Friday, January 30, 2015

The family run/bike ride

The weather has been absolutely amazing.  I love a nice teaser of a spring day in the dead of winter.  But I really wasn't done with winter yet.  I need to burn my fireplace at least 35 more times.  So we are like most families and made a point to get out and enjoy the weather together.  But ours didn't quite go down how I would have liked.

Andy and I were on foot and the kids on their bikes.  We decide to head over to my moms which is about a mile and a half away.  There is a very busy street to cross neighborhoods, but no big deal, in my opinion.  You gotta learn sometime. You know that saying "safety first"?  Well, I married a man who believes that 100% of the time.  Danger never takes a vacation - thats his motto.  So as we start off, he is giving the children all kinds of instructions.  I feel these instructions are repetitive, as our kids are very safety conscious, because he has done such a good job of instilling it in them.  So I, of course, let him know this.  As we get to the busy street I am telling the kids to relax, find your opening in traffic and then commit.  He is telling them to wait, lets all do it together, and don't dart out in front of traffic.  As we find our opening, and I trot across the street, in classic me fashion, I start saying all kinds of snide remarks.  He comes back with a few of his own.  I wondered if people who were driving down the road with their windows down enjoying the weather were an audience to this couple who was jogging and in between breaths spewing remarks.  I make him mad so he decides to show me up and takes off ahead of me.  "You go with your fast self, safety police",  I muttered to myself.  I decide to go even slower.

Its not over once we get to my mom's.  He has to share our little argument with the poor woman who just had brain surgery.  She of course just smiles and changes the subject.  We had a nice visit and she is doing amazing, by the way, for only having brain surgery just a few short days ago. I somehow had the willpower to resist some cookies she offered.

So we head outside and start back to our house, Andy and I jogging together this time.  He says, "Sorry for yelling at you".  I say, "I was yelling at you too".  He says, "Is that an apology?  Because its a terrible one."  I laugh a little and say, "I'm sorry."  He says, "And???" Me:" I'm trying to breathe here.  I can't talk while I run".  I knew what he wanted me to say.  "Will you forgive me?  I was wrong".  We have tried to train our kids with this remorseful response, requiring the offended to say "I forgive you". I don't know why those words are so hard for me to say. Because I require it of all 3 of my children often. Probably because my rate of being wrong is 3%!  But its one of those things I just hate to admit.  And it requires me humbling myself...ugh.

I'm a lucky girl.  Andy is someone who offers his forgiveness quickly and freely. Even when it's not deserved.  He has to do it often, unfortunately. And he's happy to move on, not holding it against me.  Me, on the other hand, if I'm wronged, you better believe its going to take me a good 24 hours to get over it.  I'm a master at the silent treatment. He's a great example of Jesus, who does the same for us.  While I work on this ugly thing called pride, I'm thankful for the human arrow I have in my husband, that points me to the One who first modeled it so long ago.

And I'm sure someday I'll be glad I am married to the safety police.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A little breakfast game

Its no secret my love for breakfast.  I love everything breakfast has to offer.  And if it means I have to take a little more time to make it, I think its worth the wait. Breakfast is, after all, the most important meal of the day! So this morning, I upped my breakfast game.  With goat cheese.

I had an epiphany one day.  I could make my very own breakfast sandwiches in my kitchen.  And then my love of breakfast sandwiches was born.  All it requires is a toasted english muffin, a fried egg, and then any other toppings that suit your fancy.  I've done bacon, ham, shredded cheddar cheese, pancetta, avocado, seriously the sky is the limit.  But today, today I got crazy and added goat cheese.  I have to give some of the credit to The Pioneer Woman, because I bought the goat cheese for her Four Cheese Macaroni.  So thank you my someday bff Ree for the goat cheese inspiration.

I think the definition of creamy in the dictionary has to have goat cheese somewhere in it.  It is the creamiest, smoothest, cheese in my opinion and completely amped up my breakfast sandwich to the decadent category.  And it took all of 5 minutes to make.  5 minutes friends.  That is all you need.  Tomorrow, pass on the box of cereal and make  yourself a breakfast sandwich.  Up your breakfast game!

Sunday, January 25, 2015


I get on these kicks.  Where I get something in my head, and then I just need to do it.  Or eat it. Or say it.  Crepes are my new kick.  They are so light that you really feel like your just having a little snack.  And they are versatile!  Need something savory?  Throw some scrambled eggs and sausage in the middle.  Sweet?  Nutella and bananas dusted with a little powdered sugar - hits the spot every single time. So I've just started making up some of the batter, setting it in the refrigerator and just pouring myself  a little crepe when the urge hits me.  It seriously could not be any easier.  And then if someone stops by, you can be like, "Oh, are you hungry?  Let me whip up a little crepe for you".

Crepe batter:

1 cup all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups milk
1 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Which together the flour and salt.  Add egg and egg yolk.  Pour milk, slowly, stirring constantly until half remains.  Add the butter and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Add remaining milk.  Cover and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Heat a well creased small skillet.  Add 1/4 cup batter.  Tilt skillet with a circular motion until all the crepe batter reaches the sides of the skillet and cover bottom.  Cook  until the bottom is golden brown.  The first one is alway a throw away.  Add any topping or filling of your choice, depending on your sweet or savory craving.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Mom part 2

I have to say I never want to repeat a day like yesterday again

I stopped by moms house before they left for the hospital. She was quite chipper and had slept well. She was showing me all her important information. No one ever wants to do that unpleasant task but I  am one who does better well prepared. And I knew if anything happened to her Don would be a wreck and would be of no help in that area. No offense Don.

Once I got to the hospital it was so nice to see a crowd of my parents closest friends gathering. I'm was repeatedly impressed by their gift of hours spent with Don and I in the waiting room.

Surgery was scheduled for 1:45. I was able to be with her until they took her back. She hadn't eaten and was getting irritated by that point. When we Sodowsky girls get hungry...beware. We just might get a little cranky.  It's hereditary.  I got to hear all the surgery prep talk from the anesthesiologist.  The logistics of it all is amazing and I think the hardest part might be having to lay in one place very still for at least 3 hours. When he left I asked mom if she got all of that. She shrugged and said "eh some of it".

The next 6 hours were exhausting just sitting and waiting. We didn't get any word though we were promised we would. The revolving door of visitors and laughter of my parents friends enjoying one another's company made it bearable. I'm so very thankful for them.  I was able to make a few FaceTime calls to my sister in Germany keeping her up to date.

Around 6:30 we finally got word she was out of surgery and recovering however we still hadn't received a visit from anyone official with any knowledge. I left for a bit to spend some time with Andy and the girls and for a mental break. When I got back at 9:30 I was livid at still no word.  I'm not one to be demanding but I found a nurse and was very adamant about seeing her no matter where she was.  Finally at 10 I was able to see her. She was wiped out but ok.   The Dr came in and gave us the news that he had gotten 90% of the tumor. The weight of the day suddenly hit me and I knew I was totally exhausted.  I kissed mom and told her I would be back in the morning. I think she was already asleep at that point. I can't imagine how exhausted she must have been mentally and physically after being awake for all of that. As my head hit the pillow at 11:30 I was so thankful to put that day in the books.

Don and I were back up at the hospital as soon as they would let us in ICU.  We found mom feeling better and making jokes.  It's so nice to have her back   She'll be at the hospital through the weekend. We hope the worst is over, however this journey is far from over. I can't thank those enough who have given us their support, time, prayers, food and love.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A little bit of normal...

I have to first off say, we are overwhelmed with the support our family feels for my mom.  I can't thank you all enough for  your kind words, texts, and prayers.

Sometimes things get so crazy you find yourself craving normal.  This happens to me after holidays, or company, or looming brain surgeries.  Last night was a  nice night of normal.  No practices or evening activities.  Dinner was easy and everyone was low key.  So I snapped a few shots of normal.

There is always a lego battle going on somewhere if Carson is home.  Looks like Captain America took a bad blow.  Along with the overturned SUV.

I must preface this picture of Neely with the fact that this isn't really her normal.  She's a master pesterer.  But when she tires of it, she retreats to some sort of fashion or music.

This is how you can find Karly 75% of her time at home.  Crafting.  I have to say the roll away drawer holder has revolutionized clean up.

We always try to snap pics of the major events in our lives.  I'm going to focus on snapping pics of the normal in ours.  Its so cliche' to say "Don't blink, they grow up so fast".  But I can't think of any other cliche' I agree with more.   Except maybe "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." Totally agree with that one.  And also "Hindsight is 20/20".  I've wished I had hindsight about a million times in my life. Thats 3.  I guess maybe the reason cliche's are cliche's is because they are true.  Interesting.

Monday, January 19, 2015


Its a big week for my family this week.  A week that could possibly change our lives.  My mom is having a tumor removed from her brain.  Its been 2 months of Dr's appointments and uncertainty for her.  And the uncertainty will still remain for a couple of weeks after the surgery, until all the lab reports come back. This is the stuff that happens to other families.  Certainly not mine.

I went with her last week to the surgeon appointment.  Mainly because I needed to hear it all for myself, and of course to support her.  As that very young man, the one who was going to open up my mother's brain, walked into the room, I felt a twinge of uneasiness.  He had to be younger than me.  I hold the utmost respect for anyone in the medical community.  The sight of blood makes me dizzy.  So I'm very thankful for them all.  But it's still a little hard to put your faith in someone you don't really know.  

He showed us the pictures of the MRI, and explained the white spot we could all see on the image of my mom's brain.  As I listened to him explain, in all the medical terms that had to be interpreted, I found myself looking at his hands and thinking "those hands are going to be cutting into my mom's brain".  I couldn't take my eyes off them.  He was leaning back in his chair, nonchalantly spewing all this information, that made him sound like he memorized a medical textbook.  But there was definitely a seriousness to his tone.  This is all in a day's work for him.  He performs brain surgery multiple times a week.  Hearing him list the possible side effects made it all a somber reality for me.  

My mom is that mom who has a silent strength about her.  She's been through things that forced her to develop that strength. She's usually the first to force me to look at all my blessings when I'm focusing on the negative aspects of my life.  She's put on a brave face throughout all of this.  But after that appointment we were all uneasy.  This is the time when a person's faith comes into play.  We know we serve the God who is in control of all things.   And we will rely on that.   While there is a certain amount of comfort that comes from that, it doesn't erase the magnitude of the situation.   

If you think of it, we'd appreciate your prayers for a safe surgery and 100% recovery for my mom.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How I'm going to get through the rest of this winter

Winter is my season, we've discussed this before.  But I'll have to admit, I'm missing some warmer temperatures.  I like the 30's - 50's.  Thats my happy place.  Teens and 20's, not so much.  So the fact that, that is what we have had a whole lot of, has me finding myself annoyed that I don't want to get outside and be active.  And then that leads to me being cranky and Andy dubbing it "Shark week".  So I've decided I'm going to make a plan.  In the words of my sis in law, "I love a good plan".  So here is the plan, to take me through the next few months so it doesn't turn into "Shark month".

  • I'm going to experiment with hot tea.  Coffee, I'm not cheating on you.  Your my first love, and I will spend every morning with you.  But I'm ready to venture into the place of hot tea in the evenings.
  • I'm going to plan some really fun dates.  Evenings can be long with the onset of early darkness.  And our "go to" date is dinner, then movies on the couch with popcorn.  I'm going to push us out of our comfort zone and attempt to stay out past 10:30pm with some creative dates.  The Dating Divas is a great resource for fun, creative dates with all kinds of free downloads. I'll report back.
  • I'm going to give my kids cooking lessons.  My girls actually beg for these.  I just might be a little territorial in the kitchen.  And when they want to help I have to decide if I need to crank through the recipe or if I want to be that kind, sweet, teacher of a mom and let them crack eggs and measure and make a complete mess.  I'm going to drag Carson in there too.  Your welcome future wife of him.  Every girl loves a man who knows his way around the kitchen.
  • I'm going to put down my phone.  Its a time sucker.  We all know it.  And while I love all my dear friends, I really don't need to know what everyone is doing at 7:53pm.  I've felt like I need to do this for awhile now.  I've just ignored it.  I remember when we didn't have cable and I had all this time in the evenings.  I have a feeling its going to be like that when I put the phone down.
  • I'm going to put together a family "yearbook" One of my good friends does this every year for her family.  She compiles her photos by month and make a super cute photo book out of them.  She uses Blurb.  I can't wait to get this started!  I have a million digital photos that we never look at.
Now its your turn.  How are you going to get through the rest of this winter?  I might need to add it to my list...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

JFS in the kitchen: The breakfast with no name

I am a morning person.  I love everything about it.  I love the idea that I have a clean slate of a day.  I love that the sun gives us all a glimpse of it with a dimly lit horizon.  I love being up before anyone else and enjoying the quiet.  I love hearing my coffee pot gurgle as the last of the hot water has made its way through those coffee grounds. And I especially love breakfast.  I love cooking breakfast.  Can we just always have breakfast for dinner? Well, alternate between that and mexican food.

I have more breakfast recipes than dinner recipes.  And this one is my favorite for when we have company.  The ease of this is amazing.  Seriously, easiest tasty, pretty breakfast ever.  I don't know what its called.  Its a take on monkey bread.  So how about  you make it, and then come back here and name it for me.  Thanks in advance.  And your welcome in advance for the easiest, tasty, pretty breakfast ever.

18 frozen rolls (I use Rhodes rolls)
1 stick of butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 box of butterscotch pudding
pecans, optional

Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray.  
Sprinkle about 1/2 cup pecan pieces on the bottom of the bundt pan
place 18 frozen rolls on top of pecans
Melt stick of butter and pour over rolls
Sprinkle box of butterscotch pudding over all the rolls
Sprinkle brown sugar on top of rolls and pudding mix.

It looks like this

Place this in your cold oven overnight.
When you wake up, take it out of the oven, it will look like this.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and place it back in the oven after you ooo and ahh over how large the rolls have gotten overnight.

Cook for 15-20 minutes until golden brown

Invert immediately onto your serving plate
Make sure you drink with coffee.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The middle finger

Sometimes I like to go to the store by myself, simply because I can get in and out as fast as I want.  And I don't have to say "no" to the request to buy something 23 times. But Karly always wants to go with me and was very insistent she go on this errand.  So I gave in.  She is my talker.  The entire ride in the car is full of her sweet little voice telling me all she knows, very dramatically.  And while I love that sweet little voice, I find I tune it out a lot of the time.   Don't tell her.  But today her topic of conversation had my attention.

K: Mom, is holding up this middle finger bad.

Here we go.  The middle finger conversation.

Me: well, it means something bad.  Why do you ask?  Did something happen at school?

K: well my friend had one hand over the other and asked me which finger she was holding up.  I said this one, and held up my middle finger and someone told me that was very bad and they were going to tell on me.  I mean, I didn't know it was bad, I was just guessing what finger she had up.  I was wrong.

Me: Well, it does mean something bad, but its silly if you ask me, because really, how can holding a finger up be bad.  And your teacher wouldn't have gotten mad at you because you were just guessing what finger your friend had up.

K: Yeah.  I mean, who would make up that this finger is bad (holding up finger).  Look at all those geese in the sky. (pointing with her middle finger. She continues to talk about our surroundings while dramatically using her hands, one with the middle finger pointed the entire time.) 

Me: Honey, while its silly that someone decided that middle finger was bad, lets not point with it all the time.

Lets hope she got that out of her system.

Glad we got that cleared up.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Taylor Swift

Now I realize you might find that title on some tween or teen blog.  Even maybe a 20 something blog.  But since I'm dedicated to keeping all things real, I'm going to say it. I'm 39 years old and I heart Taylor Swift and her music.  If you know me at all, your not surprised.

Here's the deal. I think we could be good friends.  I would thank her for dressing modestly 90% of the time.  We could go for a run, and I'd even stop for her, if she wanted to crash someone's photo session during said run.  And I most definitely could give her some fuel for song lyrics, but alas, she has proven she needs no help from me.  Lets be honest.  The girl is brilliant.  She is not only writing songs that connect with most the world, she's singing them too. I won't condone all things Taylor, because well , no one's perfect.  And I don't want someone coming back to me and being like - you should have never promoted Taylor, listen to what she did! (But I don't think that will happen, for the record) However, I am going to thank her for the jam sessions rocking our mini van with a 12 year old boy, plugging his ears while reading his book, and 2 little girls belting those catchy tunes at the top of their lungs, with their mom. Those are the things I want my kids to remember. Thanks for the soundtrack to the memories Taylor!

On another note.  This is an amazing mash up (I love that word) of two of her songs.  I can not stop listening to it. Enjoy!!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

JFS In the Kitchen: Chinese Chicken salad

If I see one more thing where the major ingredient is sugar, I just might pick it up and throw it into the fire.  I'm so done with sugar.  Today, anyway.  I am not a salad girl.  I just don't understand consuming large quantities of lettuce in one sitting.  If it has nuts and berries, I'll take a stab at it.  But this is one salad that my girls request and I'm happy to oblige. And after a holiday season that had a 2 week break from running and a whole lot of refined sugar, I was craving a salad.  This recipe dates back to our DINK days.  It makes a seriously large amount.  My family of 5 divides it in half.  Of course not all 5 people eat it.  Because that would just be crazy for all 5 people to agree on dinner. My 12 year old had to make his own sandwich.  If you don't like what I cook, then your the cook.  Make this when you have a bunch of company, or need to take something to the Sunday School potluck, or when you are needing large quantities of leafy greens.

Chinese Chicken Salad

1 large head of cabbage (cheat: 2 bags of shredded cabbage)
8-10 green onions chopped
1 pkg sliced almonds
1 pkg sunflower seeds
3-4 T sesame seeds 
4 packages of Chicken flavored Ramen soup
3 chicken breasts (marinated in Yoshida's Gourmet Sauce, found at Sams Club and baked at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Save marinade)

1 C light canola oil
1-1 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
1/2 c sugar
4 flavor packets from noodle soups
rest of marinade

Mix well and refrigerate

Slice cabbage, chop green onions, shred chicken  and place in a large bowl.  Add nuts and crush 4 pkgs of ramen noodle squares and add to top.  Just before serving pour dressing and stir.

Again, this makes a whole lot of salad so we divide it and put half in the refrigerator, undressed and save for the next day.