Category Archives: Uncategorized

Have Courage & Be KIND

This is going to be short, sweet, and to the point. One of my favorite movie quotes is actually from the 2015 Cinderella movie, as cheesy as that sounds. I love its goodness and its positivity. I love its message in a world of negativity. The world needs more kindness and less debate and division.

We all have different opinions. We all have different beliefs. But at the end of the day, we are all human beings.

Right now it seems like many people have courage, but are leaving kindness by the wayside.

So take a cheesy Disney character’s advice:

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May we have the courage to be kind in spite of our differences.

 

 

 

Curried Lentil Soup E-Meal

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 LB bag of lentils
  • Diced carrots
  • Sauteed yellow onion
  • Halved Cherry Tomatoes
  • Kale
  • Chicken and Beef Bouillon
  • Water
  • 1-2 TBS Olive Oil
  • Minced garlic
  • Garlic Powder
  • Garam Masala
  • Curry
  • Turmeric
  • Salt
  • Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Saute the onions in olive oil.
  2. Once the onions have softened, add the lentils and garlic.
  3. Add water and carrots and bring to a boil. (It helps to microwave the carrots for a little while first to speed up the softening process; select how long to microwave depending on your microwave’s strength.)
  4. Once the water is boiling, add the bouillon cubes. I use 6-8 cubes per large pot.
  5. Add the spices to taste; it takes a lot of curry powder and turmeric for my preference.
  6. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

NOTES:

  • I prefer eating soups the next day because I think the flavors settle better. I usually try to prepare soups a day ahead, but when you eat it the same day, it tastes great too.
  • I often eat this as a stand-alone soup or serve it over parboiled or brown rice.
  • THM E-Meal

Chicken, Rice, & Kale Soup E-Meal

INGREDIENTS

  • Chicken stock or bouillon
  • Water
  • Pulled rotisserie chicken
  • Pre-prepared parboiled rice
  • Boiled Carrots
  • Sauteed onions (if desired)
  • Fresh kale
  • Salt
  • Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large pot, bring the chicken stock or bouillon to a boil; add water. Notice I didn’t put the amount because to be perfectly transparent, I use what I have on hand and then add water to make up the difference. I prefer a 1:1 ratio of chicken stock to water.
  2. Throw in the chicken, rice, boiled carrots, sauteed onions, and kale.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Let the soup simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Serve!

NOTES

  • I prefer eating soups the next day because I think the flavors settle better. I usually try to prepare soups a day ahead, but when you eat it the same day, it tastes great too.
  • Whenever I have leftover rice, I throw whatever isn’t eaten into the freezer for this type of cooking situation.
  • THM E-meal

 

Greek Chicken Salad a La Kale S-Meal

INGREDIENTSimg_5977

  • Kale
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Pulled rotisserie chicken breast
  • Feta Cheese
  • Halved Cherry Tomatoes
  • Diced Red Onion
  • Diced Cucumbers
  • Kalamata Olives (not on my salad!)
  • Sliced Almonds (if desired)
  • Salt
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive or coconut oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Greek Yogurt Tzatziki

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Prepare the vegetables by dicing the onion, slicing the tomatoes, and washing and drying the lettuce (I use a salad spinner).
  2. Mix the lettuce and kale (bag from Costco or Walmart) in a large mixing bowl; pretend you’re at Zupas for extra fun…
  3. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste; I prefer a hearty amount for this one. Mix well until the lettuce and kale is covered.
  4. Next, place the lettuce and kale into your separate, single serving salad bowls; I learned this from my mother and grandmother. Because we like a heavy helping of all the salad toppings, we don’t mix them into the large mixing bowl with the lettuce/kale base; if I were to do that the best part of the salad would sink to the bottom and then you only get a good salad if your serving is plated last. (I call that the Olive Garden effect.)
  5. Add the chicken and squeeze lemon juice on top of it.
  6. Throw the tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, almonds, and feta onto the salad. Feta goes last because when you see feta, your brain gets excited! It needs to be the cherry on top in the Greek salad world.
  7. Sprinkle salt.
  8. Last, plop a dollop of Greek Yogurt Tzatiki on the top.

Note: S-Meal

 

 

 

Life Has Hit Us: In a Good Way of Course

Eight months or something like that. Eight months since I last posted.

This feels like my journals from when I was 8 years old. I would make a commitment to write in my journal every day with entries such as “we played dodge ball today in P.E. (the rest of the page blank) or “we had art today (the rest of the page blank). I would write for two to three days, and then the next page would say, “it’s been a year again since I wrote, but I’m really going to do it this time. Today we played dodge ball” (the rest of the page blank). I really liked dodge ball apparently.

Well, I make no commitment to write every day at this point. Not even every week. Not even every month. But I will tell you what the Plants have been doing the last while.

We’ve been on an adventure called The First Year as Parents: Mixed with Teaching, Away Rotations, and Lots of Driving To See Each Other.

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There has been The Office, books, and family to keep me company; for Parker, medical school interviews, which means lots of flying and a new hospital every four weeks.  He is loving Pediatrics! Meanwhile, Elsie is loving her teachers at daycare and is growing at what seems like lightning speed.

There have been diapers and baby food and learning to crawl and first words (more like sounds), and right now, she is pulling up and I’d wager walking within a month.

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She loves bath time and swinging. She swung for an hour on Election day, even starting to nod off once she was sleepy. So stinking cute!

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Last night she exerted her independent streak already by only eating on the condition she be allowed to feed herself.  When I would bring the spoon of pumpkin (trying to be festive here…), she would clamp her mouth tight and furrow her brow. “Yogurt bites or bust, thank you very much.”

This reads like a Christmas card or letter, but no matter. I wanted to write (for catharsis) and say we’re here! Trucking along. Both of us are counting down to Christmas because for one, who doesn’t love Christmas? And two, life will normalize a little and we can go back to living in the same spot, taking out one of the crazy variables.

I am so grateful for family and for the opportunities God blesses us with. Sometimes when life seems this hectic, we have to take it one day at a time, sometimes even one hour at a time, simplifying as best we can and prioritizing what matters most.  God has been taking care of us. The last few months have shown us that we really are in His hands.  On Instagram, I saw a quote which said, “the Savior has promised angels are on our left and on our right to bear us up, and he always keeps his word” (Eyring). That has definitely been true for us. We have had living angels and probably others helping us along.

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Just two weeks until Thanksgiving! “Just keep swimming.”

XoXo,

The Plants

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Newborn Photo Session!

These are long overdue! Elsie was under two months old when my friend at Tara Rhodes Photography took her newborn pictures the weekend of her baby blessing. Since I went back to work the following day, it’s been one learning curve of balancing work, home, and mom. I haven’t found time to post these here, but since school is out in a week, I was able to carve a little time tonight.

We love these pictures and are excited to share them finally! Thank you Tara for your beautiful work!

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We love our little girl! She’s growing like crazy! Just wait until our next post. Tomorrow she will be 4 months old. Thanks again Tara!

 

 

Expecting a Little One…After the New Year

In the words of my students:

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“How you doin’ there prego?”

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“So wait, is your baby kinda like a tapeworm?” (I had made the statement that the baby was hungry.)

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“Gator Baby! I’m going to buy a Florida Gator outfit and your baby will have to wear it.” (I think not! I’d like to see Parker’s reaction to that though.)

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“Man, you look like you’re about to pop!”

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And Wa-la! The baby belly is still there in color!

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Or in my words, “Come on; walk faster.  You’re letting a pregnant lady beat you” (in the hallways).

It is funny how in literally the last week, I have been getting looks of surprise and then hesitant questions of “when are you due again?”  It’s getting close and we are excited for our little gift who will definitely keep us up at night and who will probably be a chunker; she’s already measuring big apparently.

I post these pictures for the family and friends who live far away and hope you enjoy them!

Thank you to Tara Rhodes at Winding Rhodes Photography for taking them for us! We are excited to have captured the moment.

Love,

Sarah & Parker

Friends, Family, Food, & Football

It’s Football Time in Tennessee (and South Carolina)!

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“I wasn’t born in the south, but I got here as quick as I could” (Parker, in his medical school interview).
Alma Maters
Alma Maters

My medium news for the day in Young Women’s was that I watched three football games yesterday; I would have been happy with one since that’s my threshold. However, being early in the season, we of course had to watch Tennessee and Utah and BYU and USC and Clemson.  I loved hanging out with friends throughout the day.  And thanks to the women at church, I got my crafting on! They were brilliant with their designs, and I happily borrowed them.

 

I made this with the intention of taking it to work, where I spend a lot of time anyways, but it's so cute, it may not make it there.
I made this with the intention of taking it to work, where I spend a lot of time anyways, but it’s so cute, it may not make it there.
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Ditto

Last weekend though was just right! Our friends Adam and Crystal flew in from Utah to visit.  We had so much fun showing them around.  So much that it took me three full days of being at work to actually get back into gear.  I worked up the energy to look presentable for work by Friday morning…just in time for the weekend.  Oops.

The Smokies!
The Smokies!

We did so many fun things!

Dinner at Mac’s, our favorite BBQ joint in Greenville, with a walk along Reedy River Falls.

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Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN, complete with kettlecorn, roller coasters, and the American Bald Eagle show.

 

Dollywood!
Dollywood
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This woman is 60, and she still rides roller coasters! Go Mom!

The Tennessee vs. Utah State football game (sorry Crystal).

Three UT fans, One Aggie
Three UT fans, One Aggie
Party of two, missing one Colbster.
Party of two, missing one Colbster.

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Boating and Jet-skiing at Douglas lake.

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Eating without stop at every opportunity (we’re paying now for it…)

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The Devil
The Devil

 

Parker and I have been so blessed with our friendships.  He and I often talk about our belief that not only can family relationships extend beyond this life, but also our relationships with our friends.  We have so many friends who are more like family, be it from childhood, college, and those we are developing now in South Carolina.

I really believe that God places people and opportunities into our lives.  We just have to look and be open to the blessings.

The Airport of Lit-up Screens

Dear Travelers,

These are some shots from the New York Laguardia Airport.

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Not to be too anti-technology, but really New York? I love my iPhone; don’t get me wrong, but what happened to waiting at the airport gate with a book?

Since when did restaurant dinner tables need tablets? Even of you’re traveling alone, meet someone new!

This City of Lights has an Airport of Lit-up Screens.

Regardless, I would love to visit NYC again; this isn’t our final destination–just a pit stop. 🙂

Bring on Broadway, Times Square, Ellis Island, and museums galore! I’d love it.

We got to fly over the city during our descent. You can even see the giant advertising screens of Times Square from the sky.

I heart NY–just for an hour.

Love,
Sarah

Hi World! We’re Not Gardeners…

Dear world!

I’m not a gardener; and my husband’s not a botanist.  But we are Plants nonetheless! People plants.  You may see some pictures of plants and some of our life adventures, but for now you’ll have to look elsewhere for gardening advice; I don’t garden right now.

Here’s Parker.

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photo 1

Here’s me.

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Here’s us together.

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photo 2

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These are our future children.

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This will be our dog, Echo.

Husky Puppy

And our cat, Ronald.

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Some of that may not pan out like we dream, but it’s what we talk about for now!

 

Love,

Sarah and Parker