Monthly Archives: November 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

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This time last year I had a little turkey of my own taking up turkey & dressing space in my belly. I thought I had an idea of what was to come with her but I was way off. It has been so much more than I could have ever dreamed.

I thought about writing out all I am thankful for but there is just too much to even try and one day is never enough.  I appreciate all I have and those I share it with so much – on this and every day.

 

Turkey Day Sunrise - It was a beauty outside my window this morning

Turkey Day Sunrise – It was a beauty outside my window this morning

 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you have more blessings than you can count.  And may your waistbands be as big as your appetites today.

 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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I Pledge Allegiance to the Turkey

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I keep seeing these “pledges to not shop on Thanksgiving Day” going around online. All I can assume if you are shopping on turkey day is that you are either anorexic or come from a long line of shitty cooks. Besides, I don’t have to “pledge” not to shop on Thanksgiving; Anyone that knows me knows I’ll be in a self-induced food coma that day.

Seriously.

Seriously.

Really though, isn’t Black Friday enough?!

This is actually the first Black Friday in over a decade that I won’t have to work. But I’ll tell you one thing I won’t be doing to celebrate that and that’s shopping! I try to avoid public tramplings whenever possible. Not that I have anything against anyone else that partakes in the Black Friday madness. It’s just that this country definitely doesn’t need anymore women of my height and shoe size getting over excited about Black Friday sales…That type of stuff could lead to serious injuries.

Happy retailing to all of you determined shoppers out there though. I would say I’ll be thinking of you while you’re camping out in front of Best Buy in the cold, waking at 2:00 am and getting the car defrosted so you can get the first door buster deal or fighting over the last $100 TV but let’s be honest, I’ll be all snuggled up and sleeping off my rendition of The Hunger Games. 

Have a great turkey day folks! May your waist bands be as big as your appetites.

Blooms & Brown Thursday

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The blooming indoors continues…

Big beautiful blooms in my living room

Big beautiful blooms in my living room

It’s the third year I’ve brought my Hibiscus inside for the winter and it never disappoints. As soon as it found it’s place in front of the living room window it started to bloom all over again like it was still summer.

Lilies in the kitchen

Lilies in the kitchen

I know it may seem like a silly thing to be excited about but I’ve had this lily for over a year without any blooms and I had pretty much given up hope – I mean, at least it was a nice green houseplant. So this morning when I woke to finally find a lily it was a pretty big deal.

Orchid in the dining room

Orchid in the dining room

And this orchid was dead – both the stem and flowers totally gone. So for it to now not only be shooting new roots but to have a new stem with buds too is huge because it doesn’t usually happen once the stem dies.

It’s absolutely freezing outside so it’s nice to have these little reminders of spring and summer around the house. If it weren’t for the fur babies that have a history of eating my houseplants I would fill every room with them (another reason these winter blooms are such a big deal to me).

So in other positive news, it’s a short work week for most people here in the U.S. (Yay!)…Well, unless you work at any of the retailers trying to pinch every dime they can from consumers this year by being open on “Brown Thursday” and Black Friday (Boo!). If you are, I’m sorry. Not just that you have to work, but that you have to work on a day that is being referred to as “Brown Thursday”. Last time I checked the day already had an official title – ‘Thanksgiving’. And I’m all for creativity but if you’re gonna rename a national holiday to commemorate the materialistic ways of society, can’t you come up with a better moniker than “BROWN THURSDAY”?!? As if Black Friday isn’t enough already.

Aaaah, the holidays

Aaaah, the holidays

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday Newsday

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Do you ever have one of those weeks where you just want to block out all media outlets so you don’t have to hear another horrible story? It’s weeks like this that I’m reminded why I hate watching the news. The kind of week where you go from scratching your head to near tears to wanting to just wring someone’s neck. Here are just a few you may or may not have heard about:

Bye Bye Baby Elk

Bye Bye Baby Elk, The Write Side of Life

Did any of you also catch the sweet picture of the young elk that was nuzzling with a cameraman at a state park? It was too cute. Well apparently it cost that baby elk its life. This absolutely breaks my heart. Why do we have to ruin everything?! I mean it’s bad enough we’re demolishing their habit to build our new housing developments and Walmarts (oh, and there’s more on them later too) but now we’re causing them to have to be euthanized for being friendly as the result of our intrusion? And surely there was a zoo or a preserve that could have taken in a  semi-domesticated elk?? Everything about this story just pisses me off.

 

Zimmerman…Again?! 

George Zimmerman again?

George Zimmerman again?

Well we can’t act surprised. All the media attention that he got before, it was only natural that the media would be waiting in the wings ready to exploit the first thing he did wrong after being acquitted.

 

Child in a Chicken Choke

There is a special place in hell for people like this

There is a special place in hell for people like this

Stories like this make me wish we still did public stoning. These type of foster parents are the same type that scour Craigslist for free animals they can torture. This is why foster and adopted children get so screwed up during their adolescence. But what in the actual f*&# is wrong with people?! A dead chicken!? The only words other than synonyms for shock are expletives so I’m just going to stop here.

 

Walmart Food Drive for Employees 

You've got to be kidding me

You’ve got to be kidding me

Unlike the story above, this leaves me with only antonyms for the word ‘shocked’. We have all heard for years how most of Wally World’s employees are on welfare. I just saw a new commercial campaign launched by Walmart last week that was going on and on about how much employees love their job and how successful they are. And now this? Well it seems someone was fibbing a bit. So I guess there won’t be a Salvation Army Santa with a bell at Walmart this year…just Steve from electronics.

 

These are just a few that caught my attention and left me ranting and it’s only Tuesday! I shudder to think of what the rest of the week may bring. I think you can just take this news and flush it…And you may as well do it literally because today is also World Toilet Day (No seriously. I shit you not).

I know, and just when you thought the headlines can’t get any crappier.

This has got to be THE crappiest holiday ever

This has got to be THE crappiest holiday ever

Sure hope the headlines improve!

Santa Baby & A Full Beaver Moon

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The baby met Santa for the first time today. I know, I know, it’s a little early for Christmas yet. Let’s at least get through turkey day first right?! But I don’t control when they schedule St. Nick’s appearance so don’t look at me. I must say I was prepared for a little freak out on her part but after a minute of concern  looking at me like she was wondering why I was dumping her on this old beard’s lap she was fine. No traumatic picture with Santa for this one…though those are hilarious in their own right. And while we were there and it was all Christmas-y I seized another holiday moment and decided that now that we have a little one we should get an Elf on the Shelf too. I know she’s too young to really get it yet but I figure daddy and I can have a little fun with it until then.

Part of me finds this hilarious…the other part of me is absolutely terrified that I'm going to wake up one night to it standing over me with a kitchen knife.

Part of me finds this hilarious…the other part of me is absolutely terrified that I’m going to wake up one night to it standing over me with a kitchen knife.

We had some hellacious weather this afternoon but thankfully didn’t encounter any of the feared tornados they were predicting. The storms have passed and the sky is amazingly illuminated by the full moon tonight – which apparently is known as a “full beaver moon” according to my gardening calendar. Yeah, I thought you’d have fun with that little tidbit of info. You’re welcome.

Tonight's "full beaver moon" is a perfect example of this.

Tonight’s “full beaver moon” is a perfect example of this.

Hope you all had a great weekend & a great week ahead!

 

 

 

 

 

Totally (coco) Nuts

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It’s hard sometimes to remember what life was like before the baby; Before life revolved around someone else’s meal times and diapers and naps. When I could work late and eat whatever, whenever and only swept my floors once every couple days instead of a few times every single day because you’re worried of what tiny speck of dirt she might find (and then, naturally, try to eat). You would think you could get everything done in one day when you’re not working but it turns out this baby raising stuff is pretty involved. Honestly some days I feel like I get absolutely nothing accomplished other than being a mommy. It actually requires a lot of planning and coordination just to try to get normal errands and housework done when you have a baby.

Case in point, today was grocery day. That used to be so easy. We’d go to the store at any time of the night on an empty stomach even and just load up on whatever we wanted. Now it’s days prior planning out meals for every day including the baby’s, scouring the ads for sales and clipping coupons online and in the paper. Then you have to consider the best time of day for baby to be content during your trip so that you’re not wheeling around the kid from ‘The Exorcist’ for the rest of the patrons to gawk at.

For Adri mornings are the best: She’s well rested and if we go right after she nurses then I have a couple hours before she’s ready to eat breakfast. So this morning we woke, we nursed and I threw some jeans on, got her changed and dressed, grabbed my list, coupons, wallet, diaper bag and all the other essential grocery shopping fare (emergency snacks, sippy cup, a couple toys, cart seat cover, etc). Of course the car was covered in frost so we had to wait for it to thaw out and warm up a bit. We get to the store and everything’s going great until I get to one of my more unusual ingredients and can’t find it anywhere. As it turns out, none of the employees know either and that’s about the same time that my little angel starts to test out the whining waters a bit for size. Thank God for yogurt snacks and cereals…except after the first she absolutely protests the latter and gives me a complete conniption fit at the idea that I’d expect her to eat something so plain after sampling something so delectable. So now I’m just praying that I brought enough yogurt snacks to get me down about a dozen or so more aisles. Taking a second trip back to the baking aisle to try one more time to find cream of coconut and a second through the soup aisle (just in case they figured it belonged by the cream of chicken) I give up and decide that this week’s baking experiment (coconut cream pie specially requested by The Hub) is going to have to get tweaked a bit since my grocer, who stocks coconut water, coconut milk, coconut oil and just about everything else coconut, has something against cream of coconut.

By the time we reach the register she is all but cussing out the cashier herself to hurry it up. The yogurt snacks have lost their effect and if we don’t get the hell out of dodge soon she may grow fangs. I get her snugly back into her carseat and the goods loaded in the back and as luck would have it she falls asleep on the way home. So if all goes well she will stay asleep while I unload the car. And luck smiled down on me. I left the car running and radio on while I carried in the groceries  and she woke up just as I opened the door to get her.

After feeding her breakfast I start the routine of going through the contents of our fridge and making room for the new stuff. I ration out the bulk bought items and (after sweeping the floor…again) turn the little one loose to play while I clean up and start prepping food. It dawns on me that not only do I have to blind bake the pie crust after making it and refrigerating it, but the pie itself is going to have to be refrigerated for a few hours before we eat it. This wouldn’t really matter much if I didn’t have to pick up my cousin from school this afternoon so I know I am running short on time.

I blaze through the making the flaky coconut rum pie crust and while it’s cooling in the fridge, get started on the filling (which is sans cream of coconut of course). Cream cheese, vanilla pudding, condensed milk, coconut milk, and coconut all join the refrigerator gang while I whip up some fresh cream. I cover the crust in foil and blind bake it for 15 minutes then remove the foil and continue baking it for another 10 along with a baking sheet of coconut beside it for the toasted topping. By this point the baby is ready to nurse and I’ve got about 15 minutes before I have to hit the road. If everything goes smoothly I should have just enough time…provided I can multitask a bit. So while nursing the baby I check the coconut and then remove it when it’s perfectly toasted. About this time she decides to drop a load in her diaper. Of course.

Nursing mothers: Have you ever nursed in precarious places, positions or situations? I have nursed the baby in the backseat of the car while The Hub was driving us home from vacation. It was a bit awkward hovering over her carseat but it kept us from having to make an extra stop so we made better time on the trip home. However, that was not nearly as awkward as nursing while changing her diaper. But dammit I was determined.

So one doody diaper down, hands washed and baby just unlatched from the chest my timer goes off on the pie crust. I remove it from the oven and set it on our outdoor bar to cool. I retrieve the filling from the fridge and fold in my whipped cream. Hands washed again and then I’m coating and carseating the baby again. As soon as we get back from that trip I have just enough time to clean up my baking mess and get dinner fixed before The Hub gets home. I fill my cooled pie crust and top it with the remaining whipped cream and toasted coconut. Back in the fridge it goes until after dinner and then it’s one to the main course: Grilled tarragon chicken breast and parmesan risotto with sautéed asparagus and portobello mushrooms. Some leftover bacon from The Hub’s breakfast this morning and voila! A dinner to die for. I know The Hub and the baby loved it and I’m pretty sure it was a risotto that even Gordon Ramsey would be proud of.

Then when dessert time came it was pretty obvious that this latest baking experiment was a success. The Hub ranted and raved with every bite. While he marveled over the amazing meal he just ate I cleaned up and smiled thankful that even with a few hiccups and a bit of a crazy day that it all came together perfectly. Watching my little tulip and The Hub eat and laugh and enjoy what I worked hard on reminds me that this is the best job ever. Even when it means cooking and cleaning take longer with a baby who’s always playing at my feet. Even when it means I don’t get to shower or have enough time to do my hair or make up every single day. Even when things so often don’t go as planned. Even without the cream of coconut.

My ingredients, like life, sometimes have to be improvised and we make the best with what we have. But in the end it’s crazy, perfect, and absolutely delicious. So yeah, it’s hard to remember sometimes what life was like before the baby…but I do know that no matter how coconuts it may get, life is so much better now.

Take my word for it, it was delicious.

Take my word for it, it was delicious.

Yoga-doodles

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So I started a couple things this week:

1) A Thirty Day Yoga Challenge

I mean, it doesn’t get much simpler than a new video each day emailed to you does it? A fellow blogger mentioned it and I had to check it out. So far it’s been great. Even with the baby who has made it a challenge to climb mountain mommy while I’m in my various precarious poses. I’ve gotten her to sit on the mat and raise her arms up with me. And she loves the end when I tell her “Namaste” in pose.

2) Bitstrips

If you’re on social media you know too: they’re everywhere. I downloaded the app a few weeks ago and never finished setting it up but I couldn’t resist. It just looked like too much fun so I had to. I don’t know what’s funnier, the Bitstrips themselves or what some people think they look like. Either way it’s good for a laugh and that’s always good by me…

Nailed it  ;)

Nailed it
😉

Have a great weekend everyone!

After While Krokodil: The Scary New Epidemic

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As if the heroin epidemic wasn’t enough. Now this?! I’m so sick of hearing about all this every time I watch the news. This scares the hell out of me – and not for my sake but for people I know that suffer(ed) from prescription addiction and the doctors that overprescribe pain meds to people that could actually heal and feel better from alternative medicine – like physical therapy & exercise. As you read this I would be willing to bet that you know at least one person who has an addiction to pain pills. Or hell, perhaps even heroin seeing how big that’s become now. You think this stuff is happening on some other side of the country. You’re wrong. It’s everywhere and probably right in your back yard.

 (Curious to know what Krokodil does to you? WARNING: These images are not for the weak stomached.)

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging all those who are taking pain pills. I know that some situations may require pain medication but I also know for a fact that doctors are carelessly grabbing their notepads and writing out these prescriptions without even bothering to discuss and plan those alternatives for many other people. And they definitely aren’t doing the proper follow-ups to begin weening their patients from these pills properly. Then they get hooked on the pain pills and can’t function without them. The pain just gets to be so much that eventually the pills don’t work and, well, without them it feels like you’re dying.

The majority of people on pain medications aren’t even taking them for pain anymore – they’re taking them to feed their addiction to it. Pain meds are not a long-term solution but they are the only solution offered to many people. Pain meds don’t fix your problem. They just numb you to it. And this, I think, is where the problem lies – With reality being so tough for people to deal with nowadays, what better way to shut yourself off from that mental pain too than a (legal and prescribed) pill? I mean hey, they can fire you for failing a pee test if you smoked a joint or drank too much but you can’t lose your job if you have a valid prescription from your doctor. You have a prescription so you have an excusable excuse. Debilitating diseases may require ongoing medication. But everything is not a debilitating disease. A broken bone, sprained ankle, knee surgery and hip replacements for example, are not a debilitating disease. Yet most of the younger heroin addicts you hear about got started by a simple surgery or injury like this and the pills given to them to take afterward. We’re a prescription nation.

So It doesn’t surprise me that we’re hearing so much of it now. With the big pharmaceuticals putting so much money into our government’s pockets so they’ll close their eyes to it. For years doctors have been overprescribing these medications and getting people hooked. Now that they’re turning to street drug alternatives it’s got big pharm up in arms and not happy at their loss of profit. A profit that’s basically just blood money forged from the addictions and deaths caused to thousands. So of course it’s the perfect solution, create hype over this epidemic and rope them back in so that they can have their addictions controlled by a new prescription of methadone and everyone’s happy again right? They’re back to making their billions from the addictions of people (that they caused) and the people get their fix legally and the government can go back to turning their head and overspending our tax dollars on some other unnecessary.

We as people need to better understand that there are repercussions to every single thing we put in our bodies – drugs, alcohol, even food. I wish I had paid more attention to this as a young adult and I only hope I can help my daughter to better understand this too. And nowadays it’s up to us to do our research and make the best decisions for our long term health because gone are the days where you could trust medical professionals to do it for you. When we were kids we were taught that drugs were bad. What we haven’t been taught is that the prescription kinds can sometimes be the worst. At least from a gateway perspective we were led to believe that marijuana was the gateway drug. Yet I have yet to hear of a pothead graduating to a flesh-eating (or zombie face-eating) street drug. These prescription drugs are creating addiction monsters and all sorts of scary, cheap, and deadly street alternatives in their wake. Drugs that, after just one use, can ruin your life and your body…if they don’t just kill you.

And it’s going to get worse before it gets better. They have already started a national database of prescription drug users to start monitoring who is taking what and how often (I know what you’re thinking: What?! The government monitors us?!). The more we are hearing just means sometime soon they are really going to start to crack down – on these doctors and their patients (which is necessary to fix the problem but at the same time is going to send a flurry of new addicts to the street to buy their fix – whether pills, heroin or this insanely disgusting new krokodil concoction). ‘War on Drugs‘ my ass. They have focused so much time and spent billions of our tax dollars imprisoning people for a joint and meanwhile our own doctors and pharmaceutical companies have been creating armies of drug addicted zombies. This is doing more than ruining lives. It’s taking lives. When will we see this? And when will it end?

Fall Back

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Reason #197 that I love the fall: The clocks fall back. As much as I hate losing daylight and it getting dark so early, this time of the year has always agreed with my internal clock so much better. Getting that extra hour of sleep the night the clocks change is a bonus too.

So I woke up earlier than normal and recharged (not usually two words that work in a sentence together for me). The baby slept in extra late so I let her snuggle with daddy and I actually even went for a jog. (Yeah, I felt that recharged).

The golden sunrise from this morning

The golden sunrise from this morning

After a Sunday breakfast and some work around the house, The Hub smoked a whole chicken and while that was going on we went for an afternoon walk to enjoy the last of the fall colors before the rest of the leaves all fall to the ground. Even after an early season snow and with many of the trees already bare, autumn is still hanging on with everything she’s got.

A covered bridge by our house

A covered bridge by our house

Autumn views, The Write Side of Life

Fall Branches, The Write Side of Life

Autumn Stroll, The Write Side of Life

Fire Tree, The Write Side of Life

We came home and had a great dinner – The Hub’s chicken was amazing and we had some of the carrots I had put up from our own garden. The baby smashed her mashed potatoes and then had fun feeding the rest to the dogs. In an effort to keep my baking progress moving forward I decided to make an apple pie this morning too. The only problem was that  I couldn’t find a recipe that fit what I wanted just right…So I improvised. Yes, even with the whole “baking is a science” fear of mine. Maybe I’m getting more comfortable in this area of cooking now and trusting myself more. The other factor may be that pie doesn’t require any  real scientific know-how. There’s no “rising” or “density” or “airiness” you’re going for like with cakes. It’s pie. You pretty much just fill it, top it and bake it. It’s pretty fool proof I guess…As long as the flavor is good that is. (Anyone remember that episode of Friends with the Trifle?! Haha. Rachel, Rachel.)

So I sliced my apples and added some dried cranberries for some extra zing, added my cinnamon and some other spices I thought would go well together and made a crumble topping with brown sugar, butter, flour and walnuts. The house smelled heavenly while it baked and it tasted phenomenal. With a scoop of vanilla ice cream and cup of (decaf) coffee it was a perfect close to the weekend.

He's got a point...and it was a damn good pie if I do say so myself! :)

He’s got a point…and it was a damn good pie if I do say so myself! 🙂

Hope your weekend was great too!

Sweet (Jesus, It’s) November

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I hope everyone had a fantastic Halloween. Around here they actually rescheduled trick-or-treating in some areas due to weather. Having a baby I can see how a lot of parents don’t want to drag their children out in the windy, rainy weather but when did we decide to introduce the option of actually rescheduling the holiday? I mean, I remember as kids my sister and I trudging through the rain and even snow on a few years to trick-or-treat.

This year we decided to start off by bringing the kids to the mall where they were hosting an indoor trick-or-treat. Unfortunately so did just about every other parent in the tristate and, though civil, it was chaos and people were lined up everywhere. Back home we braved the elements for a bit until our puddle soaked Spiderman (my nephew) had enough.  The bonus to rescheduling some trick-or-treating is that now many kids will get to go twice. Another bonus to having gone out yesterday despite the weather was that since there was so few kids out most of the houses were giving out more of their candy to each trick-or-treater. Oh to be a kid again! Haha

Every kid has their obsession. Mine every year was to be a "punkrocker". Mom was a crafty one too back then...and thanks to shows like Gem, silver outfits that almost look like spacesuits could totally pass for rockstar gear. Aaaah the 80's. lol

Me and my sister. Every kid has their obsession. Mine every year was to be a “punkrocker”. Mom was a crafty one too back then…and thanks to shows like Gem, silver outfits that almost look like spacesuits could totally pass for rockstar gear. Aaaah the 80’s. lol

My Little Red Riding Hood had a great time celebrating her first Halloween. From our craft projects to her first pumpkin to trick-or-treating, she loved it all… And I love getting to celebrate all these firsts with fun things that we can look back on years from now.

Adri's first pumpkins :)

Adri’s first pumpkins 🙂

So, Halloween is over and now it’s November. I can’t quite believe it can you?! Where has this year gone?? The weather was creepy and crummy yesterday but this morning the sun is shining and it’s supposed to be beautiful. (Good news for all the rescheduled trick-or-treaters). Happy November everyone – and have a great weekend!

My stonecrop is blushing on this crisp, sunny first of November

My stonecrop is blushing on this crisp, sunny first of November