make some yummy cake pops before going home sometime tomorrow.

I am thankful for my co-workers who worked their holiday rotation and for a long weekend off so that I could spend Christmas with my family. I know that many people - whether from work or distance or illness - don't have the opportunity to be with their loved ones. It is a blessing to come "home" to connect and relax.

 I hope that you and your family had a wonderful Christmas as well.  

Of the Father's love begotten, err the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega, the source, the ending he
Of the things that are, the have been, and that future years shall see.
Evermore and evermore.

Oh that birth forever blessed when the virgin full of grace, 
By the Holy Ghost conceiving, bare the Savior of our race, 
And the babe, the world's Redeemer, first revealed his sacred face
Evermore and evermore.

O ye heights of heaven adore him: angel hosts, his praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before him and extol our God and King.
Let no tongue on earth be silent, every voice in concert ring
Evermore and evermore. 

Christ, to thee with God the Father, and O Holy Ghost, to thee
Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving and unending praises be,
Honor, glory and cominion, nd eternal victory 
Evermore and evermore. 

(Corde natus ex Parentis, Aureluis C. Prudentuis, 4th century) 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Photo Challenge: a sunset from the summer, 13 things and eyes

Day 12: Sunset
It's a little difficult to find a sunset when you need it. 
So, instead, a sunset from the summer: 

Day 13: {yourself with} 13 things
Since I already "broke the rules," I choose to just do the 13 things on my bedside table, sans me. 
1) lamp 2) alarm clock - that fails to wake me up most of the time 3) thermometer
4) electric mattress pad control 5&6) Bibles 7&8) small books 9) hair clip
10) work tape 11&12) earrings - that replaced my favorite pair that I lost on our honeymoon
and 13) body butter jar

Day 14: eyes
Christopher's eyes - from a drawing that was given to us for our 1st anniversary (which is paper) by Christopher's sister

Friday, December 16, 2011

You know you are working too much when ...

At the gym today my heart rate was 147 and I had flashbacks of monitors (notice the plural form of monitors) with a red, alarming 144 next to the messy ekg (heart rate) tracing and I had to remind myself that 1) I had a normal high heart rate (sinus tach), 2) my blood pressure was just fine, 3) I was breathing normally and 4) I was calm (not horribly restless and anxious). 

So, I'm curious, what is your "I'm working too much moment?"

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Photo Challenge Days 10 and 11: Christmas memories and something blue

the candle is blue =) and the elephant is in my bathroom because my husband collects them

Friday, December 9, 2011

Photo Challenge: a surprised Christopher

Day 9: Someone you love
Had I actually been doing this as planned, this would have landed
right around Christopher's surprise birthday party. 

Photo Challenge: Unfinished business

Day 8: A bad habit
Seems fitting after doing this challenge for about a week 
and then falling off the map. =) 
But I do have a bad habit of leaving things unfinished 
around the house. Thankfully, this doesn't
seem to bother my hubby too much. 

Advent, finals style

The reality about being a student's wife is that the alternate personality of December is finals madness. This caused a bit of a conflict for us last year as I have been removed from finals madness for many years and also had some expectations about what our first Christmas together should look like. This year, we are both much for realistic. We have discussed the amount of work that Christopher has to do and have planned the time that we will spend together. I have spread out the Christmas things and am now almost done with shopping (about 90%) and am ready to send out our Christmas cards today.

We also decided to change things up a little bit - the advantage of being {somewhat} newly married - and create our own traditions. Because our time before Christmas is generally busier than the time after Christmas, we decided to try our own version of "the 12 days of Christmas" with the 12 days being from Christmas to Epiphany, Jan 6th. We aren't really sure what those days will look yet, but so far our ideas involve giving each other some small gifts, making a meal for someone else, volunteering in our community and connecting with friends. I'm excited with how it is all going to work out.

This week is the first week since the beginning of Nov that I have not worked overtime. YAY! I celebrated by spending time with friends - knitting and then dinner and gingerbread house sight-seeing at the Milwaukee Public Market - and have been visiting the gym again.

I am also reading three books: Preparing for Jesus an advent book by Walter Wangerin Jr. I read this book last year and loved it. Matched, a teenage novel about a dystopia (is that a word?) society that controls everything. And The Story, the Bible told in stories. Some of the chapters are "Noah's Boat," "A Few Good Men ... and Women," and "No Ordinary Man." I thought it would be a good review of the stories and the connectivity of the Bible.

Tonight we are going to a Fish Fry with some friends, other students and their significant others, proof that students can have some fun even during the end of the semester crunch.

Gratitude List #1901 - 1917

And for your viewing pleasure, the best of the Gingerbread competition:

My favorite, the three little pigs, because it is creative.

Just in case we forget WHY we are all here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

2011 Goal Recap

Way back in Jan, I posted about my goals for 2011 and I'm sure y'all want to know how I did.

Buy organic meat and dairy
We did pretty good with this, not 100% but as our budget would allow. Our definition of dairy in the capacity is basically just milk and eggs. Everything else is just too darn expensive. But it's a start. We got two batches of beef from a local farm and it tastes so much better than all other beef.

Open an Etsy store
Done and done. I also have a few things in a consignment story up in Cedarburg and have sold several other random things to friends and family. Now I'm busy making some Christmas gifts.

Well, our goal was mighty and we think that we will fall a little short. But there is still a month left and some overtime money left to collect. We have saved a lot though and are really proud of the decisions we have made. Our envelope budget system continues to work well for us and Christopher does an awesome job balancing our finances and figuring out where it all goes.

Have a potted vegetable and herb garden
I hesitated to plant anything (I think because I was in mourning over not having my yard) but once I got over that I did pretty good. I learned a lot about growing stuff in pots and about growing vegetables in general. Just about everything needed more room than I gave it but we still have a nice showing of tomatoes, peppers and herbs. The herbs did great and I had hoped to continue to grow some inside for the winter but they were not agreeable to this plan.

Learn how to can
This was kinda lumped into the garden goal but I am pretty proud that I learned how to can this year so it deserves it's own category in the recap. I did successfully can salsa, spaghetti sauce and applesauce. The salsa and the applesauce turned out great; the spaghetti sauce is a little ... um, smoky because I burnt the bottom of the pot (which was just a hot mess to clean up). Next year I will do salsa and diced tomatoes along with the applesauce. It was a lot of work but now that it's winter and we are eating "fresh" salsa and applesauce, it was worth it.

I am thinking about my goals for next year --- they involve connecting, baking and more craft-ing.

Do you make yearly goals? what are some of yours?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cumin Quinoa and Black Rice

Tonight I made Cumin-Scented Quinoa and Black Rice from Bon Appetite and it was delicious. (in all blog-fairness, the recipe was featured on this blog, which is a pretty awesome blog)

I recommend that you try it. The recipe and the blog.

A few notes about the recipe though:

1. Quinoa does not equal couscous
2. Black rice does not equal white rice
3. Confession #1: I made this recipe the first time with couscous and white rice. It was good but using quinoa and black rice may be instrumental in making cumin- scented quiona and black rice.
4. When the recipe says to rinse the quinoa, it's a good idea to do so.
5. Confession #2: I have never cooked with quinoa and have a hard time pronouncing it correctly (it is tricky!).
6. I made it while Christopher was in the other room studying and it smelled a.mazing. I also was listening to Christmas songs and it was very enjoyable. 


Friday, November 18, 2011

Giving thanks ... for the whole month ...

So, it's a long list, without pictures but FULL of blessings.

Speaking of pictures, I will continue my photography challenge ... soon. Life kinda got in the way and I have no qualms about leaving this tiny corner of the internet quieter so I can spend my free time with my husband, dog and friends while I work some overtime.

#1846 - 1900
- tears shared with friends
- giving thanks as a community, even when it is hard
- accepting change,
- holding firm to God's promises
- praying for friends
- hearing our friend say that my husband is a good listener. i know. =)
- a doctor who listens, summarizes, makes a good diagnosis and gives good/conservative recommendations. (the primary care doctors I have encounters thus far have exceeded the expectations set by Mayo doctors. I think this is either a)because they are not residents b) there is A LOT of competition here - between health care systems and doctors or c) a coincidence. Whatever the case, I am happy to find a good primary that we like.)
- answers
- antibiotics
- coffee with a friend
- a parking ticket because it meant i spent more time than anticipated with my friend.
- my husband, giving the man walking by his coffee when the man asked
- planning/scheming/getting excited for Christopher's surprise party
- lots of firsts at work; gaining confidence as I deal with new situations
- friends having babies and friends who are going to have babies.
- my manager calling me while I was working to see how things were going because I haven't seen her recently.
- getting some feedback at work
- my mom and my mother-in-law helping and planning the details and amazing food for Chris' party
- the way my father-in-law greets me with a huge smile and hug
- friends coming to celebrate my hubby
- realizing that I don't view our Marquette friends as our "new friends" anymore; now they are just friends. =)
- Christopher's look of shock, evidence that we pulled off a good surprise
- Eva, coming all the way from Rochester for the party and one night
- and her accordion rendition of Happy Birthday. LOVE
- Loki and Penny (Eva's tiny little dog) are friends!! If you have ever seen Loki with another dog, you will know why this is noteworthy. Other people are okay. Other dogs, not so much. It made me sooo happy that he was nice to her!
- an extra hour in which to watch Thor
- breakfast with my parents
- organizing the office. Let's be honest: it has never ever really been organized. Now the books are on a brand new huge bookshelf and my craft stuff is organized in the corner. It looks great!
- being on call during my overtime shift
- warm pear cinnamon cider from Trader Joe's. I'm in love and just may have had a cup every day this week.
- birds flying south
- curling up with Loki on a cold day
- apples grown just down the road
- my husband, all handsome in a sweater vest
- being told that I handled a situation at work well
- overtime money that goes into our savings. We are sooooo close to make our saving goal this year but we think we'll be just a little short. (more on the progress of my 2011 goals later)
- co-workers who give me rides to and from work so that Christopher can go to school or study or sleep. And it also makes it possible for us to work out our schedule with one car. I am so grateful for their willingness to give me rides!
 - one really busy night at work. for my co-workers who were working and the pieces that were in place as our first night shift emergency occurred in the hospital.
- knowing that we all worked really hard and having the patient's family acknowledge that as well.
- our patient's loving family
- hearing from every person involved that it went really while and also identifying some areas for improvement
- time to decompress with my co-workers 
- our new night shift nurse practitioner. ohhhh, words can't express
- dinner with friends, both planned and spontaneous
- Christmas shopping on-line. pretty sure it was made just for me.
- quality time with my husband, carefully planned during our busy week and really important
- warm, fuzzy slippers.
- knitting, creating new things that were simply yarn earlier
- Loki's big brown eyes
- my husband's mad cooking skills
- my co-working bringing me coffee =)
- time to spend with my family this weekend
- warm coats, gloves and hats

Monday, November 7, 2011

Photo Challenge: angles and apples

Day 5: Something from a high angle
roasted onion and squash pizza. yum!
 Day 6: Something from a low angle
Turns and Taxis

 Day 7: Fruit
We live in WI and are trying to eat more local food. So now we are eating a LOT of apples.

"You are under the power of Loki!"

I was out walking Loki today when two small boys asked if they could pet him. (Loki is a kid magnet!)

I said yes, that he is nice.

The boys asked his name. Loki.

"Like Thor's brother?" they asked. Yes. (I just watched Thor yesterday)

Just then a UPS truck drove by and the boys started shouting:

 "Come back bus! Bring something for us! Come back bus!"

One of the boys pulled an imaginary sword from his sheath and went running after the truck, yelling "By the power of Loki, I command you to stop!"

The other boy followed, sword also drawn (with a light saber sound effect), "Thor commands you to turn your truck around!"

The truck driver, having another stop, or maybe, responding to their powerful commands, stopped a few houses down. The boys jumped around on the sidewalk.

"You are under the power of Loki!" "Bow to Thor and Loki!"


***Also could be titled "the power of imagination"***

Friday, November 4, 2011

Photo Challenge: clouds and a green{ish} thing

Day 3: Clouds

via here

oh, you mean something that I took: 

since the sky has looked like this for a few days, you get tree and clouds
Day 4: Something Green
I am totally in love with this yarn.