Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Love

On Friday of this week, September 30th, 2011, I will celebrate 5 years of marital bliss with the love of my life.

(wedding photo, 2006)

I have only one question to ask: how did I ever get so lucky?

(engagement photo- summer of 2006)

This man loves me for me.
With all my faults.
With all the junk that I have.
With the crazy that's in me and sometimes comes out.
He loves me.
So well.

(photo from our honeymoon- January 2006)

I never, ever, in my wildest dreams, thought I'd get someone as great as him.
He leaves me sweet love notes around the house.
He works 40+ hours a week to provide for our family and allow me to stay home.
He comes home every day with energy and enthusiasm for our family.

(photo from right before Greta was born- summer 2009)

He plays with our girls regularly

(photo from Greta's newborn shots- Fall 2009)

He spends time with me doing things we both love- like going for walks outside.

(photo from our family photo shoot, Fall 2010)

He encourages me to try new things.

(photo from Audrey's newborn photos: December 2010)

He supports me when I make decisions for us.

(summer 2011)

He is my better half and I'm so very lucky to have him.

(Fall 2011)

Happy Anniversary Daniel Mark.
I love you more than life itself.

Greta is turing 2!

I cannot believe it.
She's going to be 2 on Saturday.

As in, less than a week.
She acts so old sometimes.
Every day she learns at least one new word or phrase.
Today's was chachi-mer-shake (chocolate milk shake, of course!)
She is constantly amazing me with what she can do.
I feel like we just celebrated her first birthday.

Is this the same little baby that I gave birth to almost two years ago?

I love who she is becoming.

Confident. Smart. Curious. Funny. Mischievous. Beautiful. Caring. Protective.
Oh, my darling Greta.
How I love you.

My first race!

It's been a while since I've blogged but I have about 15 things to write about. Well, maybe not 15 but awfully close.

I'll start with something I'm so proud of:
I ran my first 5k last Sunday morning!

(Can you tell we were excited?!)

I actually did it! 9 months after delivering Audrey and almost 2 years after Greta, 3 months into running, and a c25k program later, I ran a race. And I did pretty good, if I do say so myself!

(You can see my stats above- finishing the race in under 31 minutes! Not bad for my first one!)

I did the Women Run the Cities race right here in Minneapolis, on a gorgeous Sunday morning, with my dear friend Ashley by my side. She's run a few races before and was quite the trooper to pace with me and stick by my side!

Our cheering section rocked! Ash's family came, her husband John and her two kiddos- Zeke and Nash. My man came (thanks babe!). And my folks came with our two kids (who spent the night at their place the night before because we were helping with a wedding- another blog post to come!), Greta and Audrey!

Once the race started it was hard not to run full speed. But the guy at the running place where we picked up our packets told me to start slow. So I tried. But I was just so darn excited!

(me getting my cool t-shirt and bib!)

I did think I was going to throw up around 2.5 miles. But Ashley told me to tuck it away and that's just what I did. Also, she advised me to take my hat off. I did that too. Both things helped immensely. So did burping. Lots of info, huh?

And then, once we saw the finish line, we sprinted. It was a blast.

So next up:
Monster Dash on October 29th and then the Thanksgiving Day Race in Kansas City on T-day 2011!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Our dinner tonight

Another delicious meal was enjoyed in the Hansen house tonight and I had to write about it.

I get daily emails from allrecipes. I usually ignore them because all they do is make me wish I had the money to go buy the ingredients and cook new and interesting meals. However, when today's came across and I read that first two ingredients and new I had them on hand, I decided to read on.

I was missing a couple of ingredients but after reading reviews from others on the site I decided to give it a go, add what I had, and substitute for what I didn't.

It was a hit. Warm. Delicious. Hearty. And affordable.

Brown Rice and Black Bean Casserole
My ingredients:
1 cup of brown rice
1 can of chicken soup broth
1 Tbs olive oil
1/3 cup diced onion
1 medium zucchini thinly sliced (garden produce!)
1 green pepper (garden)
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp chili powder (I would add more next time to kick it up a notch!)
salt to taste
1 can black beans, drained
1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup of shredded carrots
2 cups of shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese

1. Mix the rice and broth in a pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease a large casserole dish.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the onion until tender. Mix in the chopped garlic, zucchini and green pepper. Season with cumin, salt, and chili powder. Cook until the zucchini is lightly browned.
4. In a large bowl mix the cooked rice, onion and zucchini mixture, beans, tomatoes, carrots and 1/2 of the cheese mixture. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
5. Cover the dish loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking 10 minutes or until bubble and lightly browned.
6. Serve with a delicious bread!

P.S. I had no idea how much I loved cooking. It's becoming a huge passion of mine. Finding good recipes, creating my own, and making meals that my whole family enjoys. Sorry if you thought you'd get more knitting patterns or projects on this blog. The title is quite misleading!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Our dinner tonight

Well, as promised, I made that zucchini dish I mentioned yesterday and it was delicious.
Here's the recipe and here are my adjustments!
Wish I would have snapped a photo because the colors were gorgeous.

1 small onion, thinly sliced (I had one from my garden!)
1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium zucchini, cubed (also from my garden)
1 can of diced tomatoes, drained (our tomatoes didn't do nearly as well as we had hoped they would this year)
2 Tbs chopped green pepper, about 1/2 of a green pepper (from our garden)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tbs grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbs Italian Bread crumbs

I sauted the onions in a small skillet with the oil. Then added the rest of the veggies. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Then I poured all the contents into my casserole dish and topped with the bread crumbs and cheese. I then baked the whole thing, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Yum. Absolutely delicious!

Served with a grilled steak (probably the last time we'll grill this year as Fall is definitely upon us) and crescent rolls. Oh, and a glass of wine for good measure.

What's next?

So lately I've been thinking about my next step. Maybe it's Fall? That whole "back to school" feeling?

Before being home full time with my babes I was an elementary school teacher (5th grade and 1st grade). I absolutely loved it but since my break have been wondering if going back to teaching is really for me. My license will expire next summer and so I'm currently in the process of gathering all of my continuing education credits or units to make sure I have enough to renew it. I've heard it's terrible to let it lapse. I've also heard that it's even harder to find a teacher job now than it was when I was applying. I'm still currently substitute teaching, when I can find childcare and when I'm needed, which I'm sure will help keep me "in the know" but doesn't really mean it will make it easier to get a job.

However, since my hospital birth with Greta

and my home-birth with Audrey,

I've become increasingly more passionate about labor and delivery. Like, to the point that I think about it, a lot. When around friends that are pregnant or have recently delivered I get goosebumps when hearing their stories. I literally get chills when I describe my experiences. I could talk about pregnancy, labor, delivery, breastfeeding, and babies all day every day and not get bored.

Which leads me to believe that my next step needs to be in that direction.
Lactation consultant?
Birth Doula?
Labor and Delivery Nurse?

Knowing that my man supports me is what means the most to me. He's the one that will have to take the brunt of care for the girls in the evenings if I start classes. He's the one that will have to help me coordinate where they go if I get called to a birth. He's the one that will have to deal with me every time I come home radiating from experiencing new life and want to have another bundle ourselves.

So where do I start?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Our dinner tonight

Well, after a 25 minute run and a full day including but not limited to: a dr. appt for Audrey, our first BSF (Bible Study Fellowship), lunch with my niece, naptime (watering the garden, hanging the diapers out to dry, coffee with my friend/neighbor), and a trip to Rainbow for groceries, I decided to make dinner. With the ingredients I had on hand/purchased from the grocery store.

I made this pesto on Sunday afternoon using fresh basil from my garden and our local Camden Farmer's Market. I reheated it tonight on the stove top and added more fresh tomatoes from our garden.

I made this lovely potato dish tonight! It was delicious.

Here's what I did:
I made my own rosemary infused olive oil by following the directions and using rosemary that my amazing husband lovingly picked from our garden.
I cut the fingerling potatoes (also from the local farmer's market) into 1" pieces.
I doused the potatoes in a couple of tablespoons of my special olive oil.
I added 5 cloves of garlic (whole) into this mixture!
I roasted the potatoes for 20 minutes in a 400° oven.
I then added the asparagus that had been also drenched in the olive oil I made.
And roasted it all for another 8 minutes, making sure to stir everything up every couple of minutes so it didn't stick.
Then I salted and peppered the whole thing.
Then I ate it. All. Well, I shared with Daniel but I didn't want to. He made me. He was hungry.

All in all it was a delicious dinner that I enjoyed with a glass of Columbia Crest Wine (a tribute to our wedding- our 5 year anniversary is coming up soon!)

Don't judge me for all the starches. I'm doing my best to just eat what we have and well, this is what we had. Tomorrow I'm hoping to grill blackened chicken and make this with all the zucchini I have!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Finding myself in my day to day life

I've been working on a few different projects lately.
I've been making a goal to do something active/creative at least once a day.
It's really helping boost moral in the Hansen household.

I started running.
My goal is to complete a 5k before the end of the year and to live to tell about it. My first one is scheduled for two weeks from today and yesterday I ran for 30 minutes without stopping. That, my friends, is amazing compared to what I used to be able to do (about 90 sec. to 2 minutes without stopping). Plus- it ended up being almost 3 miles which is fairly close to a 5k. I'm almost there! (Sorry- no picture to post on this one!)

I started quilting.
Well, not really. I made two mini quilts for my dear friend Bree who just delivered deliciously yummy twin girls. Lucy and Dottie were born on Tuesday morning and are doing great! I threw this friend of mine a baby shower with some other gals this past summer and we made animal print iron-on onesies for her shower. I had some of the same material leftover and decided to whip the pieces together for a little quilt for the babes. My other dear friend Shelby helped me with this a ton!

I wanted to embroider their initials onto the quilts so that they could always remember whose is whose. So I printed off their initials in a font that I liked and outlined and sewed the piece of paper right onto the quilt in the spot that I wanted it. Then I just ripped the paper away and was left with this adorable looking hand embroidered initial set.

Dorothy "Dottie" Lynn N

I started coastering. (Don't worry, it's a word now)
On pintrest I saw these adorable coasters and new I had to make a set. I bought a box of white tiles from Home Depot, a bottle of clear spray paint, and mini chair pads. I already had scrap book paper that I loved as well as modpodge. So I was set to go. From start to finish this project took me about 2 hours and I was able to do it all while the girls were napping. I sold some of them at our recent Labor Day camping weekend and got rave reviews! I also just made a set for a friend of mine who is getting married in a couple of weekends. For them I added some letters (her first name initial, his, their new last name, and L for Love!)

Speaking of Pintrest. My dear friend Shelby pinned this the other day and so we decided to make some together for wedding gifts for our upcoming events. I love how mine turned out! I can't wait for my dear friend to open hers and realize that it's pieces of their wedding invitation all cut up!