But hey, at least no dental work for me! #upside
(Sorry none of these are my photos! When you are a commuting, working mom, it's #winnng when you just get dinner on the table at a decent hour, much less make the time to take professional-quality food photos!)
Quinoa veggie "fried" rice (SO GOOD and I served it with grilled chicken), orange chicken stir-fry with asparagus (served with rice), slow cooked tacos al pastor, and cheddar jalapeño chicken burgers (my healthy version was just served on a bed of lettuce topped with guac, but Zach said the complete combo was really unique and that the french brioche bun was on point!) All of these recipes and more are also pinned to my "The Stay Alive Eating Plan" board on Pinterest.
Ok ok, I know I have been mostly griping so far, but we did manage to do a handful of fun things this month too. February excitement included:
The super bowl. We got in a little football throwing time prior to the big game.
For some, the super bowl party experience is more fun than watching the game itself. For me, the MVP of the night was not the half time show, or any player in particular, it was the sweet potatoes. Ha! I made them two ways for our super bowl spread:
Baked rounds topped with avocado, onion, bacon and cilantro and grilled wedges topped with cilantro and a sprinkling of salt/lime zest.
Also, since I was saving my cheat meals for Valentine's, I whipped up some gf/df almond butter cups as a sweet treat.
Ready for my date!
And a trip to PCM would never be complete without a leisurely stroll through Archer Paper. I absolutely adore paper stores.
On Saturday I spent most the day baking. Even though I was making small batches, it's pretty much the same amount of steps/work as a full recipe.
Allie was off from school the following Monday (President's Day), so she and Zach enjoyed a daddy-daughter date in the A.
First stop for lunch: Highland Bakery.
This month I have been preparing for a big annual work event we host right before the annual IIDA "Best of the Best" awards gala. This year was the 10th anniversary and the theme was Diamonds are Forever. In lieu of this, our event (which offers attending designers hair and make up by professional stylists/artists) was branded "Shine Bright Like a Diamond." I made these invites and my talented coworker Sam whipped up this diamond shaped cookies.
Some pics from the event! Such a fun time with so many folks. Thanks for coming. :)
#1: Lay Aside the Weight of Irritability
Do your feathers get ruffled easily? Do your kids/coworkers/perfect strangers/etc. leave you flustered (or enraged), over even the smallest thing? A friend of mine recently posted this article and it really took the wind out of my sails, mostly because I get irritated SO easily. Plus, my newfound role as a parent has skyrocketed me to becoming a 10th degree black belt in "being irritated". Ha! Surprisingly, I had never really thought about my irritability as straight up sin, just a bi-product of my Type-Aness or persnickety personality. This article really helped me gain some much needed introspection on my attitude and how I need to #1 - repent, and #2 - nip it in the bud every time it rears it's ugly head.... which letsbereal... is daily. Jesus help me. Ha!
Two Sunday's ago (Pray for the Persecuted Church Sunday), Pastor Sameh Maurice from Egypt spoke at Perimeter and delivered a phenomenal message. I was so encouraged by his words - about the work being done in the Middle East, but also, the implications of his message on us today here in America. These are trying times. I don't have to go into any specific detail regarding the upcoming presidential election to articulate America is changing, and not for the better. HOWEVER - the thing I found so inspiring and hope-filled about Pastor Maurice's message was his perspective. Although we all view the war with ISIS horrible and unbelievably devastating, he saw it as an opportunity for the Church to love - to extend help, hope, and healing to those fleeing Syria and beyond. He saw it as an opportunity for the church to be the visible hands and feet of Christ and LOVE those around us, meet the needs of those around us, and offer "the treatment" (Jesus) that so many are spiritually starving for.
This really convicted me as I, like many of you, have fallen prey to all the political banter and epic mug slinging tug-of war going on right now regarding the disappointing presidential nominees. I know we all have political opinions and fears about the future of our country, but for all my friends that proclaim Jesus as the center of their life - let's actually live it out, even in the middle of this election season. We overcomplicate so much with our pride, our opinions, and our fears. We let love take a back seat behind religious do's and dont's and "being right/ unrighteous anger" when Jesus calls us to extend love above all else. As Pastor Maurice said it so simply - "love is irresistible" and it truly has the power to change lives like nothing else. The right president or political party in power will not significantly change America for the better. The love of Jesus will. We might not have the rights or the respect or the opportunities we want, but no one can take away your ability to love. This is our chance Church - as faith gets extracted from American culture/politics, this is our opportunity to shine in the darkness and extend love to a hurting and hopeless world. We've never had a greater chance to share the TRUTH of Jesus (which has been so battered and misrepresented for SO LONG) so let's not waste it!