Today I want to talk about taking time for me....and you. Do you have activities or hobbies that you do to keep yourself feeling like yourself? Does that make sense? I feel like most of the time my identity is wrapped up in either "Mama" or "Sweetie" (fun fact: the only time Will ever calls me Chelsey is when he's mad at me!). I pack lunches, I put hair up, I find pacifiers, I read books, I find blankies and shoes and socks and pants and shirts, I fix snacks, I make meals, I kiss boo-boos, I rock, I sing, I teach, I answer questions, I throw balls, I oversee homework, I kiss goodnight. While I love doing every single one of those things, and sometimes they're as much for me as they are for the other person, a lot of the time, they're done for the benefit of someone else. And again, I'm more than happy to do all of those things. But in that day-to-day juggle of stuff, sometimes I feel like I lose myself. I lose sight of the things that are still important to me and that I still want to spend time doing. So recently I decided to get involved in some things where I could just be Chelsey. (Dana did a post similar to this back in January - check it out if you missed it!)
(I just re-read that last paragraph and actually cringed at the number of times I wrote the word "me" or "I" or "myself." I sometimes think that as women, we're programmed to feel selfish if we think of ourselves ahead of anyone else. But it's so amazing how much better I'm able to care for everyone else when I take a little time to do something for me. Do you agree?)
And last, I signed up for a knitting class at our local shop. I found the most adorable sweater pattern for Annabel...but needed to learn how to knit a sweater! So for two hours, one night a week, I head downtown to the shop and sit around a table with five other women, and we knit. We ask questions, we laugh, we learn, and we have a great time. I so look forward to this time each week. And my sweater's coming along nicely, don't you think?
I know I've already posted that picture above on a recent Photo Friday, but in addition to the things listed above, I'm considering setting a date with myself every Friday morning - early early - to head to Urban Farmhouse and pick up one of those chocolate croissants and some coffee. I still can't stop thinking about it. Food perfection.
All of these things combined only take up about 7-8 hours a week, but my goodness, they are so good for my attitude and general happiness. Remembering who I am and what I want for my life and taking the time to do things for me really helps me to take care of my family. I find I have a LOT more patience and am a lot more FUN when I'm relaxed and feeling like myself.
And since I'm working on getting in shape, I'm trying to be a little more careful about what I eat. I downloaded "My Fitness Pal" on my iPhone to keep track of my food/water/exercise during the day and am really loving it so far. Those recipes in Outside Magazine that I wrote about on Monday are all low-cal (and all delicious!) so they'll be added into our food routine around here. If you have a chance this weekend, give these a try:
Frozen Banana Bonbons
Adapted from recipe by Mark Bittman in Outside Magazine
8 oz good-quality dark chocolate chopped into small pieces
4 bananas, peeled and sliced into chunks
Note: The original recipe for this is long and involves a candy thermometer (which I don't have and probably wouldn't have used if I did have one). Instead of heating the chocolate to a certain temperature, here's what I did:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and line up sliced bananas on top. Melt chocolate in a double-boiler and then drizzle over the bananas. Once the chocolate dries, pop them into the freezer to set, then transfer to an air-tight container. Enjoy!
Serving size: four bananas
Also worth noting: If your teeth are cold-sensitive, these might not be for you. Instead, try making a smaller batch but don't freeze them. Let the chocolate set and eat them right away. Perfect snack for kids!
Black Bean Tacos with Tangy Cabbage
Recipe by Mark Bittman in Outside Magazine
3 TBSP olive oil
8 six-inch corn or whole-wheat tortillas
2 cups cooked or canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 TBSP chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
4 cups shredded green cabbage
1 chopped red bell pepper
1 fresh hot green chile (jalapeno or serrano), minced
1/4 cup chopped scallions
juice of two limes
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Stack the tortillas and wrap them in aluminum foil. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with 1 TBSP oil. Combine the beans, garlic, chili powder, cumin, half the salt, and some pepper in a bowl. Mash the mixture with a fork; it should still be chunky. Spread the bean mixture out on the prepared pan, drizzle with another TBSP oil and roast, stirring a few times, until the beans are crumbly and crisp in places, 15-20 minutes. Transfer the tortillas to the oven with the beans for their last five minutes of cooking.
Meanwhile, put the cabbage, bell pepper, chile, scallions, lime juice, cilantro, remaining oil and salt, and some pepper in a large bowl and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning. Divide the beans among the warm tortillas; top with the cabbage mixture and serve.
Notes: Around here, we like to pair sweet and salty whenever possible, so we added diced mango to these tacos. Yum.
Serving size: 2 tacos
Hope you'll give these recipes a try, and don't forget to DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF TODAY!