Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Coincidence or something bigger?

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you just feel like everything is going to work out? That life is good and precious and everything about it is worth taking a deeper look at. Well, I'm having one of those weeks, and I really want to bottle it up. Because for several weeks/months leading up to now, life hasn't been all rainbows and butterflies. But I'm not going to complain because it's still good. Things just haven't seemed as clear as they do right now.

To explain what I'm thinking is hard other than compare it to a coincidence. However when I used to work at a Lutheran church, I once wrote an article about coincidences in the newsletter and a few members came into my office and shared their thoughts on the word.

"There is no such thing, you know. It's God's work, not coincidence."

I have to agree, but I also believe there are other aspects that orchestrate our outcome too: perseverance, our choices, determination, hard work, luck, timing...maybe throw in a little astrology too. I mean, the other planets exist for some reason... Right?

Town Home for Sale in Burnsville...isn' she cute?
So here I was, walking on a glorious evening last week Thursday, remembering why I live in Minnesota with the lakes in our neighborhood resembling glass and reflecting the fluffy clouds in the sky. The clean, fresh air filled my lungs with freedom and peace. I soon ran into some friends and chatted them up for almost an hour, then got lost (I promise the neighborhood roads get confusing even after ten years living in the same house) and didn't get back home until well after 8 p.m. Let's just say dinner was a late one that night.

However, I spent a ton of time reflecting as I walked (without my IPOD) in silence. The experience was almost like I accepted where I was right at the moment and focused on all the good. Even the bad seemed to turn into an opportunity or growth in my mind. So strange.

But it gets crazier. So for the past few weeks my husband and I have been cleaning out his town home, with the help of his family (so grateful for them) to get it ready for showings. All the while he's grumbling under his breath, "Can't wait to get $25 for my house...Who's going to buy now?" yadda yadda yadda.

Last Friday the house was going on the market. But for some reason my mind was so full of stuff and my calendar jam packed with weddings, baby showers, writing, jobs, you name it, that I honestly didn't have room to add another worry to the list. It was like my brain and body refused to let any negativity or worry in about the house.

As I marched into our quaint neighborhood from my long walk and journey, a large black man waved me over. Great, I thought. What's this guy want? The Mormons already hit us up earlier in the week as well as some students selling magazines.

"Do you know of any houses for sale?" he asked with a heavy African accent. Okay, maybe Nigerian? I'm never good at deciphering this stuff. 

"Huh?" I shifted my eyes toward our house, hoping Karl caught us from the window.

"In this area. Do you know any of the houses for sale. Any foreclosures?" he asked with persistence.

A smile broke on my face. "Noooo, but my husband's house is for sale a few towns over."

"God sent me to you," he said as his eyes grew into saucers.

His words echoed in my head. Wouldn't that be just something crazy, I thought. A person God sent just for me. We exchanged information and before I knew it, the man was meeting our realtor and looking at Karl's house the next day. The day the house went up on the market. And guess what? Today we have a buyer.

Uhhh, say what?

Coincidence? Good luck? Timing? I'm not sure. I could tell you that the buyer wasn't the big black man but someone else (kinda takes away from the story a bit). And granted everything could fall through. (Obviously I don't believe in jinxing things. ha!) But still... Do things like this happen? Or was someone bigger trying to tell me something, let alone prove something. Maybe I don't have anything to worry about. Maybe everything will work itself out the moment I step back, appreciate and let go. Maybe worry is simply a waste of time.

What do you think? Coincidence or something bigger?

"Friendship is not created by what we give, but more by what we share. It makes a whole world of things easier to bear." - anonymous

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Travel with Minnesota Twins - Minneapolis Travel |

My latest Examiner Blog below.

Karl and I took a trip out to Kansas City to visit my brother and sister-in-law and check out a Twins game at Kauffman Stadium since Karl's never been. The weather was perfect and the BBQ was delicious!!! We even stopped at a winery on the way back home in Iowa.

Amy (Tater Tot), Mike, Mark, Karl and Me at Kauffman Stadium - Go Twins!

Travel with Minnesota Twins - Minneapolis Travel

Chicken Dill Saute

If you like dill, you'll like this quick healthy recipe.

I guess I never really cooked with dill before and I had no idea what I've been missing. Oh, man! I want to put it on everything!!! I found this recipe delicious since I used to drink pickle juice when my mom wasn't looking:)

Chicken Dill Saute
serves 4
(recipe found in Good Housekeeping May 2011)

Chicken Dill Saute
1 lemon
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken-breasts halves, cut into 1/2-in. chunks
3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 sm. onion (4 to 6 oz.), thinly sliced
2 lg. peppers, orange and yellow, sliced
1/2 c. water
salt and pepper
8 oz. sugar snap peas, strings removed, cut in half
1/3 c. fresh dill, chopped

1. From lemon, grate 1 tsp peel; set aside. Into pie plate, squeeze 1 TBS juice. Add chicken; turn to coat.

2. In 12-inch skillet, heat 1 tsp oil on medium-high. Add onion, peppers, 2 TBS water, and 1/4 tsp each salt and ground pepper. Cook 3 minutes or until softened, stirring. Transfer to large plate.

3. In same skillet, heat 1 tsp oil on medium-high. Add peas, 2 TBS water, and 1/8 tsp each salt and pepper. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until beginning to brown, stirring occasionally. Add to pepper mixture.

4. In same skillet, heat 1 tsp oil on medium-high. Add chicken; sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt. Cook 3 minutes or until golden, stirring once. Return vegetables to pan; add remaining 1/4 cup water. Cook 1 minute or until saucy, stirring. Stir in dill, 1/4 tsp salt and reserved peel.

Note: I didn't have time to cook up chicken. So again, I used a rotisserie chicken. And I didn't really have time to remove the strings from the snap peas. Time is hard to come by for me lately. But this still turned out great!

Karl's reaction: "Whoa...there might be a titch too much dill in this one." Me: "I love it!"

Chicken Panzanella Salad

Chicken Panzanella Salad
serves 4
(recipe found in Women's Health Magazine May 2011)

Chicken Panzanella Salad (cost per serving $2.90)
1 small whole-wheat pita pocket, cut into sixths
Non-stick cooking spray (olive oil)
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 TBS white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1 large pinch lemon zest
1 1/2 TBS virgin olive oil
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 cup diced cooked skinless white-meat chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken - no skin)
2 cups shredded Bibb lettuce
1 medium tomato, cut into eighths
1/2 cup cannellini beans
1/4 cucumber, thinly sliced
2 thin slices Vidalia onion
1/4 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

Dressing for Panzanella Salad (yum!)
1. Spray pita with cooking spray. Toast in 400 F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden. Set aside.

2. Whisk lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, mustard, and lemon zest together in a small bowl. Add olive oil and pepper; whisk well to combine. Set aside.

3. Place remaining ingredients in a medium salad bowl and toss with dressing. Crumble toasted pita into large chips. Add to salad, toss well, and serve.

A healthy dinner for two

Lots of  'spring-like' flavor in this salad
Karl's reaction: "I like this!! It's different, but good! But why is there a lemon seed in mine? Do you do this on purpose?" Me: "Never!!"

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mom's Home Cooking

I've been terrible with my food blog posts!! Sorry. If you read my earlier blog, you'll understand that I've lost my head, mind...whatever.

Karl and I went and saw my mommy for Mother's Day back in Roscoe (yes, home of Danica PatrickMiss Illinois Nicole Manske and Jump Rope for Heart American Champs 1980-something...sorry couldn't find a link for that). It was a very special day and like the wonderful mother she is, she cooked.

I know what you're thinking.

But she's just that great. So I thought in honor of her I'd feature one of our favorite foods she makes when we visit. This is like one of the simpliest meals, but there's just something about it. Love you Mom!!!

Tortellini Soup
serves how many you'd like...maybe 6 or 8?
(recipe found in her neighbor's church cookbook)

1 lb of Italian sausage (she boils first)
3-4 cans of Minestrone Soup (she uses Progresso because it has penne in it and/or Wolfgang Puck but says it's impossible to find in the grocery stores anymore)
1-2 cans of petite diced tomatoes (Red Gold)
1-2 cans low sodium chicken broth
1 lb packaged tortellinis (cheese, chicken, beef stuffed...whatever you want)

1. Boil sausage and cut into pieces.
2. Put soup cans, tomatoes, broth in large sauce pan and stir. Add pieces of sausage.
3. Boil tortellinis separate and add to soup.
4. Mix together and simmer

You can add tons of veggies: spinach, zucchini, chick peas, whatever. This soup is just so good!!!

Top with cheese and serve with crusty bread. It is oh so delicious!!!

Karl's reaction: "Amazing Cindy!!! This is why I come and see you guys! Ahhhh!"

Spring is here....or maybe summer

Nothing like a 85+ degree weather day in early Minnesota.

YEAH! I love it. Our thermostat shows 77 degrees right now. Oh, wait, it just jumped to 78. (This is the perfect temperature for me, not so good for Karl.) I refuse to turn the air on for fear it could snow tomorrow.

The buds are bursting with life on trees. The grass is greener every day. Birds are singing sweet music. I'm allowed to drive with my sun roof rolled back, windows down, gangsta tunes blaring on my way to work. (I seriously can't get enough of Usher and my girl J. Lo right now.) It's light out by the time I roll out of bed and all the way until 8:45 p.m. I have that extra bounce in my step, usually more so around 4:30 p.m. ... The flowers are blooming and it smells delicious out! I say, "yeah, for a short month of spring in Minnesota!"

But I'm not gonna lie. My head fell off weeks ago and I really need to attach it again. Trying to find balance and learning to let go is such a battle. It's always so hard to do! We're trying to clean out our town home in Burnsville (and keep up with the one we currently live in). We're also slowly working on learning all the steps behind pulling a last minute garage sale together, oh, and must (did I say STAT?) put the one town home up for sale.

However, two weekends ago we were in Kansas City visiting family. Last weekend we were in Roscoe, Illinois for wedding number one. This weekend it's Milwaukee for wedding number two. Next weekend is wedding number three. All these consisted of, or will consist of, driving more than eight hours round trip. Not a lot can be accomplished sitting in a car. Okay, I wont say that because I did type the first three chapters of my next book on our way back from Kansas.

We both have full time jobs and I kind of have a bazillion freelance jobs going at once. Throw in revising a manuscript, working with a trainer to manage and control my jelly bean and wine obsession/addiction, trying to host a dinner for church and our new young(er) adults group and the other tasks wives are supposed to keep up, cleaning, laundry, etc., and seriously, my head is about to roll far away, never to be found again. Then I ask myself, "But how can it when I don't even have kids? Who am I to complain?"

But anywho, getting back to the point of my quick blog post that has turned out longer than I thought (a much needed therapy session with myself)...thunderstorms seem to calm me. It's weird, I know. But I feel like a kid again.


We all need to feel that now and again.
Maybe it's because instead of going in the basement as kids, my brothers and I stood outside in the driveway and watched the clouds grow and felt the wind whip through our hair, and watched our dad climb on the roof and clean out the gutters in a mad rush, dodging lightning bolts.
In my eyes there's something peaceful about storms. I don't know what is is... But in honor of storms and spring and all that good stuff I mentioned above, I've posted some pretty "spring-like" pictures!

Hope you enjoy. Oh, and don't let your head fall off and roll away like mine. Take a deep breath and attach it back on. But this fearless. You can "weather" any storm that comes your way. There's a rainbow waiting for you.

So I say bring it!

Oh, and force yourself to take a long look at the beauty all around you. Cuz it's neat!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tomato Basil Pizza Snacks

Quick Tomato Basil Pizza Snacks
serves 4
(found in a cottage cheese ad in one of my health magazines)

Pack of whole wheat pocket pitas
Basil pesto
Cottage cheese
fresh basil

1. Turn oven to 400. Spray pitas with olive oil and heat for 8 minutes.
2. Spread basil pesto for first layer.
3. Spread cottage cheese.
4. Sprinkle tomato slices and basil.

Enjoy! Yes, it's that easy and quick.

This is soooo good. Refreshing and easy to make. I made it for dinner and we both loved it.

Karl's reaction: "Damn tomatoes squirt everywhere, but this is delicious!"