Category Archives: family

Life as I know it

The title may sound poetic but I promise you it’s not. Life has just been busy so I figure the best way to get everyone up to speed is to recap the last month and a half of my life in one full swoop.

Really exciting, I crossed two things off my 30 before 30 list:
1. Set up a retirement account. I feel very grown up having a financial advisor who does everything and anything I need him to. We’ve decided to be “aggressive” in the market and while he warned me I may not like him some months I warned him I would probably never even notice.
2. Be a vegetarian for 30 days. Surprisingly, going vegetarian was really easy. The only difficult aspect was having to plan my meals so far in advance and ensure there were vegetarian options available when I was on the road traveling for work. In fact, now that my 30 days are up I’ve actually decided to stick to the new diet. It’s now been six weeks, which is also the amount of time you need to build – or break – habits.

Going vegetarian has meant spending a lot of time in the kitchen trying out new recipes. I honestly can’t think of a meal I made and didn’t like these past six weeks but here are a few recipes I tried and absolutely loved:
1. Spring rolls – I didn’t follow this recipe at all but it was what I started with. I ended up using a basic cole slaw mix and instead of eating it raw with the rice paper, I sautéed the mixture in various seasonings. A very easy recipe albeit a bit time-consuming but they were oh so yummy!
2. Hummus spinach bake – I actually didn’t use a recipe for this. I happened to be using one of those input the ingredients you have into a computer generator and it lists different dishes you can make. Out of that came a plate of hummus and sautéed spinach topped with shredded cheese. I put it in the oven on 350 for about 15 minutes. It was nice and bubbly and paired well with the pita chips and carrots I already had on hand.
3. Zucchini pizza boats – They don’t make for great leftovers since zucchini contains so much extra water but they were fantastic straight out of the oven. Plus there are a ton of variations for toppings. Variety is nice!
4. Stuffed peppers – I love peppers and anything that goes in them. Quinoa is my new favorite super food and these are perfect for grilling out with friends. I have found that Mexican is the easiest vegetarian go-to dish for me.

I had a few other health related goals for the month. One goal was to complete all of my outstanding health exams and another was to beef up the exercise routine. A few things worth mentioning:
1. $500 later it turns out I am, in fact, still healthy. Go me!
2. I tried two new fitness classes: a hip hop dance class and Krav Maga. Not only can I booty bump with the best of em’ but I also found a socially acceptable way of releasing my inner rage. If Krav Maga didn’t cost $150/month I would definitely get a membership.

So you don’t think I’m two-dimensional talking about health and fitness, I did have a few fun things going on this past month and a half. At the top of my list:
1. A few friends and I spent a weekend in the Old Cabin at Blue Jay Farms, which we all know is my favorite Missouri get-away spot! Of course Miley dog joined us. I love make your stomach hurt bouts of laughing and I have plenty of those moments with my home girl Lizard. See below. We made an oriental themed dinner, played a new card game, swam, read, hiked to a waterfall, and picked blueberries. I love that place!

liz

2. I hadn’t seen my Mom since Christmas so I’ve been missing some quality mother-daughter time. Over the 4th of July weekend my parents decided to come down and visit for about a week. We spent time boating at the lake, visiting family and friends, watching movies, snuggling, and dancing/drinking our butts off at the winery. It was a fabulous time and I’m missing them already!

photo

3. Oh yeah, Dad finally sent me the pictures of our trip to El Salvador. I’ll aim to get those up at some point once I sift through the 2,000+ photos but here are a few teasers.

elsalv

elsalv2

And of course I wouldn’t be me if there wasn’t a little bit of self-introspection thrown in the mix. A few self-revelations:
1. Attitude up! I wish I could coin this phrase but I actually learned it at a sexual harassment training I went to for work. I say it all the time now. It serves as a good reminder that we all have the power to change our dispositions. When you’re stressed, feeling overwhelmed, and just consumed or surrounded by negativity it helps to keep things in perspective and to remember that you have the power to keep a positive attitude and mind. It’s sort of like Gretchen Rubin’s think happy, be happy motto.
2. How to live a life of well-being. Martin Seligman proposed a scientific model of happiness and well-being called PERMA. Essentially it states that in order for one to live a flourishing life, there are five basic motivations behind any decision or action made: positive emotion, engagement, relationship building, meaning, and achievement. People do their best work and are happiest when these five elements are being met. I could dedicate an entire blog post to this particular concept as I’ve become enthralled with the scientific model so much that I’ve begun incorporating it into my work culture and everyday life. My poor colleagues have been subjected to team building exercises this past week but I actually think they enjoyed them. If anything I can tell it brought us all closer together (R and M – meaningful relationships). Anyways, I’ll save you the rambling – go check it out!

While this post certainly doesn’t capture everything that went on the past month and a half, I feel a little less overwhelmed jumping back into the blogging world. I keep waiting for my time to free up and devote to writing again but the truth is I just need to make it a priority again (more on that later).

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Filed under 30 before 30, blogging, cooking, family, goals, happiness, health, personal growth, self-introspection, vegetarianism, well-being

Busy beaver

Since I finished my last final on Tuesday, you would think I’d take the opportunity to relax and enjoy some downtime, but I’ve actually done the opposite. In fact, the productivity level I’ve hit in my work and personal life this week has hit an all-time high.

I spent Friday night and Saturday crafting Christmas presents, which I am dying to share details on once they’re opened on Christmas day. I am so proud of the culmination of the final products and hope everyone enjoys and appreciates them as much as I do. I really wish I could be there in person when they’re opened up but because home-made gifts can be somewhat of a hit or miss since your style may not necessarily suit someone else’s tastes, it’s probably best I’m not there given the anticipation. I think what I enjoyed most about crafting is that my mind went completely blank. And considering I spent 10 hours crafting this weekend, I had a good chunk of time where I didn’t worry or stress about anything. It was so nice! In fact, I found the process kind of cathartic and I feel better knowing I’m giving something sentimental to someone I care about rather than just purchasing a gift card. Money is so boring (although that’s what I asked for for Christmas so who I am to talk…).

I also finished the first Wallace family christmas newsletter and had photo greeting cards created to go along with it. It was a struggle to find the kind of holiday newsletter paper I wanted but I think I’ll take a lead from Liz and her family and design my own next year when I have a little bit more time to plan what I want to do. Since my family has never done christmas newsletters before, I was kind of at a loss on what to include but once I got on a roll I had a blast reflecting on everything that’s happened in 2012. It’s been a full and happy year! I got the majority of the letters/cards out today so I can’t wait for you all to see it. Just in case you haven’t made it on the address list, though, here’s a quick photo-op of the greeting card.

card

I did take a break from all the crafting on Saturday to spend some quality time with my step-mom and little brother. One thing I haven’t done in ages is just drive around to see the christmas lights. I don’t know if my memory just sucks, but it seems like people decorate the outside of their homes less every year. I miss that. By far the coolest places we visited were Candy Cane Crib (my brother Ryan’s house, who is a Clark Griswold in the making) and the Magic Tree. They were beautiful and it was a great time!

candy cane

magic

And, to top off a fabulous week, Liz and David came over on Sunday night for a potluck dinner and christmas movie night. We tried a new recipe for pork tenderloin and paired it with some homestyle sides I’d been craving for ages: green bean casserole and mashed potatoes. David even made a homemade berry strudel which was delicious and also very filling. I was so stuffed by the end of the night that I didn’t even make it through our holiday movie (but let’s not kid anyone here – I always fall asleep in movies). One of my favorite things in this world is spending quality time with family and friends and I find the best way to connect and celebrate those relationships is over potluck dinners, game and movie nights. It was a great way to end a productive week/end and kick-start a new one!

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Thanksgiving festivities

As the hostess for this years Thanksgiving festivities, I crafted a spectacular menu: cider-braised turkey, new potatoes, sweet potatoes, a vegetable medley, cranberry-couscous stuffing, homemade apple pie and (store-bought) pumpkin pie.

First up was a recipe I found for cider-braised turkey, sage, and sweet potatoes. Although the original recipe called for chicken I substituted it with turkey tenderloin since I thought the seasonings would go well with either choice of meat. And, instead of baking the turkey with the sweet potatoes I put it in the slow cooker on low for seven hours. The turkey came out really moist and although the sweet potatoes were a little soggy for me, they were exactly how my Dad liked them. With the leftover juice stock we made some gravy which had a nice kick with the sage leaves put in. I haven’t really used sage too much in the dishes I normally cook but I’ve become a big fan. Overall, the mixture has made for good leftovers and I’m loving the turkey sandwiches. It’s definitely something I’ll make again and which serves as a good meal for when I have friends/family over.

On the other hand, the cranberry-couscous stuffing was a disaster. I’m not quite sure how or why the recipe got rave reviews online. Even though the dish itself was easy to prepare, there wasn’t much flavor outside of the extremely tart tasting cranberries. I imagine if you poured a ton of sugar on it, it would have helped but that defeated the purpose of the dish. I wanted something healthy. Oh well, I love the adventure of trying out new recipes in the kitchen and sometimes they don’t always work out.  Here’s the culmination of all my hard work – it turned out really pretty!

While the majority of my sweet family is scattered across the states, I did get to share in the holiday festivities with my parents, brother Ryan and his family.  There are a million and one things I’m thankful for, but I’m especially thankful for all the loving people in my life, near and far. I love you guys. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Home is happiness made simple

I have had a whirlwind few weeks juggling work and school and quickly realized I am not doing so well on the whole  balance thing. My motto these past few weeks: “There are not enough hours in the day.”

I’m pretty good at knowing when I’m close to reaching burnout and needing to take care of myself. So, I decided to take a little “me” time and booked a long weekend trip to Wisconsin to visit my parents. Even though I spent a good chunk of my time there studying for midterms and working, I realized more than anything I just miss their presence. They are the people I want to return to over and over, the ones I never get tired of and who lift me up when I’m feeling overwhelmed and down.

While the weekend was pretty low-key, it was exactly what I needed. I love that no matter how old I get, some things never change in the Schultz household. For starters, Saturday and Sunday mornings are about crowding around the kitchen, drinking coffee, chatting about life, and cooking breakfast. It’s quality family time and the perfect start to weekend days.

A few highlights from the weekend include visiting a christmas warehouse store – three levels of everything you can imagine “Christmas.” It was almost overwhelming but I got some pretty cool ornaments out of it, which I can’t wait to share pictures of when I set up the tree next week. We also spent a day at a wine/specialty olive oil bar which was a lot of fun. We had some bitch wine (yes, it really is called that) and sampled some of the best olive oil and balsamic vinegar I have ever had – ones that taste like pure chocolate, lemon, and basil. I’ve already put in a plug that I want a christmas basket from here, this being the second one. Other highlights include perusing a local bookstore, building fires, cuddling, and watching movies. It was the perfect weekend.

Home is happiness made simple.

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On the subject of time

I haven’t written in here for a few weeks, mostly because I feel like I’ve been the bitter version of myself rather than the happy-go-lucky gal. And when bitter Lindsay comes out it’s all passive aggressive inner ranting and raving. Nobody wants to read that or even be around it – not even me. But the one thing that always brings inner calm to my chaotic thoughts is writing them all out. So here I am, writing on the subject of time hoping it will help me sort through everything.

Recently, I’ve been on the receiving end of everyone around me being too busy to talk. Even to the point that family and friends I used to talk to on a daily basis I’m lucky to hear back from every couple of weeks, and only for just a few short minutes. Normally, I just get the response back that they don’t have enough time to accomplish everything that’s on their plate and that they are, “Sorry, can’t talk, too busy.” At first I was understanding and then after awhile I just became really restless about it all.  I kept my thoughts to myself mainly because I felt it made me sound like a brat who just wanted attention. But really, in the end, I think I just feel extremely disconnected not only from my family and friends’ lives but like they’re disconnected from mine as well. What I feel is homesick, yet I am home. It’s an unsettling feeling so when I talked to Liz about it today she made me realize it’s not about wanting attention, it’s about wanting to be important enough in their life as much as they’re important and integral to my own life.

Here’s the simple truth: there is always time. In all of your free time, you will make time for those things you consider important or a priority in accomplishing. Whether it’s about accomplishing your first 5k or spending time with family/friends or even asking someone how things are going, there is always time if it is (or they are) important enough to you.

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Filed under communication, family, friends, relationships, time

Bittersweet days

This weekend has been a bittersweet one. It’s been filled with an abundance of love and joy but also a bit of sadness too.

Friday night I threw a small surprise going away party for my Mom who moved to Wisconsin this weekend to start a new job and chapter of her life. Additionally, my Dad will officially retire on September 30. He’ll be moving up to join my Mom after that. For those who are well familiar with the trials and health issues our family has faced over the last three years, it finally feels like it has come to an official end. Dad is once again healthy and enjoying life. Mom is back on her feet and diving into work. It’s a fresh new start for everyone and while I’ll definitely miss having them just around the corner, I am so excited for them. It’s even got me thinking about where I’ll end up a few years from now once I finish grad school. You never know!

I also got to watch my sweet nephew, Knox, overnight Friday night. I was somewhat worried how Miley would do since she’s never been around a baby before but I was so proud of her. She acted like such a big sister and sat by him the whole time. They played together in the morning and the cutest thing ever to watch is Knox grabbing Miley’s face and rubbing his in her fur – it made my heart melt.

I did have a revelation watching him overnight though. While Knox is probably the easiest going baby I’ve ever been around, I realized how un-ready I am to have a baby at this point in my life. At times, when I see people my age married and with kids, I will look at them and think, “I wish I had that too.” I guess the good thing about borrowing kids is you see how even though you may want that someday, maybe now isn’t the right time for it. I suppose I’m still at that stage in my life where I’m selfish with my free time and things I want to do that having a dog is strapping enough. My big revelation: I’m really not jealous of my married friends with kids. I’m happy for them but I enjoy being the aunt. I don’t want to be the Mom – yet.

Saturday evening Liz and her sister came over for dinner. I botched a turkey burger/pineapple recipe which taught me that I should actually look up recipes instead of throwing stuff together. I was probably missing a binder ingredient of some sort because the burgers fell apart and in fact, they just tasted really gross. Nobody ate it. On the bright side, though, I did fill up on home-made salsa and pasta salad. Both were delicious and lucky for me Liz left the containers here so it also serves as my Sunday snack.

After my rendezvous with Liz and Andrea, I met up with another friend. My night turned sour fast and I was reminded just how brutally mean girls can be. I am forgiving and loving, sometimes to a fault. For the first time in a really long time I cried myself to sleep. Normally I take my Dad’s advice and allow a pity party for one day but I woke up this morning really not wanting to let myself dwell on something I can’t change or have control over. Instead, I’m going to use today and make the time to treat myself. I went on a long hike with Miley this morning on the MKT trail, I have a spa day booked this afternoon, and I’ll be spending my evening with family at a BBQ.

I have always loved the zen saying the journey is the reward and today I’m having to remind myself to keep that in perspective. Everything happens for a reason even if you may not understand why right now.

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Birthday wishes

I have learned in life that biology has little to do with who your Dad is and more to do with the person who is always there to support you and pick you up when you’re down. I am lucky enough to be loved unconditionally by two people I call Dad. This post is dedicated to one of them on their 64th birthday as I reminisce on some of my favorite childhood memories and lessons learned.

“I’m the adult and you’re the child.” I absolutely hated this statement growing up. I hated it even more when my Dad made me repeat it to him. He really knew how to put you in your place when you talked back. I vowed growing up I would never, ever say this to my children and then, on one mortifying day, it happened – I became my Dad. In college, I was the director of a day camp for at-risk youth. I loved my job but it was also trying to figure out how to set boundaries and induce respect in my relationship with the kids. Technically, I was only 4 years older than the oldest kid at camp so it got interesting. In particular, there was one kid who tested my limits every single day. One day, when he pushed a kid down on the playground, I lost it. I grabbed his arm and marched him over to the bench and demanded he sit down and write an apology. Before he could even ask why he had to do it, I slammed a piece of paper and pencil down and said, “And you’re going to do it because I’m the adult and you’re the child which means you’re going to do what I say!” It was awful.

The value of money. My dad loves to tell the story of when he decided to teach me the value of money by giving me $100. I was ecstatic because while he stressed the fact I had to take the whole family out to dinner and then buy groceries for the rest of the week, all I heard was, “..and after that, you get to keep any money left over.” I thought I was genius because I demanded everyone order water at dinner and that any plate over $10 was off limits. Afterwards, at the store, I thought I was even more genious for buying all the off-brand items. Nothing but the bare essentials was my motto. When my Dad asked if he could have cookies of some sort, I told him no. Finally, at the checkout counter, I pulled out the last of my money to pay the bill. I was left with less than $5. Obviously I was extremely disappointed becauase I thought for sure I’d make bank, but alas, I did not. In hindsight, I think this was a fabulous lesson to teach your kid when they think money grows on trees, however, I invariably blame my Dad for this experience because I’m pretty sure that’s where I learned to be incredibly cheap.

That’s life. In life, you’ll go through ups and downs. You’ll experience the good and the bad. Your heart will get broken by friends and by boyfriends, your car will break down in the middle of the ghetto, someone you love will die, you won’t make the cheerleading squad…you get the picture. When I used to talk to my Dad about how awful my day may have been or how stressed out I was he always asked me how big my problem was compared to someone elses. He would say, “There’s always someone out there going through something far worse than you.” Even though he was right, his response used to make me so angry because I always felt like it belittled my feelings. Hey Dad, in my world, it’s a really BIG deal when I don’t make an A! I once told my Dad how his response made me feel and I’ve never heard him say it since. Rather, he replaced it with a new rule (and probably one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in my quest for a fulfilling, happy life). Now it’s, “Lindsay, you get one day to feel sorry for yourself. Tomorrow, your attitude better change.”

To know good, you have to go through the bad. Dad taught me that hardships exist in life for a reason. If your life was good all of the time, you’d take everything for granted. Dad has been through some of the most trying times I’ve ever known anyone to go through, especially with his health in the past four years. While the experiences have been hard, stressful, scary and sometimes heartbreaking, I think the experience has made him appreciate all of the other good things in his life that much more. For all the bad experiences I’ve gone through, I’ve learned to look at the positive side. What did the experience teach me or what was one positive thing that came out of it? I’ve come to think of the hardships I’ve gone through as sort of a reality check – they keep me from being up in the clouds for too long.

A love for the spanish language. My obsession with latin culture and the spanish language has always been supported by my Dad. I grew up in a pretty sheltered environment and had a great childhood. I never went through anything traumatic or life changing and I never really had any exposure to other cultures. Since my Dad spent his early 20s traveling the world he’s always encouraged me to get out there and do the same. When I moved to Guatemala, Dad was one of my most staunch supporters. Today, when I was thinking about some of my favorite memories, I had a vivid flashback to when I was first starting to learn Spanish and my Dad decided he would learn it too through audio tapes. I have this very distinct memory of him running around the house putting stickys on all the furniture, walls, and household items that showed the item’s equivalent spanish word. So, for example, you’d walk into the kitchen and on the sink was “el fregadero”, the stove “la estufa”, the oven “el horno” and so on. I don’t know why, but when I think of this, my heart smiles.

As much as I’m a Momma’s girl, I’m equally a Daddy’s girl too. Here’s to wishing you a happy 64th birthday, Papa – I love you!

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