Tattooed Stepford

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love me a good tattoo. Whether it is on my body, or my husbands, or some random stranger, there is just something fascinating about tattoos. It’s like a look in to somebody’s soul. They aren’t going to waste time and money on something that they don’t care about (usually). When you see someone with an intricate design, or something large and detailed, you know that they spent a lot of time on that. And, it isn’t like tattoos are easy to sit through, they hurt, they hurt bad, so if someone is willing to undergo that pain there must be a reason.

I got my first tattoo when I was 18, a large depiction of the Hoya plant. Also called a Hindu Rope, this plant held special meaning to me. When my great grandmother passed away at the age of 99, it was the first time someone close to me, who had been a part of my life since I was born, had passed away. We weren’t particularly close, but my mom, my brother, and I would visit her sometimes in her tiny apartment on Main Street. She cursed like a sailor, she hated “hoodlums”, and she would still call my 70 year old grandfather in the winter to remind him to wear a hat. My mother would regale stories of how MaMa (pronounced mawl-mawl) had had a hard life. Lots of family secrets that aren’t meant to be shared online. Suffice it to say that MaMa had done a lot of things that women in that time period were not supposed to do, she was a hard, independent woman who always had a soft spot for true love. When cleaning out her apartment, my mother carted home a huge Hoya plant. It sat gloomily in her bedroom. Then, something strange happened. On Mama’s birthday, the plant started to bloom. It bloomed, and it bloomed. One beautiful burst of color after another. It bloomed for an entire year, which is incredibly rare for these plants, and then it up and died. There are still a few snippets of the plant floating through the family, but to my knowledge it has never bloomed again. A miracle perhaps? Mama telling us she’s doing ok? Probably perched on the back porch of her heavenly mansion, spying down to make sure that the angels aren’t participating in any hoodlum activities. Something about it just sparked a thought in me that I never wanted to forget this woman, I got the Hoya on my right shoulder and can now tell the story of my amazing great grandmother anytime asks me what it is.

Through the years, I have added to my collection of ink. I have a poem on my left leg:

All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The good Lord made them all

Another meaningful piece, my mother had this poem on a quilt that hung in our dining room my entire childhood, the words always reminding me to be a good person and try to think it through before I jump to judging people. Whether I think they are good or bad or what not doesn’t matter. God made them, I should treat everyone and everything with respect.

After meeting and falling in love with Wonderful Husband, I got the inscription “Carry me home tonight” on my foot. A chorus from a favorite song, and a tribute to the only man I ever knew who would never falter in taking care of me. Whether I am a drunken fool stumbling home, or a crazy pregnant lady screaming in labor pain, this man is always going to be by my side. We still whisper it to each other, in hard times, I will ask him to carry me home. I know I can always lean on him.

This weekend, I added another piece. I got the words “just breathe” tattooed onto my wrist. And no, I do not need a reminder to breathe as some have suggested. This is my reminder to stay calm. When I am feeling anxious, overwhelmed, panicky. When I feel like I made explode from emotions, or fall under the burden of my responsibilities, I can look down and be reminded to just breathe. There’s a story behind this one too.

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When I was in college, I spent the majority of my time in one classroom. Each department had their own building, the Psych building was Morgan Hall. Somehow, I spent about 85% of my college career in room 208 of Morgan Hall. It seemed almost every class was in that room. The first time I ever entered that room, having a full fledged panic attack and finding it difficult to remain vertical, the room spinning as I gasped to maintain composure and not flee to hide in my dorm, I bee-lined for the back of the room near an open window. I squeezed into the tiny desk and busied myself getting out a notebook and pen. When I finally looked down at the desk I was shocked. There, carved clumsily into the pale desk top were the words “just breathe”. I glanced around the room, but no one was watching me, they were all making new friends and grouping into cliques. I ran my fingers over the words and inhaled a deep, and much needed, calming breath. I felt better. Somehow, just seeing those words, and knowing that somebody, at some point in time, had felt the urge to carve these words and then I would choose this desk and I would see these words exactly when I needed to see them was just insane. For the next 3 years, every class I had in room 208 of Morgan Hall was spent in this desk. It comforted me. I always regretted not taking a picture of the desk, and since graduating college I have jotted down the words several times to calm myself. Anyone who has ever had an anxiety attack knows how good it feels to have something to focus on when you are in the throes of it.

When Wonderful Husband, my friend, and I all decided we wanted to go get tattoos this summer, I knew it was time to add these words to my body. I had put it off for years, not knowing how I would get away with a wrist tattoo in the “real world”, but now I am not working, and I had decided to do it in white (that didn’t quite work out as you can see) so it wouldn’t be very noticeable. So, last Saturday we trekked down to Patty’s Art Spot and spent 5 hours with Patty’s husband Craig.

I am so pleased to have finally added to this to my collection of body art and know that it will serve me well in the future when I am having a panicky day or just need a reminder to take a deep breath and move on. A lot can be solved by taking a minute, breathing, and thinking it through.

Just for fun, here are the tattoos that my friend and Wonderful Husband got…

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Theirs took extensively longer than mine did! And, of course, we are all already planning our next ones!

I would love to hear about your tattoos, why did you get them? How many do you have? Are you thinking of getting one?

Preggo Cookie Dough

When I was pregnant, I rarely got cravings for anything other than caramel apples and ice cubes. But, on a rare occasion, I would find myself with a sweet tooth that I could not deny. I would eat pints of rainbow sherbet like it was nothing. The container balanced on my belly and the large soup spoon as my server. Then I came across this little gem. Not only did I eat lots and lots of this when I was pregnant, but I also scooped it into little balls, froze them, dipped them in chocolate, and gave them away as presents for Christmas. Wonderful Husband loves it, the family loved it, I love it.

It’s a keeper.

But seriously, don’t even kid yourself into thinking that this is anywhere near healthy, or good for you. It is bad. It is really, really bad for you.

Enjoy!

Egg-less Cookie Dough:
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
Pinch salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar and butter until smooth. Stir in vanilla and milk. Mix in the flour, salt, and chocolate chips until well blended. Chill in the refrigerator.

*Disclaimer* I see in the comments of the original post that a lot of people are real concerned about the raw flour. If it makes you feel safer you can spread the flour on a baking sheet and bake it until its browned up and that should get rid of any weird diseases. I don’t worry about it, but I know some people like to play it safe.

Fresh Bruschetta

This weekend we headed up to Wonderful Husband’s home town to visit everybody. Saturday evening we got to go to the fair and see the semi pulls (tractor trailers pulling instead of regular trucks or tractors, very cool) and drag races. We hit up a local bar and had a few drinks and crawled into bed way too late for our age. My MIL had asked to take Little Darling to church in the morning so I figured I was safe to enjoy some incredibly rare sleeping in.

My body thought differently, I was wide awake at 7am. I waited and waited to hear Little Darling wake up, she is always up by 7:30am at home so I figured Mimi’s house wouldn’t be any different. When I hadn’t heard anything by 7:40, I wondered if maybe they were already downstairs. I tiptoed down and took a look around. Nothing. I tried to go back to bed but tossed and turned wanting to see my LD before she headed off to church. At 8:30, I finally got brave and opened to the door to her bedroom. She had been asleep but rolled sleepily into the sitting position when she heard me come in. I hadn’t realized how much I missed her until I saw her. I had only been away from her for a few hours the night before but somehow it felt like it had been days. I happily got her up and got her diaper changed and took her downstairs for some breakfast. By this time, Mimi was awake and offered to take her off my hands so I could go back to sleep. I handed her off and kissed her, knowing she would be at church when I crawled out of bed in a few hours. I finally padded back upstairs and fell back asleep for a few hours, a delicious nap that was much needed and well deserved.

I finally got up at about 10:45 and nudged Wonderful Husband to make sure he was getting up with me. We wandered downstairs for some coffee and were shocked to find Mimi and Pappy in the kitchen with Little Darling. Weren’t you supposed to be in church? We all agreed that since it had been a late night and Little Darling was so fun, it would be worth missing one service to spend some family time. We had breakfast and coffee and had a really nice conversation. At noon, we decide we would head out to “The Cliffs”. I had never been there, but WH promised me I wouldn’t be disappointed. The in-laws asked to take LD for a walk while we were gone, so we grabbed one of our friends and the dogs and headed out for the day.

Words can’t even describe how beautiful this place is..

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I could tell you where it was so everyone could go and enjoy this beautiful site, but honestly I have no idea how we got there. Lots of twists and turns and back roads. Then we parked and walked a quarter mile to a tiny, steep path on the side of a hill and we tripped our way down it to another path through the woods, another 5 minutes of walking and we came out onto the rocks overlooking this gorgeous sight. The dogs ran and played, we spread towels out on the rocks and enjoyed a picnic lunch. I was really sad we hadn’t brought Little Darling, she would have loved sitting and splashing in the water.

After a long few hours of playing in the water, jumping off rocks into the swimming hole, and wrangling wet dogs back to the vehicle, we headed home. When we got there. My FIL had made bruschetta with fresh garden tomatoes.

Holy shit.

I don’t even like tomatoes and I ate as much of it as I could shove into my mouth.

They gave me some tomatoes before we left and I resolved to make my own bruschetta as soon as possible. I looked through lots of recipes and they all seemed really similar. I finally ended up just tossing everything in a bowl and hoping for the best, it was delicious!! I used:

  • 1 tomato
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • basil balsamic dipping oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • onion onion mix (from Pampered Chef)
  • saltine crackers

All I did was dice up the tomatoes, and then mix in the other ingredients. It was amazing. I wish I had had a big loaf of crusty bread I could have toasted up with some homemade butter and then topped with the bruschetta. Mmmmm! This will definitely be repeated multiple times in my future, now that I know how delicious it is. Even I, the tomato hater, is in love with bruschetta. I suggest everyone give it a try!

Homemade Butter

Give me a log house and call me Laura Ingles, I made homemade butter!

I am being serious. Right now, in my fridge, there is a container of butter that I made with my own two hands. Ok, well I made it with a mason jar, but I used my hands to shake it. So that count’s for something I am sure.

This one is super duper easy and the results are epic. Imagine hosting a family get together and coming out with your fresh,  homemade butter with a big crusty loaf of bread. People would die, and you would forever be the favorite. I am promising you fame and fortune here people, for a mere 10 minutes of your day.

The concept is incredibly easy, I really should have taken pictures, but I was so excited I completely forgot.

How to make homemade butter:

  • Pour heavy whipping cream into a mason jar
  • Put the lid on the jar
  • Shake the shit out of the jar until butter forms
  • Pour off the buttermilk
  • Put the butter in a bowl
  • Run the butter under cold water and smoosh it around with a spoon to get all the extra buttermilk out
  • Store in the fridge or freezer

It is the same concept as making the homemade whipped cream, except you don’t have to add any sugar or vanilla. I put about a cup of heavy whipping cream into the mason jar and twisted on the lid. After about five minutes of shaking you can hear the liquid stop swishing back and forth, that is when you have whipped cream. Just keep shaking and within another minute or so you will start to hear liquid again. This is the buttermilk separating from the butter. Shake it for another few minutes and you will have a decent amount of buttermilk and a nice ball of butter. I poured the buttermilk into a little container and stuck it in the freezer to bake with later. Then I put the butter in a tupperware container. The washing part is a little weird because you feel awkward putting your butter in water but it is pretty easy. Just put the container of butter under a running tap of cold water and squash it around with a spoon. There are little pockets of buttermilk stuck in there that you have to get out of the butter will go bad faster. Once you feel confident that you have gotten enough buttermilk out you can store it in the fridge for immediate use or freeze it for future use. It does go bad much faster than store bought butter, it only has about a week shelf life, so its probably best made in small batches or frozen into small batches so you can take out as much as you need at one time.

This was a super awesome activity and would be great for kids to get in on too. They can watch the transformation of the cream into butter and feel good about eating something they made themselves! I can’t say that I will completely stop buying store bought butter, but I will definitely cut back and start making more of my own. Next I want to experiment with adding herbs or berries or other flavors so I can make some Christmas gifts. It will go fabulously with my homemade jelly!

Coodles- The cucumber noodle

For months now I have been saying I am going to buy a Vegetti, or a Zoodler, or something to make noodles out of vegetables so I can have some more low carb options. After lots of research, I decided I needed a mandoline. Which, coincidentally, I used to own one and got rid of it because I never used it… Damn my habit of donating everything. I was complaining to my friend one night about wanting to make zucchini lasagna and not being able to cut the zucchini planks thin enough and how I needed a mandoline. A week later she had found a mandoline at TJ Maxx and bought it for me.

Of course, I have run out zucchini now and had nothing to try with it. I played around on Pinterest and found this wonderful potato roast which was gorgeous and looked super tasty. Of course, about three minutes into slicing potatoes and trying to arrange them into my pie pan I realized that you need 10-12 potatoes. WHO THE EFF EATS 10-12 POTATOES AT A MEAL? There are two of us! So I only used 4 potatoes, the result was a sad potato roast that was more chewy/burnt than crispy. We decided it wasn’t worth it and won’t be repeating it. Maybe for a holiday or something when I will be having a lot of guests and can use 12 potatoes, but other than that. Nope.

So after failed experiment number 1, I decided to switch over to the Julienne blades and attempt to cut cucumbers. The result was beautiful.

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And, of course, immediately after taking this photo I tried to continue slicing, and sliced my pointer finger. Not really surprising. I bled all over the rest of the cucumber and had to stop so I could go get a band aid. The mandoline does come with a holder, but it is a small round shape with four spikes you can shove into your vegetable. The end of the cucumber would fit into the holder, but then I wouldn’t get the nice longer coodles, and it won’t fit long ways. Oh well.

I gave some of the coodles to Little Darling for lunch and she had a blast. Much like spaghetti (only healthy!!) she played and squished and slurped on those things for a solid half hour. For dinner that night I sliced up an orange pepper and did a little side dish. Wonderful Husband wasn’t really a fan, but it was pretty. So there’s that. I think next time I would do cucumbers with some garlic and balsamic. A bit of an Asian take on it, but the options are really limitless.

I am super happy with this mandoline and cannot wait to use it in the future. I am already thinking of all the fun slicing and dicing I can do. Since I already used it for potatoes, I am going to attempt slicing up some more and making homemade potato chips. Hopefully I can keep my fingers out of the blades in the future.

How do you use your mandoline?

They come in 3’s

Isn’t that what Grandma or Mom or somebody used to say? Everything comes in 3’s? Or bad things come in 3’s? Honestly, my brain is so fried right now I can’t remember what the saying is… For my sake, I will pretend it is that bad things come in 3’s.

I have been having a really rough few weeks. In my last post I had talked about the many emotional highs and lows of August so far. We have been insanely busy, this week there hasn’t been a single day that I have actually stayed at home. It’s driving me crazy. I would, honestly, be a recluse if someone would just enable me. Like those TLC shows where the huge fat women lay in bed while their skinny husbands bring them food… Wonderful Husband won’t enable me, so here I am, only slightly over weight and leaving the house on a daily basis. Sad really.

Saturday I had an Arbonne party to go to, Sunday was Drew’s funeral, Monday was Little Darlings shots, Tuesday was an eye appointment… the list goes on an on. However, we didn’t make it to the eye appointment. The truck broke down.

As if we haven’t been having enough ailments with our current vehicles. Tuesday morning I was up and dressed and doing my morning routine while prepping to be gone all afternoon. Dinner was stuffed safely into the crock pot, the toys were gathered up and put away. At 12:30, we got in the truck to head off to eye doctor. I haven’t been to the eye doctor in years. Probably close to three or four. I have the same glasses that I got my freshman year of college, they are broken and super glued together, like some sad female Harry Potter. The only reason I have been able to keep up with contacts is that the last eye doctor I went to messed up the date on the prescription and it looked like 2015 instead of 2012 so 1-800-Contacts let me keep ordering. When they notified me in April that it ran out in July, I ordered like 6 boxes of contacts to get me through. However, Wonderful Husband has some banging insurance with his job so we now have fabulous eye insurance that I have been instructed to make sure I get our money worth out of. I was pretty stoked to get new glasses and an updated script (things seem a bit blurry lately).

Driving down the road, singing to the radio and carrying on a one sided conversation with Little Darling, I randomly heard a *ding*. Almost as if your running out of gas, or didn’t put your seat belt on or something. I looked at the dash and saw the little words CHECK GAUGES in bright red. A quick scan of the gauges, and I realize that the temperature of the truck is through the roof. Like literally, the needle couldn’t go any higher, it was past the red line or danger. I let out a string of curse words that I am none too proud of and I certainly hope Little Darling will never repeat. I grabbed the phone to call Wonderful Husband. I mean seriously, what do you do when your vehicle starts to over heat? I had a car once that used to over heat randomly and my dad always told me to turn the heat on full blast, but it was already like 90 some degrees outside and I knew LD was sweating in the back seat as it was.

Wonderful Husband said he had no idea why the temp would be so high, but I might want to pull over and check it out. When I expressed my doubt at being able to fix anything underneath the hood of the vehicle, he responded that perhaps I should just drive it til it explodes. Helpful. So helpful.

I finally saw a gas station, so I pulled over to check it out. By this time WH had lost his cell service and we couldn’t get calls through to each other. None the less, I turned the truck off, popped the hood, and pretended to know what I was looking at. A lot of scary emotions come at you when you are stuck on the side of the road with a broken vehicle and an 8 month old. I was desperately hoping that someone would come help me, but I was terrified that there was serial killer lurking at the gas pumps and we would end up on next weeks episode of 48 hours. Isn’t that how they do it? They look for unsuspecting women in compromising situations and then the cops find their bodies years later? I started to get sweaty, not just from the heat, and dialed my mom.

As if mothers are born with innate knowledge of how to fix a Dodge.

She had me check the radiator fluid, explaining where it should be located and what it should look like. We both found it kind of strange that the container for fluid attached to the radiator was empty. Surely something is meant to go in there? She suggested I call her fiance who was actually pretty close to me visiting his parents. He is knowledgeable about vehicles, and worst case scenario maybe he could come rescue me. When he picked up we went through the same things I had already done. Pop the hood, check the radiator, what do you mean its empty? He had me lay down and check underneath the truck to “see if anything was dripping”. HA. HAHAHAHAHA. It looked like a can of Mt Dew had exploded underneath my vehicle. There was green goo dripping everywhere and puddles were pooled on the ground. When I described the scene to him, he “hmphed” like perhaps this was less than good. At that moment, a Good Samaritan came over from the pumps to ask if I was ok.

He was normal looking guy. Heavy set and balding. He asked if I was broken down and I responded with a shrill laughter that was somewhat comparable to the Joker. Was this guy going to snatch me and stuff me in his car?? Is this it!!? Then I looked where he was walking from and saw an older lady pumping gas into a Kia Sportage, they had mountain bikes on their roof. Certainly serial killers don’t mountain bike? I told Moms fiance that I would call him back because there was a guy coming over to help me, and hung up. I explained to the guy that I was, in fact, broken down and the radiator seemed to have exorcised itself off the front of the vehicle. He went over to gas attendant (and really, why the eff was the gas station attendant not coming over to help me? At least he is wearing a uniform and works there and is probably not a serial killer, or would at least try to finish his shift before kidnapping someone) and got him to turn on the hose on the side of the building. He pumped some water into the overflow tank and then looked at me. His look conveyed that I was, in fact, in some deep shit with this vehicle.

He told me there was nothing else he could do and offered to give me a ride home. No thanks, Good Samaritan, I don’t know you. I have my daughter in the vehicle, its hot outside, I am not wearing good clothes to be identified in later when they find my body. Thanks for the help, but I am not getting in your vehicle.

I did sincerely thank him for his help, I probably would have been there a while before figuring out to put water in the radiator, and if he hadn’t been there to explain the truck wasn’t drivable there is a distinct possibility that I would have just gotten back in it and driven home. So, really, he helped me out.

I called Moms Fiance back and asked him to come save me. 30 minutes later he showed up with a roll of duct tape and a plan to rig the radiator to at least get it to a dealer to get fixed. After about 10 seconds of looking at it, he decided that there was no way either of us were driving this vehicle anywhere. So we left it. He drove me and LD home, and when Wonderful Husband finally got some service to call me back I explained what happened.

So, now the truck is back in the shop getting its radiator replaced. Wonderful Husband did some fancy water filling and driving and got it safely to a shop down the road. It should be done today. I am driving the Subaru now which is road worthy but still needs its suspension replaced. One thing after another. I am not even sure if this counts as coming in 3’s, the truck has definitely been to the shop more than 3 times this month..

Lets all hope and pray that when it comes back it will stay in one piece for at least a little while.

Oh, What a night

Sometimes, things just don’t go as planned. Yesterday Little Darling had to get her shots, so she was tired and grumpy and acting like the world was ending (which in all fairness I am sure being that small and being stuck that many times is probably traumatizing). She spent most of the afternoon in bed and I had big plans of getting lots of stuff done around the house. Instead, I downloaded book 4 of The Mortal Instruments onto my Kindle.

One of my friends got me into reading The Mortal Instruments. She had been talking about how great they were for years and then she brought the movie down to my house to watch. I am pretty easy to please when it comes to movies, but this movie just blew me away. The characters were so realistic and easy to relate to, the storyline flowed effortlessly and made total sense (not like so many movies where are you see major plot holes every two minutes), and I was so excited to read the books. She had the first three and lent them to me, I read them each in a day. The books are the types of literature where you get sucked in and find yourself in their world. Totally immersed in the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders, I would find myself throughout the day wondering what Jace and Clary were up to. I just had to get my hands on the last three books.

Needless to say, after I downloaded book 4 last night, my evening was pretty well shot. Two hours and several chapters last I forced myself to close the book, and get ready to clean the house. We have been so busy lately the housework has really been suffering. I hadn’t done any laundry in almost four days, and the dog hair was piling up in the corners from a lack of sweeping. I got my headphones and turned on some Latin music, nothing gets you moving like a good beat, and got busy tidying up the house.

I got the laundry going, cleaned the litter box, fed the dog and the cat, took out all the garbage, scrubbed the toilets, the shower, and the sinks. I cleaned up all the toys, I dusted, I vacuumed. I cleaned out the fridge, made a grocery list, and packed up some toys and put them in the attic. While washing the last of the dinner dishes I decided I should open the bottle of wine that has been sitting on my wine rack for several months. Cleaning dance party and wine? What could be better! Then when I was done I could settle back in with The Mortal Instruments and have a relaxing evening.

Long story short…

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Boy, I am so glad I cleaned the kitchen before I opened the wine- NOT. I am really not sure what happened, I have never had wine do this before (and I drink A LOT of wine). I have an automatic cork screw, its this big fancy contraption (not pictured because by this point I had thrown it across the kitchen) you just push it onto the bottle and then lift the handle and it pulls the cork out. But, instead of that happening this time, the corkscrew pushed the cork further into the bottle. After a few tries and it becoming obvious that the auto screw wasn’t going to work I got out the manual one… Well, you can see how that worked out. My cork is floating in my bottle and the wine is everywhere except in my glass.

After all that, I took¬† sip and realized that it’s a Merlot, and I hate Merlot. So it was all for nothing anyway.

I cleaned up the counter, made myself a cup of hot tea and went back to the couch and my wonderful book. I finished the whole thing in 5 hours total. I was up until 2:45am, but it was so worth it! Now, today we start book 5!