Fried Egg with Chopped Spinach or Kale

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

We've had a sick little lamb for the past few days. Related, since it's so simple, I've had this for dinner three nights in a row now.



You can't get much simpler. And soooo delicious.

Wondering what to do with the bulk of the giant box of organic spinach you bought at Costco (besides using some in green smoothies or salads)?

Chop it up, sauté with some olive oil, garlic, maybe a splash of lemon juice and tomatoes if you have them (they're not necessary).

Then you fry up an egg (you want it to be a little runny)...

slide it on top of the spinach...and that's it!


Kale, spinach, whatever. I've done both. Both are awesome. Cheers to health!


Fried Egg with Chopped Spinach/Kale

Spinach - 2 large handfuls at least, chopped (shrinks a lot when sauteed)
or
Kale - 1 bunch, chopped
garlic, a few cloves
olive oil
splash of lemon juice, if you want
1 egg

Add a little oil to a pan, 1-2 T (eyeball it). Let it heat up a little before adding the garlic. If using tomatoes, add these before the spinach/kale and cook a little. Toss in the spinach/kale and stir until cooked. Place on plate while you fry your egg. Fry egg over medium-high heat to over-easy or over-medium (your preference) in an omelette pan and slide it on top of the veggies (there are lots of youtube videos on frying eggs if you need help). Cut it all up to mix and enjoy! Mmmmm.





Look at that little Molly sickie face. She has been the saddest, most pitiful little thing the past few days. She is on the mend today, however. Thankfully, big sissy has been spared thus far (not spared from wild hair though, as you can see). They're looking more alike to me...I think? 

Winter with a High of Sunny

Monday, January 27, 2014

Memphis Winter 2013/2014 - So far, I'm calling it the winter that was Really Cold and Really Sunny. Like the rest of the country, we have had some particularly cold days/nights this season (10 degrees and other such things). But Frosty has yet to visit and grace us with the white stuff. This hurts my feelings.











See? It was 14 degrees outside when I took this photo, and nary a cloud in the sky!

Like most southerners who know very little of the drawbacks, I love snow. I love the peace and the quiet of it. It makes the world calm and beautiful. (We are blessed to have a roof over our heads from which to enjoy it though, I realize.) Anyway...where are you, snow? Places like Austin, Texas have even gotten some this year, and I just saw it on the forecast for NEW ORLEANS of all places. Hrmmph.

We had a sickie and a cough-er this weekend, which kept us mostly in (and napless, at times, argh) except for Saturday night when we went to an honest-to-goodness black tie event with my parents and sister/bro-in-law. It was quite the event that I still don't really understand, but nonetheless it was fun to get dressed up, wear heels (psych), and get out with my one and only.



No amount of photo-filtering can make my arm look buff, but I will try to curb the negative self-talk here and just go with it for the sake of honesty. We have devised a new exercise regimen/goal for ourselves that I will share about soon (if it takes). 

I saw this photo of us right after we took it and immediately thought, "We look like adults. We look like parents." I guess this is good since we are and we are, but ... still a little jarring sometimes, isn't it? We are the ones out there doing the working and the tax-paying and the child-bearing nowadays. 


p.s. we made Jen's Acai Bowls a few times this weekend with Jonny's granola. SO SO delicious, and a hit with the oldest three of us. (Molly doesn't like smoothies yet. I guess they're too cold?) Makes me want to get a better blender--we have a five-years-older version of this one, which has been fine for the most part. I wish it could handle a little more sometimes. Ninja? BlendTec? Vitamix? What's your preference? I just need to make smoothies. By the way, they have that acai juice Jen uses at ...where else? Costco!

THE Bread (from Costco)

Friday, January 24, 2014

If you and I have gotten into any sort of discussion about Costco or "real food" or whatever over the past few months, I have probably brought up this bread.



It is fantastic.

About 6 months ago, inspired by my friend Lauren, and 100 Days of Real Food (which I've mentioned before), I went on a pantry-cleaning-out-frenzy. I was trying to get rid of a lot of the junk/processed food we'd been storing in our kitchen. Like everyone, I really want my family to eat healthful, nutrient-dense meals. Though meal-plannin tops every new year's resolutions list, I am always sorely lacking; coupled with my current work schedule (I get usually get home between 5:20-5:45, kids eat at 6 or a little before), I find it really hard to serve warm, healthy meals every night of the week.

Sorry, I digress--back to my frenzy. I cleaned out the pantry, I'm talking down to bare bones, and then of course, went to Costco. I was trying to shop through a different lens--real ingredients, things you can pronounce, stuff from nature, etc. (see Lauren's 10 steps to get started, or 100 Days of Real Food's 8 ways to avoid processed foods).

That trip was when I found this bread. I read the ingredients and it was like the stars were aligning. Angels were singing, all that stuff. Check this out:

Ingredients: organic whole grain wheat flour, organic wheat flour, water, organic honey, organic oat bran, organic oats, organic sunflower seeds, organic flaxseed, organic cultured wheat, organic vinegar, sea salt, yeast. 

Whoa! Impressive. I put the double package in my cart and wondered if it would pass Jonathan's cardboard-bread test. He likes wheat bread, but not wheat bread that isn't soft or has the consistency of cardboard/too nutty or dry.



People...it is GOOD. It is freaking good. As toast, as sandwiches, as grilled cheese, with a fried egg on top (or egg-in-a-hole), as a crust for the baby to gnaw on...it is really really good. Any iteration, any application. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It's the perfect softness, while still being really durable for a hearty sandwich, and nothing beats it toasted (the perfect crunch).



If you find yourself in a Costco, get yourself a bag (or 2) of this bread if you see it. Alpine Valley Organic Multi Grain. We made a special trip for it today (and of course left with a few other things too). It's $6.39 for two loaves at our store. Can't beat that for high quality bread.





Other Costco faves off the top of my head: Larabars, frozen fruit for smoothies, produce, cheese, butter, organic tortilla chips, organic salsa, organic baby food pouches (they only have one flavor at ours... Molly pretty much eats "table food" now, but I like to have them on hand just in case), almond butter, organic quinoa, organic brown rice... Lauren has a really really great "real food finds at Costco" post you should definitely check out if you're interested (though I know all Costcos don't carry the exact same things).

We are definitely not yet where I'd like to be with our nutrition as a whole, but I think we've made some positive small steps over the last several months. I'm not going to beat myself up about it... I'm doing the best I can do at this stage of life and giving myself some grace on the whole thing, though I'd always like to do better. (An interesting post on "opting out of food wars" here. I appreciated the fresh perspective from this one.)

But yes...The Bread!

Try it! Tasty.



coming soon: my love for Aldi and what I like to buy there.

Sticker Charts Work!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Or at least they do for us!

My BFF Erin is made of gold. I wish you could all know her like I do (and I wish she had a blog too!). Besides being a fantastic friend, she is a fantastic mommy. She will graciously listen to my text-complaints about no sleep this, blah blah that, and then will share her wisdom/suggestion with me so thoughtfully, I am spurred to action immediately.

The sticker chart was Erin's suggestion to me when Juliette was fleecing us at bedtime.

Over the past several months, her nightly stall tactics were getting progressively worse and worse, her bedtime was getting later and later, and no matter what we did, it ended in crying or laying down with her to get her to fall asleep. My previously 7 PM max-put-herself-to-sleep-bedtime girl was totally wearing us out. This happened very gradually, and some nights were easier than others. Adding in potty-training complicated things even further (we can't deny her going to the potty before bed, obviously).

It was getting to the point where I would worry about leaving her with a babysitter because it was SO MUCH DRAMA. Blerg. I never wanted to be a mom who a) can't leave her kid for an evening away and b) dreaded a long, drawn-out bedtime (who does though, right?). Punishment wasn't working. Cry-it-out wasn't really working either.

Juliette needs a lot of structure. I don't know if it's that she's a typical oldest child who likes things in their place and is very Type-A, or if it's just her age and stage of development, but give that girl a checklist, and she can breathe easy. Once we set a predictable checklist of a bedtime routine, she has done so much better. She even recites it to us.

Add in my sharpie-tastic 2 minute sticker chart, stickers that we went to buy together at Family Dollar, and the prize of a cupcake at our favorite local Muddy's Bake Shop (where Aunt Jamie works!), and you have yourself some much improved bedtime (and naptime on the weekends) behavior.

I wouldn't say she is really "cured" or whatever, but we have definitely made significant positive progress.

We talked this up everyday, even encouraging her to tell others about her sticker chart and cupcake goal. She was very very proud yesterday of earning her pink cupcake.




One other thing: several months ago (probably 9 months even), I bought Juliette this Teach Me Time alarm clock that turns green when it's OK to get up. We did big girl bed really early (maybe too early) so I went ahead and sprung for this clock; as great as it's worked for helping her stay in bed in the morning, it had quit being a bedtime motivator. I still recommend it very highly!

Go sticker charts and good friends who suggest them!


Ooh! Real quick. My friend Lauren Crabtree is doing a fun giveaway, and our 2014 planner is one of the items. Check it out if you haven't! 

The Biltmore House

Monday, January 20, 2014

Through a fortunate convergence of residency interviews and grandparents willing to keep our babies (THANK YOU!), Jonny and I found ourselves visiting the Carolinas last week.

I flew to Greenville, South Carolina to meet Jonathan (he had driven in from a previous stop earlier in the week). We spent a lovely evening walking around downtown Greenville together, eating dinner, and enjoying the city. Other cities should travel to Greenville to see what they've done with their downtown. It's really, really good.

Downtown, you can walk to a pedestrian bridge (below) over a falls, with a beautiful park surrounding the Reedy River. The bridge was built so the views of the falls would be unobstructed. Genius.

This photo is from the other side of that bridge.

Lattes sure taste good on a crisp morning with a view like that!

From Greenville, on our way to Winston-Salem, NC, we made the fairly quick and scenic drive into the Blue Ridge Mountains to Asheville, North Carolina. We didn't decide to stop at the Biltmore Estate until that very day, but I am SO glad we did. We had about four hours, and it was totally worth the price of admission (which ain't cheap).

The home of Richie Rich and "Morley Manor" on Private Eyes (so I'm told, we are going to watch that one this week).

It was truly incredible. (That muddy spot on the grass is where the Christmas trees just were. According to instagram geotagged photos, we just missed the Christmas decorations by four days! Dang it.)

I have always loved that staircase detail you can see from the outside. The architecture is really fascinating...such an enormous project, the scale is really not fathomable to me. Where would one even start? Unfortunately, the architect, Richard Morris Hunt, died before the house was completed.

I highly recommend the guided audio tour. You can't take any photos inside, but peruse this portion of their website if you're curious about it.

I was real glad that we've been watching Downton Abbey while touring this house. Since it was built around the turn of the 20th century, it's apples-to-apples with the Biltmore. Easy to imagine: "oh, there's where Carson would be standing," "oh, there's where Anna helps dress Lady Mary," etc. They even have calling cards still in the doors of some of the guest rooms. I wish we could've gone through every single room!

If you ever have a chance to go, DO IT!


 I hope we can go back someday and see all of the gardens in bloom. Though, mid-January is a nice time to visit if you want the place to yourself.

#SELFIE #YOLO #youknow

We had a sweet reunion with our chickies when we got home. Three nights is maybe my max to be away from them right now--I missed them so much (and pumping...eesh)!

YES though, every now and then, it's nice to get away with my guy. It's our favorite to visit new places.

We liked you, NC/SC!


p.s. Holla to my blog friend Laura, whom I got to meet while visiting her town (I know, I'm on a roll)! We got to grab some lunch, get our nails done, and make a Trader Joe's run. Girl time doesn't get more successful than that.

Our Christmas Video

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Happy Saturday night people. I meant to share this video earlier!... my talented other half put this together with highlights from our Christmas Day. We had just the coziest day at my parents' house with family, and enjoyed being together (Molly and cousin Jane's first Christmas!).

Enjoy if you will:

Guinn Christmas 2013 from Jonathan Jerkins on Vimeo.

Granola Doesn't Count, Right?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My sister and I made a pact after the new year, as people do post Christmas free-for-all, that we would not eat any sweets/desserts until Molly's 1st birthday cake (March 8, Martha's birthday is also the very next day).

The first day or two was hard-ish, since I was used to having a cookie or slice of something after EVERY meal practically (eeeek).

After the beginning was over, it's been pretty easy to abstain, especially since we don't keep desserts around our house much anymore. We usually eat dinner with the kiddos around 5:45 (YES!), so Jonathan and I both are usually up for a snack later in the evening. Stovetop popcorn and nuts are a favorite, but he got a hankering to make some granola for us week before last. Yes, you read that right. See below:

Around the holidays, my friend Nishta had posted a pic of some homemade granola on her instagram, referencing the Faux Martha's "Last Granola" recipe. I commented on the photo, saying how wonderful it looked, and sweet Nishta sent me a bag. We absolutely devoured it!

The salt!...it's key.


The second time he made it, Jonathan added an egg white (a tip we saw online), which made it a bit clumpier. I'm a sucker for granola clumps. So far, he has made it without dried fruit or coconut (though I did like Nishta's version with the coconut).

Come 8:45 PM, this little bowl sure hits the spot. And of course, anything prompting husband activity in the kitchen is always welcome.

If you're looking for a granola recipe, give this one a whirl. As the recipe's title professes, this really is the "last granola" recipe we ever will make.


p.s. This isn't really dessert... right?

Internet, the Maker of Dreams

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Saturday, this great thing happened. I met my pen pal.

I love being able to use the words "pen pal" legitimately. Does this make anyone else think of this scene from Julie & Julia? 

I always loved this scene when Julia Child meets her long-time pen pal of years and years, Avis. (I think I'm definitely the Avis to her Julia in this scenario.)

Well anyway, Hannah and I have been corresponding via myriad electronic methods over the course of the past year-ish (that qualifies as "pen pals"), and we finally got to hang out in person this weekend.

(yes, she is a legit model, and my bangs inspiration.)

Hannah, her husband Heath, and four children came over from Arkansas on a day trip to Memphis, and got to eat lunch with me and my family and we had so much fun! We do have a connection beyond solely an internet/bloggy friendship; Jonathan went to college with her and her husband (and actually, they were in the same study abroad group to Italia, holla). She drew our fantastic Christmas card from 2012, the catalyst of our friendship, and the rest was history!

It was really the best hearing the voice behind the words. It's funny--text, email, blah blah blah, only gets you so much of a person. Oh, internet. You can only take us so far (I think this is a good thing). Now, we are legitimate friends! Nice.

Before this post gets any weirder, I'll stop and just say that we LOVED having yall over.


Her Enid and my Juliette playing with the dollhouse. Their little haircuts were killing us. Juliette instantly took to her like white on rice. In fact, after they left, she kept asking me, "where is her?" (she is getting better at remembering names, but it's still a little bit of a challenge sometimes).

What a delightful day, I hope to be soon repeated.

Sincerely,
Avis


Follow the talented Hannah at her blog, Sundry Mumsy.

Speaking of another internet/in-person friendship, many thanks to Lauren AKA Aspiring Kennedy for posting about the ole 2014 planners on her blog today. Merci, ma cherie.

2014 planners still for sale here.

2014 Planners - For Sale

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Our 2014 Day Planners are here and they're cute! Such an exciting day!


A few details:
  • 5.5"x8.5" (half a lettersheet size), spiral-bound
  • Laminated front and back cover
  • Weekly spreads with monthly spreads at the start of every month
  • Room for lists/notes every week
  • Lots of notes pages in the back



We decided on $22 with shipping included. If you're local to Memphis and you would rather try to coordinate pickup with me or Martha, select the $18 option and we can set that up. Purchase them through PayPal at the bottom of this post, or on my new Shop page.

Many thanks to Laura Stephens for the beautiful cover design, and Atomic Graphics who does all of our printing locally. Great folks, all of em!



2014 Planner

New Template

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

If you're not reading in feedly or somewhere, you may have noticed I have a new blog design. Super exciting! I'm still tweaking it and playing around with things -- generally trying to clean things up (and having a pretty good time with it). It's fun having a couple of pages to work with too. Look around!

Another change is the loss of the name "sharp stick in the eye." In 2007, I told my husband I was going to write a book by that name (about things in life that were better than a sharp stick in the eye, a phrase my mom likes to use), so when it came time to title my blog, I used it (tongue-in-cheek of course). The words are pretty harsh on the eyes (and the imagination for that matter), so I'm going to just simply use my name instead.

Someone filled up a sticker chart and got a sparkle cookie! (#pottytraining)

Stay tuned if you were interested in a planner! Should have a more detailed post very soon.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

10 Degrees and an Announcement (not a baby)

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

It was 10 degrees this morning when I was getting dressed. That's TEN. We live in Memphis. This doesn't really happen here. Like ever. Since it doesn't really happen here, ever, we forgot to leave our faucets dripping last night. No shower for me this morning, oops! With some rogue dry shampoo and hairspray, I tried to salvage yesterday's hair, but this is what we ended up with (uh, until lunch when it became a "top knot").

You like my chins, er, face?


I'm wearing two pairs of socks and basically a blanket slash this lovely scarf from H&M that my sis-in-law Amanda scored for me on sale. It is WARM. And also cute, which is a plus. Uh, props to the people in the Midwest and Northeast, just basically everywhere but SoCal where my brother lives, who are dealing with the polar vortex. Sheesh! and good luck.

IN OTHER NEWS (and this is the "announcement" part):

Martha and I (along with Laura!) designed a planner! Eeeeee!

We're pretty giddy!

(Isn't Laura's cover beautiful? So perfect.)

This idea came to me as I was writing this post last week; we were able to join forces and get it put together pretty quickly. It is nothing very fancy, but our hope is that it will be very functional. It's half of a letter sheet size, so 5.5" wide by 8.5" tall. Spiral bound. The front and back covers are hard laminated (or will be, this is a pic of the proof).

Just layouts of weeks, and then months in between. A good number of notes pages in the back. Nothing complicated. Very simple.
I had this idea because I couldn't find a planner I absolutely loved, and neither could Martha. When we started working on the project and were talking with our friends about it, most of them said they couldn't either, and they'd be interested in having one if we put them together. We got a great price from our printer and so we decided to sell them! They're going to be $18 (no shipping cost if you live in Memphis; not sure exact shipping cost yet for out-of-towners, but I will update as we know).

I will do a post here with some more photos and a PayPal link once they're officially for sale. If you're interested, please let me know, so I can gauge how many we need to get!

A Great Book!

Monday, January 06, 2014

If you're looking for a great book to read, may I suggest one?

I FLEW through Where'd You Go, Bernadette between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'd seen mention of it on the internet somewhere earlier in the year, but my book mentor and friend Leanne recommended it to me as a easy-to-devour, quick read, and she was spot on.

I loved reading a book that took place in Seattle. I don't know much at all about that part of the country (beyond numerous viewings of Sleepless in Seattle, naturally), so I always love reading a book that takes place in a location sort of foreign to me.

Besides that, the book was smartly written, fast-paced, and just interesting. I was totally captivated. A much better-written and more comprehensive review can be read here (thank you, New York Times). And PLEASE, don't miss the American Girl doll dressed up as the book's protagonist on the author's website. LOL, indeed.

I love reading books (I actually have an English degree), but motherhood and iPhones have really done a number on my reading habits. Before having children, I would normally read 30-ish minutes before bedtime, you know, like most people. Nowadays, my habit is (shamefully) mindless social media phone surfing for a few minutes before totally crashing. Yuck! I hope to change that this year.

My husband got me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas (another Leanne recommendation! Holla!), and I can't wait to use it. It's very lightweight, you can use it in the dark, and hold it easily in one hand. I'm finishing up a book I bought on the iPad while we were out of town last month (Wally Lamb's We Are Water), but after that I plan to try out The Goldfinch on zee kindle. Anyone read these?

And there you have it. Happy Monday.

A 2014 Goal

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Happy New Year! Such a fun, non-controversial greeting to offer.

Every year at New Year's, I aim for my big three: doing better with spiritual quiet time, exercise, and meal planning. And every year, largely I fall short. I loved Lauren's take on doing monthly goals, making them more accessible. Need to think on that some more.

In the meantime, something I've been thinking a lot about lately is the focus of this blog. This blog is something I've had for a long time...my whole adult life, really! I have never really spent a ton of time working on a "theme" or regular posts or anything. Especially since having babies, my goal has just been to get here at least once/week (if that!) to share something.

So, I don't really know what upping my game in this category this looks like yet, but I want to work on it. Maybe be a little more vulnerable somehow? I don't know. It's a scary thing, putting your life online... and I want to be wise. It's a fun little hobby, but maybe needs some more direction? We'll see.

In other news, as I usually do, I've waited until after the first of the year to think about what sort of planner I need (or if I even need one). I tried using my phone only one time, and it didn't go over so well. It's synced with my Outlook calendar at work, but sort of hard to look at? Or access really quickly? Do any of you feel that way too?

My old love was the venerable tiny Moleskine weekly planner. And I may go back to it this year...

I had a MayBook this past year, which was cute and all (and I did love the interior layout), but it wasn't strong enough physically to be carried around in my purse 24/7, and I hardly ever pulled it out after oh, September.

Maybe it'll be one of those things like my one-page calendar...I'll end up designing my own planner. Hey, that's not a terrible idea...


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