Monday, March 29, 2010

Reasons to...

Haha, sorry, that's kinda creepy now that I look at it, but anyways, despite the cloudy coldness on this dreary Monday, I just have a lot of reasons to be joyful. So I thought I'd share...

1.) Leading off...

Ahh!! Please pay close attention to the high temps for Thursday through Saturday! Want to lay out by a pool? Why of course! I thought you'd never ask... :)

2.) This past Saturday, I made it 10 miles!

I have to give it to the Benjamin, he totally pushed me on when I really, really wanted to give up. And our conversation was way more entertaining than the same old iPod playlist. The poor guy has never run that far in his life, nor has he been on somewhat of a training schedule like myself. But he's such a trouper and was more than willing to be my rock through all the complaining and the stretching and the pain and maybe even through a few really foul words that emerged from my mouth when I was in dire need of a restroom (hah, funny story to accompany that one...).

I feel completely capable of finishing 13.1 in Nashville now. It's quite relieving, and I'm getting really excited!!

3.) And...

Can you read that? It bears good news, hah. Well, some might view it as good news. I'm kind of viewing it as the source of a lot of stressful confusion and big-time decision making.

Yep, at approximately 1:03 am (why that time I have no idea), I received a nice little acceptance letter via email from the Disney College Internship program, offering me a position in Merchandising. I'm aware that it's grunt work. I'm aware that it will be really hard at times. But there's still something in me that kind of wants to throw caution to the wind and say yes!! I have two weeks to decide, and for now, I'm giving it to God and waiting patiently for His answer. Because I'm totally not capable of these kind of decisions, are you kidding me?

I am so comforted by the fact that I can lean on Him in these times. What a beautiful reason to smile...

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
-Proverbs 3:5-6

4.) This week is Knox County's spring break, which for me, means two things: one, I get a much needed break from the munchkins, and two, my mom and sis are around for me to go annoy! Unfortunately, in lieu of a beach vacation this break, mom and Maddie are officially (and awfully quickly I might add) kicking me out of my bedroom at the homestead. Apparently Maddie painted over my pretty hot pink walls today all by herself. She's serious about this one! It's cool, I'll allow it, she deserves a bigger bedroom. Tomorrow I'm planning to head out west and check on the damage. I'll probably bribe a meal or two out of mom's wallet while I'm at it. Woohoo!

Well that's really just a snippet of the reasons behind my smile today. Happy weeks everyone! May they be full of joy and sunshine! :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thoughts While Driving

I am in my car a lot these days. Between working two days a week, my refusal to ride the Quarry Trail bus, and those countless cheery trips to the homestead, the Solara and I are pretty big buds. But so much time in the driver's seat lends itself to lots of time to think...and this week I'd thought I'd share some of the stuff that's been flying around in my head on the road:

Firstly, a rant. I have Sirius radio. I love Sirius radio. Because I strongly dislike commercials. And in that respect, Sirius has been very, very good to me. But lately, I've kind of wanted to hurl my Sirius out the window. Why? Because, literally, every time I have started my car all week, I have been serenaded by the same person. Every time. I'm not even joking. And she's not really my favorite. Lady Gaga. Eh. Great songs for the first 5 listens, then I want to run away. Well, Sirius seems to like her a little more than me...grrr, play something else, pleeease!

Anyways, secondly, an expression of dire gratitude. For those of you from K-town, you might have noticed that in recent months, Cross Park Drive over in the Bluff has been a mine field of death. By that I mean severely pot-hole ridden. I took the road home from Bible study a month or two ago and was really just waiting for my car to bottom out and completely fall apart on the side of the road. Terrible!! It put me in the worst mood. (Ask Benjamin, I was on the phone with him the whole time...unfortunate.) Well, this past Tuesday evening, I followed my friends down the trap once again, extremely reluctant I might add. But, to my pleasant surprise, the city of Knoxville had actually done something right and filled all the holes! It was wonderful. I was happy. So thank you K-town road crew, I commend you.

So, I've lived in Knoxville my whole life. Could have changed that up when college rolled around, but I chose not to, because I just wasn't quite ready to leave. I did, however, move downtown to campus, which is a world of different from my suburban west Knoxville beginnings. But, anytime I head back that direction, it's kind of like being in a whole different city, and I love it. I trekked through Turkey Creek earlier this week and it just brought me so much joy. I love all the concrete, I love all the people, shoot I even love all the traffic. I just feel so far separated from campus and I always seem to end up there when I need that most. I think part of the reason for this happiness was the warm weather and accompanying open sunroof and windows on this latest trip. It reminded me of summer, and I have such fond memories of my home and surrounding area during the summer. Needless to say, all of this just means I'm probably going to be in my car even more as the weather warms up.

Alrighty. I suppose I'll stop with the boring nostalgia now. This Saturday is shaping up to be rather gorgeous! Just needs to get past 40 degrees...hmm. I'm off to commence in the usual suicide! (a.k.a. run way more than I'm interested in...) Hope everyone has a beautiful day!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Make-A-List Monday

1. Just finished watching "Dancing with the Stars." Should be a good season! Though I'm sure I'll lose interest by week 3 or so....but for now, a few shout-outs:

Kate, please stop referring to your kids every 5 seconds. We know your publicist told you to do that, and quite frankly, it's only fueling my frustration with you.

Buzz, you're precious, absolutely precious. Unfortunately there's no way you're going to win. But seriously, precious.

Chad, nice job, hah. But my question: your cute little son they showed, is his last name "Johnson," or does he have to go through life tacking on "Ochocinco" all the time? Poor kid...

2. I register for fall classes tonight at midnight...unfortunately I still don't know what the heck to sign up for. All I really want to take is Tennis and Yoga, so I probably will. Hah, ohh senior year.

3. I'm on a quest to tackle a new hobby: calligraphy. I've always wanted to try it, and today, while viewing some beautiful hand-crafted wedding invites, I decided it's time to start practicing. I'm hoping to get a book and some pens to get going soon!

4. I'm forcing myself back into the running routine this week. I've kind of let things go recently thanks to various injuries and a pretty severe bout with burn-out. But April 24th is looming, and if I don't buckle down, it really just isn't going to happen. So here goes nothing!

5. Season 2 of 24 is r-i-d-i-c-u-l-o-u-s. And as selfish as it sounds, I wish I didn't have to wait on the Benjamin to watch another episode! I'm super-hooked but unfortunately am having to work around the rigorous schedule of the College of Business. Ugh.

6. It's birthday season in K-town! Last week was Nat's, and tomorrow belongs to Hales and Gav! Yay for the big 2-1 ladies! Wine tasting here we come!! (I hope...)

7. And finally, something to chew on:

"For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"

-Galatians 2: 19-21

Have a happy (and hopefully warm) week everyone!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fun with Wontons

I remember the day I first came across the package of wontons in the Walmart produce section. The possibilities swirling through my head were endless. I threw them in the cart and let the excitement build for my experimentation.

And then they sat in my refrigerator.

And they sat...

And they sat...

And they sat...

And then one day I had the genius to check the expiration date...which I had so wisely let pass. But no worries, the date was not too far in the past, and they sure did look the exact same as the day I bought them, so hey, what the heck? I needed to act soon, though.

Yesterday evening I gave it a go. My original goal for the wontons was to make some cheese ravioli, so that was the first endeavor. I mixed some ricotta cheese, parmesan, an egg, parlsey, oregano, and salt and pepper...

Then put a dollop of the mixture in the middle of each wonton and folded them up! The Benjamin came to help at this part. We had some interesting shapes, haha.

I was having some camera difficulties at this point, so somehow the picture of the boiling pot and final product with tomato sauce disappeared, but it's really quite alright. Boiling the cheese-filled wontons like a pasta ravioli didn't work out so well. Some of them came unglued during cooking, releasing ricotta mixture into the water...ew. And once we removed the successful raviolis, they kind of just splat like dead jellyfish on the plate and got cold really fast. The Benjamin and I still each consumed a full plate, but we weren't satisfied.

Or I wasn't satisfied. I felt as though I'd failed.

But never fear! The fix? Oh you know...a pot, some oil, and the technique that truly makes anything better...

Fried ravioli wontons, eh? Oh yes, a delicious solution to the sloppy mess of the initial go. They stayed hot, they were crispy, they tasted great with the tomato cream sauce, and they were significantly worse for the waistline. Soo much better, yes?

Well, then I got to thinking...what else can I stuff into a little delicate wonton and fry to a crunchy warm bliss? What's that, Em? Chocolate? Ahh, well of course!

Nutella here I come!!

Oh yes, so delicious. I had to save some wontons in the fridge so I could cook up some of these again. Dust with some powdered sugar, and they're perfect!

I'll have to warn you: I don't know if it was the culmination of the week or the long Thursday afternoon with the munchkins or what, but after I ate this meal, I absolutely crashed. Couldn't even keep my eyes open. Yep, I was asleep by 10:00 last night and it was glorious. Kinda groggy this morning after 11 hours of shut-eye, but now I'm all set to go enjoy this absolutely gorgeous day! Thank you Lord for sunshine!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thoughts for Today

I've had these lyrics stuck in my head all day...well, all week really, ever since I downloaded a gorgeous version of "In Christ Alone." I absolutely adore the song as a whole, and I always have, but for some reason this week these words have just resonated so much with me:

"On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand."

Lately I've just been trying to wrap my ahead around the fact that really and truly, all other ground is sinking sand. Do you even know how often I find myself trying to stand on ground other than Christ the solid rock? All the time, unfortunately. I could go into detail, but I'd rather just leave it at that: for you to ponder and for me to ponder.

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock."
-Matthew 7:24-25

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Spring Break, My Style

Yep, guess what? It's my first spring break after my 21st birthday, and where can I be found? Posted up at the homestead, completing job applications, reading the Pioneer Woman's Love Story, and flying through the second season of 24. And guess what else? It's pretty much exactly where I'm supposed to be.

Let's break it down shall we?

My vacation officially started last Friday at about 12:45 after I turned in my last of like a thousand school assignments flying around last week. I celebrated with a 7-mile run with Haley over at Tyson Park. Yes, that's right-7 miles! As in over half-way to 13.1!! Unfortunately, I've had some pretty awful pain in my left Achilles tendon ever since. I'm not freaking out this time, though, just resting and turning to other forms of exercise for a few days.

By the way, I promise I am not a crazed hypochondriac, just really really unlucky when it comes to injuries and long runs. But the pain is real, I swear...

Friday afternoon I went off with the family to Louisville, Kentucky for the sister's soccer tournament. Eh, it was fine. Probably just what I needed actually, I guess I'm just not ready to accept the fact that what I needed was hours upon hours in a hotel bed watching America's Next Top Model reruns.

Sunday night the Benjamin and I watched the Oscars (all 36,000 hours of them), then Monday I continued to be good and lazy, but did find the energy to make a terrifically delicious dinner for the fam: the Pioneer Woman's Shrimp Pasta in a Foil Package. It was super tasty and flavorful. I give credit to the wine involved. Mmm mm.

Tuesday brought another sunny afternoon with the Munchkins and a trip to the hair salon for a serious chopping of the locks. Yeah...I don't have much hair anymore, but I really like it. See, I read this thing a couple of weeks ago about how walking into an interview with long hair gave the impression that you had yet to grow up. Now, I completely disagree with that, but it somehow stuck with me, and before I knew it, my hairdresser was cutting it to my collar bone. That's short! But it's cute...the Benjamin calls it my new "power hair-cut." Hah, we'll see if it's effective.

This morning I scheduled my phone interview with Disney!! I finished applying for the college internship last night, and now I'm moving to the next step. Whether it's the place I'm supposed to be come August, I'm not yet sure, but I just felt called to look into it, and now here we are! I'll keep you posted on the progress.

Well, I'm off to make some more sweet potato fries! I bought a bunch of sweet potatoes to make risotto at some point this week, but seeing as how nobody in my family seemed too excited about that but me, I figure I'll just make me an easy lunch instead.

So. While I haven't been basking on a beach somewhere in south Florida, I have been engaged in the definition of relaxation, and couldn't be happier! But I do hope everyone who is asleep in the sand is experiencing lots of warmth and sunshine!