Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Category: Reasons I love my life (page 1 of 2)

Seasons of Troy

1A word of advice: Take pictures. Take pictures, take pictures, take pictures. And not just pictures of kids in their jammies at Christmas – those go okay in a high school scrapbook, but they don’t tell the story.  If you don’t start snapping, before you know it, you’ve decided to leave the primary place your children have formed meaningful relationships and you don’t have a darn tootin’ picture of them giving their friend a hug or playing out in the yard. You don’t see their goofy grins eating popsicles with the neighbors (heck, you don’t even have a picture OF the neighbors) or listening to a lesson at church. There’s no visual record of their evenings spent at small group with kaboodles of children, begging for a snack and watching a movie.

My photographic log of our time in Troy looks pithy at best. I may have logged plenty of pictures of the baby wearing the girls’ dresses at home, but it’s not a what we’ll remember most about our time here. We take with 5us the sunny days at the park after school pick up. The games, and even injuries, of the playground. The million and two margaritas from La Fiesta on a much-needed girls night.

I’ve spent some time in our other vehicle, where I keep my RENT soundtrack, listening to “the number song” as the children call it. I had a significant conversation with H Boy about it when he asked what they were singing about. Of course, I teared up when I explained that the best way to know if we’re living a good life is to look at how many people you love and how much you love them.

Looking back now at our time in Troy, I could look at the hours I spent at meetings for a local foods co-op or the people who reinforced my belief that closer is better. I could track the board meetings or the people who shaped me to be more like Jesus. I could 2give thanks for an organization that values childhood in education or I can remember the teachers who shaped my children and the parents of other children who cherished mine as well.

And so, dear reader friend, take more pictures. Take pictures of the people you love and take pictures of you living life with them. Give yourself a true measuring stick of the way you spend your days and years instead of depending on Facebook for a collage of beloved friends. Four years can go by so quickly when they’re filled with people, not simply minutes and hours.

Seasons of Troy

Two million, one hundred and two thousand, four hundred minutes
Two million, one hundred and two thousand, four hundred moments so dear
Two million, one hundred and two thousand, four hundred minutes
4How do you measure, measure four years?

In pick ups,  In drop offs
In wine nights,  In cups of coffee
In inches the kids grew, in laughter, in strife
Two million, one hundred and two thousand, four hundred minutes
How do you measure four years of your life?

How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love.

Two million, one hundred and two thousand, four hundred minutes
Two million, one hundred and two thousand, four hundred picnics to plan

3Two million, one hundred and two thousand, four hundred minutes
How do you measure four years of this woman and man?

In truths that she learned
In times that they cried
In campfires he burned
Or the recipes she tried

It’s time now, to sing out
Though the story never ends
Let’s celebrate
Remember four years of life with new friends

Remember the love
(Oh, you got to, you got to remember the love)

Remember the love
(You know that life is a gift from up above)
Remember the love
(Share love, give love, spread love)
Measure in love
(Measure, measure your life in love)

Seasons of love
Seasons of love
(Measure your life, measure your life in love)


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several successes of a Saturday

In terms of the 940 Saturdays we’re alotted, today ranks a high success rate. Not just because we had some epic adventure to a new place or activity, but because it was glorious to just be normal again. After several consecutive weekends of being gone for this and that, it was settling to be home. 

We made a trip downtown for the local Strawberry Festival. It’s kind of a big deal. We tasted on the notorious doughnuts, tried some strawberry salsa (I recommend) and ate a bite from local vendors, wrapping up with a strawberry pizza. 
Come noon o’clock we took a nap. Every single one of us. And not just a quick 10-minute power nap; I woke up with drool on the pillow, a sure sign of success. 
I started preparations for an attempt to recreate a dish I had at the Greek restaurant in Findlay (I can’t recall the name. It’s downtown. The only one. Go there. Delicious.) while JJ put together Miss M’s new-to-her big girl bed and we did some musical cribs so that Baby C can’t crawl out of hers (I know. Parents of the year right here). 
After dinner our credit card saw Meijer for the third time in 3 days as I wasn’t made aware that dog food should be on the list. So Miss M and I made the bed and sorted clothes for the attic (someday I’ll do a photo gallery of our attic storage and the tubs upon tubs of clothing. It’s sad, really). We jammied up, watched a brief stint of Puss in Boots (but not the funny one) and off to bed. 
Successful day. 
But not nearly as successful as my “greek nachos”. This dish was originally called something like “Hal’s special” at the Findlay place (sorry, kind sir, for completely forgetting your name. But your special sure is special). And because My Pal Hal (or whatever his name might be) didn’t provide a recipe, I retained rights to name it what I’d like: Greek Nachos. 
Here we go, my first ever recipe post. WITH PICTURES. I told you, uber-successful day. Don’t get too impressed. You won’t see my whisk – only the final result. Which may or may not be an open can in at least one example. 
First, the tzatziki sauce. If you ask me, the star of the dish. I used a food.com recipe and selected based upon the number of cucumbers required. (I didn’t have fresh dill but saw on another recipe that 1/4 tsp dried was used and I thought it came out about right). I even followed the steps to “salt” the cuke – it was a no-shortcuts kind of day. I let it chill for several hours. Creamy and refreshing. 
Next, the chicken. I went with a basic souvlaki recipe, knownst only to me thanks to my days at the Pita Pit. By “days at the Pita Pit” I mean, every Friday in college when I would treat myself to a souvlaki (complete with tzatziki sauce) before PGIF. Confession: I chose souvlaki on those Fridays because it was a quarter cheaper than the other kind of chicken. 
This time I went with a Taste of Home recipe. Why? I have no idea. But it worked. And because the tzatziki is already in the fridge with a recipe requiring only one cucumber, you only need to pay attention to the first 5 ingredients and the first step. I used chicken breast that were “cut thin” from Meijer because they were the ones 20% off and I didn’t have time to run to the meat shop. But the thin cutting turned out to be a good thing. 
When I returned to the kitchen to actually put the meal together, I started with the potatoes. The potatoes are actually the genius of the dish. You pile high the toppings on potatoes. You know what potatoes are? GRAIN FREE. Winner winner… So I simply cut them thin and put them on a cookie sheet with olive oil and baked them at 400 until they browned and crisped up. HINT: parchment paper. It solves every sticky-oven problem you’ll ever have, including when potatoes stick to the pan, no matter how much oil you soak them in. I only had enough for one pan with parchment paper, so I considered it an experience. Parchment won. In any case, the tates turned out beautiful. JJ’s only suggestion: 4 potatoes aren’t quite enough for our crew. 
Now the busy work. Get the chicken out of the fridge and toss everything (including marinate) in a large frying pan. I use stainless steal and this type of sauteeing is one place I don’t go to my cast iron. 
Admission: the reason I’m sharing this recipe lies in my chicken success this evening. Previous to this, my “sauteed” chicken turned out white and bland. Blah. I couldn’t figure out how the professionals got it browned and not gross textured. 
So after the juices ran clear, I poured out all the liquid and cranked the heat. OK, it was at “7”, but that’s high for this girl. I fiiiiiiinally got a nice browning on the outsides without it drying out. Also, as soon as I cranked the heat, I used the spatula to chop up the pieces even smaller. I’m not sure why – call it instinct – but I liked the results. 
While the chicken was going, I sauteed half an onion and a red pepper, both chopped, in a small pan until soft. 
And now, we layer. 
Potatoes, then chicken, then peppers and onions. Then a nice, thick layer of feta. 
(This is my $86.00 container of feta cheese. I went in for feta and came out with slightly more than that. I hate big box stores.)
Then the olives – thanks KLR for the suggestion
Add a few dollops of the tzatziki (plus more your plate to dip). 
And not to leave you hanging about the whole musical furniture escapade: 
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what a glorious day, today (glor-i-ous.day.)

When the day started so swell, I had no idea it would end even better. Allow me to recap in list form. 

1. The best parenting advice my sister has ever offered was not to change the clock, but change the kids. So instead of their wintertime 7pm – 7am sleeping (yes, they sleep a lot. And yes, they nap), starting on Sunday we went to an 8-8 setup. Like. A. Charm. I imagine that as time progresses and daylight invades, we might creep into the pre-8 hour, but so far it’s a good gig. 
2. We were dressed, packed and out the door with little-to-no whining. No small feat, especially with the oldest’s inclinations. 
3. I actually accomplished work. Inbox weeded down (I’m slightly anal-retentive about keeping 5 emails, max, all action-required, in my email), phone interviews reviewed and even some resumes rated. Not to mention some very successful calls with the client partners. 
4. Afternoon run in the beautiful sun. I was apprehensive as I was sick last Friday and have been fighting a sinus infection for about 32 years, but it really was the best thing for me. 
5. While on said run, I saw a phenomenally large moving truck down a street of houses much too small to contain such goods. I saw a young mom and 2 kids in the driveway filled with boxes, so I stopped to greet them to the neighborhood (I’m trying to learn how to be a good neighbor). Turns out they’ve been here a while, but her folks are moving to the area and they’ve been delegated the holding tank. But she was exceptionally friendly, a SAHM with 2. We talked sitters, because that’s my recent angst, and though she didn’t know of any she offered to be available if I’m ever in a pinch. We even talked playdate sometime. She has no idea she’s now an unknowing friend victim. MUHAHA. 
6.  Naptime involved all 3, simultaneously. Which gave me time to chat with the BFF and get dinner marinading, involving another batch of homemade ranch dressing. 
7. Hubby was home early and the whole family went out back to tidy up and enjoy the sun. Not to mention grill dinner (kabobs). 
8. Got a text from the papa with a positive message from a potential buyer. FINGERS CROSSED. 
9. An evening walk with the older 2 and the blond dog led to another neighborly chat, this time a mom of a little girl slightly younger than Miss M. Very friendly. Again we talked sitters (is that all moms do? She brought it up before I had a chance!) but she takes her little one with her to Centerville where she works. She must be exploring her options. 
10. Thanks to the pushed back bedtime we got jammied up, had an apple snack and read books til bedtime. And guess how much pre-bed whining there was? Nearly zero. Truly, it’s the quality time they crave when they’re fighting us at night. Our preemptive strategies work so much better than threats or bribes. 
Look at that! A nice, round top 10 list. I’ll stop there before the jealousy overcomes you. I hope your tomorrow is as good as my today! 
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