Thursday, September 11, 2014

Taking Stock

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The move put me into a spiral and more than several times a day I say out loud, "I am actually losing my mind...no. I am. This time I am losing it." Which is typically out loud only to myself, or to Princess. She always gazes back in understanding. 

Along Abbey Road just shared this wonderful piece and it instantly inspired me to do the same. I have so many things going on that I don't even know where or what to share with you. So here it is. I'm taking stock (since I was just making stock. ha! ha! HA!!) 

Making: Ring slings..my last two. Forever. (okay, until I have a pregnant friend in need of one)
Cooking: Fall-y things. Stocks, squash, roasting things, chili. 
Drinking: Tea. I've been into spicy teas lately. Orange spice and chai. 
Reading: Nothing. I've been craving to read for weeks - maybe months now. I started The Fault In Our Stars for a second time and got about 70 pages in in one night....and haven't picked it back up because I feel like by the time my behind hits the couch I'm mentally tuned out. Bill holds whole conversations with himself and I am just sucked into the black hole that is my iPhone. Someone needs to take that thing away from me. It's a problem.  
Wanting: Our house to sell. We're living in the new one, but the old one hasn't sold and it's starting to weigh on me (and it hasn't even been a week). 
Looking: For everything. Like Abbey says, there is a black hole following her... There is one following me too. I was in such a stressed tizzy through the pack up/move out phase that I don't know where I packed, moved or unpacked certain things. It's like all of moving was an out-of-body experience for me. I'm exhausted from constantly wondering which house to drive to or where do I store the oatmeal now. 
Playing: A lot of Amazon Prime Playlists. Specifically, "Classical for Yoga", "Indie Pop Commute" (Carried Away by Passion Pit is my current jam) and obviously the instrumental tracks from Frozen. I may or may not have listened to Vuelie (feat. Cantus) on repeat today. 
Wasting: so much time LOOKING FOR STUFF. Ugh. 
Sewing: ring slings! And hopefully little boy cloth diaper pants soon. My goal is to wrap my head around garment sewing, starting with tiny pants for my tiny dude. 
Wishing: I had a doughnut. 
Enjoying: Quiet work time during naps lately when it's just me, my music, my tea and Illustrator. Mmm. It feels good to design again sometimes. 
Waiting: For an answer. 
Liking: Our new neighborhood. It's mostly old people, but they are SO happy to have a young family around. Everyone goes out of their way to wave or stop by to say hello. It's so adorable.
Wondering: If music class next week will be better. Tonight Billy started the next level up in Kindermusik and most of the other kids are way older. I miss our baby class :( 
Loving: That I can wear scarves and boots again. Not even mid-September but I will take it!!
Considering: Making pumpkin pancakes for breakfast. Because Fall. 
Hoping: I fall instantly asleep and when I open my eyes, it's morning. Those nights of sleep are the best. 
Marveling: at how Princess learned her Invisible Fence so quickly. It seemed so grim and then she just learned! So quickly. 
Needing: to go to bed. It's freakin' LATE.
Smelling: Leftovers that we still haven't put away from dinner. Ham and roasted butternut squash w/ cinnamon and nutmeg. 
Wearing: Jammies.
Following: TheBabyGuyNYC a lot lately. The ABC Kids Expo roped me in pretty hard. I am in zero need of baby stuff and here I am, stalking it. I just can't get enough sometimes.
Noticing: I spend too much money on pointless things. Time to cut back. 
Knowing: Tomorrow is another day. It all starts over, fresh and new. A whole new day to explore, adventure, accomplish and produce greatness. 
Thinking: That seems ambitious. ^^
Buying: NOTHING! Time to cut back. Christmas will be here before we know it. 
Feeling: Unsure. I don't even know about what...THAT is how unsure I am. 
Bookmarking: Squash recipes. I just want to eat all the squash. Ever. 
Opening: every drawer and cabinet in search of something I still can't find. Dang. 
Giggling: At Billy answering every question with an honest, "No." and head shake lately. Kid cracks me up. 


So, that's where I am lately. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock

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This weekend LW had the flu (or something foul) so it left me stuck at home with him. Thankfully, Hubs and I traded off who was "on duty" and I was able to get some pretty fun things done!

Saturday afternoon I made mini chocolate chip zucchini muffins, roasted beets (Hubs did these), apple sauce and chicken stock! I also sewed a little bit on Sunday afternoon and made "use as many veggies as possible in this pasta" salad.

Now, how do I make this chicken stock, you ask? Lucky for you, I'm going to share my stocky ways. Really, it's laughably simple. Here's what I do:

  • Start by labeling a freezer bag "STOCK". 
  • As your veggies are flirting with the idea of going bad and you know you won't get to use them in time, pop them in the bag and keep it in the freezer. When you cook chicken, save the bones and fat, put it in the freezer bag with the veggies. The veggies I use are: celery, onions, carrots, green onions. 
  • When the bag is full, make stock by:
    • Placing all bag contents in your pressure cooker and filling cooker with water to the "MAX" line. 
    • Add a few sprigs of thyme and parsley from your garden as well as a few bay leaves. 
    • Bring pot to boil with lid OFF and burner heat on HIGH. 
    • Once water is boiling, put on pressure cooker lid and lock into place. 
    • When pressure is reached, set timer for 60 min and turn burner heat to LOW.
    • At 60min turn burner OFF and release pressure. Let stock cool on stove. 
When my stock is cool, I strain it and put it into bowls and place it in the fridge overnight. 

The following day, I use a slotted spoon and skim the gelatin off the top of the stock. Sometimes, I will also pour the stock through cheese cloth if I have stubborn gelatin that won't follow the spoon. 

Next, I pour my chilled stock into ice cube trays and freeze. 
I do this in batches since I only have four ice cube trays. Once each round of trays is frozen, I pop the stock out and into a freezer bag. For me, approximately 3 cubes equal 1/2C. 
Now, when I need to make quinoa or anything with chicken stock, I have a ton of it waiting for me, and all I used to make it was chicken scraps and nearly spoiled veggies! Things I would have ended up throwing away or composting becomes soups, stews, side dishes and sauces with minimal effort. 

If you don't have a pressure cooker, I own a Fagor 8qt Pressure Cooker and absolutely love it. It's not too early to ask Santa! Happy stock-ing (get it, the pun? Stocking? Santa? Maybe too soon...)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

We Moved!

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Oftentimes in this life I have to pinch myself to remember that this is real, even though it feels like I'm living a dream.

This weekend, Hubs and I moved into our dream house. It's the house Bill grew up in and as long as we've been together, we've dreamt of buying it and living in it forever.

So all those home renovations we took care of at the other house? Yeah, it was to sell it :) I'm sneaky that way. And no, sadly we did not complete a "Grocery Challenge" with this move. Having a toddler that requires fresh fruits and veggies prevented that!

Praying for a quick sale on the other house and a lifetime of happiness in our new one!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Freezing Our Garden Tomatoes

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Last week Billy (aka: LW [Little Wiliam]) got to spend the night at Nana's house which left Hubs and I childless for a whole night! Oh the possibilities. We relived our first date - sushi and ice cream. Feeling extra romantic, naturally we spent the rest of the evening....FREEZING OUR TOMATOES.

Haha. Gotcha. You thought I was going to be inappropriate.
In all seriousness, our garden has EXPLODED with veggies this year - it's been amazing! I knew we wouldn't be able to eat all of the tomatoes before they spoiled but didn't want to put the effort into canning this year so I opted to freeze them. Here's how I did it:

Start by boiling a big@ss pot of water - I used my "Super Pot" aka slow cooker. It boils water pretty quickly.

Then, I scored the bottom of all of the tomatoes with an X and dropped them into the boiling water for 10-15 seconds.

From there, they immediately went into the ice bath and were strained.
 Bill then peeled and cored all tomatoes and handed them back to me.

I chopped them up and weighed them all – each freezer bag was filled with 28oz of tomatoes. The perfect amount for a batch of chili :)
 
Then ta-da! They were done and ready for the freezer in about 20 minutes.
My mistake was freezing them wherever they fit in the freezer. I wish I had thought to lay them flat on a half sheet pan first to freeze them flat – it would have made storing them much easier. Now they're all awkwardly shaped and will be difficult to store. Luckily, chili season is nearly upon us!

How do you make the most of your garden veggies?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Why I Go To Church

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I'm sure you're reading the title of this post thinking, "Because God is good." - I mean, that's why most people go to church, isn't it?

I agree, God is good. All the time. But this week while I sat in the pew listening to my pastor's sermon I took a deep breath. Probably the first one I had taken in a week. I'm about to say something bold...

I go to church to get away from life. 

Don't get me wrong, my life is wonderful, beautiful and about as close to rainbows and unicorns as you can get... but sometimes I just need to breathe.

I go to church to listen to adults speak. I go to church to breathe for an hour, without a toddler tugging on my hands and arms and ears. I go to church to unwind and for an hour a week, I can have time to just be. I don't owe anyone a meal. I don't have to teach anyone life skills. I can just sing along to songs I have kept in my heart for years. I can drift into a state of consciousness that wonders and wishes.

Many days I pray throughout the day. I hear tidbits of news stories or receive texts from friends with good news and bad, and as the days progress I pray throughout. I don't go to church to pray. I go to church to think.

Of course, church is filled with other joys and concerns of the community which help encourage me to get involved or learn more about those around me. But really, I'm selfish. Sometimes I don't want to get involved, and sometimes I can't bear the weight of others. I just want an hour to escape and think. Once I have thought, I feel rejuvenated and ready to get involved.

I think I had a lightbulb moment this week. They call it a "sanctuary" for a reason.

Why do you go to church? 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Toddler FOMO

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Billy has a condition. In toddlers it is pretty normal, but not everyone has a name for it. Hubs and I call it "FOMO" – Fear Of Missing Out. 

Does your child suffer from FOMO? Here are some signs:

1. Toddler sleeps through noises like dishes clattering and vacuums running, however wakes and will not go back to sleep for days on end if the doorbell rings once. 
2. Toddler will sit in the car quietly when in traffic, however yells uncontrollably from the back seat when in line for fast food. 

3. Nothing outside is interesting until you want to sit on the couch, then Toddler must climb over your face to look out the window. 
4. Toddler is not hungry/will not eat food provided, until Parent begins to eat. Then, Toddler mauls Parent for every crumb they're eating. 
5. Similar to food, no TV show is worth watching to Toddler unless Parent is ready to watch a grown-up show. Or, mealtime. 

6. Packing material is disinteresting until Parent needs to use it for something, or throw it away. Then, it's warrior armor. 
7. Dogs are more fun when they're sleeping. 
8. Sharing is stupid, until his friend is about to steal his car. 
9. Toys are more fun to play with when Parent is about to put them all away.
10. Last, but not least, NEVER NAP ON VACATION. Anything could happen while Toddler is sleeping, so better just stay awake as to not miss a beat.

So, what do you think? Does your toddler suffer from "FOMO"??

Friday, August 1, 2014

Giveaway: Water Ring Sling

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This summer I've been a very busy bee! I've been sewing tons of water and linen ring slings for my friends. Don't worry, I'm not selling any. I only sew for people I know and they only reimburse me for cost of materials. I just love giving the gift of sewing to my friends! 

I've donated one to a local Facebook Group I am a member of and they wanted to host the giveaway on my blog! Enter below to win a red mesh water ring sling sewn by yours truly! Perfect for the pool, ocean or lake.

Here is Billy and I in our blue swim ring sling earlier this summer. We love it!! After about an hour in the pool he is ready to take a snooze and the mesh ring sling is perfect for just that.


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