Marriage Prep in Practice Part 2

Another thing we talked about in our marriage prep meetings was setting goals for our marriage. We talked about the importance of coming up with the goals together and taking time throughout the year to evaluate how we are doing on our goals. The trick is to have concrete goals that can be measured in some way. For example, if the goal is to spend more time together, then a measurable goal would be to set aside one day a week for date night. This way the two of you can evaluate how many Tuesday nights you actually had date night together.

As with any goal setting, I’ve found that when I keep my goals to myself I am more likely to bend the rules or let myself slide a little. When others know about my goals I am held more accountable. So, I want to let you guys in on the marriage goals that Mike and I have so you can help us accomplish them. If somebody doesn’t know your goal they can’t help you reach it, right?

While we were on our honeymoon we spent some time discussing possible goals for our first year of marriage. We talked about what our expectations were and what we wanted to do so we could continue to grow closer. The 9 months of our engagement were a time of exponential growth in our relationship (sorry, I can’t help but geek out with math terms every once in a while) and a big reason for that was the growth in our faith. Thus, we decided to base our goals around our faith. Our first goal is to read a faith-centered marriage book together and our second goal is to become involved in some kind of ministry at Parkview.

Progress on our goals:
We haven’t started reading a book together yet, but we have started talking about what we want to read. If you have any suggestions let us know!
We have also started thinking about what kind of ministry we want to be involved in at Parkview. Doug, one of the pastors who counseled us during our engagement, is starting a new ministry for young adults/recently married couples/grad students that focuses on reaching out to this age group (our age group). He recently told us about his ideas and asked if we would be willing to help him get it started. We’re really excited to be involved and can’t wait to learn more about it! We’re also joining a small group bible study with Scott, the pastor who married us, that will meet once a week to help strengthen our faith.

So, now you know our goals for this year! We would love any encouragement or ideas you may have!

Do you and your husband/wife set goals? If so, what are they? Remember… I can’t help you accomplish them if I don’t know what they are!


XTERRA Trail Run!

This weekend Mike ran his first race ever! Our friend Travis was planning an XTERRA Triathlon at Sugar Bottom in North Liberty and they also had 5k and 10k trail runs. Mike and two friends, Ben & Pat, signed up for the 10k trail run and did an awesome job! Just to be clear… a trial run doesn’t mean running on nice paths through the forest. It was teeny little paths that went up and down and left and right with fallen branches blocking the path and muddy hills at every turn. I walked through some of the path so I could watch his run and I had trouble walking, let alone running! Thus, these photos are taken from the larger path which they crossed over several times. For his first race ever, I would say this was quite an adventure!

Before the race!During the race: (These photos do not do the terrain any justice)





 After the race:

Afterwards everyone took a nice nap, me included 🙂 and then went over to Pat’s to grill out! I made some Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries for dessert. YUM!






That’s all for Saturday! What did you do this weekend?

Shopping & RAGBRAI

When I was younger my mom and I would go shopping in August for my birthday and for back to school clothes. We usually made a trip to Minneapolis or Chicago and would spend the weekend there. Sometimes it was just the two of us, sometimes friends came along, but I always looked forward to it! Last year my mom and I restarted this tradition and this year today was the day! We headed to Des Moines this time and only spent the day but it was still great to spend time together, catch up, and of course SHOP! This summer has been crazy with a wedding, honeymoon, and cabin trips so it was nice to spend time together just chatting in the car. I’m also super stoked about these new kicks! Hopefully they’ll help with this!

After we spent all our money in Des Moines my mom dropped me off and Mike and I headed to Coralville because RAGBRAI was in town tonight! It was crazy to see all the people and bikes and tents. Touring the park was good motivation for us to hopefully one day cross RAGBRAI off our list. As for this year, our RAGBRAI experience involved getting lost in the sea of tents and eating a delicious burrito!

An experiment with leftovers!

Some of the easiest treats to make are those delectable little pretzel-rolo-pecan snacks. I don’t know what they’re called but when I Googled “pretzel rolo pecan” I found several different names including “Rolo Turtles,” “Pretzel Turtles,” “Rolo Pretzel Turtles,” and “Rolo Pecan Caramel Candies.” You can choose whichever one you like best. Anyway, I had made some of these a couple of weeks ago to take on a “camping” trip with the Whitts and I had some leftover pretzels and pecans. When Mike told me he has some friends coming into town this weekend and we’ll be grilling out I thought “perfect! I’ll make some Rolo Turtles (or whatever you want to call them) to take along and use up the rest of those pretzels and pecans.”

So, I had 2 of the 3 ingredients I needed. I was only missing the Rolos. I was headed to the grocery store anyway, so I could have bought some Rolos, but I was feeling a little cheap, stubborn and adventurous. We have a giant Ziploc bag of candy that we have accumulated and never eat. I dove into the bag and came out with a nice assortment of chocolates: Snickers, Milky Way, Twix, Milky Way Dark, Riesen, Reese’s Eggs (yes, they’re from Easter), and even a couple Rolos. I decided with this mix of chocolates I would give it a shot!

I cut some of the bigger pieces in half and plopped them on the pretzels. From left to right we have the Rolos, Milky Way, Milky Way Dark, Snickers, Twix, Riesen and finally the glorious Reese’s Eggs.

I popped them in the oven for 5 minutes, then smushed the pecans on top and threw them in the fridge to cool while I waited… waited… and waited for my official taste tester to get home.

Alas, he arrived and we conducted an official tasting.
Here are the results:
Milky Way Dark: pretty good, just as good as a Rolo
Riesen: not great, too chewy
Reese’s: thumbs up!

Twix: a little dry since it already has the wafer inside
Snickers: decent, I was hoping for better
Riesen: gross, weird flavor
Reese’s: not bad, better than I expected considering there is no caramel

Final Verdict:
Mike: “The Reese’s is legit!”
As for me, eh, I’ll stick with the Rolos.

So there ya have it. Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of any of the new ones I’m still planning on having Mike’s friends give them a try. 🙂

Any other thoughts on how we can utilize our giant bag of candy???

Lunch date & a Den pop!

Today Mike and I had a lunch date! It was the first time all summer that our schedules matched up so we could meet downtown for lunch. Usually my extraordinary signing kids up for swimming lessons skills are needed at the Mercer Park Aquatic Center on the east side of Iowa City. Mike finished class on campus around lunch time and eats his lunch in the car on the way to Camp Coralville. Thus, there isn’t much time for a lunch date nor are we on the same side of town. Well it just so happened that Mike had the day off from Camp Coralville today so he was finishing up class around lunchtime. It also just so happened that my extraordinary signing kids up for swimming lessons skills were needed at the downtown recreation center today giving us the perfect opportunity for lunch!

We’ve been wanting to try some of the Indian restaurants in Iowa City so we decided to give one a shot today. The India Cafe did not disappoint! My favorite was the vegetable curry and Mike enjoyed the tandoori chicken while daydreaming about his former boss from Thomson Reuters who introduced him to Indian food.

After our bellies were full I headed back to work and Mike went home to type a paper. However, before he left, being the gentleman that he is, he decided to treat me to a Den pop. It seriously made my day! Not only is it great to have some fountain pop (actually I usually get iced tea) to get you through the afternoon, but at these prices it’s even better!  It’s sort of like the “I’m getting away with something sneaky” feeling you get when you buy something really awesome and it’s on sale AND you have a coupon… except this is always the price of Den pops! Seriously?! A quarter for a 24 oz! Yes please!

With this little treat at my desk you better believe I was signing kids up for swimming lessons with a giant smile on my face! Sometimes the littlest things make my day. Thanks, Mike!

Efficiencies to the extreme!

I’ve recently been noticing my need for things to be efficient. It’s not just that I try to take the most direct route from home to work, or try to choose the fastest line at the grocery store (although I do take those two things unnecessarily seriously), I’ve noticed myself taking the need for efficiency to extremes.

Road in the UAE.

Image via Wikipedia

Driving is an obvious example. I’ll spend more time trying to find the most efficient way to run all my errands than it would take to run the errands inefficiently. I get to the point where I even determine which lane is most efficient based on the number of turning lanes available and amount of times I would need to switch lanes to reach my destination.

If you’re starting to think I’m crazy, keep reading.


Image by heathervescent via Flickr

When I’m at the grocery store I try to make my path the most efficient, only turning down aisles I’m certain contain the items I need and keeping a close eye on the meat counter so I can stop there when there are no lines. Heaven forbid I stand still for 30 seconds while someone else orders their chicken breast. If there’s a breach in my system and I realize I forgot to get the blueberries I need for the muffins I plan to make and have to go all the way back to the produce section… you better believe my list will be better organized next time so we can avoid this catastrophic loss of a minute. After picking up those forgotten blueberries and selecting the fastest check-out lane I watch the cashier intently and look for inefficiencies in his/her process.

Am I getting crazier? Don’t worry, there’s more.

Toast, toasted

Image via Wikipedia

My journey for efficiency doesn’t stop with running errands. It’s a non-stop battle in my head. Having toast for breakfast? Quick! Put the bread in the toaster. That’s the part that takes the longest. Then you can put the bread away while it’s toasting. Wait, don’t get the butter yet because the plates are above the bread basket it’s best to get out a plate first and then go to refrigerator to get the butter. After that, circle back towards the toaster where you can get the knife to spread the butter and you’ll be standing right next to the toaster when the toast is done. No precious time wasted or excess steps taken. (Keep in mind, our kitchen is TINY. It’s about 2 whole steps from the toaster to the refrigerator.)

There are endless examples of these games in my head. You may be wondering, “Sara, why are you in such a hurry?” And the answer is… I’m not. I’m typically not in a hurry when I’m doing these things which is what makes it all so puzzling to me! If I was in a hurry then the need for efficiency would make sense!

The funny thing is, I’m not stopping and purposefully thinking of the best way to make toast in the morning, it just sort of happens subconsciously. In fact, I just took a break from writing this post and made some shrimp for dinner and was determining the best way to take the tails off the shrimp. (Hold the shrimp in the right hand and pull the tails with the left, or vice versa?) Completely unnecessary and not something I was actively wanting to streamline. My mind just takes off and makes me more efficient.

I suppose this is a good thing, so I don’t want to complain, but sometimes I just want to clear my mind and go to the grocery store without the stress of being insanely efficient. While I do appreciate the time my efficiency saves me, I also find myself comically annoyed with myself.

So now that you all think I’m a nut, are there any weird habits you have?

Looking for more than reality tv

I’m a little late posting tonight because President Obama interruped the Bachelorette and messed up my whole schedule for the night. Speaking of the Bachelorette, Mike and I recently realized that every television show we currently watch is a reality show. Here’s our weekly rundown:

Sunday: Food Network Star. I’m thinking Susie’s going to win this season. Mike’s vote is for Vic Vegas. Stay tuned!

Monday: Bachelorette. duh. I’ve been rooting for J.P. all season but am starting to like Ben after this week. The “Dudes tell all” episode is next Sunday – get excited for some drama!

Wednesday: The Challenge: Rivals. This show is too ridiculus to even attempt to pick a winner, but quite entertaining!

Also, I saw a commercial for the next season of The Bachelor Pad! Can’t wait! The return of Jake & Vienna!

Anyway, upon realizing that all we watch is reality tv (with the exception of Modern Family,but there aren’t any new episodes on right now) we decided we’re in need of a drama series. For the last few years we’ve been obsessed with Dexter. Season 5 comes out on DVD at the end of August and we can’t wait! (We don’t get HBO so we’re resigned to waiting until it comes out on DVD) 

So, we’re looking for something new. Any suggestions of a good drama series we should start watching? Help!