The mad method to my baking

I’ve taken up a challenge to improve my cooking/baking skills. It’s more complicated than I originally thought. I’m not one to follow instruction well. In fact my motto in the kitchen is, “let’s just see what happens”, followed by fire, smoke and an “oh no, that can’t be right”. I’m not talking about your Pinterest recipes either. I’m talking about boxed Mac and cheese. I have a new oven. It’s changed me. I feel that I need to honor it and give it a good life. The other oven was somewhat of a slut and smelled like tomato sauce seared into an over done apple pie. This new oven in different. Loyal. I need to respect this baby.

Following those canned instructions like a pro

I wanted to up my game so I started using recipes from scratch. I don’t understand most of the baking lingo. It’s like a foreign language to me. YouTube has become my shadow. Sifting, soften, kneading, beating… come on recipe makers, I don’t know what the crap those things mean when baking! It sounds like I’m reading a romance novel. I had to google every one of those terms. I even moved a tv into the kitchen so I didn’t have to keep taking a timeout to figure out the meaning.

The madness… painting and baking with a tv in the kitchen. I love it.

I finally made my first batch of cookies from scratch. It was messy, sticky, and terrifying. But it was better than any store bought cookie I had tasted before. Does everyone know that these homemade foods are this good? I’ve thought about opening a bakery with these cookie skills! Of course I will have to substitute that crisco shortening stuff in all my recipes. I almost used it… almost. Until I saw the warning label on the back in bright red letters. Fire warning. Major fire warning. It even goes into detail on what to do when the stuff sets fire… oh heck no. I catch non flammable stuff on fire, no way I can take a chance on something that requires a warning label.

I’ve read that the energy you use when cooking/baking transfers into the food you are making. I guess that’s why people say, “made with love”. I wanted good energy in my food so I set out on an adventure to dress my body in something that would make me feel the best. I found this 1970s style wedding gown at the local goodwill. I go there and try on the old creepy dresses sometimes. Don’t judge me. You have your hobbies and I have mine. Anyways, this dress has the biggest puff sleeves I’ve ever seen. I felt like a princess. The back wouldn’t zip all the way up which ticked me off. Who the heck in this town is skinnier than me? I love this dang dress so I’ll just have to buy a corset to squeeze my spine into it.

There is nothing better than baking cookies in an old wedding dress. Swishing around like a mad woman, praying the fire department isn’t called later so you don’t have to explain your attire… it’s risky business. These cookies will be made with energy that you’ve never tasted before. Just when I think I’ve found the ultimate happiness I get a random Snapchat from a guy, a selfie. I’m like eh? I don’t have time for this silliness. I can’t respond right now. I don’t even know how to respond. I can’t send you a snap back of what I’m currently wearing, that would send the wrong message.

Since when did we revert back to the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics form of communication anyways? You are much more likely to grab my attention with a phone call. I felt it was safest to ignore. I do have good judgement some of the time. I only use the snap to convert my voice into something hilarious anyways. I may be 31 years old but I laugh everytime my voice and face gets altered by that app. My baking that night was a job well done. I am still munching on the goodness made with that unique energy. I’m planning to bake something similar for the ladies at work, they need a conversion of energy anyways. There’s bad energy “sifting” around. See what I did there 😉

Winter is coming, Scrooge this!

It was a cold winter morning, except it was fall. I had cracked the front door to spy on the yard. A thin blanket of snow snuggled the grass into the dirt, and I felt the cool air push passed the door to assault my face. I decided to make a run for it. The power bar on my phone blinked heavily for some juice. I took a deep breath, barefoot and all, to retrieve my phone charger from the car. The prickly baby ice chips tortured my princess feet. And I thought for a moment this might be how frostbite and I meet.

Enough with the riddles, enough with the rhymes… it’s just something I’m rambling to pass the time. School has been delayed 2 hours at least and I am standing in front of the stove playing hop scotch with my feet. This can’t be real, it can’t be right. It wasn’t like this just the other night. It must have been the time change that happens twice a year. Maybe the clock tower had too many beers.

The kids are happy and filled with cheer, but as for me, I always hate this time of year. The giggles and laughter don’t bother me much, it’s the lack of sunlight and fairies and such. I like to be warm and feel free in my clothes. This winter advisor has me snuggled up tight and putting on shows. I finally see how the grinch could be mean, because nothing about this makes me beam. Bah! Humbug!

Yes To This Dress

I’ve never tried on a wedding dress. Ever. Yes, I’ve been married before. It was not a planned thing. I remember riding down the road with my then boyfriend. He was covered in drywall mud and I was in a brown floral top and khaki pants. He asked if I wanted to get married, right then… I wasn’t really doing anything else. My day had been pretty boring and I’m a spontaneous person so of course I was all in. No tears or even witnesses, just me, him, and the lady at the tags office. Romantic right? Ha. That ended 7 years ago. He wasn’t the right guy, but that doesn’t make him a bad guy, just not the right guy. I’m not sure there is a right guy. I have been asked a total of 3 times for my hand in marriage but I’m a bit more cautious with my spontaneity now a days, and to be honest my hands are cold… wouldn’t want to hoodoo another persons life with these icicles.

I believe wholeheartedly that I was meant to be a single mom. Even as a child, when I’d picture my future life, I always saw myself with children but never with a mate. Sometimes now when I’m planning for retirement, or even what I’ll be doing in 10 years from now I see the same thing, mateless… just me and a garden, my one million projects lined around the yard, maybe a medical mission or 2, the company of friends and my kiddos. Perfection. My mom says that the way I’m feeling right now is exactly when my dad found her… well come and find me dad because I’m not going anywhere!

I recently went to a local thrift store to drop off donations. As I walked in the biggest, most poofy dress I had ever laid my eyes on caught my eye. It looked like the wedding gown donned by Barbara in beetlejuice. I snatched it up as my kids laughed saying, “mom no, oh man that’s hideous”… girls this is a work of art. I teased that I needed to try it on to wear to their first ball game at school.. want to look my best right? I slipped the dress on, unaware at the time it’d be my “first time” ever trying on a wedding gown.

Beetlejuice, beetlejuice, beetlejuice!

Everyone talks about that special moment when they find their wedding dress. Some even cry. I understand that feeling now. The broken mirror, the puffy lace sleeves, kids cackling from the door way, the thrift store find… I’m saying yes to this halloween dress 😭. It is perfect. I can picture it now, Maleah as Lydia. Kali as beetlejuice. Hailee as Harley Quinn… I can’t picture an Adam in all this so if that’s where your mind was going, sorry, no husband for me, just the creepy dress please. Thanks.

We go big for Halloween in this house. We plan out the houses we are going to hit. Extra bags in the car for the candies, what time we are going to the Halloween party, what time we will hit Main Street before the neighborhood homes. The book character day party and time it will take for a costume switch… it is all mapped out as if we are preparing for war. My girls make great soldiers.

I took my littles Halloween shopping yesterday. I usually know what to expect with each kid except Maleah. I know Hailee loves all things frilly and Princess related, Kali is somewhere between drag queen attire and full blown Disney Character (I know what you’re thinking but there’s not much difference), and then there’s Maleah… Maleah is that kid in your school who shows up in a hot dog costume when all the other girls are dressed as Cinderella. Try to pick her out in the above picture… if you picked the granny then you’re correct. This year Maleah was holding a cheerleader costume and something polar opposite from it, I don’t even know what to call it, but after heavy contemplation she chose the thing which I will now picture:

The other two girls refuse to let me snag a picture until they’ve gone through hair and makeup so I’ll have to update on Halloween! Divas. I couldn’t get them to go along with my beetlejuice plan so I guess I’ll just be Miss Havisham and sit it my wedding dress at home. I still think it’s perfect.

NANNY MCPHEE WOULDN’T LIKE THIS

I love how my parents always made me feel free. I know right now if we were able to pick our own parents before this life that I would have picked mine over anyone else on this planet. They always made us kids feel like we could do anything we wanted as long as it was legal and not too dangerous and even then during the teenage years we walked on the edge of that line. I never realized how amazing the feeling of freedom was until I went through relationships and roommates and such that had rules and regulations… those are the worst. I don’t like rules. I don’t like waking up and feeling like ‘this is what you have to do today, and this is how you have to do it’. Have you ever heard that phrase, “choose your battles” when raising your children? My parents were experts at this. They didn’t focus on a military uniformed household, they instead chose to step in when it came to our safety. I could’ve woke up in the morning at 10 years old and decided, ‘I think I’ll give my wardrobe a make over’, start painting my shirts, cutting my sleeves, bedazzling my shoes… and my parents would’ve smiled and told me it was interesting. Mind you if I didn’t like my artistic work, I would’ve had to live with it because we only went shopping for clothes once a year haha. And that is something I have actually done.

When I would tell my friends at school some of my daily activities their mouths would drop open and they would say things like, “your parents let you do that?”. Well yeah… I mean I didn’t ask, but I didn’t get in trouble either. My 7 siblings and I used to do all sorts of things that you’d probably bust your kids hind end for. We used to make biscuit dough and throw it against the chimney to see who could get theirs to stick the highest, play volley ball inside, collect random animals, cut each other’s hair, paintball and firework wars, build forts and zip lines, make a slip and side in the kitchen floor with dish soap and water, carry our mattresses outside and jump through the windows onto them… you know things that would give your parents nightmares. Nanny McPhee would’ve needed some extra magic to subdue us. I didn’t feel like I ever had a bedtime. I didn’t feel like I needed permission to go out into the woods or walk to the neighbors. I didn’t ask if friends could come over or if I could have this dog I found. Sure we had chore lists and the consequences for our actions came from themselves and not my parents, like cutting our own hair was humiliating, no need for further punishment there, or having the chore of cleaning a room we just massacred. The freedom of choice did not come with the freedom of consequence but I’m glad my parents allowed us to learn from our own mistakes instead of forcing us to learn from theirs.

Perhaps it’s why I live the way I live now. Spontaneous trips and random projects. Creative and free. I planned to spend this week in Salem learning about the witch trials, only my flyer mile points don’t come in until the end of the week… meh. So instead we decided to visit with family and do a road trip, which at the last minute turned into a trip to the smokies. I don’t mind what we do, as long as my girls and I can spend time together, I’m sure we will make whatever we do interesting. I’ve been to the smokies countless times, that’s one of the reasons it wasn’t my first choice. I don’t want to relive the same vacation time and time again. I’m an adventurer. I need to explore and do new things. Then I started thinking, we don’t have to stay in the same cabin/hotel, eat the same breakfast and have the same vacation just because it’s the same place we’ve been before… we can do something different in this place. I’ve asked my sister in law who is meeting me there to brace herself for what we are about to do. It will push her comfort zone to the limits… it will test our survival skills… it will be glorious. It is camp grits. Our home away from home for the week.

Isn’t it lovely?

The girls and I will start our journey today and Tonia will join us tomorrow. Gives us an entire day to set up booby traps to keep things interesting for when the gang arrives. The facilities are probably my favorite part, you have to ask the host in advance to bath in this bath tub that’s out in the woods… that way they can light a fire to warm the bath water 😂. Stay tuned for an update on how to not only take a last minute trip with your family but how to do it on a budget! The total cost for this beauty is less than what the average nightly rate is in the Pigeon forge/Gatlinburg area. Even with the added cost of bug spray and fire wood! Let the adventure begin.

“That perfect Broken part of me”

I’ve always been a lover of broken things. I could enter a store and see all of these perfect pieces and the one thing I’m drawn to is the only thing tarnished, broken, unique. Sometimes I try to fix it or keep it just the way it is admiring the beauty of the imperfections. I think we spend too much time looking for the perfect thing, place, person, life… when life is perfect imperfect. Maybe the obsession with that picture perfect life is an association with cleanliness. When I think perfect I think clean. Clean is peaceful. Broken things can be clean.

I haven’t posted in my blog for almost a week. My goal was to do daily updates, but this past week I have made a dozen drafts and withheld publishing any of them. I’m saving them for later. I think one of the most helpful things to do in times of trial is to write them down, get it out on paper or type it out, as long as it is out of you. Removing that energy you want to rid yourself of.

This past week I took some time to myself to try to alleviate a decision I’ve made. I know it’s the right decision but it doesn’t make it any easier. I took a spontaneous trip to the middle of no where to visit with nature, old cars, good people and creepy baby dolls. It’s called old car city in Georgia. When I saw pictures online I imagined this place being packed with people and hoped I’d make it early enough to have some space to myself. I stayed most of the day and to my surprise the place was desolate. Imagine taking a trip to an abandon amusement park and having the place to yourself, that’s what this paradise was like. I shared the wooded area with only the creatures within, saw squirrels and a deer between the haunted vehicles. The untouched cars had trees growing inside of them along with the debris of the forest. It was incredible!

My sister flew home over the weekend for a final visit before she deploys. She is soaking up every minute with my girls and spending the days with my mom, siblings, and friends while she is home. We went to the pumpkin patch on opening day and played on all the attractions like little kids, went on a hayride to retrieve our pumpkins, roasted hot dogs and marshmallows over a bon fire before getting lost in a corn maze at night. I felt like I was on vacation as well. I’m working towards a schedule that will allow me to have more time home with my family. Time is important to me and spending it slaving the days away from my littles isn’t optimal. I miss this. Sometimes when I sit back and take a good long hard breath and look at the bigger picture I feel the best part of me is not being projected in the right places. I’m going to change that.

One of my favorite quotes is from Dieter F. Uchtdorf, he says, “We would do well to slow down a little focus on the significant & truly see the things that matter most”. I believe that. If we stay so busy that we miss those significant things in our lives then we are far busier than God intended us to be. I was able to accomplish several things I put off for months in one extended weekend I took off work. The dresser I rescued months ago has a new life now, my daughter has a new hair cut, my house is feeling more like home again and my time with my girls feels renewed.

I felt guilty for wanting time for myself this week. I spent the first few days worrying about all the people who would be upset of my absence. But the more time I had to reflect on things I realized I wasn’t just wanting time for myself but I needed it! There is nothing more important than self care, if you don’t take time to care for yourself you CANNOT care for others. I am blessed to have people in my life that respect that and allowed me this peaceful break! You all rock 😉

Author of little things

IMG_4164My kids love to create stories.  I often wake up to small drawings such as the deathly hollows symbol above, as they like to take the drawings and create another story.   My favorite thing to do with my kids is to let them hear new music.  Instrumental music from movie soundtracks are our favorites!  We take the long way home every time we fall in love with a new song. Each of us take turns telling a story to what we see with the music.   They have become experts at creating these elaborate short stories!  So I have decided, this is the year I write their stories down!  I want to make a book for them to keep.  I’ve never done this before and I’m sure I’ll have to have someone proof read and edit it but I’m excited!  To me it doesn’t matter if these books sale or go big, I am doing this for my girls.   I want them to always remember and cherish our time spent together.

The losing battle of the single mom

Restraining kids to their beds isn’t an option is it?  I need advice on how to keep my 4 year old from leaving her bed at night that also allows me to achieve a sane number of sleeping hours.  I told her that she could no longer sleep in her older sisters bed.  I want her to start sleeping in her own bed each night.  I spent an entire weekend painting and remodeling her room for her, I bought a bed, dresser, and a nightstand with a small tv.  The kid has it made, I slept in a sleeping bag my entire 2nd grade year and I didn’t have a dresser until I bought one when I was 18.  But does any of that matter? No.  She sneaks out of her room every night and crawls into her sisters bed.  I’ve tried to guard the door, I caught her twice last night but she is a night owl and always out last me!  I resulted to threats last night, I told her if I woke to find her in her sisters bed she would be punished.

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I woke up, went straight to her room, No Hailee?  Go to her sisters room look in bed, no Hailee?  Small heart attack, as I catch a glimpse of a small people on the floor.  It’s Hailee, sleeping in her sisters room on the floor.  I’m losing this fight.

Mixing pleasure with work 😏

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I’m supposed to be learning about the different structures of the skeletal system.  While taking pictures of each piece of bone to study later at home I took the most epic photo of this Mandible.  I’ve always loved photography and now I want to go around taking beautiful pictures of every piece of bone in class!  Well I’ve got to go back to work, tally ho!

Four year old grown up

Mornings are the busiest part of our day.  As I rush around reminding each kid of what they have left to do to get ready, I try to do various house chores.  I usually clean when I come home from work or school but throughout the night the kids get up and roam through the kitchen, Hailee may have an accident and change clothes, they secretly create a fort… whatever the case, there is always more work in the morning! A few days ago while we were in our morning rush my 4 year old daughter Hailee decided to change her clothes and leave them in the floor.  Fet up, I told her that she needed to pick her clothes up and walk them to the laundry hamper.  Then I continued to lecture her about how she needed to start taking care of herself because no one was going to clean up after her when she got older hahaha, I realize now how crazy I sound.  Well it turned out that Hailee took my words to heart.  Yesterday she made her own lunch, cleaned up her own messes all day and then she decided to make me dinner.

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She calls it lettuce soup.  It has celery, fruit loops, and milk in it.  She stood there with this super excited face just waiting for me to take a bite. So I did, I really did.  Oh my goodness, the things we do to make our children happy.  Needless to say, I won’t be giving Hailee anymore lectures until she learns her way around the kitchen.

The social life of a single mom

img_2006I get two weekends out of the month to myself while my kids go to their dads.  Thankfully I have a pool full of friends to hang out with during me time.  This weekend I’ll be with my pals Jacob and Colton.  They are pretty much the coolest guys you could ever meet!  However that also means I have to clean my house… I don’t realize how crazy of a mess my house gets until I decide to have company over.  I need some quick clean up tips… I’m too exhausted to actually have this social life thing going on.

img_3354         On top of trying to get my house clean I’m running around like a chicken with its head chopped off after my children.  This morning 10 minutes before we were supposed to leave the house for school my 10 year old daughter comes to ask me if she can wear something different.  I asked why and she says, “Well because today is 50s day and I’ve signed up for a sock hop”. So panic mode set in and I ripped through her closet like a maniac trying to piece something together last minuteimg_3355

For a last minute outfit, I’m pretty impressed with my bad self… feeling like supermom at the moment but I’m sure when they come home this afternoon I’ll be brought back down off my high horse during some everyday fiasco.  But for now I’ll live in the moment and applaud my small successes!