Monday, February 28, 2011

SuperIma Sunday Check-in: Better Late than Never?

Oh, friends.   I can't believe I missed the check-in yesterday.

I had it all planned out.  Fly to Indianapolis on Friday morning, get picked up, drive two and a half hours to Dayton for my sister's bridal shower. Pizza dinner Friday night, Saturday morning spa and lunch, co-host, decorate, and coordinate Saturday evening dinner.  Super-early Sunday morning, drive back to Indy, hop on a plane.  All this with the baby. Land in Kansas City just in time to drive straight to the synagogue for their 100th Anniversary Torah dedication with David and kids in tow.   Get home,  give the children a snack, go back out for weekly grocery shopping.  Edit 160 photos from the weekend and post to Flickr. Write the SuperIma Sunday Check In.  Work on some writing for pleasure, which has been sorely ignored..

Flights were on time, the baby didn't fuss, I looked fabulous, I did get the photos from the shower edited and posted, etc.

(we looked this put-together and happy for about 10 total minutes this weekend)

It all worked out perfectly, until I got home from the Torah ceremony mid-Sunday afternoon.  All I wanted - ALL I wanted after two days of baby puke and plane rides - was a hot shower.  So I took one.  And then I felt sick, like that exhausted-in-your-head-and-stomach-and-nothing-you-can-do-about-it sick.  It was five o'clock.  I sat down with Rami to watch some TV, just for a little bit, and woke up at 11:30 PM.   I scrolled through my Google Reader on my phone, saw that sweet Shannon had posted her check-in, thought for half a second about getting up to post mine, and fell back asleep again.

Yeah, it was crazy.  And it still is.  The house-finding insanity should be tied up today, even though it meant that we had to make some pretty creative child care and travel arrangements to make it happen. The good news is that now the move is only a week and a half away.  The bad news is that the move is only a week and a half away.  I have to coordinate all the moving services, prep subs and lesson plans for the teaching job I'm leaving mid-second semester, and prep for a job interview (!!!) tomorrow night (!!!!!!).

BUT!  I am still committed to my SuperIma sanity.  I'm letting the laundry slide (what's new?).  But this time my excuse is that I'm sorting through what  we absolutely must take with us and keep for our seven-week sojourn at my parents' house in Dayton (our house isn't available till May,) and what can stay on the truck for that time.    And I'm still working out and writing every day, which are my two little islands of calm in this tempest of moving a family.

Okay, SuperImas, check in!  What are you letting slide to make way for some you-things this week?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

SuperIma Sunday Check-In: Heading Home

Hello, Friends!

Wow.  It's been a heck of a week.
On Monday, David had a job interview.
On Wednesday, David got a job offer.  So we found out we're going home.
The next two days were a whirlwind of trying to figure out where we were going to live, when we were going to move, and how we were going to inform our respective jobs here in Kansas City.
Oh, and taking care of our children, and doing the housework, and getting the food on the table, and and and.

So.  Things have been completely crazy and insane.  Logistically and emotionally.
My thing I was going to do for myself this week was to really concentrate on getting back into fighting form, and finally kicking my last twelve baby pounds in the rear.
I was doing really well - getting up before five o'clock to work out, eating sensibly.
That is, until Monday afternoon, when the stress of the OMIGODDIDHEGETTHEJOB kicked in.  And I ate six coconut bonbons without batting an eye.

Yeah.  The rest of the week kind of went on like that.  I worked out every morning, though, and maybe the stress balanced out the stress eating, because I ended the week not losing a pound, but not gaining one either.  Which is better than last week went.

But!  I am still committed to reclaiming my post-pregnancy hottttness from all the way back in 2006.
Except we are moving in two weeks, and 
have you seen what they are selling in stores these days?????
Have you???

My plan for the coming week is to use jeans that are slightly too tight to counterbalance my urge to scarf the chocolate and coconut goodness, in various forms, that I have brought into my home.

Is that self-abusive?   Do you think?  Weigh in, everyone. (Pun intended.)

Um, this week - I'm going to let the laundry slide, for sure.  For two weeks now, I haven't gotten around to folding it on Thursday, which means it just gets folded Sunday afternoon.  No big deal.  It takes a little longer, but I get a little more time during the week.

My commitment is to get enough sleep.  As tempting as it is to pull all-nighter when you're packing up a house to move, I'm going to make sure I get at least six hours of sleep each night.  And work out every morning.  And try not to stress-eat too much.  I swear.

Now it's your turn!  What are you letting slide?  And what are you doing for yourself?
Hugs to everyone!  You're doing an awesome job.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

SuperIma Sunday Check-in: Yogurt with a Fork

Hello, dear friends.

(image from Kimberly Taylor images)

This morning I grabbed a container of yogurt with grape nuts for breakfast.  I was running off to teach Hebrew school, and really wanted a disposable spoon so that I wouldn't have to remember to bring a real spoon back in from the car (yes, I'm that lazy.  What?)  We didn't have a spoon, but we had a ton of forks we had left from what we lifted had extra of from Chipotle a couple weeks ago.

I thought it would be okay. I thought the fork would be good enough to use to eat the yogurt, if not ideal.  The yogurt is substantial enough to be lifted by the fork.

What I found was, I could eat most of the yogurt with the fork.  It took a little longer and a little more effort than I would have liked, but I was still able to eat most of it without too much a problem. But there were still glops of yogurt that fell through the cracks of the fork.  They gathered in the corners of the container, and the tines of the fork were really horrible at scraping them out.  And so some yogurt inevitably stayed in the cracks of the container, and I couldn't get it out.  Not unless I wanted to use my finger, or lick the darn thing.

It's been a tough week.  My life is good, and I am fortunate.  We have enough money and we all have our health.  We love one another.  But I am doing my job - mothering, housekeeping - with a fork instead of a spoon.  There is no passion in me for a fourteen hour workday of keeping the children and house, with occasional middle-of-the-night duties as well.  The effects of the edges being left, languishing in the bottom of the container, are beginning to wear on me.

 (I love my children to the ends of the earth and with all that I have, but that is very different than loving wiping their bottoms and noses all day long.  But I think we've established that.)

So, I've realized, that I need to make a way to find the fork work.  For now, at least.  Maybe there is a lesson, or at least some grace, to be found in being forced to leave a little bit of yogurt in the bottom, never to be eaten.  Maybe there is some philosophy, or some therapy, that will help me not mind missing the little bit of yogurt stuck in the bottom quite so much.

Over the next few weeks, I should have a clearer picture of what will need to happen for me to not hate the fork so much for not doing such a great job that I want to snap it at the neck, hurl it across the room, and give up yogurt forever.  I am going to work towards it.  I have to.

***Leaving overreaching analogy land***

In terms of my goals, this week pretty much kicked butt.  I am now officially declaring myself in the homestretch of my writing-for-pleasure project; about three-quarters of the way to my word-count goal, and I am feeling pretty good.

I am adding to my SuperIma goal for the week.   Over the past few weeks, things have been emotionally stressful here at the Kopans bayit (and I hope I can share why with you soon, if all goes as I would like.)  I've been eating like I do when I'm pregnant (ALTHOUGH I AM NOT PREGNANT I ASSURE YOU) - whatever I want, whenever I want.

I was doing okay with losing my baby weight.  At 12 lbs above my goal, I relaxed a little.  The problem is, over the past two weeks, I've relaxed a lot.  So much so that I'm now 13-14 lbs over my goal.  Um....oops?

 So, partly inspired by Shannon's return to Weight-Watchers, I'm going to be considering this this week: What is best for me is maybe not what I WANT RIGHT NOW OMIGOD GIVE ME THAT CHOCOLATE.  What is best for me is to keep going with my commitment to myself to get back in fighting shape.  Because if I can't have a job, I can at the very least be sexy.  Even if that means eating a lot of fruit, whole grains, and yogurt.  With a fork.

So, what about you, SuperImas?  How did you do on your goals for the last week, and what are you looking at for the week ahead?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

SuperIma Sunday Check-in: Being Gentle to Ourselves

Hello, friends.  Do you want to hear about my last week in which I was a miserable failure?

1.  Monday was the first and only time this week that I did alef-bet worksheets with Asher.
2.  On Tuesday, I only worked out for 20 minutes.
3.  I didn't fold the laundry on Wednesday night as I should have.  And I felt annoyed with David when he implied that I should bring him some dinner.  (I should.  He is working nonstop and studying for the bar in between.  He sleeps 3 hours a night.)
4.  I ate a pumpkin muffin for lunch on Thursday.  Then I skipped folding laundry in favor of tossing shirts, pants, and socks into their appropriate bins.  They will be sadly wrinkled, and I'm sure people will wonder.
5.  When slinging the challah ingredients into the bread machine on Friday morning, I completely forgot oil.  An hour and a half later the very crumbly dough was discovered and thrown out, wasting a bunch of flour and three eggs. Then, I used my last eggs on the second batch, which consequently didn't get an eggwash and sat on my Shabbos table, looking at me, dull as dirt.

On Friday afternoon while I was listing and stewing over these housewife's sins, suddenly, like a bat kol (voice from heaven), it occurred to me - I was being very rough on myself.  I remembered how last week, my friend Halli  was being all Zen in the comments section and said, "....striving for perfection leads to failure."  And I was all, "Hal, I'm not striving for perfection, okay?"  But as I was writing this list, I thought, hey!  If these are my greatest faults, what would I have been happy with this week?  Pretty much only perfection?  Yeah.  (Sorry, Hal.)

Then I thought of the age-old advice that we shouldn't judge our insides by everyone else's outsides.  In other words, I never stop to consider what other people are eating for lunch, or whether they fold their kids' undershirts.  Because they're smiling and their hair looks good, I assume that their entire lives are perfect.  It's easy to forget that no one is perfect.

Then I remembered what my bloggy friend Shannon taught us in this January's post:
You deserve more credit for doing a little when it's hard than for doing a lot when it's easy. 

And you guys, lately, it's been hard.  Really hard.  As much as I really want to be happy, like really do, I am having a very hard time adjusting to this new day-to-day life of mine.  And so I think, according to Shannon's axiom, I just need to cut myself some slack, mentally, I mean.  I need to be gentle with myself, and realize that to some people the fact that I did worksheets with my kid, touched the laundry more than once, and bothered to make challah at all would be pretty impressive.  Who am I trying to impress?

I did a great job with my writing for pleasure last week.  I'm still averaging around 1000 words a day, which considering the limited time I have, I'm happy with.  If you want to read about my writing craziness, by the way, you can do so daily at my shiny new writing blog - just because it's my Project 365 this year, I thought I could do with some accountability (last year my only 365 was photography, so Flickr served that purpose.)

This week, I'm going to try to be gentler on myself, and play the Devil's Advocate to my own inner Perfectionist.  What about you?

(Shannon, who's a star, posted her Check-in before I even started typing.  You can read her fabulous update here.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Frugal Ima Frugal Recipe: Thai-Ish Chickpeas

FIFrugal Recipe copy
Okay, so I know it's maybe been getting a little ridiculous with all the soups and stews and hot one-pot whatnots I've been posting here as Frugal Ima Frugal Recipes.  But in my defense?  It was -7 degrees here today.  So a crock pot meal is more than in order.  (On that note, a special shoutout to David who ate lentil soup two nights in a row this week.  The second night was over pasta as per my craving/complete laziness.)

Today was the kind of day that made me want to crawl under my couch cushions and stay there until the thermometer hits 60.  So I want to share a recipe that is not only super-frugal but also packs two kinds of heat - the hot kind and the spicy kind.

I raised an eyebrow when I read the recipe Mara chose to feature on her blog for her "Crock Pot" kosher recipe exchange - It involved sloshing some chicken around in a mixture of salsa and peanut butter, letting it sit in the crock pot and...well, that's really about it.  I was all, that's gross, Mara, but then I bit my tongue when my fleishig-loving parents came to town and I was struggling for something quick and easy I could make out of my pantry.  Peanut butter and salsa?  Always in my pantry.  I made the chicken and all I can say is OhmyGod Maraisagenius nomnomnom.  

I suspect that I am even more of a cheapskate than Mara.  And not in a good way.  So when my parents went home, I was back to my beans-and-rice-eating miserly ways, but I couldn't get that chicken out of my head.  Seriously, it was so good.  Three days later, I saw a bag of chickpeas in my pantry. Then I realized that there are entire Indian-food dishes that consist of chickpeas, sauce, and rice, so not only would it be uber-cheap but also kind of authentic?  Maybe?

Extra bonus for you Yidden, especially us hippy-dippy-affiliated ones (for example, anyone who davens without shoes regularly or has ever lived in or visited Upsal Gardens - you know who you are) - this is a great pareve dish you can throw in the crock pot on Erev Shabbos in case one of those crazy Vegetarian Jews wanders into your house on Shabbos looking for an incredible meal.  You know, the ones for whom you normally bake a slab of tofu doused in sauce and whip some quinoa because you just don't know what else to do, even though they probably eat that every single Shabbos and are so sick of it it's coming out of their ears.

Okay.  On with the show.  Here's what you'll need:

1 bag dried chickpeas (or a couple of cans)
1 1/2 c salsa
2/3 c peanut butter (creamy or crunchy, doesn't matter)
4 tbsp lemon or lime juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
Some peanuts, if you have them.
stray veggies
hot red pepper, salt, ginger, and garlic to taste

Rinse your chickpeas and cook them in some water for a couple of hours.  Or soak them over night.  Whatever your M.O. for dried beans is.  (Do you guys want a tutorial on that?  Because I can do one.)

Chop up your peanuts and whatever else needs to be chopped. (Yeah, I just included this step because I like the picture)

Toss everything in the crock pot.  You can put freezerburned veggies, drying-out onions you chopped but didn't use, whatever.  I think cauliflower or green beans might be good in this, and I would not hesitate to put corn or carrots in either.

Dump in the lemon juice and the soy sauce, and whatever spices you want.

I covered the whole mess once with garlic powder and red pepper, and half with ginger.  Not too much salt, either, because the peanut butter and peanuts are kind of salty.

Stir it up and let it sit there.  High for four hours or low for seven or more.

Eat it with some white rice, or some naan, or challah, or whatever.  Seriously, this was so good I forgot to take a picture of it until I had already mixed it up and eaten half of it.

Chickpeas: $1.12
Salsa: $1
Peanut Butter: $.75
Rice: $.75
Other Stuff: Let's say $3, liberally

That brings this meal in at right under $7.  Frugal, and yields leftovers for lunch the next day.  So you can afford to buy yourself a drink!  Or five.

Happy Frugal Cooking!

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