Monday, March 30, 2015

Currently


I'm currently....

Watching.... The Wizard of Oz. And multiple times, too. My program is next Wednesday. Eight working days until go time...err show time.

Eating.... well, actually, I'm drinking a Matcha Green Tea Frappe from my be-loved Starbucks, and can we say holy crow, this is SWEET. Yikes. My teeth hurt and I was only able to drink a third of it before I stuck it in the freezer to finish later. But I like it. Next time, I'm definitely getting it unsweetened and no whip. It is dessert in a cup for sure.

Planning.... Easter dishes. I know I'm taking a dessert to Grandma's, but as for a side I'm still contemplating. What are y'all Easter plans? Trying anything new or bringing crowd favorites?

Reading.... I just started reading Killing Patton after months and months of being on my library's holds list. I liked his other three, and this is definitely the person/area I know the least about.

Inspired by.... what my church is doing this year. Yesterday, during Sunday service, my pastor announced what our vision is for the year and upcoming plans. Here are SEVEN things Faith Family is up to:
1) a new book
2) getting back on radio and TV
3) online service streaming in prisons
4) debt reduction
5) starting daycare and preschool
6) Tony Dungy is speaking during the NFL Hall of Fame Weekend festivities <--- which means I must move his book to the top of my TBR list.
7) opening new church campuses

To say I'm stoked and excited and blessed to belong to such an amazing church is an UNDERSTATEMENT. Ahhhhhh, so, so ready to see all God has in store! Go. Grow. Give.

Excited about.... SPRING. I'm ready to get elbows deep in my garden. I'm ready to compost. I'm ready to be outside. More walks through the park. More playtime. More activity. Bring.It.On.

With Love and God Bless,
Brindi

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Yes, I'm a Children's Librarian

Top o' the morning to ya.

I'm not quite sure why I greeted you in that manner. All I can say is the coffee is working.


Sooooo, here's what I did yesterday (Wednesday) in LIBRARY WORLD.

8:30-10:00 a.m. I had to get super organized right away. I'm in the midst of planning a huge Wizard of Oz interactive movie program (see glimpses of my Polar Express one here) and in great danger of losing my desk under all of the tissue paper, green poster boards, tin cans, and wigs. If I didn't act fast, I'd be one container of scissors and glue sticks short of a MESS. And that is not me. I am always organized. If not, I go crazy. If not, I will make you crazy.

Oh, and disclaimer. MAMA, yes I am doing this program. We don't have to talk about it. Feel free to continue reading. There are no visuals of the witch or of the flying monkeys.

Anyhoo, a crate quickly helped me dump my program materials into one bin which I can carry from desk to desk as needed. Phew.



10:00-12:15 p.m. While one of my co-workers was enjoying herself at the Ohio Library Northeast Conference, learning all kinds of new things she will rush back and share with the rest of us, I was called upon to cover her Time for Tots program. It's similar to my Toddler Tales, except where my age range is 19-35 months, hers is 2-3 1/2 years. Being I already had my week's toddler program planned, it was easy to adjust the layout and grab my stuff as I headed about 10 minutes down the road to her branch.

Her program starts at 11 a.m., and by 10:30 I had everything ready to go. She was kind enough to set up the room and I just added my stuff to the table. I did a mixture of her story time and a mixture of mine. The theme was dinosaurs, and I was happy to share a little longer book with a crowd that holds a tad longer attention span. I threw in some rhymes, finger plays, music time, and a puppet. Voila! Happy campers. They were even more thrilled when I brought out the parachute!!!! It was wonderful to see the pure joy of the faces of those kids because for some it was their first experience. My toddlers are spoiled and know I bring out the parachute every week. My co-worker does not. (Since I entertain a slightly younger crowd every Thursday, I like to keep them moving.)


Her [newer] branch has a tree in the children's department. It's awesome. It's okay; be jealous. I'm jealous.

I want that in my house.

12:15-12:45 p.m. I took my lunch break. However, on my way back to my branch I ran into Starbucks to pick up a treat for my supervisor and co-office-habitor, Amanda. It's a long story. Well, actually it's not. You know how Starbucks is featuring special Monday deals throughout March for their cardholder members? This past Monday was buy a beverage get a free pastry. Since I intended (I choose this word because I faltered a few times) on fasting sugar for Lent, I was giving my free treat to her. Problem #1: Amanda was off on Monday, so it sat in the fridge until her arrival on Tuesday. Problem #2: Due to a few other sweet treats on our back table courtesy of a wonderful patron, Amanda chose not to eat her cherry oat bar. She'd eat it on Wednesday when she got to work. Problem #3: She left work at 5 p.m. on Tuesday; I was there until 8 p.m. and I did not bring enough food to keep me satisfied. Problem #4: When I opened the fridge later on yesterday evening, I noticed her treat seemed smooshed in its bag. I am a great co-worker. I am an even better friend. I did not want her to eat anything less than perfect. I had also never had a cherry oat bar.

It was delicious.

After eating it, I texted her so. She cried. She laughed. Her emojis confirmed this. (Side note, I don't like the word emoji. It sounds like a disease. I was told recently my own name sounds like a disease. Interesting. Some people should really have filters.)

Anyhoo. I felt guilty.

That's why Wednesday found me back at Starbucks ordering two cherry oat bars.


12:45-5:00 p.m. The rest of the day had me busy with a number of things. I'd start one task and before I knew it I had three different things going on. It was a slow day at the library, and I took advantage of the quiet and planned my next few preschool story times, worked on craft ideas for next month's Crafty Kids (I'm keeping it spring themed), and figured out the purchases I need to make for my Wizard of Oz program. Oh, and skimmed a few new books, withdrew a few outdated non-fiction titles, and enjoyed a 20-minute break reading more of Mindy Kaling's memoir. It's this month's book club read.

Cheers!


With Love and God Bless,
Brindi

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Healthy Sweet 'n' Sour Marinated Chicken


This chicken.

If there was only one chicken dish I could convince you to make, it would be this one.

Until I made my next chicken dish, obviously.

I could eat chicken every day and never tire of it. I'm 90% certain that is why I'm not a vegetarian. The other 10% belongs to a perfect medium-rare steak. A girl's gotta have her steak.

But back to this particular chicken. It's marinated and it's healthy. It's quick and it's delicious. It pleases the man in your life. It will please you.


This chicken pairs perfectly with rice and your favorite vegetable. Sometimes I add it to a stir fry or eat it cold in a lunch salad. The flavors from the marinade easily complement and are very versatile.

Which makes this chicken the most perfect chicken.

A chicken to flavor up your go-to weeknight meal. Any leftovers can flavor up tomorrow night's meal.

As I said, chicken all the time.


Sweet 'n' Sour Marinated Chicken

Serves 4

4 chicken breast halves
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/4 c orange juice*
1/4 c lime juice*
1/4 c lemon juice*
1/4 c brown sugar
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil

(*Side note: When I'm out of lemons or limes, I use a few drops of my lemon essential oil, and when there's no orange juice, the orange blossom essential oil is a fantastic replacement. Although, I recommend using one or the other of the oils because you need the liquid. But I guess you could replace it with water or stock.)

Combine all ingredients, except chicken and olive oil, in a large glass bowl. Stir to combine. Slowly pour oil into mixture while stirring with a whisk. Place chicken in marinade, cover and chill 8 hours, or overnight, turning once or twice. In a large skillet or grill pan, cook chicken over medium heat for 6-8 minutes on each side, or until cooked.


With Love and God Bless,
Brindi

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mr. Darcy Is ONE!!


We are celebrating Mr. Darcy today. My little pumpkin is turning the BIG O-N-E.

This was the day after we brought him home. Ahhh.....where did the time go?!?!

He was eight weeks old. Cute as a button. And CHUNKY.


Mr. Darcy has brought so much joy to our lives.

I can't imagine life without him.

And here we are today.


He's definitely disapproving. Too much holding. Too many pictures. He'd rather be playing with the new toy he's eyeballing.

He's a little stinker, that Mr. Darcy. Scratch that. He's quite a big one.


Just look at small my little boy was! This was back when he was my chunky puddin' cup. Back when he was a ball of energy in the wee morning hours. Back when I wondered if I'd ever be able to sleep in past 6 A.M. again.

I loved watching his little personality develop. He's feisty. He's a wild one. He's stubborn. He likes things done his way. He has demands. He takes after his Dad.

He gives the best cuddles <--- when he wants to.

He will destroy every toy.

He will steal your pretzels.

If you're in the kitchen, he expects something to snack on.

If you visit, he knows you must be there for him.

He will herd you. He likes his people together.

He thinks the entire bed is his. He will not move.

He's a honker.

He has my heart.


I think someone's tired of all the picture taking.

And by that I mean Mr. B.


With Love and God Bless,
Brindi

Friday, March 20, 2015

Lately


1. [Wo]man down. These instant temperature changes have me down. Allergies have me down. I missed three days of work... but hey, I caught up on sleep. Go me.

2. And during those three days I parked myself, quite comfortably, on the couch with nonstop episodes of Hawaii Five-O. Re-watching all my favorite episodes. <--- read: all of the episodes. Oh, Steve McGarrett. :)

3. Every day for my afternoon snack I have a La Croix and a rice cake smeared with light cream cheese and all natural almond butter. I. CAN'T. STOP. It's my daily power fix. My guilty pleasure. The day is perfect for 10 minutes. Y'all should try it.

4. Mr. B has been quite the busy bee. He's painting doors, building chicken coops, taking me to Lowe's almost every day (with promises of swinging by Target --- side story, while I was sick he actually asked if I wanted to go to Target to restock my La Croix supply and to get me Starbucks to make me feel better...he's sweet.) where I promptly wanted to buy every piece of deck furniture I laid eyes on. Can you tell we're excited for spring?

5. And the heavens opened up. The angels sang. And I got my new coffee pot. Wait. You mean coffee pots don't take a half an hour to brew six cups? I feel spoiled. Stop it.

And it's programmable! Hello, to waking up to the smells of tall, dark, and strong.

(Oh, and a mug of steaming coffee. ....Of course, I meant Mr. B.)


6. Ummm, this pup will be ONE next week. What?!


With Love and God Bless,
Brindi

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Virtual Coffee Date

Thank you, Jesus, for the sunshine!

I see many, many, MANY iced coffees before me. And I am in love.


It's been a bit since our last date.

Here it is March. Did anyone else think January and February dragged on and on? It felt like there was no end. Maybe it was the snow. Maybe it was the subzero temperatures. But spring is slowly peeking its head. Time for a wardrobe change. Time for spring cleaning. Time for spring vegetables. Time for walks through the park. Time for a change.... ?

Maybe.

If we were having coffee right now, I'd tell you how I feel God is laying a change on my heart. A change to do more and be more to people. More to my church. More to my community. More to my friends. More to my family.

I am struggling with this.

If we were having coffee right now, I'd tell you I'm struggling because I am an introvert. I know, you're shocked. So am I. I truly am. More often than not I'd rather be at home. With my husband. With our dog. I'm a homebody, and although I love having people over at my house, playing the hostess, and love visiting friends and family, I don't want to put doing more for others over doing more for my husband and our home. Right after God, my family is first. I don't want to give up my time, yet I feel God is telling me to do more with it.

How do I accomplish this without risking time with my hubby?

We could do things together, you say. Our schedules are quite different. It can be hard. My homebody side doesn't hold a candle to Mr. B.'s. He loves being home. And I love that he loves being home. I love that we wouldn't choose anyone else to spend time with if asked. But....

But I feel this is very important to me. Friends have said it's much easier to get involved with fellow church members, neighbors, and the community once you have kids. I see there's truth in this advice.

While contemplating this, I heard these Hillsong United lyrics:
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever you would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.  --- "Oceans (Where My Feet Fail)"

And then later on that night, amid my late-night Bible study through the YouVersion app, I read, "Resolve to tune your ear to the Holy Spirit's voice and when He asks you to do something that makes you nervous - step out and do it!"

I am hearing you, Father.

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. --- James 1:22 (KJV)


Any suggestions on juggling both? What community services, if any, do you all do with your family, spouses, and/or friends? How are you doing more with your time? I'd love to hear from y'all!

With Love and God Bless,
Brindi

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Grilled Chicken Pita Wraps


These chicken pitas are fit for a KING.

Better yet, the starving husband whose appetite can hold the entire contents of one's fridge.

Know anyone like that?


Any recipe approved by Mr. B is a sure win for my blog. Any recipe approved between mouthfuls of pita jumps to the head of the class.

But, truth be told? We've been eating this chicken pita wrap recipe for years. Like back when we were engaged years. Another truth? Every time I make it, Mr. B informs me I don't make it enough.

That puts a BIG smile on my face.


This chicken pita wrap usually graces our table about every other week throughout the summer (err...shall I say warmer...) months because I really like to keep my ingredients fresh and seasonal. With that being said, lately I've been craving lighter food fare. I think it's because Ohio is buried under three feet of snow on top of five feet of snow on top of three inches of solid ice. I'm pretty sure the grass is there somewhere. Clearly, my body and appetite are over winter. So when I came across the feta cheese hiding in my refrigerator drawer, I immediately salivated over the thought of my chicken pita wraps.

They're kind of my spin on a healthier Greek pita. Add some cucumbers, tomatoes, bacon, and plain Greek yogurt. Skip the olives. Mmmmm and olive oil.... Top with chopped walnuts and all on a bed of sprouts and greens. I promise this is killer delicious and will leave you full and satisfied.



Grilled Chicken Pita Wraps

Serves 6

Feta mixture:
5 oz crumbled feta cheese
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp oregano
2 drops lemon essential oil

Yogurt sauce:
8 oz plain Greek yogurt
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced

6 pitas (I like the whole wheat and flax seed ones from )
6 chicken tenders, thawed and patted dry
3 T soy sauce (LOVE marinating my chicken in soy sauce!)
juice & zest of 1 lemon
6 slices pre-cooked bacon
alfalfa sprouts
arugula or other type of leafy greens
2 cucumbers, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Optional toppings: 1 avocado, chopped; 1 red onion, thinly sliced; 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped; raw walnuts, chopped

In a bag, marinate chicken in soy sauce and lemon oil mixture for 30 minutes to an hour on the counter (tossing once throughout to make sure all chicken is coated). Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix together feta ingredients and leave out on the counter to "settle" for 30 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine yogurt sauce ingredients; cover and chill in fridge until ready to use.

When chicken is finished marinating, heat a grill pan to medium-high heat. Heat until cooked, about 4-6 minutes per side. Once chicken is finished and slightly cooled, slice or chop it up. Whatever fits your fancy. Now you're ready to build your pita. Start by layering on your greens and sprouts, topped with chicken and bacon. Add on chopped cucumbers, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, a spoonful of each the feta mixture and the yogurt sauce. Garnish with walnuts, eggs, onion, or avocado. Fold up what you can and devour!


With Love and God Bless,
Brindi

Friday, March 6, 2015

Lately


1. This open-faced "skinny" egg salad on toasted Ezekiel bread with alfalfa sprouts. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. I've had it for my work lunch for a dozen days in a row now. I used the healthy egg salad recipe from Dashing Dish's new cookbook, and you can find that recipe here.

2. Y'all, the library is full of crazy just waiting to happen. The other day we had a patron come in, and in quite a hurry I might add, and while on his cell phone he asked my co-worker, "how long are you supposed to cook pizza rolls in the oven?" My co-worker politely said she wasn't sure. The man then got off the phone, walked over to the movie section, and within 30 seconds rushed out of the library informing us he "really had to go." .... .... .... You can't make this stuff up.

3. Flat Whites with coconut milk from Starbucks have been my go-to beverage of choice lately. I am enjoying these, more than I thought I would. I first had a flat white a while back with whole milk (the original way), but it was too rich I couldn't even stomach a tall. I tried it with coconut milk and it's much, much better. I just wish Starbucks would use a brand of coconut milk that doesn't have the ingredient carrageenan. This is one ingredient I will avoid at all costs, and I have ever since reading Angela's post two years ago. When I discovered it in the ingredient list, I was pretty devastated. <--- not an exaggeration. There goes my coconut milk switch. There are plenty of brands out there without this toxic ingredient. I expect better, Starbucks!!

4. All the birthday cakes of late. This is why I gave up sugar for Lent (among other things). Because, yes, my sugar fast this past January was quite the opposite. Eat sugar all the time. And I am not this person at all. Seriously. Yet, it seems since Thanksgiving I haven't been able to say no. My self control seems to be buried under all the snow, lost along with the grass. And it's not even good sugar!


5. Not only do I get to see my best friend tomorrow, but I get to see most of my good friends as well. Hosting jewelry parties, well hosting in general, is something I love to do. Bonus: Mama is able to come! Double bonus: Daddy's coming along and they're visiting for the weekend! I haven't seen my parents since the holidays. This weekend may spoil me.

6. Oh, and we're getting chickens. This is Mr. B's want. To say he's ecstatic is an understatement. I am interested.


With Love and God Bless,
Brindi