☠️ Inktober

So I have not been posting like I should. I started a new job and between it and the kiddos I have just not been making the effort I should. I have even programmed an alarm to go off weekly for a blog post and yet here I am for the first time in months and months. So I’m going to show off my very crappy to mediocre artwork as I try to participate in Inktober where you are encouraged to draw daily. I am still making my polymer clay jewelry as well in the evenings when I have time so I will try my best to stick to this.

We have also traveled recently and both Little Bit and Lilo were so well behaved. I’m feeling very Disney homesick atm so when the first prompt was poison my mind went straight to the bottle of “poison” which was actually extract of llama. lol.

Told you I was not talented but there you have it. I was not being modest lol.

I’ll write about our little four day trip soon. I hope. Maybe.

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The rare cold day

We took Little Bit and Lilo on a hike at a state park on New Years Day. I️ haven’t always been an outdoors woman to say the least. I️ mean bugs, snakes (many poisonous around here) and the sun are not exactly in this pale girl’s friend list. I️ am trying to find it more enjoyable especially when the weather assists me in blocking my three aforementioned enemies as in Georgia “Swinter” or the extreme mixture of weather we have between late October and March. I️ mean, y’all, my idea of a great day is curled up in my pjs or yoga pants reading a good book and drinking some hot tea on a “cold” day.

We had decided if the Seattle-style weather subsided on New Year’s Day and the weather was above freezing we would #optoutside with the girls as my husband is very much an outdoor kind of guy and since Ireland I’ve found a bit more of an adventurous side to my soul.

With much difficulty we mustered enough layers to be somewhat warm in the just above freezing temps (it’s the South y’all, I️ didn’t even get to wear a sweater last “winter”) and threw some things in a daypack.

We were pretty much the only people in the park other than employees. I’ve already learned a lot about dressing warmly after this one trip lol. It was frigid. I didn’t have true mittens for the baby and vowed to crochet some as soon as possible. Especially, as I suspect, we will be doing this more often. We hiked down the pioneer trail until the temp started dropping and we decided to turn around. It was amazing but not entirely unsurprising how well Little Bit took to the hike. She found area where the wild boar in the area had been digging, saw hoof prints from deer and the boar along he way. The Moose was an Eagle Scout so had camped at the park before and took her to view the campsites which she thought was awesome. There are few benches along the trail and we stopped and let Little Bit assist Moose in using the campstove to boil water for one of those rehydrated meals to try. It was actually delicious for camping food and the warm slightly spicy meal was welcome to cut through the cold, almost wet chill.

We decided as we made our way back to the car to do this more often during the year as disconnecting from screen time and the more modern world felt good. The connection we made with the girls and with each other on this brief hike left me wanting more. The-not-so-outdoorsy girl in me finding very little room to complain about anything other than her desire for a warm bath.

So as we begin 2018 we start with true family time and have already done a little treasure hunting on Jekyll Island (see next post).

Evening Walk

This post was supposed to be a wordless Wednesday but apparently it did not go across as planned so I’ll elaborate a bit.
Moose, Lil Bit, Scarlett (puppy) and I have been taking afternoon walks (late afternoon because it’s so very hot) following dinner each evening. I keep feeling down and restless lately and this has helped. I miss my grandmother a lot lately. I get busy and then think about calling her and realize I can’t. We’ve always done some “back to school” type shopping together this time of year even when I wasn’t in school, even if we didn’t buy anything and just walked, talked and had lunch. This particular evening (2 nights ago) I was particularly down while we were walking and the storm clouds looming in the distance reflected my mood. We decided to turn back and head towards the house. As we did I noticed a rainbow and shared it with my family. My Nana loved Hawaii where she and my Papa had gone a few times and the culture. She had told me about (how she was told) that the rainbow was a pathway to heaven. Now I don’t know how true this is but When I saw it a few days ago it brought me comfort of a kind memory maybe even as a sign from the heavens, however you may take it. Either way it brought me a little peace as we walked home together.

Good for the Soul Kinda Weekend

Friday ended up being a surprise date-night for hubby and I when I called to invite a friend and her daughter to dinner with us and she said yes but then called back and said that her hubby was getting off of work early and didn’t really want to go out so why didn’t she keep Lil Bit and let her play while we went out. This is probably something normal for most folks but we don’t go out much without Lil Bit despite the fact that we know we should. I think we have that duel-working-parents guilt so time not at work should be spent with our child.

Anyways, the stars continued to align and we made excellent timing to a restaurant that my husband had made a reservation which apparently ended up being pointless as we walked right on in, something usually unheard of on a Friday night. I guess the ran or threat of had held everyone off….

Then Saturday baby girl and I made excellent time to go to the local Farmer’s Market, got everything we came for, grass-fed, free-range milk, fresh goat cheese, handmade pastas, and Merlot salt. The weather, normally hot at the time of day we attended the market, was gorgeous. When we came home the rain came down, we spent a lovely evening with my husband, curled on the sofa watching old Disney movies and eating popcorn.

My good fortune continued when the rain had stopped the next day, the three of us headed to do some volunteer work for our local state park. Afterwards we headed to the beach where we thoroughly enjoyed all the beauty and relaxation that pre-tourist season and cloudy weather offer.

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When we’d all had just a little too much sun and not enough food in our bellies, we drove back to civilization and enjoyed another quicker-than-normal meal, it started raining on the way back home but the rough weather held out until we were home and bathed. That night after hubby and I put Lil Bit to bed we heard the whippoorwill crank up outside and opened the backdoor to our own little serenade….I think we just all have to be grateful for small blessings like these. Those moments we hold onto in the weariness of days coming when it’s all we can do to make it through the work day, kick off our shoes and start cooking dinner, caring for kids and albeit crawling into bed. I hope it gets me through this work week before our family mini-vacay. Anyways, here’s hoping your weekend was a good.

New Macbook, new post

So just thought I’d drop a new post, with my new (to me) Macbook. Woot!

See, my laptop broke awhile back and the desktop, well it’s just not friendly to writing a blog–or comfortable.

I am very excited if you can’t tell and now no longer have an excuse to avoid the blog. So hopefully I can deliver more than one post per month…lol.

So what have I been doing while I’m not on a cool laptop like this one? I’m enjoying mommyhood, working my behind off at work (it’s sick season) and celebrating my 7th wedding anniversary with the Moose. The month of February holds the duel challenge of Valentine’s Day in addition to our anniversary. So I decided to redo and clean our office, a.k.a. the 2nd circle of hell as I’ve referred to it since our “clutter” room became Lil Bit’s room and the office assumed some of said clutter. It now boasts new decor, a home for everything and everything in it’s place and a happy husband I believe. I think he was more surprised at some of the handman-type things I accomplished rather than the tidyness.

My Lil Bit’s ever expanding vocabulary also continues to amaze me. Sitting at the dentist office with me a few weeks ago she became very quite then looks at me with big eyes and says, “I am nervous, I am a little nervous mommy.” The hygienist and this empress stifled laughs as we said, “Why are you nervous baby girl? There’s no need to be nervous.” She looks up and shrugs her shoulders, “I dunno, I am just nervous.” My now 3 year old with her perfect annunciated of multi-syllable words….Good grief the time has flown.

Unfortunately this brief post has also flown and I now have to skitter off to bed as I have a very early morning tomorrow and I think some of the bugs I’ve been exposed to at work are trying to catch me. Have a good night y’all!

=S

A New Year of New Mondays

Today was our first “Mommy and Lil Bit day” of the new year.

You know how on very rare days you manage to stretch out the minutes and fit everything in that you intended to accomplish into those precious hours? Somehow I managed to do that today and if this is any indication of how the new year will go I am looking forward to living it up. I have about 12 hours or so one day a week to try to pack in as much mommy time as possible and it is a lot of pressure especially if Lil Bit is having a bad day.

I have found in this brief but enlightening journey as a mom of a now 3 year old, that I have set up my idea of being a good mom in such a way that I will never know a guilt-free moment. Now this guilty train of thought is not necessarily in a mindful way, but almost completely subconscious, likely based on my nursing/medical background, pinterest, mothering books and my OWN mother–all of these things adding pressure and driving my already overachieving brain to be the best sort of mom. So much so that I sometimes catch myself being a crappy mom in the process….

Not going to lie, I totally googled “working mom guilt” and after flipping through a few articles I found this. The article is from a few years ago but it feels all to fitting, however she herself seems unable to offer a solution to the problem.

Looking back at my beginnings as a mother, I set my alarm when my infant slept through the night so that I could make sure there was (barely) enough pumped breastmilk to get her through the next night I worked (12 hr night-shifts wreak havoc on your prolactin levels) and cried when I spilled a 2oz bottle the first week I went back to work after pumping–in the breakroom because we did not have a lactation room. I probably would have made more milk and been a better, kinder full-time working, graduate-school-attending mom if I had gotten a good night’s rest instead. I get so preoccupied with how things are supposed to be, trying to find decent prices/coupons on organic food or meal-prepping for the week so that we can eat “cleaner” that I miss an opportunity to play with my child or teach her something new. I KNOW in my heart that it is better to be one-on-one with her and to give her a kind, caring, mother rather than a completely organic and balanced diet and every Barbie for her bless-ed dream house but my head tells me these are things that matter.

After today, where I actually spent the majority of the day WITH my daughter and not just in the same household as her, I remember why I went down to a 4 day work week and I think that this may be why the whole household has been more balanced today. Today also gives me pause and makes me consider an underlying, additional New Years Resolution…to be a mom to the best of my REALISTIC abilities rather than those that I have superimposed on myself. Wish me luck!

Our first M ‘n’ M day

No not the candies….although that does sound pretty good at the moment…

Today was our first of what I hope to be many Mommy and “Lil Bit” days. The Empress here finally got the grande ok from all persons (including herself) to go from full-time “40 hours” (truly closer to 60 most weeks) down to “32 hours” (probably actual 40 hrs a week) thus allowing more time for things like the Lil Bit, grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, sanity……

My main issue when deciding to do this was really the perception of how things were supposed to be in my head versus what they really could and probably should be. I’m not loosing (that) much monetary or otherwise by dropping down to 4 days/week, but as today already has shown me, I’m gaining so much more.

My Lil Bit and I had planned since last Thursday to go to the Toddler Time gymnastics at our gym early this morning. She’s under-the-weather with the tail end of a cold but depending on how she was doing afterwards I’d take her to the Tot Drop (that she views as a treat) and go workout a bit myself. Well those plans came to a halt when the wicked witch lady at the front desk informed us, somewhat callously, that Toddler Time had been changed to Tuesdays and Thursdays….great, now I’ve built my darling up all weekend long and am now going to deal with her crushed hopes and dreams hurt feelings. To my surprise she was upset for all of two seconds and then excited to go play with the swarm of other children who just happened to be there when I needed them today.

The rest of the day was grocery shopping, cooking dinner and hanging with daddy….at a much less rushed pace. It’s hard to describe this almost “weight-lifted-off shoulders” sort of elation I’m enjoying at the moment (although some of that may be do to my full belly and half-a-beer warmness I’m enjoying post-consumption this evening.)

So tonight I cooked my famous (at our house anyway) version of Ina Garten’s engagement chicken, I always do variations of it but it’s a quick easy dinner with lots of leftovers that I use the pulled chicken from the bone for other recipes.

The Everyday Empress’ Roasted Chicken

1 whole roaster chicken (I prefer Springer Mountain brand) 4-5lbs

2 lemons

2 heads of garlic

kosher salt or coarse sea salt (approx 2 tsp)

1/2 to 1 cup low-no sodium chicken broth (White Wine and Herb this time)

1/2 cup white wine (if not using above White Wine and Herb)

2 tbs butter, melted and set aside to cool slightly

(optional small roaster potatoes, onion in chunks or carrots, we used rainbow carrots and sweet onion tonight from our local organic co-op)

  • Preheat oven to 425
  • Remove giblets if present from chicken, rinse chicken off and dry with paper towels, salt liberally inside and out
  • cut 1 lemons into 8ths and 1 head of garlic across the top leaving the cloves exposed, removing most of the husk either cut in half or place with 8ths of lemons into cavity until full. (You can tie the legs together but I don’t find the need)
  • Cut remaining lemon into quarters and peel remainder of garlic throw into large basting pan with chicken and veggies
  • place about half of chicken broth/white wine in the pan and if desired the veggies mentioned above
  • Coat chicken with butter using basting brush
  • Cook for about 1 hr then check internal temp with meat thermometer (if you don’t have one, get oneseriously!!! cooking meat to temperature leaves you with juicy, safe-to-eat meat)
  • If top of chicken browning too quickly, place a piece of aluminum foil over it loosely to reflect heat
  • Once chicken to temperature pull it out to serving place to rest and cover with aluminum foil loosely
  • If remaining veggies not quite done, lower temp to 350’F and cook for a few more mins (5-10 usually does the trick)
  • Use drippings and veggies to pour on top of carved chicken and serve immediately
  • Remaining chicken is great to use in chicken salad, chicken tetrazzini or even to toss on top of a salad