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Captain’s Log: A Hot Mess.

December 31, 2019. We are home owners. The family was seeing some awesome things happen, I’d just gotten a full time job, and it looked like things were going to be awesome. We celebrated New Year’s Eve and started January with bright eyes and bushy tails.

February 2020. It seemed that nothing was right. Family life was tiring- the kiddo’s disabilities made me feel like a failure as a mother. Mom-in-law had moved in and it wasn’t a good fit for her, so she moved out. The Husband was frustrated with MIL moving out. The new job, though I loved it, wasn’t exactly the dreamiest of dreams. I was doing my best, though it felt like I was putting out fires everywhere. My social life was suffering. Little did I know.

Friday, March 13, 2020. We were in lock-down. My job was furloughed, and over before it could even begin. It was deflating to find out that I received more money on Unemployment than working my full-time job. At first, I was freaked out by the isolation. Me, the hubby, the kid- all very extroverted. We were always out and about. Being at home, spending quality time with one another was really good for us. And we were saving more money by not going out all the time. Little did I know how much we would need it.

April-May 2020. I started using my free time, reading recipe books and watching YouTube videos on how to cook. I learned how to cook. I roasted lots of chickens. I even learned what spatch-cocking was. Before this time, the husband was responsible for the cooking. Then I took on the responsibility. And I cook very well now. It’s the clean up that’s now the struggle.

June-July-August 2020. Lots of virtual meet ups with friends and family. My Kiddo turned 2 Years Old! Lots of Zoom Birthday Celebrations. I was “officially” fired from my job two days before we were supposed to be brought back on. Grief. Relief. Lots of depression.

September-October-November-December 2020. I started a small pod. Wrangling toddlers. Birthday for the Hubby. 8 Year Anniversary. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Christmas.

January-February 2021. Just terrible things happening in the world. Rays of hope: Biden & Harris are the new leaders for America. Texas gets a little snow. The kiddo plays in snow. Texas Blizzard aka SnowVid2021. More Quarantine. More Cooking Food.

March-April-May 2021. Weather changes. Beginning to burn out with teaching. CoVid scare in the pod. Me and the husband get tested and vaccinated as soon as we possibly could. J&J- one and done. Symptoms were headache, fever, and muscles soreness which lasted for a day and a half for me, and only a day for the husband. The site of the shot was sore for a full week for me, the husband didn’t notice it too much.

June-July 2021. Finally socializing again! Lots of Camping. Beach! So Many Birthday Parties! Kiddo turns 3 Years Old!

August 2021. Delta Variant shuts down plans. Another CoVid exposure. Depression. Anger. Grief. Frustration. Toddler Pod Ends. I am toast.

August 31, 2021. Things are awful, great, weird, tiring, full, and just a spaghetti jumble of feelings and thoughts. So I’m going to blog again to make sense of this hot mess. It may not stick because I just flit here and there, and we’re in a pandemic. September is coming. Let’s do this.

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33

Growing up, my family always had a big party for my sister and my birthdays.  Our birthdays are four days apart, and it was always easier to have a big party for the both of us, so I’ve grown accustomed to having big birthday parties.  I won’t lie, I’d love to have a big celebration, but I also have one big fear.

What if I throw a party and no one shows up?

I know, it sounds stupid, but it’s a legitimate worry that I have, so I usually try to do several events.

Here are thirty three ideas that I have for birthday events.  I’m not going to get to do all of them, but at least there’s a starting point.

  1. Go Camping
  2. Ice Cream Social
  3. Birthday Breakfast
  4. Birthday Lunch
  5. Birthday Dinner
  6. Tres Leches Cake Tasting
  7. Karaoke Room
  8. Picnic Party
  9. Swing Dancing
  10. Wine and Cheese Tasting
  11. Board Game Party
  12. Escape Room
  13. Make Art
  14. Make a Movie
  15. Pool Party
  16. Tea Party
  17. Mall Rats Scavenger Hunt
  18. City Scavenger Hunt
  19. Blazer Tag
  20. Food Crawl
  21. Build a Bear
  22. Lush Treatment
  23. Get a Massage
  24. Rock Climbing
  25. Rent Bikes and Ride
  26. Cocktail Crawl
  27. Musical Marathon
  28. Crazy Outfit Thrifting
  29. Cupcake Decorating
  30. Amusement Park
  31. Costume Party
  32. Day Trip
  33. Birthday Blessings/Prayers
Art · culture · Death · DIY · Food · God · Health · History · Holidays · Religion · Self Improvement · Women

Holy Hamantaschen!

Chag Purim Sameach!  Or Happy Purim, Y’all!  I’m not Jewish, but I like holidays.  And this one strikes a particular chord because it’s the story of Esther- the “foreign” queen who saves her people from genocide.  Yaaaas, queen!  On a side note, can we please have more celebrations of women who do awesome things?

In honor of this day, I made some hamantaschen.  What is that, you ask?  They are cookies that symbolize the holiday’s origins.  You see, Haman was the evil dude who wanted to get rid of the Jews.  So he bribed King Xerxes, but Esther helped to save her people, and Haman was executed.

Some say that hamantaschen are supposed to be “Haman’s Pockets” as in the money that he bribed King Xerxes with; others say it’s “Haman’s Ears” as in the cutting off of criminals ears which happened to Haman, as well as being executed (?).  I didn’t do a thorough fact check on this, so forgive me if that’s incorrect.hamantaschen

Now, I am on a very particular diet, which is grain free, gluten free, sugar free, caffeine free, alcohol free, gmo free, cage free, organic, grass fed, wild caught, fair trade, and a lot of other hippy dippy stuff that limits what I can eat. So I’ve had to look up ingredients from every where and modify my own hamantaschen recipe.

ANYWAY.  COOKIES.  YOU WANT THESE COOKIES. Here’s what you’ll need:20170311_101705-1 20170311_104556-1 20170311_175735-1

1 & 1/2 cups of almond flour
2 tablespoons of xylitol (can be found at whole foods/natural grocers/wheatsville)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons softened butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon almond extract (or vanilla, I prefer almond)
Circular cookie cutters
Jams that you like (with no sugar added)
Parchment paper
Baking Sheet
Time

Step 1: Mix your dry items together in a bowl.  On a slow speed (if you’re using a mixer), mix in your wet ingredients.  This is the order I mixed it in: started with butter, then milk, then extract, and lastly coconut oil. The consistency may seem crumbly at first, but if you mash your finger into it, and it seems soft and doughy, then it’s good for the next step.

Step 2: Get two pieces of parchment paper and roll out your dough between them.  You can make them as thick or thin as you want, but thinner dough is a little bit more difficult to shape them and cut without it crumbling apart (because almond flour is not as sturdy as regular).  Then refrigerate until your dough is firm (30 min-1 hr).
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Step 3: Once your dough is firm, using circular cookie cutters, cut out your dough.  My first attempt, I rolled it too thin in spots, and the dough would crumble.
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Step 4: Set your oven to bake on 350 degrees, and add your jam!!! Now, I’m not going to tell you how much or how little to put in your hamantaschen… that choice is yours.  You might want to test. I put in one spoon for the smaller ones, and two spoons for the bigger ones.  The choice is yours.  Oh, also, you might want to do a test run of folding them before you put all your jam in them… because I ended up getting jam all over my arms, but eventually found a way of folding the dough into triangles that worked for me.

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Step 5: Bake for about 8 minutes, let them cool off for about 5 minutes, and then eat and enjoy!!!

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Why Women Hate Men

You look me up and down
SIZE me up.
I wear anywhere between 6 to 10 in jeans
if that’s what you’re wondering

THIS IS WHY WOMEN HATE MEN

You tell me not to eat those kinds of foods
Say that you feel guilty for letting me eat this way
Or that way
I can’t even eat a bag of chips without feeling guilty
About what I eat
About how I look

THIS IS WHY WOMEN HATE MEN

This is my body
I can exercise if I want to
This is my life
and I can lie down
Or sit on a couch and watch Netflix all day
IF I WANT TO

DO NOT TELL ME
what to eat
what to wear
how to dress
how to do my hair
what my body should or shouldn’t look like

THIS IS WHY WOMEN HATE MEN

culture · Death · Food · History · Holidays · Religion

St. Patrick was not Irish

So, everyone thinks of St. Patrick’s Day as a day of drinking green beer and celebrating Irish heritage and culture.  But it’s not.

St. Patrick is that Irish Saint, right?

WRONG.  St. Patrick was of Roman-British descent.  He was kidnapped and sold into slavery by Irish raiders, and it was in Ireland that he found God.  Later, he escaped from Ireland, and became a priest.  Then, he went back to Ireland as a missionary and was willing to die there if it meant converting the pagans.  He did convert many Irish to Catholicism, and it is believed that he died on March 17 in Ireland.

Why the drinking of beer and mass consumption of corned beef and cabbage?  Well, the Catholic church decided that St. Patrick Day was a feast day- so even though during the lent season, one should fast, the fast could be lifted for the day- hence the alcohol consumption.

Corned beef and cabbage is actually not very Irish in terms of Ireland, but it’s an American Irish tradition- because the Irish who had immigrated were poor, they could only afford their food on the cheap, so corned beef and cabbage was the usual on the menu.

So, another holiday debunked, but I might try a green beer before the night is over, as long as its gluten free…

Finance · Food · History · Love · marriage · Money

Valentine Schmalentine

So many people are obsessed with Valentine’s Day.  I am not one of those people.  In fact, I think I’ve always been a bit of a cynic when it came to the holiday.  Most of my adolescence was spent pining after fictional characters (Spot Conlon from Newsies, Mr. Darcy from Pride and Predjudice, Calvin O’Keefe from the Wrinkle in Time series…), and much of my adult life, I was very dedicated to remaining single until “The One” showed up.  While waiting for “The One,” I was still a bit of a cynic when it came to romance and hearts and flowers, and all that lah-di-dah… especially when I moved to NYC.  In fact, I once hosted an “I hate Valentine’s Day” party where we watched scary movies, where cute little couples got murdered.  When I finally did enter into a relationship as an adult, it was a torturous one.  I was super desperate for love, and set my standards way lower than I should have, and thank the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost that it ended.  It was Valentine’s Day break up, and it sucked, but then I did my research and realized that the death of that relationship was exactly what Valentine’s Day is all about.

St. Valentine was sentenced to death on February 14, sometime in 260-80 AD.  He was a Roman priest who married Christians, who were being persecuted during the time of Claudius II reign. He was captured, imprisoned, beaten, clubbed, and then beheaded.  Happy stuff right?  Well, this day was meant to honor and remember him, but like many of our modern holidays, the church decided to paganize the holiness of St. Valentine’s sacrifice. They decided to couple Valentine’s Day with the pagan holiday Lupercalia- and that sh*t was CRAZY, y’all… I’m not so sure that St. Valentine would have approved of his death being commemorated by a drunken boink-fest.  But today, Valentine’s Day is about spending money, eating too much candy, and forced romance.

Yeah, I’m not all that into Valentine’s Day, if you couldn’t tell.

Biltmore Estates

That being said, in 2012, I did have a really lovely day on this commercialized, chocolate gobbling day.  I went to Biltmore Estates with my boyfriend who would later become my husband that same year, and we looked at the pretty house, then got tipsy from tasting all of the wines, and we had a romantic little dinner as well.  It was expensive, and I’d say it was worth every penny, but he paid for it, and I didn’t.

The year after, looked very different.  We were married at the time, and we have/had a combined income.  Since we were and are doing Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, ain’t nobody got time for spending dolla-dolla bills to see a pretty house and have fancy food and drinks.  We’ve been on a budget of nothing, and since I’ve not really been into Valentine’s Day, in 2013, we took a different approach.

IMG_4922I spent zero money and made a list of reasons why I loved him on a deck of cards, and he took me out to Five Guys.  Nothing says I love you like a Five Guys Bacon Cheese Burger.  This guy knows what I’m talking about.

And this year?  Well, it’s pretty low key.  We’re not going out to dinner because we’re on a strict eating plan right now, but we do plan to indulge in a little snack of home made dark chocolate covered strawberries while watching Austenland.

Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries  Austenland

I suppose there’s a little bit of romance to that, but really, Valentine’s day isn’t that big of a deal, and I think we’d be much better of a society if it just didn’t exist.

For singles, it’s horrible because it’s makes you feel like you’re abnormal for not being in a relationship, as if being married or having a plus one is all there is to life.  It also causes you to make bad decisions, like hooking up with someone just so you won’t be alone.  I’m just going to let you in on a secret.  About 65% of the time, marriage is really not fun at all.  You have to put up with someone else’s personality and emotional baggage, and figure out how to live with them without killing each other or leaving each other with psychotic tendencies.  If you’re single, you’re not missing out.  There are so many couples who are miserable and wish they could be single, so consider yourself lucky.

For couples, it’s puts pressure on you to waste money and to try to recreate a fictionalized version of love.  Oh, no, if Johnny doesn’t order me two dozen roses, it means that he doesn’t love me.  For people like me, who are living on a dime and a prayer, wine, godiva, diamonds, and roses are not in the budget.  Romance is good and fine, but sometimes, you just aren’t feeling it, and when it comes right down to it, faking it ’til making it is the worst advice anyone can give you.  I am very grateful for my husband, and I do love and appreciate him, but real love isn’t all hearts and flowers.  Real love can mean working two retail jobs to pay the bills, and having zero energy most of the time, just so that you can make your rent for the month.  Real love can be taking the time away from playing video games to clean the house and do the laundry instead of expecting your spouse to do it.

In the end, Valentine’s day, is just another day.  Can we just appreciate and learn to love one another each day without this obnoxious holiday’s existence?

Food

The Original Pancake House

I’m sad, I’m tired, I’m hungry, I have an hour to kill, and then like a ray of light, I see the Original Pancake House before me. I’ve just left Yoga class, feeling likes fat failure, and before that, I’d gotten into an argument with my new husband, and on top of everything else, I’m PMSing.

I’m inside, seated at a two person booth, and Richard takes my order and brings me coffee. Then he brings me a beautiful plate of Eggs Benedict with Potato Pancakes, and I am salivating.

I dig into my delicious, savory breakfast, and for a moment, I just feel happy and good. I’m not hungry, I’m not sad, I’m still a bit tired, but the coffee is helping with that.

Every bite is better than the next, and soon, my food baby belly hangs over my pants. I am satisfied and content.  Thank you OPH for saving my day, and for being the savory comfort that I needed.

Hello, my name is Annie, and yes, I am a food addict.