Saturday, January 23, 2010

soup swap (#4!)

we had this strange burst of spring-like weather, and then, as if on cue, thursday dawned cold and wet. the perfect setting for Soup Swap!! i'm finding it hard to believe that this was our fourth swap. it is still one of my favorite activities of the year, so i'll venture to say that in six years, i'll be all, "i can't believe that this was our tenth swap."

(have you swapped yet?!? if you haven't, then you must stop reading this right now, and hop over here to remind yourself why you should do this.)

we had some new swappers this year (yeah!) and as everyone arrived, the table filled up quickly. i noticed quite a few swappers have learned how to "upped the ante" with things like croutons and marshmallows and mini loaves of mexicali corn bread! (last year i gifted the person who chose my soup first with a set of cocktail napkins. i forgot to do that this year.)

you'll notice some of us are getting crafty with freezer space and are using quart size bags. this is a GREAT idea, especially if your household is providing two soups (12 quarts). WORD TO THE WISE: when strategically emptying out your freezer in anticipation for soup swap, do NOT assume that EVERYONE will use bags. there are approximately 27 ways to package soup in a quart-size container, and just because you could fit 12 "bags" of soup in your freezer, you should not assume that you will be able to easily refill it with 12 "other containers." a-hem.

we chose from 10 soups this year (our second highest loot). without any coordination on our part, this year boasted a bevy of vegetarian-ish soups:

roasted butternut squash soup with curry toppings
ancho chicken chili
Irish onion soup (with Guinness!) first gone!
"almost TGIFriday's" black bean soup
smokey portobello first picked!
chicken and spinach
garlic and chorizo soup
curried sweet potato bisque
crock pot chicken and dumplings
traditional potato soup

i continued with the traditional prizes of first picked (the silver ladle) and first snatched up (the wooden spoon). you might remember i usually give out a prize for the last soup picked, but after the same person "won" that distinction two years in a row, i decided to mix it up a bit. (hi, tonya!) (and, by, the way, being last picked had nothing to do with her soup!! they have all been delish!)

i love giving prizes, and i think it definitely challenges the swappers to step up their stories during the telling of the soup. i got some fun ideas from the official Soup Swap site. this year i included a magnetic shopping-list memo pad for the soup with the most ingredients, and a few boxes of tic tacs for the soup with the most garlic. YUM!!

when it was all said and done, this was all that was left on the swapping table. oh, those two containers you see there? they were just waiting for me to find a way to squeeze them into my freezer...

another great event! jack was ever the gracious host as he allowed his room to be taken over by a bunch of kiddos half his age. (who knew that a leftover bag of dollar store balloons can be so entertaining?)

i kept with my tradition of keeping it simple with coffee and brownies. this initiated an interesting discourse on the The Perfect Brownie Pan vs. traditional baking dishes. (is it just me, or does the PBP really produce thin, cracker-like brownies? we've taken to calling them "brownie brickle" around here.

which gives me a new SWAP idea!! coming soon: a reason for me to get rid of all of the As Seen on TV stuff i've been talked into purchasing. (do you really want to know how much we have?)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

pants on the ground

i'm trying to lose weight again.

(i started in december, you know, to avoid the whole inevitable New Year's resolution pressure.) so, it's going well. i feel like i have a good plan: i'm eliminating mid-meal snacking, eating smaller portions, walking the dog to get my cardio in, drinking water.

oh, and then there's the hypnosis.

people have asked me if getting hypnotized has helped me lose weight. the thing is, i have no idea! i have lost weight. i'm not tempted to snack (as much). but, somewhat disappointing, i don't find myself wanting to eat a salad every time i really want cheese and crackers. or chocolate. i can't all of a sudden run a sub 5 minute (or sub 10 minute) (okay... or EVEN a sub 12 minute) mile.

from what i understand about hypnotism, i won't really be aware of changes in my behavior around food, because it's all happening in the sub-conscious. it's all been pretty interesting, and, i'm feeling pretty upbeat about it.

i have mentioned before that i try not to be a slave to the scale. i love to have more energy. i love to see thin-ness in my face. i love to feel loose-ness in my clothes. i love when my pants fall down when i'm walking the dog...

i mean, come on! is there ANY better indicator of weight loss? i think not!

so my sub-conscious and i are pretty excited about reaching some weight-loss goals this quarter. i kind of have a "number" in mind. but i'm more focused on the "attitude" i have in mind. oh, and i'd like to be able to wear a cute pair of jeans when i go to Dallas in March.

just as long as i'm not the one at conference with my pants on the ground...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

one of those weeks

this week i:

made a Flip video and entered it in a contest
played with dolls
(for the Flip video)
bought some mardi gras beads
picked up the ingredients for soup
thought about cleaning the house for Soup Swap
had a Lee press-on nail incident
went to a Cub Scout meeting
thought about going to a Zumba class
didn't make it to the Zumba class
had a big "surprise" inspection at the hotel
scored an Outstanding! (12 in a row!!)

Monday, January 11, 2010

because you asked

(well, some of you asked, so...)

this new blog header of mine is something that i was able to put together very quickly the other night, thanks to a link to a foothill home companion (new site to me - love it!) via rebekah (been following for a while - love her!). anyway, blog headers have always been somewhat of a challenge for me. i don't photoshop, and i will tell you right now that even if i had PhotoShop, i would pretty much never use it because it is so overwhelming to learn. and i hate learning things. i just want to intrinsically *know* them. (is that so wrong?)

i love this header, mostly because i was tired of looking at the photo i put up in august. but also because it just captures the whirlwind that is my mind. i love the bright colors, the movement that is captured, the memory it brings to mind, the promise of an electric new year it holds.

the photo itself was taken on Main Street in Walt Disney World, just to the left of the Castle, where, light sticks in hand, we waited for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas parade to pass us by. it was the last night of a fantastic vacation (you know, the one in which i turned forty.) the one in which i also co-existed with two "boys" in one hotel room for a week. the one in which matty and i had to make all the grown-up decisions, because we were the only grown-ups in attendance. the one with the free hot cocoa and cookies.

the one with the Magic.

yeah, it was that good. it was "i really miss my vacation" good. the kind of good that makes it a little painful to see WDW commercials on TV, the yearning is so great. The Mouse and his Cast of Thousands played a huge part in delivering this awesomeness-wrapped-up-in-vacation.

but my family did the rest. the three of us found some Magic, and all of a sudden: i was forty!! and it wasn't terrible!! in fact, the next morning i woke up and found all of my energy that had been hiding behind the numbers. the next week i found the creativity that had been dampened by the lack of energy. and, as the new year dawned, i found the motivation that needed the spark of creativity that had been dampened by the lack of energy.

i confess, i am a bit of a january junkie. i really love putting the holiday season away and tackling the new year with gusto. it's been colder than ever here, but the sun has been shining, electric rays chasing away long shadows.

i have ideas and thoughts and travel plans, and the wisdom of forty years to be able to propel me through them all. the mind spins, constant motion, endless creativity. reds and greens and blues.

Monday, January 04, 2010


if i wait until i have something overly important to say about this new year/new decade, we will be dusting off my blog next december and offering condolences over mugs of mulled cider and hot chocolate.

in a nutshell,
2009 wasn't bad for me and mine. it was actually... pretty good! but,
2010 is going to be BIGger and better than ever!!

i haven't chosen a "new" word for this new year, but i will. (have you? please share.)

i've got a very important anniversary trip to be planned, a conference in the BIG D to attend and, of course, hours upon hours of the WINTER OLYMPICS to view!! (hello? 2010? i think i love you.)

it may be freezing out there today, but i choose to think of it as a breath of fresh air!
bring it, two thousand and ten!!