Saturday, December 30, 2006

What I love about the people in my life

My friend Sarah was talking about the book The Hidden Messages in Water
(strange and fascinating book!) and it got me thinking again about how what we say, hear, and see affects us in such a profound way and that we rarely even notice when it happens. The gist of the book (the book says it much better) is that these scientists discovered that when they would talk sweetly to vials of water as they froze, the ice crystals turned out beautiful, symmetrical, and balanced. When they talked down to the water, the ice crystals turned out ugly and misshapen. When you consider that we are 70% water, think of how words must affect us! Negative self talk, road rage, and discouraging words hurt us deeply in ways we don't realize, and every word of affection, respect, and kindness helps to build us up. If we could just think before we speak and turn criticism into focused encouragement, silence mean spirited teasing, and shut the door on nasty thoughts, think of the effect we'd have on ourselves, our loved ones, and, most importantly, the new generation we are growing and parenting now! Ever since I saw this book last year I've been trying to listen to music with positive, respectful lyrics (harder to find than you'd think!), and I did work on speaking respectfully as well, but it just slipped out of my mind for a while. This year I want to really focus on giving kind, helpful, positive words, especially to those I love. So, I'll start by listing my best friends and close family and what is most wonderful about them.

And so, in alphabetical order (so I don't have to determine importance), here we go:

Abigail: My loveysweet newest niece, at three months old, was still keeping her personality mostly a secret when I saw her two months ago. I imagine she will be friendly and outgoing like her mom and sister, and will light up a room.

Dad: Unconditionally loving, focused on family, supportive, protective. Children adore him. Always driven to show his children all that he can and to teach and experience as much as possible. His motto is "Today is the best day ever, and tomorrow will be twice as good." Everyone (especially me) needs that motto.

My father in law is always concerned about the comfort and happiness of those around him.

: Fearless, dives in head first into everything. Self-professed information junkie and marvelous mother. My best friend, platonic soulmate, and "twin" of 22 years succeeds at everything she does, and inspires me to go for it whenever I'm scared. She sends me encouraging text messages telling me she's proud of me and misses me and makes me feel great. She also laughs at my dumb jokes. ;-) Constantly changing, and, strangely, always changing the same way I am! We have stupid amounts of fun no matter what we're doing.

Elijah: My 8 month old nephew is the happiest child on the planet. His big beautiful smile will steal your heart. He's already friendly, intelligent, and musically inclined, and I am so thrilled that I get to watch him grow into an amazing adult!

Eric: My stepbrother's warm smile makes you feel right at home. The first thing he said to me was, "So you're my sister now!" He really does make me feel that way, and I wish he and his marvelous wife Lettie lived near us! It will be fun to see the two of them and their eventual children throughout the years and to be able to grow as a big family together.

Evey: Joy! My confident 2 year old niece will talk to anyone and I'm sure as she grows she will be surrounded by friends (and boys - she's a knockout!)

Jake: Eli's loving father and a thoughtful fiance to my dear Dani. Very intelligent and a "seeker".

Kristi: My mother in law gets excited about everything, and will strike up a conversation with anyone she comes across. Has a gift for staying in touch with people, and has many wonderful friends.

Lettie: Vibrant and fun, my sister in law is all around great. I love that she realizes how important it is to spend time with your husband and really grow your marriage before you add baby to the equation. Very down to earth.

Lindsey: Sweet and friendly, my sister in law is dedicated to being the best mother she can possibly be, which is the most noble thing I can imagine.

Matt: Thoughtful, supportive, encouraging, affectionate, my husband is never embarrassed to say I love you in front of a bunch of construction workers. An amazing nurturer, promising fledgling cook, lightning speed cleaner, and fully understands and appreciates that I will never fit the traditional "wife" mold. Patient with my constant change. Playful and silly. Does the things that everyone else wants to do but is too afraid to (direct quote from his cousin Derik). Talented artist and exceptional craftsman. Will someday be the greatest dad the world's ever known.

Mom: Oh, my mom is amazing, where do I start? Astounding mother, encouraging, always ready to help any way she can, thoughtful, anticipates the needs of others, always actively working to better herself, beautiful decorator, psychic I swear (how does she always know everything?!), hardest worker I know, strong and flexible, daring, funny, always fun to be around, intelligent deep thinker.

Nick: ENTHUSIASM!!! To my brother, everything is THE. COOLEST. THING. EVER. I love it. Amazing musical talent, wild imagination, exceedingly polite and kind.

Phil: Wholehearted interest and enthusiasm in his hobbies. My stepdad is mellow and open.

Sarah G.: Sweet sweet Sarah will do anything to help out the ones she loves. My "sister by association" is an open and warm soul with so many friends!

Sarah M.: Her joie de vivre. My glammest friend radiates excitement and fun and draws people in. The best dancer I've seen, with real star potential. An artistic soul.

Sherry: Big hearted and protective, my stepmom attracts animals and children the way sweet people seem to do.

I love you all!!!

Super healthy oatmeal breakfast bars

An excellent "grab and go" food, these are SO good, and very simple to make. This recipe is very easy to adapt or change for variety's sake or to suit your own tastes. You can add or change ingredients all you want, and you know you've got the right consistency when it's really hard to stir! My mom took this recipe, then adapted it, then gave it to me and I adapted it, and now it's yours to play with!

In a large bowl, stir together:
3/4 cup of brown sugar (firmly packed)
1/2 cup of granulated sugar (organic raw is best)
1 cup low fat vanilla or plain yogurt (1 8 oz. container)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 banana (well mashed)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (I use flax, use anything but Canola!)
2 egg whites, slightly beaten
2 Tbsp. fat free milk or soymilk

In a medium bowl, stir together:
1 1/2 cups flour (I use 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup ground flax seed)
4 cups uncooked oats (can substitute barley for oats)
1 tsp. cinnamon (I use 1 1/2 tsp.)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, blueberries...)
1 cup chopped nuts (or whole, if you prefer big chunks like Matt does - sunflower seeds don't work well) *raw, unsalted nuts are healthiest
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 350. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix very well. Spread evenly into a 9x13 pan and bake for 30 minutes. Test doneness with a knife.

Add 1 1/2 cup fruit pulp (leftover from making juice in a juicer) and an extra cup of oats (use less dried fruit).
Use soy, almond, or rice milk and soy yogurt and another banana (instead of egg whites) to make this vegan.
Instead of fruit pulp, use blended or chopped fruit
Instead of banana, use canned pumpkin pie filling (not as healthy, but yum!).
Put in protein powder for an extra boost of vitamins and protein.
*Best not to use canned fruit - if you do, you may as well eat candy for breakfast -so much sugar!*

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

This week's spending:

Weekly spending:

  • Monday: $0
  • Tuesday: $0
  • Wednesday: two hot cocoas - $1.65, Walmart (my Xmas gift and a couple knitting needles) - $113.30, Target (Matt's gifts and a tide pen) - $48.29, Best Buy (rechargeable batteries) - $20.38
  • Thursday: Iced tea - $1.30
  • Friday:Rite Aid - (chapstick and 2 cards) - $9.63
  • Saturday:
  • Sunday: Target - (lexan water bottle) - $6.42

Total = $200.97, an all time high! But I got a $227 mystery refund check in the mail, so it all balances out, right? ;-)

Friday, December 22, 2006

My Goals

I've been kinda undecided on what I really want for about a year now, and it's tough to get to where you want if you don't know what it is. This morning my old drive came back! I was reading Environmental Design and Construction magazine while groaning about my cramps (at least it won't be on Christmas, as the calender said it would be!) and it just woke up my business mind all over again. And so...

In one year:
  • We will be homeowners.
  • We will have a fully licensed and bonded successful contracting company.
  • We will have a fantastic employee.
  • We will have a bun in the oven.
  • We will begin networking aggressively.

In two years:
  • We will be Green Star certified contractors.
  • We will have the extra money to hire someone to clean our house once a week.

In three years:
  • We will have enough business and reliable employees for Matt to focus on the business aspect of our company and do very little hard labor.

In five years:
  • We will build a LEED certified (environmentally responsible) condo building and sell it for a fortune!
  • We will buy vacation property and build the perfect little cabin with our own four hands.

In ten years:
  • We will open a small nonprofit apartment for low income single moms, which will also provide free seminars on finances, career planning, parenting, etc. for the residents and an in-house co-op and/or nonprofit daycare.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Heart Update

Yesterday was my father in law's bypass surgery. They ended up doing the full nine they'd planned on, but everything went well. We were blessed enough to end up in a "family conference room" so we had this tiny waiting room all to ourselves, so the wait went really quickly.

They discovered he's diabetic, so a change in diet is absolutely necessary. The family wasn't thrilled about the idea of me changing their meals but now I don't care what they say, I'm cleaning out the fridge and being a militantly healthy cook because I'm not going to watch them hurt themselves anymore.

He'll hopefully be moved out of ICU today (usually they keep bypass patients for two days), so it looks like he's healing quickly. Wouldn't it be amazing if he could come home in time for Christmas? Even the day after Christmas is fine. It'd be so much nicer for everyone to celebrate at home. Regardless, today we're bringing in the little fiber optic tree and some lights to make it a little more festive.

Monday, December 18, 2006

This week's spending challenge results:

Weekly spending:
Monday: Target - Reindeer socks for Eli - $1.07
Tuesday: Hospital - cafeteria breakfast. - $15.57
Wednesday: McDonald's - $3.22, Walmart - Flax oil etc. - $13.61
Thursday: Walmart (shame!) - 3 pairs of Knitting needles - $6.46
Friday: Ross - stocking stuffers for 3 parents (I did not buy the shoes that made my heart go pitter patter!) - $57.94
Saturday: Post Office - $12.15 to ship 3 gifts
Sunday: Greeting cards - $11.72, Target - Notebook - $1.60

Total = $123.34 - the highest yet! But still very low compared with all the temptation I had.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Matters of the Heart

Yesterday my father in law had an angiogram to see about a heart issue they had noticed during a stress test. Turns out two arteries are so clogged that the doctor hadn't seen it this bad before - said we should see the films because it was so "impressive" that he was able to function normally with as advanced as the calcification was. Next week he'll be getting bypass surgery - they'll be putting in nine bypasses. He'll also get a defibrillator put in that same week. Apparently he's at the point where diet and exercise can't fix it but it can keep a heart attack at bay for a few more years. What's worse for me is that it's a hereditary coronary disease. Matt smokes, drinks, and eats horribly when I'm not the one feeding him. So Matt promised he'd quit smoking as soon as this pack ran out - everyone, please pray for this! I'm also putting the entire household on a diet. I think we'll eat Mediterranean mostly because it's supposed to be the heart healthiest and most of the meat is fish. Even with this over their heads I doubt I can get three Midwesterners to come to the veggie side. ;-) So this means I need to relearn to cook, which I was going to do when we got home anyway. I'm getting a juicer for Christmas so that will be an awesome help. If anyone knows any rockin' healthy recipes please send them my way as all my recipes are in a storage unit in Washington.

Monday, December 11, 2006

This week's spending challenge results:

Weekly spending:
Monday: $0
Tuesday: 3 games of pool at local dive bar = $2.25
Thursday:Snacks for Matt, Dan, and I = $4.71
Friday: $0
Saturday: $0
Sunday: Materials for a few gifts plus shipping (these gifts will be late by the way,oops) = $49.96

Total = $56.96

I still need to buy materials and make a bunch more presents. We had no money until last night soooo gifts will be late, and some people I really wanted to buy for won't be getting anything from us. I feel awful. I never ever do that. I always have every gift bought and wrapped by November. This year's just been a little weird. ;-)

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Our home will be...

Dani had a great idea, and I thought I may as well copy it (check out her blog in my links). ;-) She listed everything she wants in a home and it's so simple but the act of writing your wants and needs out and being able to see them (and especially in a blog where others see them!) makes them so much more real. There's amazing power in writing out your intentions. My mom is a big believer in this idea, and I wrote a list like this when I was car shopping and I stumbled over a car that was EXACTLY everything on my list. I had forgotten about the list long before finding the car and happened upon it later and was astounded. So, that said, Matt and I will be house shopping this Spring/ Summer (please God let us be approved for a good loan!) and I have paper lists around, but here it is out in the open:

My home is:
  • A short drive from the beach
  • Exposed to a lot of direct sun
  • Walking distance to a park
  • In a safe neighborhood with at least a couple great neighbors
  • A rambler with a basement
  • Easy to renovate
  • Perfect for entertaining
  • Energy efficient
And has:
  • 3 bedrooms, 1.75 baths, and space for my office
  • A very open and large living room
  • A view
  • HUGE windows
  • Good energy
  • A large enough yard for a swing set, 2 fruit trees, and a vegetable and herb garden.
  • A big porch

It's a tall order, I know. I have faith that God will put us somewhere wonderful though. It's time to put down roots. As Pastor Tim says, "gotta have roots before you can have fruit!" Of course he's talking about rooting yourself in faith in God but I feel like it applies to this right now. We keep getting "transplanted" from one tiny pot to another and I'm ready for a big roomy orchard, with other nice fruit trees to make friends with.

UPDATE! - We just bought our first house, and we got almost everything on the list. The only things it lacks are the basement, big porch (but the ideal place for a big deck!) and a ready space for my office - we'll have to add that on when we have enough kids to fill up both spare bedrooms, but we'll probably have moved up by then!

Monday, December 4, 2006

This week's spending challenge results:

We started on Wednesday 11/29 -
11/29 - $0
11/30 - $0
12/1 - $0
12/2 - Burger King (yay veggie burger!) - me $2.71, Matt $5.00
12/3 - McDonald's - me $0, Matt $2.51

Total for the week= $10.22!
I'm pretty ashamed about the fast food (we know better than to eat that junk), but not bad overall. This week we have to buy the last Christmas presents and ship them out, so it might be ugly results next Monday. I'll do my best and we'll see!

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Tree lighting

Last night Matt and I went to downtown Benicia's tree lighting. They had a band dressed as elves playing Christmas music, and all the shops were open late and handing out cookies, hot cocoa, and snacks. I swear half the town was there! We had a great time roaming around and checking it out. We watched a glass blower make a vase, lounged in a crazy gorgeous craftsman furniture shop, checked out a kitchen and bath store, and a new mediterranean restaurant was passing out baba ganoush and hummus - yum. Oh, and I found a dangerously tempting shop called "Solar Clothing". Boutique atmosphere, Ross prices. I almost died. But I didn't buy anything! I can wait until after Christmas. Oooh I wonder if they do after Christmas sales... two days on shopping restriction and I'm already fiending. Not too bad though! Matt and I haven't spent a penny in two days!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The challenge...

So this morning Dani (my best friend) and I decided to challenge ourselves to document every penny we spend this month (not including bills and gas) and the one who spends the least wins a prize (a $5 homemade gift, made by the loser). Now, this is a serious challenge for us, because we have matching shopping addictions. But since I'm breaking bad habits now (I just gave up coffee!), I figured I can do it! Of course, we have a ton of Christmas shopping and shipping to do and a couple large tools to buy... well at least I can control the little things I buy. I'll post my weekly purchases on Mondays, broken down to the last cent. We're keeping each other accountable and this should be really interesting. Are we more competitive than we are shopaholics? ;-)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My "mythical creature", haha

This was a fun quiz:
Your Primary Mythical Creature

Water Types
The main strength of the Water types is feeling. The second element indicates the most probable focus for this emotional expression.
Chimera - Water with Fire
Astrologically associated with Cancer and the Fourth House Chimera types are motivated to achieve and maintain emotional closeness between themselves and those they are close to. They are among the most outgoing of all the types. They have a strong sense of community, harmony, and cooperation. They are devoted to their family, whether this is an actual family or a specially chosen group of like-minded individuals. They thrive in company and are rarely alone. They find personal fulfillment in supportive, nurturing, and caring roles, but they emphasize self-reliance for all. They are intensely protective of those they love and are both perceptive and intuitive regarding their needs. They can seem at times to be in a world of their own because of a capacity for reflection. They are very emotionally expressive, which can seem like "gushing" to other, more restrained types.

Your Shadow Creature
Earth Types
All the Earth types have problems relating to productivity and stability. The weakest element indicates the main focus of these problems.
Gryphon - Earth and Air
This shadow is irrational and unreasonable. They are plagued by a sense of uncertainty and are especially concerned about theft and loss of property. They can become quite paranoid about the motives of other people and despite being sociable in nature they have issues relating to trust. They are prone to bizarre delusions centering on lack of personal security. They are in different ways both self-neglecting and self-indulgent, ignoring genuine physical needs while simultaneously exhibiting hypochondria. Their frenetic lifestyle often reflects a neurotic need to escape a sense of insubstantiality. The biggest obstacle of weak Air is to overcome prejudice and ignorance; the biggest obstacle of weak Earth is to overcome self-centeredness and greed.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My results:

Apparently I'm a Quaker! I do like oatmeal. ;-) Sorry, dumb joke. Pretty interesting quiz, though.

Orthodox Quaker (100%)
Liberal Quakers (97%)
Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (89%)
Reform Judaism (88%)
Unitarian Universalism (88%)
Bahá'í Faith (85%)
Mahayana Buddhism (85%)
Sikhism (80%)
Jainism (80%)
Orthodox Judaism (79%)
Theravada Buddhism (76%)
Neo-Pagan (76%)
New Age (75%)
Islam (73%)
Hinduism (68%)
Taoism (63%)
Seventh Day Adventist (62%)
Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (61%)
Eastern Orthodox (55%)
Roman Catholic (55%)
Secular Humanism (54%)
New Thought (52%)
Scientology (49%)
Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (46%)
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (45%)
Jehovah's Witness (36%)
Nontheist (32%)

The nomadic Hayden tribe is sitting still... for now.

So we've just arrived in Benicia, CA after a full month on the road, October 17th to November 17th. We drove through Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California. All but 4 of the states on the left side of the map! A lot of experiences... do I want to backtrack to storytell? Maybe later. ;-) At this point we're getting ready to tear out Matt's parent's kitchen to completely renovate it, and then add a room or two, reno two bathrooms, install hardwood floors, add a fireplace... geez it'll take a while! California's nice and all but I'm homesick! And I don't know how long I can live in someone's guest room... I told Matt I don't care if we're done or not we're going home in six months. Not that we have a home... haha! It's funny, we're at the STRANGEST place in our lives but I'm so stressfree you wouldn't believe it. When we meet new people they ask, "So where do you live?" and Matt and I look at each other and smile. We're gypsies, with $26 in our checking account and no sort of idea when we're going "home", where home is, and if we'll be pregnant gypsies or not. But darnit, we have health insurance, roadside assistance, and each other. What more could you need really? ;-)