30 March, 2011

Where has she been?*

It's been a while, friends. Hi!

Where did we leave off?  Ah yes, the roach.  He's still alive.  It's been over 10 days.  Though, he's slowing down and looking a little skinnier than when we first found him.  Maybe I'm making it up.

I've started my new job with my friends lawn maintenance company.  Most of my time has been spent learning all the new (to me) software, moving the office to it's new locations, and just learning what the company does and offers.  Chris and I have had a great time working together so far.  I'm really enjoying learning new things.  Chris has already taught me a lot about great customer service.

This weekend was my last retreat with middle school kids.  It was bittersweet. We had a spirit filled weekend full of lots of laughs, low ropes, rock wall, ultimate frisbee, prayer, and learning about Jesus. Our theme was "You Never Let Go" and we discussed three parables:  The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin,  The Prodigal Son.  It was a very fitting theme for 7th & 8th graders as they often feel so lost and caught in between.  They learned a lot and most of them want to start going to Adoration on their own, and planned to ask their parents to take them to Confession.  I consider my job here done. :)


Eric was also away this weekend.  He helped lead the high school juniors and seniors on a weekend retreat (at a different facility that me!).  Their theme was called "Thrive" and I don't really know much to report other than there was an incident that has left the kids (and parents) a little heartbroken.  So, please pray for our youth group and all those who went on the retreat as we get through these trials.

Although we survived the sleepless, thunderstorm filled retreat weekends - both Eric and I have been a little under the weather since returning.  Sunday night we both slept twelve hours, Monday night eleven, and last night ten. Yet, I still feel worse each morning.  I called the doctor today and they called in a z-pack for me.  Hopefully that'll be the pick-me-up that I need to feel human again.  Unfortunately, we had to cancel our Grilled Cheese Social tonight....Just can't think about dairy with a sinus infection, nor does anyone want me coughing on their dinner.  Boo!

I almost forgot - we kicked off bocce season!  The girls and I are in 17th place out of 52 teams.  Meaning, we actually won our first game and by a few points.  Hooray!  Our team name this season is "That's Boc-ce Said"  Ah yes, another season of our girls-only team.  At least the boys are coming to cheer us on this Spring.


We have a lot of fun on deck - this Friday I'm going to one of those paint a canvas places with my mom and sister.  Rosemary turns...., um, Roe, how old are you?  haha.  Eric's got a birthday in two weeks.  Katie and I are planning a baby shower for Paige.  Baseball season starts.  And I retire from middle school ministry. Nice little month of April coming up if you ask me!





* opening credits from Gossip Girl. You know you love me. XO-XO

23 March, 2011

Our Little "Roommate"

Eric and I have a little "roommate."  And I put that in quotes because, well, we didn't invite him.  He's been living in our dining room.  He eats nothing.  No complaining.  No snoring. In fact, he doesn't make a peep.



Yes.  He's a roach living in one of our beer glasses.  Now, I debated about even posting this silliness, because who wants to have their apartment exposed as having roaches?  Ew.  Really, we're clean people. You just can't avoid them.  We live in an apartment. In the South.  Get over it.  I did.

Eric found this little guy Sunday morning while we were eating breakfast.  He was just staring at us from his Sapporo glass on the dining room shelf.  I look up from my omelet to see that Eric is snickering.  Then I look over at our "roomie on the wall" and sure enough he is trying to escape.



I thought for certain, he'd get out of there.  Up, up, up he walked.  And then.  Boom.  He fell.  He dusted himself off and tried again.  Step by step, antenna leading the way!  Sure enough he got about halfway and he then fall off or slide back down.  He must have done this a dozen times during our breakfast.

Now this has been going on since Sunday.  I had almost forgotten about him, assumed he was dead.  Because, who can live at least four days without food and water.  Well, apparently this guy can.  Because I came home today and found him...



Alive and well.  Back at it again.

He's not bothering me.  And not reproducing living in our beer glass.  The question remains though, do we let him alone in there (my science experiment brain is churring) or take him outside (aah, humanity!)?  Part of me is still secretly hoping he'll find a way out, because that would be impressive.


Oh, and if you come over for beer, you might want to double check which of the fancy glasses you pick off the wall.

19 March, 2011

1 Question Fridays - Best Book I Ever Read

What is the best book you've ever read? 


I have a three that immediately come to mind.  Two because of the affect they've had on my life and one because of the literary content.



  • Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No-To Take Control of Your Life (Inspirio/Zondervan Miniature Editions) I have mentioned this book so many times on here.  Seriously though, it helped me grow from a wacky college kid immediately into a working professional.  It helped me change my relationship with my parents into a more adult one.  It help establish lines between work and home; work and family; family and home, etc  If you struggle with any type of relationship or time management, this is a must read.  The best part is that the author know that Christian women in particular have a hard time saying "no" so this book using scripture and Christian thought to help you say "yes" and mean it and say "no" when you need to or should.
  • Blessed Are the Bored in Spirit: A Young Catholic's Search for Meaning This is another one of my go - to books.  Mark Hart hilariously unpacks the cradle Catholic's life and approach to faith, but challenges young adults to make more of it by giving fresh perspective on basic Church teaching. I've used excerpts from it dozens of times to give talks to high school and college kids.  A quick, refreshing read for any twenty-something needing a little comic relief and faith boost.
  • Emma by Jane Austen.  I LOVED the movie Clueless and by love I mean 14 years later I still have it memorized.  What I discovered in college during my Jane Austen seminar class is that the book Emma is basis for this movie.  Reading the book, which I'll get to in a second, made the movie so much better. The adaptations are genius and brilliant.  Anyway, so Emma, why is it on my top three lists?  Well, despite my never finishing it, I feel as though it's a challenging read because of how complex of a writer that Jane Austen is.  And to think she wrote such complicated novels without a computer!  I keep an index card in that book. I list all the characters in order that they appear and write little notes or keywords next to their name.  All the characters are so detailed and are related in a tangled web, that it's difficult to keep track of who does what and who is related to whom.  This pretty much sums up why I love reading Emma; it's how I feel about Emma and Mr. Knightley... 
I get lost in the language. Words like ‘thither’, ‘mischance’, ‘felicity’. I’m always in agony whether Elizabeth and Mr Darcy are really going to get together. Ah! Read it! I KNOW you’ll love it. ~ Kathleen from You've Got Mail in regards to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice)

Unfortunately I caught Eric when he was brushing his teeth and getting ready to walk out the door, so his answer is far from complete.  He said:




To be continued?

In the mean time, what are YOUR favorite books?




15 March, 2011

Baking with Betty: Reader Requested Egg Muffins

Last week I posted pictures of all the yummy food I made that week.  One of our readers, Sarah, asked for the recipe to the Egg Muffins... So eat your heart out!




Adapted from the Primal Blue Print

6 eggs
1 red bell pepper - diced
1/4 pound cooked ground sausage or other cooked meat (drained)
shredded cheese of choice (to taste)
salt, pepper (to taste)



  1. Pre-heat oven to 350
  2. Spray and line a 6 cup muffin tin. We suggest the foil liners as the paper ones disintegrated 
  3. Beat eggs in medium bowl
  4. Add diced bell peppers, cheese, and sausage
  5. Scoop into muffin tin until each one is almost full to the top
  6. Bake for 18-22 minutes.  A tester tooth pick will come out clean when they are cooked through



Using this one egg per muffin ratio, the sky is the limit!  Add chopped or ground meats (real or soy) to your desires.  Add seasonal veggies for a variety.   We made these over the weekend and then reheated them in the microwave (about 25 seconds) throughout the week...just don't use those foil liners if you plan to microwave them!

Enjoy!

14 March, 2011

Weekend Recap

First of all, I can't even believe that not only is it Monday, but it's Monday afternoon. I feel like my head has been in some sort of cloud for about four days.  Must be allergy season.

This weekend was simply fantastic (minus to foggy head).  Friday night Eric went to see a movie with his dad.  Don't ask me what is was, I can't keep track.  I went over to my cousin Hilary's to "sit" with her, eat pizza and watch a Say Yes to the Dress Netflix marathon.  Hilary recently had two rods fused to her spine as well as some ribs separated and organs shifted around.  Needless to say she had severe scoliosis.  It was fun to keep a fourteen year old company on a quiet Friday night.  Just what I needed.  I also taught her how to pray Christian Prayer, something she wanted to do for Lent.  Mature, right?

Saturday is our sleep in day.  So glorious!   Eric spent the afternoon helping my brother move into his new house.  Alex bought a short-sale last month and spent a few weeks fixing it up.  I can't wait to see his finished handy work, or the awesome bright blue stripes my mom painted in Connor's room.  Knowing that Eric was working so hard, I was motivated to finish painting the walls in our bedroom.  We chose a dark gray on the back/accent wall and a lighter gray on the other three walls.  It makes the room feel finished and more adult.

As soon as we were both done, Eric met me for a bike ride on my new bike.  We rode about 8 miles on the Geenway.  Just enough to get the blood flowing without a full on hot sweaty mess.  The weather peaked around 85.  mmmmm!


PS: The bike was a total surprise! Eric saved up a little cash, found old REI gift cards, and used a coupon.  Good man, Good man.




That night Katie and I went on a sister date, just the two of us!  We went to Hobnob in Midtown for some delicious fare, outdoor dining, and a few drinks.  We shared the creamiest of mac and cheeses (in case you haven't notice, my family LOVES mac and cheese), and the appetizer sampler of chicken fingers (homemade, the best kind!), pretzels & queso, and hand wrapped spring rolls.  Heaven! Special thanks to ScoutMob for making our dinner affordable :)


 Our night concluded with seeing Marc Broussard in concert at Center Stage.  Listening to his voice, you'd think he was a 60 year old black man in a smokey jazz lounge.  Nope.  He's a cute 20-something from New Orleans...  (ignore the horrible lip syncing in his video, his music is so catchy and fresh)  Katie and I loved the concert - he even played part of one of our other favorite singer songwriters, Dave Barnes' songs called "On a Night Like This".  The best part of the concert was when he grabbed some random girl in the audiences video camera and brought it up on stage with him.  He sang a love song into it and then video taped the other musicians and audience.  Priceless.




And then Sunday rolled around....

I had to get up super early to talk to the 6th grade Sunday school classes about joining the middle school youth group next year.  It was not very motivating to get up at 7am on Sunday (after a concert and Spring forward) to talk to sixth graders, but everyone has to face challenges for work.

After, I took a short nap and went over to Sam's house where the guys were working on some their next round of home brews.  Their process is getting more established and the beers keep getting better!




The weekend came to a close with our usual Sunday night Mass and youth group, followed by drinks and dinner #2 with the adult volunteers.

A nice little weekend if you ask me!

11 March, 2011

1 Question Fridays: Is that a real job?

Ah yes, my most favorite question that I am asked at dinner parties or even around the church where I work, "Is that a real job?"  Which is inevitably followed up with "And that is a full-time position?"  To which people pause in disbelief and then ask while shaking their head, "What exactly did you study in college to do that?"

Let's start with what I am currently doing, and then get to the juicy details that all my friends in real life are so anxious awaiting.

Then.

I was a full-time high school youth minister for three years.  I ran the 9th-12th grade youth group.  We met on Sundays for two hours, plus during the week for Bible Study.  I also met once a week with the adult volunteers to play the Sunday events and retreats or trips.  Took the kids on several retreats and trips a year. Yes, lots of work.  Lots of coffee.  But after three years we had two staff members resign and thus God called me to the challenge of taking on both of them....

Now.

I wear two hats.  One is three-quarters time.  One is quarter-time.  Thus, a full-time job.  I three-quarters of my time am them middle school youth minister.  Doing as state above, but sans the direct contact with bible study...fewer trips, and less planning meetings.  My other quart-time job is preparing 180 10th grade students for their Confirmation.  This is a 10 week intensive program which includes retreats off site, and a LOT of paper work.



Soon to be.

I will be giving up my middle school hat.  This has been a year long discernment and prayer.  When Eric started his new job I felt I could finally answer the call to step down in surrender to God's will.  I will be able to continue on as an hourly-based employee leading the Confirmation program and then picking up a few little pieces as needed.  I'm at the mercy of the pastor's brainstorming and quick decision making. I am excited for this change of pace at the church.

In addition, I will be working part time for a friend who owns a landscape maintenance company.  I'll be helping him get organized (don't worry, I already asked, he said he doesn't mind pink polka dot binders and seasonally color coded spreadsheets) and doing some basic marketing.  I think this job will leave me more emotional available to serve at the Church than wearing two hats at the Church, and I get to dabble a little in some new fields and skill sets.

I feel like God is calling me to a new challenge.  I'm also learning incredible lessons in pride and humility as well as surrender.  I have no idea what the future holds, but I am trusting like Abraham that I am doing the will of God.


10 March, 2011

Two Days In

We're only on Day Two of Lent and I am already seeing an improvement in my life.  As you recall, I gave up Facebook for Lent and instead of the minutes that add up to hours of time wasted each day by stalking checking up on the people in my life, I am attending morning Mass.

Just in these two days I've already seen increased productivity and focus.  Like, actually got a ton of stuff done, and had meetings, AND worked our registration table for several hours.  It's like magic.

I also love that I can leave at 4 or 4:30 and have put a whole day behind me without feeling guilty.

I hope the rest of Lent goes well.  It's nice to be focused and balanced in ministry work, even just in two short days.

08 March, 2011

Mardi Maigre (Skinny Tuesday)

As part of our training for Disney, Katie, Rosemary and I did a little "Biggest Loser" challenge.  We all lost some weight, and some inches!  Rosemary won our three month competition.  With bathing suit season upon us, we agreed to do a second three-month round, and invited a few girlfriends to join!

Thus being said, I am not participating in "Mardi Gras" or as it's often incorrectly translated to "Fat Tuesday" (it's really shrove tuesday, which means to be prepared for confession) (like I am one to talk about translations, this post's title is at the mercy of Google Translations, but I digress).  People are indulgent.  With our second week of weigh-ins tomorrow, I can't afford to be indulgent.  Every day is a day to make good choices, right?

Here are a few things I made today.  Keep in mind, it is my day off from work.  I am not (that) insane.

Today's lunch (invented today)

Our meatless meal for Ash Wednesday (Weight Watchers recipe)
Our "Skinny Tuesday" Gumbo (Weight Watchers recipe)



Using today's scraps & our freezer full - to replenish our "'stock" haha (Simple Dollar recipe)

Thursday and Saturday's breakfasts (Primal Blueprint Recipe)



I love that my fridge and freezer are packed FULL of yummy, healthy meals.  I spent less than $100 on these and two more meals.  Each meal has yielded enough to eat this week and freeze for another day.  So pleased.  Let me know if you want any of these recipes and I'll feature them soon!


Five Princesses run 13.1

The story began back in the Fall when we decided to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  Serious measures weren't taken until after the November Thanksgiving 5k proved to be a challenge to complete.  By December we finalized the roster of which girls were going to actually participate in the training and the race.

We enjoyed some casual runs, but with the holidays we didn't get too serious until January.  It was a few days after I got back from my vacation to Puerto Rico that I learned I had sprained my ankle.  A few days later Katie, Rosemary and Sarah ran the Resolution 5k.


By February the training was in full force with the girls running 8, 9 and 10 mile long runs, and taking a break one weekend to run a 10k at the Chattahoochee Nature Center.  Yes, when did our running lives begin to include 10ks as a training run break?!?!  The girls killed it and I think it gave them the confidence they needed that they could, in fact, complete a Half Marathon.

And then we had our last "run" down at the river.  This was my first "run" since being cleared from physical therapy.  It was so great to have my ankle feel so good!  We packed up our gear, packed the cars, picked up Amanda from the airport and drove to Disney.

And the rest is history (you might need to turn up the volume, it plays back very softly on my computer...weird!)


Disney Princess Half from Elizabeth Buergler on Vimeo.


05 March, 2011

Baking with Betty: Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons and Tomatoes

With Lent beginning on Wednesday several Catholic blogs I read are hosting meatless recipe swaps.  This is one of my favorites. Eric and I have only duplicated a few recipes since we've been married, but this is one of our go-to meals.  It's easy. It's fast. It's Oh So Good.  (Eric doesn't even like zucchini and he loves this dish?)

Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons, Tomatoes and Parsley Brown Butter
Serves 2-4

courtesy of Delish.com


Ingredients:

1 pound fresh or frozen gnocchi
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium shallots (chopped) (optional)
1 pound zucchini (about 3 small) (very thinly sliced lengthwise)
1 pound cherry tomatoes (halved)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
ground pepper to taste
+/-  1/2  cups FRESH!! grated Parmesan Cheese
+/-  1/2 cups fresh parsley


Directions:

  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil.  Cook gnocchi according to the package instructions.  Approx. 3-5 minutes. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook until the butter is beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. 
  3. Add shallots and zucchini and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add cherry tomatoes, salt, nutmeg and pepper and continue cooking, stirring often, until the tomatoes are just starting to break down, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Stir in Parmesan and parsley.
  5. Add gnocchi and toss to coat.  Serve immediately.



Notes:
  • This recipe is based off a recipe from Delish.com
  • Eric and I can devour this whole meal just the two of us.  However if we have a side item we can have enough leftover for a lunch or two.
  • I like a LOT of fresh parmesan so I add almost a full cup.  
  • I hate dealing with cutting fresh parsley so I usually use the dried flakes - follow the substitution ratio on the bottle of parsley to add the correct amount of dried flakes.
  • I've never added the shallots.  Until recently I thought they were the same as a green onion.  So, I've added green onions to this before. Still delicious :)
  • Gnocchi can be difficult to find at the regular grocery. Oddly enough Super Target is my go-to place to buy them.  They're also easy to find at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and other health food or gourmet grocers.  Of course, if you have an awesome Italian dad you can have him make you some fresh ;-)
Tastefully yours,

04 March, 2011

1 Question Friday: How old ARE you?

Our new pastor has finally arrived.  He's slowly getting settled.  On Wednesday we had an all-staff meet-and-greet type meeting.  We introduced ourselves and had to give a few lines about our duties at the church.  I said, of course, that I've been working at Saint Brigid for six years.

The next day I needed to ask the new pastor a quick question so I snuck into his office to get my answer.  Before he would even let me speak he laughed and asked, "Can I be blunt?"

"Suuurreee," I answered with hesitation.

"Exactly how old ARE you?" he asked and chuckled.

"Well, sir, most of the families I minister to think I'm about 18-20, but I'm actually 28"

"Dang! Congratulations. Whatever you do to look that young, keep doing it. You look fantastic for your age"


And there you have it my friends... I am 28.  And my darling husband is, um, almost 27.  Yep. I robbed the cradle.








"Looking for answers to questions that bothered him so" ~ Jimmy Buffet (he wants you to ask us anything!)

02 March, 2011

Lent is a week away



I cannot even believe that Ash Wednesday is a week away.  Yesterday, The Georgia Bulletin wrote about the difficulties of kicking off Lent this year.  And so I started thinking...

It still feels like we just put our Christmas decorations away.  Regardless, it's the time of year in Atlanta where the trees are starting to bloom, the air is starting to warm up, and Publix is starting the "grilling season" radio commercials. Yet, spiritually, I'm suffering a post-Advent let down, a little seasonable depression, and my annual questioning mindset of "why?"

And, bam! Lent is here - finding me at a cross roads where a luscious spring meets a spiritual drought.

When I look at the purpose of why the Church established Lent, it's to combat exactly my same dilemma.  I am not alone (but why do I always feel that way?).  And the Church uses three ways to give ourselves a little spiritual bootcamp: 1) Prayer 2) Fasting 3) Almsgiving.



As a child this is simplified to "giving something up" and many of us never grow beyond that understanding of Lent.  A few years ago as I was teaching about Lent to the middle school kids I discovered this beautiful teaching of a threefold Lent and realized, "hey, the Catholic Church really knows what they're doing!"  Ever since then my Lent has looked a little different than just giving up chocolate or tv. While sometimes giving up cookies during Lent (read: Girl Scout cookie season) might feel like you're in solidarity with the Crucifixion, you're not. At all. Time to grow up and take a honest, prayerful look at what your soul needs for Lent.

Ever since I learned more about the purpose of Lent, the last few years have looked a little different.... Two years ago I gave up all drinks except water & milk as my "fast."  I figured I probably spent an average of $20 a week on drive through sodas, a coffee or two, and a happy hour cocktail.  So each week I took that $20 and put it in an envelope.  At the end of Lent I took the cash to Wal-Mart to buy enough food to make 500 Bologna and cheese sandwiches.  I then brought my middle schoolers to the soup kitchen with me where we assembled and distributed those sandwiches.  It was amazing to see my "fast" and "almsgiving" in direct prayer and service.

My Lent 2011

This year my fast will include giving up Facebook.  And I'm not making excuses for "work purposes"  The goal of this is to grow in communion with REAL people and to force me to pick up the phone or meet them out in person.  I've grown mindlessly addicted to trolling Facebook.  It's almost as bad as my mindless eating habit...haha.  I realized my addiction was getting out of hand when I had to set restrictions on my web browser to time-out of Facebook at home after 10 minutes and 30 minutes at work - but after the screen went blank I would open another browser.  Ugh.  So, Good-bye Facebook.  I'll see you again on Easter Monday.  Because I spend so much time on the Internet my prayer life has really suffered. Hello, I spend a good 30-45 minutes scouring the internet each morning when that time belongs to God!  In lieu of Facebook I will be attending daily Mass Monday through Friday.  As for my almsgiving I am going to use my spending money to offer a scholarship for a student to attend the EDGE retreat.  Eric has been doing that for years - giving up a little of his extras so that a student can attend a Life Teen retreat.

So dear Internet, now you know. Help me stay accountable!

What are you doing for Lent this year?  Why? Just a week left to prayerfully consider...

Still not sure what you want to "do" for Lent? Here is one of my favorite Catholic educator's blogs...he always has little Lenten suggests for kids (and adults) of all ages. Take a look.

Graphics courtesy of Google Image

01 March, 2011

Princess for a Day


All five of us princesses finished the half-marathon!

I still cannot believe it.  I seriously thought that I'd make it 3-4 miles max, as that is the furthest I've been walking. But after walking around Orlando and Disney on Friday or Saturday, my ankle was feeling pretty good so my new goal for the race was to make it to mile 6 (a little less than half way) so I could run walk through the princess castle in the middle of the Magic Kingdom.  As soon as Amanda I made it through the castle, she looked at me and said, "let's go! let's do it!"  and we did!

Lots more about the weekend, including a video montage that we've been working on for the last two months, will be coming soon.  I have a really busy week so it might be next week.

Stay tuned....