“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.” (Walter Anderson)
“Our uniqueness, our individuality, and our life experience molds us into fascinating beings. I hope we can embrace that. I pray we may all challenge ourselves to delve into the deepest resources of our hearts to cultivate an atmosphere of understanding, acceptance, tolerance, and compassion. We are all in this life together.” (Linda Thompson)
“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of. ” (Jim Rohn)
I admit it; I love coffee. Now, I’m not a coffee snob, however, I choose not to give my hard earned money to the “Evil Empire”. I won’t say say them by name (because I really dislike doing that). However, unless you live in a cave, they are the coffee company that’s literally on just about every street corner, they heat their milk too hot and it’s just a mediocre product, at best. Ok, so I really dislike them. Alas, I digress…
Within the last couple of years, a new coffee place has emerged, called, Dutch Bros. I really enjoy their large, hot, caramelizer. I don’t do cold coffee…ok, maybe I’m a smidgen of a coffee snob.
My 10-year old daughter adores going to Dutch Bros. When I treat myself to a coffee, she is typically treated to a medium, chocolate Frost (aka a milkshake). I should interject, there is a Dutch Bros. in the city we live in, but I typically frequent the one near my job, as it’s closer to me. My daughter actually comes to work with me, before and after school, because her school is near my job.
That being said, a few times, I have had to sneak out to get my coffee when she has been with her friends or at school. Dutch Bros. has a stamp card too. Every 10 drinks, gets you a free one.
Now, I used to leave the stamp card in the center console of my pickup. Until one weekend, we were waiting for my husband to pickup his car and she started looking at the card. UT OH!!! This child remembers EVERYTHING! I swear, she’s part elephant….
I see her start counting the stamps. As she is always with me, the stamps should be an even number. Now, I’m in trouble. I hear, “You went to Dutch Bros. without me?” She sounded dejected. I confirmed I did, out of exhaustion, one day. That was true, I had been exhausted. My sad child turned into a psychotic demon, who I could have sworn was foaming at the mouth and in a demonic voice bellowed, “YOU WENT TO DUTCH BROS. WITHOUT ME!!!!”
I was in trouble. For all you parents who have ever silently eaten a cookie or piece of candy, that you had hidden from your children, and then get busted mid-chew…I was busted like that.
It cost me a a Frosty to make it up to her. I’m such a softie (and ok, she’s a bit spoiled too). Now the card is kept in my wallet, for I still sneak a coffee here and there. The other day, as I was paying for our drinks, she said, “let me see that card”. Oh boy…she’s on to me. I laughed it off and quickly changed the subject. I know she didn’t buy it. It will cost me later on; of this I am sure. She’s holding out for when she really needs to use it against me.
We do enjoy Dutch Bros. very much. They have good products, reasonably priced and the customer service is stellar (no matter which location we’ve used). Plus, I love my daughter’s pure joy and over-excitement at being treated to her favorite drink: a chocolate frosty (esp. when she gets a pink straw)!
School is in full swing, at least in our little corner of the world it is. Since organization is the name of this school year game, I’ve purchased a little box to help make lunches more fun and convenient this year.
I stumbled across this little box known as a Bento Box. If you’re familiar with Japanese culture at all, I’m sure you have heard of this compartmental box for meals. This one happens to be plastic. While, I personally, prefer glass, we are talking about a 10-year old and taking lunch to school. I need the container to survive after all.
As you can see there are a plethora of combinations that could be utilized. My daughter goes through phases of what she feels like eating. Sometimes she wants a sandwich, other times just sandwich meat, sometimes just a bit of this and that. Prior to the week beginning, I cut up different fruits, if needed, so I can refill her container each night. This has been such a time saver!
Whether she feels like being vegetarian for the day or carnivorous, there are spaces to satisfy her appetite. This week she is focusing on salami slices, fruit and she’s adding grape tomatoes. One of the pics shows how hard-boiled eggs can be substituted as the protein, instead of meat slices. Another option would be to make a garden salad or add a pasta salad by removing the compartments. It works for young and older kids, or even adults taking their lunches to work.
When all has been decided upon, simple snap on the lid, another bonus (it stays closed), and set it in the fridge until the morning.
Then add to a reusable lunch bag, a small ice pack to keep it all cool and in a blink of an eye, lunch is ready to go to school with your little one.
I wish waking them up and getting them dressed was that easy!
If you like this particular bento box, you can find it here.
It’s Sunday and there’s school in the morning. If you’ve got kids in school, odds are you have lunches to make. My daughter rarely purchases lunch from school and this year it’s not even an option; as the government made it non-cost efficient to offer one while conforming to their rigid guidelines. I’m ok with that; I prefer sending in her food with her.
Now, I’m not a morning person; regardless of what my sleeping schedule may say to the contrary. I do my best to set the coffee up the night before. After all, that is my life blood and it’s what saves the world from ultimate destruction should I not have that vital liquid.
I’ve a got a tween in the house (pre-teen, that is) and her appetite is increasing. So, I give some snacks she likes as well as some healthy ones I know she will eat as well. One of her favorite go-to snacks are the Pepperdige Farm Goldfish Crackers.
Tonight, I purchased a 30 oz. box of the crackers and planned to divide them up. I took a sandwich bag and filled it half-way with goldfish. I did this 16 times until the box was emptied.
Now, instead of having a bunch of loose snack packs in my cabinet, I cut off the top of the goldfish box, wiped it out and then restack the snack packs in the box. This way, for the next 16 lunches I prepare (about 3 weeks’ worth), I just grab one each evening and put it in her lunch bag.
Of course I did the math. This box cost me $5.98. When I divide that by 16 snack packs I made by the cost of the box. It comes out to about $0.37 each. If you were to buy the individual snack packs from Pepperidge Farm, then you’d pay at least 10 cents more per pack and it would include less crackers. By creating my own snack packs and storing them in their original container, I’ve saved at least $1.60 on this one snack.
Place the box in the cabinet and it stays organized and I’ll know when I’m getting low on my daughter’s favorite snack. A little planning ahead can make the mornings run much smoother, esp. since getting up before the sun rises is one of my least favorite activities.
It’s an eye-opening experience when you take a moment to evaluate what you want from life. Over the last few years, my life has changed more than I would have ever imagined. I know life isn’t fair, bad things happen to good people, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, it will get better….yada yada yada.
At this point in my life, my youngest daughter is everything to me. She’s the one who’s still at home with me and my world revolves around her. When I was transitioning my daughter from homeschooling to small, private school, I checked with my boss, who said I could bring her to the office before and after school.
She is a good kid, sits and watches tv (yes our office has that in a large break room). Doesn’t bother anyone. She used to sit in an unoccupied office prior to that. One of the owners said, she could watch tv; if she wanted to.
Lately, the main owner has been fixed on some issues that are not the most pressing in the company. After 30 years of business, and eight months into the year, he wants to change things, see details that take meticulous calculations to obtain and doesn’t understand how the information is calculated. Unfortunately, I am wrapped up in this data mess, as I administer part of what he is complaining about.
While I only lend my opinion, based on my experience, I do not make any final decisions. However, apparently, because I’m involved, I’m now “public enemy number one” in the eyes of the owner of the company. Now, my daughter is no longer allowed to watch tv for the two hours after school, while I finish my work day. I will add, my work has not been negatively affected with my daughter at work. If anything, I have been working even more to quell the mighty giant who would rather slay me than listen to reason about how his business practices have brought him to the current mess we are cleaning up. When he chooses to punish me, by taking it out on my daughter, we have a problem.
That being said, the entire situation has caused me to re-evaluate my position within the company. While I make a decent salary, I am underpaid for all that I do. My daughter’s education and happiness are paramount. I realize, no matter what they claim my position is, I’m a glorified paper pusher. I am great at my job, so I don’t let that discourage me.
Yet, through all of this, I have realized, the job I thought I would probably have for the next decade or so, isn’t the job for me. I want to be more available for my daughter. I want more memories of us. I still have to make money; sadly. My family still expects to eat, daily, with the lights on, have hot water, clothes, etc…..so I continue to work in the hostile environment of my job.
I told my friends yesterday, I want to go back to wedding planning. I want to be my own boss. I enjoy making people happy by working behind the scenes so their special day is full of memories that will make them smile for a lifetime to come.
I enjoy doing walk venue walk-throughs. Making notes of what will or won’t work for a particular client, attending the wedding rehearsal, ordering dishes, making sure the banquet room tables are set just right. That the chairs gently “kiss” the tablecloth and aren’t pushed all the way in. I like making sure the bar is set and ready for when the guests arrive for the cocktail hour, following a timeline. All the details that the average person doesn’t realize that have to happen to pull off a successful event; is what I enjoy doing.
Over the next year, I will work some freelance events, maybe do some day of coordination for ceremonies and work at building my business so I can work for myself, this time next year. That’s the goal!
I am currently looking for another job that I can keep my daughter in her present school. If we have to change schools or return to homeschooling, so be it. Her education and happiness are important and I am over pleasing a male chauvinist who views my job as a necessary evil of having to do business.
Look out Bay Area and Sacramento, a new wedding planning business is on the horizon!
My favorite season of the year is almost here; no not the season with a bearded fat man in a red suit. The season right before that; where leaves turn vibrant shades of oranges, reds and yellow, before they detach from the trees and begin to litter the ground. Fall! That’s the best season of the year (to me anyway).
That being said, it’s also the time some of my favorite dishes are made. Ok, who am I kidding, I make fall food year round, but for most people, they tend to stick to seasonality when cooking.
Last night, I made a Fall staple that you must have in order to make caramel apples: Caramel. I like to make it in the crock pot, simply because it allows me not to stand at the stove and there literally is no clean-up.
All you need is a crock pot, a can of sweetened condensed milk, three 4-oz mason jars and that’s it!
Simply open the can and pour equally into the three 4-oz mason jars. Set the mason jars into the crock pot, uncovered.
Carefully, add enough water to cover the jars to where the milk stops. This is how the milk will cook evenly; surrounded in water. Add the lid to the crock pot and set the cooking temperature to low and eight hours.
I like to do this overnight or when I’m gone all day at work. Then it’s ready when I wake up or come home and I am not hovering over it hoping it miraculously finishes quicker. Carefully, remove the jars and place on a heat-protected surface to cool.
In addition to being able to use this caramel to cover apples for Halloween, you can use it as a great school or work snack. Pour a bit of caramel into a container, pack some apple slices and a snack is ready to go. You can use it to drizzle over baking creations or simply eat it with a spoon, if that’s your prerogative.
Facebook was nice enough to remind me of a short poem I wrote five years ago. I had forgotten about it; really. It was a time when I was trying to keep busy; be normal.
It was my son’s first (and only, if i get my wish) deployment. I was a mess and writing helped. I wrote to those deployed, other military moms and even new Gold Star moms (hard to do with a deployed child).
I am passionate about supporting our military because I know how much it helps their morale; esp. when being so far from home. I will be sharing more about that and how others can help, but for now…a simple poem that gave me something to look forward to…
I have a spot on the floor
Right near the front door
There’s supposed to be a pair of boots there
But I can’t find them anywhere
I know where they’ve gone
Hopefully, it won’t be too long
For them to be replaced
And I see my son’s smiling face!
I would venture to say that food is one of the most important things in our lives (besides for nutrition) that bind us to family, other people and cultures. We grow up eating a variety of food, mostly influenced by our parents and then we develop our own likes and dislikes and venture further into the culinary journey that helps make us who we are.
My mom was a decent baker, but horrible cook. When I say horrible, she would admit it, especially after one of our dogs refused her meal. Seriously! The dog snubbed his nose at human food. It was pretty funny at the time and still makes me smile some 30+ years later. That being said, she did introduce to me to one sandwich, that even to this day, I will still make from time to time.
I will preface the sandwich that I have always been a bit odd when it comes to unique sandwich combos. Then having spent 25% of my life as vegetarian, can’t believe I can actually even state that figure…but I digress, I ate this sandwich then too.
Ok, here it is…and don’t knock it til ya tried it: olive and cream cheese sandwich. It’s relatively easy. Take your favorite olives, or combination thereof, and dice ’em up. Add the olives to softened cream cheese and mix. Now, you can stop there and make a sandwich straight away.
Get creative…add a bit of lettuce or perhaps alpha sprouts. Top with a tomato and then the olive spread. Perhaps you want to use a hoagie roll or toast your bread of choice? I’m in California…add an avocado…we put that on everything. I would post a picture, but I ate my sandwich before snapping a picture. Sorry, it was just that good!
When all is said and done, it’s a sandwich from my childhood. It’s a memory of my mom. It’s one of my comfort foods.