Sleep Deprivation and Why My Husband is the Best

Good morning!  The last week has been slightly hectic, and I apologize for my subsequent blogging hiatus.  Every time I started a new post I thought, I got nothing.  Don’t worry… I have returned :).

On Friday night our youth group had a lock-in at church–50+ people, all night, no sleep.  The night was full of: manhunt (similar to hide-and-seek), dodge ball, movies, a ghost tour, duct tape games, and lots of food.

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The object of the duct tape game was to tape someone so that they hang on the wall for the longest once the chair is pulled away.  The winner (the girl on the right in the above photo) said her winning strategy was simple: wear pants.  Great life advice as well.

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Part of the “ghost tour”… it’s not everyday you get to wear a gorilla costume 😀

 I had a blast, and I think all the youth did as well, but I spent the rest of the weekend recovering from the lack of sleep!  Spoiler alert: when I don’t get enough sleep, I become helpless, and Andrew is a saint.  I crawled into my bed around 8:45 AM and slept until 12:30 PM Saturday.  When I finally shuffled myself downstairs to the kitchen, my sweet, sweet husband handed me a bowl of overnight oats.  Before he’d gone to bed Friday night, Andrew prepared my breakfast knowing I’d be too exhausted to function Saturday morning.  How sweet is that?

After very slowly eating breakfast, I was ready for a nap.  (Yes, one hour and the process of eating oatmeal zapped all my energy.)  I hobbled back upstairs, crawled back into bed, but could not seem to fall asleep.  I started thinking about soup.  It was a little chilly, and I was so tired, and soup sounded like just about the greatest thing in the world.  But how can I get this soup?  I’m upstairs in bed.  Do we even have soup in the house?  I decided my only option was to call Andrew’s cell phone (he was still all the way downstairs at this point).  I called and sadly heard his phone vibrating on his bedside table.  Dang.

I hobbled back downstairs and stood in the kitchen, where Andrew had pulled out the rubber gloves and was deep cleaning the sink and counters.  After a minute he turned and looked at me.

“Hi honey.  How are you doing?”

“I’m tired.  Let’s make soup.”

“We can make soup, but I don’t think we have everything we need.  Do you want me to go out and get you some soup?”

“I don’t know.  I think I need a shower.”

Andrew went back to cleaning because he’s an awesome husband, and I made the trip upstairs to take a shower… where I fell asleep.  When I finally got myself ready to leave the house (it took longer than you might think), Andrew walked upstairs to change clothes.  He picked up his cell phone.

“Did you call me at 1:30?”

“Yeah.”

“Where were you?”

(I patted my side of the bed.)

“You called me from the bed?”

“Yeah.  About the soup.”

“What about the soup?”

“That I wanted some.”

“I didn’t have my phone with me.”

“…I know.”

Sleep deprivation at its finest.  God bless that man for being patient with me. 😀

We ran a few errands, acquired all the ingredients for this soup, and made my sleepy dreams come true:

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Mmm.  Soup.  🙂

Sleep was the theme of the rest of the weekend:  fell asleep on the couch Saturday night, slept in Sunday morning, fell asleep on the couch again Sunday afternoon…

Andrew and I both took off work today because my lack of sleep stole our weekend, and we have some good things planned for the day (that’s not entirely true… we are planning to plan some good things for the day, but so far we haven’t made it past, “Sleep in and eat breakfast.” 😀

Have a great Monday!

Sleep deprivation:  do you become as helpless as I do?
What did you do this weekend?
Have you ever worn a gorilla costume?

 

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Fall Decorating + Weekend Recap

Happy Monday, folks!

As fall officially arrived this weekend, I spent a little bit of time Saturday decorating for my favorite season.  I gleaned a few ideas from Pinterest (which I find overwhelming, but I’ve decided this is the norm), made a trip to Hobby Lobby, and went to work with the hot glue gun.  Here’s our newly decorated-for-fall mantle:

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These vases were 50% off at Hobby Lobby, and I think they are the perfect link between our typical blue and green color scheme and the fall yellows.

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As for the crafty part of the decorating process, I made these guys:

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My original plan was to wrap all the glass vases with twine, but as it turns out, the process is very tedious, and even OCD has a limit on how much hot glue can be taken to the fingers. 😉

Other highlights from the weekend include:

-Bowling with friends Friday night and earning what’s probably my highest bowling score of all time:

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128!  And that was with two gutter balls in the last frame 🙂 I was on fire up until that point.

-Bowling again Saturday with some youth and a few of our friends from the Virginia Home–a residential facility for adults with disabilities.

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They always make me smile.  The man about to bowl in the photo is hilarious and ever-willing to give fist bumps and secret handshakes.  I shook his hand when he arrived, and he looked down at my ring and said, “Married??”  I laughed and said, “Yeah, I’m married.”  And he threw his hands up in the air and said, “God D***IT!”  😀

-Football–we watched the Virginia Tech game Saturday, and Andrew drove to DC to see the Redskins game Sunday with his dad and friend.  Despite the Redskins losing, they had a lot of fun!

-Youth Group–love these guys and girls 🙂

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Overall, the weekend was low-key, but good.

What was the highlight of your weekend?
Do you decorate for fall?

Random Friday Thoughts

I confess that I do not have anything particularly insightful to offer on any one subject today, so instead I will share some random highlights of my week, guided by the photos on my phone. 🙂

1. On Tuesday Andrew walked in the door after work with a beautiful bouquet of tulips and said, “Happy Tuesday!  I thought you’d like these… they are fall colored!”  (Yes, they are fall colored;  never mind the fact that tulips are the quintessential spring bloom. ;-)) I love that guy.

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2. I cheered on one of the high school girls in my youth group (Gena, with whom I ran this 5K) in her cross country meet on Wednesday.  She goes to my former high school, where I used to run cross country, so going to this meet brought back a lot of memories–I even got to catch up with my old coach!  Despite the course being notoriously grueling and hilly (not all the memories were good…) Gena ran strong until the very end!  Go, girl!

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3. Garden labels:  I made them.  Using popsicle sticks, outdoor craft paint, and a hot glue gun, I created these guys this week:

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4.  My mom and her friend Bill are at the beach this week in the Outer Banks, and she sent this picture to my siblings and me:

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One summer many years ago, while we were making drip castles on the beach, a local artist approached my mom and asked if she could take our picture.  She paints everyday beach scenes, and sells the prints in a lot of beach shops.  We always look for ourselves when we see this artist’s work, and my mom found us this week!  We are a little bit famous.

5. I’m working on building up my running mileage, and yesterday I ran 7.25 miles!  I know it isn’t a long long run, but I am pleased with myself nonetheless.  My first mile was a slow 9:43, and I gradually increased speed, running the last mile in 8:44.  I’ll take it.

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That’s all the randomness I have for today 🙂

Tell me something random about your week.

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole (Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free)

The cooler weather this week gives me a feeling of pure delight.  I love fall and all that’s associated with it, and the meals are no exception.  At the end of the workday yesterday, as I sat in my office, cozy in my cardigan sweater (which may have been overkill;  I think the temperature reached 80 yesterday, but that’s no matter ;-)), I brainstormed dinner and decided what sounded best was a soul-warming chicken casserole.

I’ve heard rave reviews about casseroles using just chicken, rice, vegetables, and a can of cream of mushroom soup.  Unfortunately, we can’t do dairy, so I had to get creative.  I came up with a pretty excellent dairy-free, gluten-free (and probably healthier) alternative to the classic casserole.  If you don’t want to make it DF and GF, but don’t want to use condensed soup, you could easily make this using milk and regular flour!

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

1 1/4 lb chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
12 oz mushrooms, sliced
4 c broccoli (fresh or frozen)
1 1/2 c brown rice
2 c soy milk
1/4 c DF butter substitute
1/4 c GF flour
salt
pepper
garlic powder
paprika
2 c water

1.  Preheat oven to 375.  2.  Heat 1 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat; add mushrooms, and cook until browned.  3.  Add remaining butter to skillet, then milk, spices, and flour, and whisk to combine.  4. Stir regularly until the mixture thickens. 5.  In a large glass baking dish, combine chicken, rice, broccoli, skillet mixture, and water.  6. Stir well, cover with aluminum foil, and place in oven for 45 min-1 hour.

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I took it out of the oven and stirred a few times during the cooking process because I love to stir things and couldn’t help myself to prevent it from burning on the walls of the dish.  For some reason the rice took a lot longer to cook than I anticipated, despite using the quick-cook variety.  Also, as usual, I eyeballed the spices.  You can always add more at the end if it needs more flavor!

The end result was de-licious, and I doubt anyone would know it’s dairy-free!  We made it even better by eating it with baked apples straight out of the oven. 😀

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The apples were a late addition to the meal–they came to mind while the rice was taking forever to cook, so I knew I had time to get them in the oven.  All I did was: slice two apples, put them in a small glass baking dish with a little butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon;  cover with foil, put in oven for 5 minutes, remove foil, stir, and put back in oven for another 10 minutes or so (stirring periodically, again, because I can’t help myself. :-D)

It was an awesome, feel-good, fall meal.

And I even let Andrew eat some after he said, “What, are you my grandma?” when I told him I was making casserole.  Punk.  😉

What are you favorite cooler weather meals?

Any tips for taking good food photos, especially as it’s getting darker earlier?  I know my pictures are not good, but I have no skills!

Milkshakes, Vineyard Tour, and Youth Group (Weekend Recap)

Happy Monday to all!

We had a full, yet relaxing weekend here at the Storey house.  Friday we had one of those night that made me think, “27 and married is so, so different than 22 and single.”   It started when we decided to go out to eat, and I said, “I need a few minutes to get ready,” which meant brushing my hair and reapplying eyeliner.  Same clothes I’d been wearing all day?  Why not?  😉  We went to a restaurant called the Silver Diner, which is a small chain in Virginia and Maryland.  Although it’s a chain, each restaurant works with local farmers and creates seasonal menus with lots of gluten-free, vegetarian, and heart-healthy options.  It’s pretty great.

While browsing the menu, Andrew noticed the dairy-free milkshake option and suggested we split one at the end of our meal.  When the waitress asked us if we needed anything else, however, Andrew simply asked for the check.  After she walked away I said, “Did you not want to get a milkshake?”  He replied, with a little bit of crazy in his eyes, “Let’s go to Kroger and buy the ingredients, and then we can make LOTS of milkshakes!”  Done and done.

After acquiring the necessary ingredients, driving home, and blending, we parked ourselves on the couch with our milkshakes and watched a few episodes of Once Upon A Time on Netflix.  (Does anyone else watch this?  We are hooked. [Pun intended, for those of you who are watching season 2.]  Season 2 came out on Netflix about a week ago, and we finished it Friday.  Oops…)

So that was Friday: dinner at a diner, homemade milkshakes, and Netflix on the couch.  Yeah–27 definitely beats 22. 😀

I wrote about Saturday morning here, but the gist of it is: slept in, ran 6 miles, and ate brunch.  After that we worked in the garden–we planted more kale, lettuce, and spinach–and watched most of the VT football game.

Later in the afternoon we made a trip to the New Kent Winery for a tour and wine tasting.  Oddly enough this was Andrew’s idea, and I had to convince him to watch some of the football game (“I don’t need to watch every single game.  Do you want to go wine-tasting?”  Who are you, and what have you done with my husband?)  It was my first time at a vineyard, and it was so cool!

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As an engineer, Andrew always loves tours like this and learning how things are made.  The wine we tasted was pretty good too 🙂  After one particular wine I said to Andrew, “Wow, this is unique.  I’ve never had wine that tastes like this.”  Andrew replied, “It’s not unique;  we just don’t buy $25 wine.”  Hah!  True.

We sat on the porch for a while, then walked around the grounds and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon.

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The highlight of Sunday was having our first youth group of the school year!  Like last weekend at our kickoff picnic, we had quite a crowd, and it was so much fun (at least I thought so… but I planned the whole thing, so maybe my opinion is skewed ;-)).  It was a great end to a great weekend.

And now… Monday.

What was the highlight of your weekend?
Have you ever been wine-tasting?

Easy Mornin’

I know it was only Monday when I said that weekends aren’t really weekends for me because of my job.  Today, however, thanks to a couple of amazing parents who volunteered to drive a group of our youth on a scheduled service project, I have a Saturday. <Cue angels singing.> 😀

I kicked it off by sleeping in until 9:15.  That *never* happens.  I initially woke up at 7, which is pretty typical for me, went back to sleep, and the next thing I knew it was after 9.  I didn’t quite know what to do with myself!

It’s a perfect fall day today–mid-60’s and sunny–and I hadn’t done a long(er) run yet this week, so I ate a banana with some peanut butter, got dressed, and headed out the door.

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I didn’t run especially fast, but my goal was to complete 6 miles and enjoy.  Check.  🙂

I followed up the run with a delicious breakfast: blueberry oatmeal, scrambled eggs, and (two!!) cups of coffee with almond milk.  I even cooked the oatmeal on the stove as opposed to making it the night before.  Overnight oats are great, but hot oatmeal wins in terms of taste.

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Now we are getting ready to watch some football–Andrew’s alma mater, Virginia Tech, is playing–and later this afternoon we are going wine-tasting at a nearby vineyard.

Yep, it’s just an easy Saturday over here. 🙂

What are you up to this weekend?

In Defense of (Posting Pictures of) Food

My name is Catherine, and I am a foodie.

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I’ve seen a disturbing trend on social media lately: food photo hating.  That’s right–there are people out there right now who are bored to tears by the photos we post of our delicious meals and culinary masterpieces.  If you are one of those people, this post is for you.  I’d like the chance to explain to you why I post photos of the food that I grow, eat, and love.

When I initially wrote this post, I included a witty, but snarky apology for forcing others to look at our food photos.  Before posting I decided it was probably a little too heavy with the sarcasm, so instead, I will say this: if you don’t like what anyone posts online, hide them from your news feed, don’t follow them on Instagram, and don’t click on the link to their blog.  That’s what I do when you post photos of… er… never mind.  The choice is yours.  I won’t be offended.

I post photos of food because I get excited about food.  You post photos of what excites you, right?  Scrolling through my Facebook news feed right now I see photos of: new boots, a sailboat, a double-layered marble cake with chocolate frosting, a baby deer, a wedding, a new haircut, the sorority squat, a football helmet, a new purse, a baby with a dog–We post little glimpses of our lives, and a good meal is one of those glimpses for me.  Here’s why:

1. Food powers everything we do.  All the activities we love are possible because we have good food in our bellies.  Running marathons, hiking, playing with your kids, focusing in school or at work (okay, maybe you don’t love that, but it has to be done), simply hanging out with friends–your performance and ability to be in the moment will suffer if you are not well nourished.  What you put in your body matters;  while we may not be what we eat, we certainly feel the effects of what we eat (or don’t eat).  

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“We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us be much more than what we are.” -Adelle Davis

2. Food tastes amazing.  As vital as food is to our lives, it could have been as boring as breathing–something that just happens naturally and keeps us alive.  Instead, God gave food taste, and why in the world would He have done that if we weren’t meant to enjoy it?  Eating, like other activities that ensure the survival of the human race, is meant to be pleasurable.  Food is a gift, not only in the fact that we have it and aren’t starving, but that it tastes so good!  Why would you not celebrate that?

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“Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.” -Voltaire

3. Food builds relationships.  Because we need food to power everything we do, and it’s not a boring pill that we have to take each morning, the act of eating gives us reason to pause a few times during the day, often with other people.  How many relationships in your life have developed over the course of many meals?  The vast majority.  From childhood dinners with your family to school lunches in the cafeteria with friends to dates with your husband, sharing a meal bonds us with others.

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“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… people who give you their food give you their heart.”       -Cesar Chavez

4. Food is art.  Some of the most beautiful colors I’ve ever seen are in my garden.  I take no credit for this, but I certainly enjoy it!  Fresh produce is inherently visually pleasing.

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“Did you ever stop to taste a carrot?  Not just eat it, but taste it?  You can’t taste the beauty and energy of the Earth in a Twinkie.” -Astrid Alauda

That’s why I post pictures of what I ate for dinner–because that meal was a crucial piece of my day that gave me energy to do what I love, provided quality time with people I care about, and pleased my senses in a way that compelled me to turn and thank my Creator and Provider.

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If you aren’t at least a little bit excited about food, it might be time to reconsider what you’re eating or the pace of your day–I wouldn’t get excited about eating a fast food hamburger in my car or macaroni and cheese from a box before running out the door either.  Good food doesn’t have to take hours to make, it just has to be real food.

So, happy eating to all.  And don’t forget to post photos. 🙂