Content

Tonight was a night full of content. I can’t tell you if it was Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” playing in my ear, or hearing Miss Ev laughing in the background. I’m sure it was a mix of both. As I’m in the kitchen singing to myself with the aromas of candles in the air, I can’t help but feel the bliss of our families life we’ve built for ourselves.

I am not rich, but I am not poor. I may not have what I want, but I have what I need. I may not live a luxurious life but I love the life I live

It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the word “Content”

con·tent1

kənˈtent/

adjective

1 1.
in a state of peaceful happiness.

This is a hard word for me to relate to. No, not because I am unhappy, more so for the “peaceful” aspect of it. As much love as I have for being an adult and making my own decisions, it is not always the easiest. I’m sure its safe to say, if someone had told me in high school to enjoy the time I had under my parents roof and living free of charge, I would have. Okay, if I had actually listened to my parents when they did tell me that MANY TIMES, I would have taken in the short time of bliss and the carefree life I was given where I was oblivious to the words mortgage, bills and loans.

You see those infamous quotes like “Money can’t buy you happiness” that may be true, but it damn sure puts a roof over your head, food on the counter and heat in your home. This is the hard true facts about this whole thing called adulting! Money is what we strive to make and bust our asses working for to provide for our families, and let me tell you it is stressful! I watch my husband head to work in the morning with coffee in hand and come home covered in sawed. With no complaints, he then puts slacks on to head to his part time night job to work a few extra hours for a little more pay. The weekends roll around and we switch places so he has a break and time with our daughter while I go and work two part time jobs for that little extra. No matter how much work and time is put in, we occasionally lack what we need and stress builds around our home while we push to pay a bill on time.

This my friends, is the opposite of content, and like I said before, it is a hard word for me to grasp. In the midst of getting our accounts paid on time, I forget to step back and breath.  I take my stress and worries, bundle them in a ball and shoot them like a rocket right at my husband. The man who goes to work everyday, no excuse and no objection to provide for our family, and he still manages to calm me down and reassure me that everything will be okay, we always get through it.

Bills will always be there. Worries of insurance, medical, dental, health, schooling, all of this falls on the adults decisions and choices. No matter how hard we work to make something of ourselves, many times we fall short, and that is okay.

I’m slowly coming to realize, and I mean, extremely slow, that my husband is right. We always make it through whether it’s pay check to pay check, working extra jobs, or still learning how to manage our money. We are still young and will figure it all out in due time. I need to learn to appreciate what I do have and what is right in front of me. I will be the first to admit that I am blinded by stress instead of contentedness. I am learning everyday to not stress the small things and to enjoy more nights of a toddler laughing in the background and some good Springsteen music filling our home, because that feeling of content outweighs any type of worry.

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For the Love of Fall 🍁

You guys! It’s that time of year again! The best season of all has sprung and I’m not talking about spring!

I know a handful of people who don’t want to believe the temperature has dropped 20°F, and they are holding out hope for a few more days in the sun. Who knows, they might be right! But the wind is blowing, the leaves are falling and as of now, I have officially pulled out my fall decorations and spices. Let’s be honest, I pulled them out last month when I watched a leaf fall from my backyard.

I don’t know what it is about this season. Maybe it’s the fact that I grew up in Alaska where fall hits hard and stays longer. The crisp air, the crunchy leaves, red, orange and yellows surrounding me. The infamous “sweater weather” and “pumpkin spice lattes” might have something to do with it as well!

Mid September through October my poor husband is spent watching reruns of Hocus Pocus, smelling spiced scentsys, and eating pumpkin treats! Sounds like a win to me!

List of fall movies to watch!
Favorite fall shirt from my MIL!

Not only has Fall made its way through my home, it’s hit Morning Light Coffee Roasters too! We broke out our pumpkin sauces, and have started baking! Pumpkin Swiss rolls, Caramel Apple bread, Pumpkin Spice scones! You name it, we can bake it!

Cinnamon spiced latte and a pumpkin scone @ Morning Light Coffee Roasters

Not only do I have the love for pumpkin pastries come fall time, I love the warmth of big sweaters, leggings and boots! Simple yet cute. Of course every girl is dressed darn near the same, but hey! Fall sisters unite!

Pumpkin patches, corn maze, sun flowers, fresh air and Halloween. This season has everything I love and more!

My handsome scarecrow and I!
A few fun ideas for this Fall Season!

There wasn’t much to this blog other than the excitement of Autumn in my eyes! I figured I’d add a few links to this short but sweet post! A few of my favorite recipes that will bring fall to your home too!

Happy Fall y’all! 🍂

http://cakemerchant.com/2015/10/07/spiced-apple-cake-with-maple-cream-cheese-frosting/

Link above is a spiced apple cake recipe!

https://www.handletheheat.com/whipped-cinnamon-pumpkin-butter/

My cousin Sandrenia made this scrumptious Pumpkin Butter! Wonderful on toast!

https://www.browneyedbaker.com/pumpkin-scones-spiced-glaze/

Last but not least these fabulous Pumpkin Scones!

The Sacrifice that Brings Blessings

Parenting is hard. The three words no newbie wants to hear when they find out that they are about to be one. But it’s the truth. It is a lifelong occupation of hard wrapped up into fulfilling, thrilling, humbling, challenging, chaotic, beautiful, and every other word imaginable.

“An exhausting sacrifice which brings innumerable blessings” ~ Kris B.

It is absolutely true. From the day they are born they become your priority, your everything. For most, nothing else matters after that. Your life revolves around this little being that you’ve created and from there on they are your greatest achievement.

The trials and stepping stones you go through as a parent are both rewarding and trying times. Two steps forward, one step back. Restless nights, teething, illness, bedtime routines that don’t work anymore etc… But at the end of the night, as your little love is sleeping so angelically, nothing else matters.

My little girl just turned two on September 14th. Two years of crazy, messy, indescribable love! It hasn’t always been easy of course. The “trials” haven’t been effortless, but they always become worthwhile.

From nearly day one I have been a co-sleeper with Evalee. It didn’t start out that way. We tried really really hard to get her to sleep in her bassinet next to our bed. But from 2:30 until 4:00 in the morning she was up every night like clockwork for nearly two months. I found myself in tears from exhaustion each night and praying that she would fall asleep long enough for me to rest my eyes. Our world was suddenly upside down and more difficult than I could have imagined.

I remember the night like it was yesterday. It was nearly 3:00 in the morning with a screaming newborn, a teary-eyed mama and soft background music that wasn’t quite working for her. I was so frustrated as I looked over at my husband who was sleeping peacefully in bed. He could sleep through a tornado without waking up I swear! I remember going through the steps. Feeding, burping, changing her diaper, letting her wiggle around a bit, then swaddling her back up. I played her favorite sleep song 13 times that night before she finally gave in. But once I laid her into the bassinet she went right back to crying.

As a new parent with no clue of what to do, all I was sure about was that I didn’t want her to feel helpless or alone. The “let them cry it out” method wasn’t for me at the time. So I wiped my tears away, picked her up, and placed her on my chest as I laid leaning up against my headboard and fell asleep with her. That was my start to co-sleeping. It was the most sleep I had gotten in what felt like a lifetime.

My husband wasn’t as on board with it as I was. I don’t blame him. It is a very scary thing to do. You always hear heartbreaking stories of sleeping with your babies in bed, and still to this day I’ve worried about doing it. I never expected to co-sleep with my child. So for a while there, Kole moved to the couch as I adjusted to and figured out the right method that worked for me to sleep with her. She laid on the inside of our bed next to the wall with pillows stuffed down the slight crack. I slept with one arm above my head and on my side with her cradled in my arm. It was not easy to get used to, but at least I was able to get more than 5 hours of sleep a night.

That went on until well, 2 days ago.

We left back to Alaska when Ev was 8 months old. Yes, by then we could have established a better night routine involving her sleeping in her crib for longer than her nap time. But we didn’t. “Bad habits” die hard I guess. But it wasn’t just for her comfort. I felt peace sleeping next to her. I loved the connection between us while nursing. I loved watching her as she slept. I loved knowing she was close to me. This went on up until the day she turned two, along with nursing.

Who knows if we would have tried for the crib or weened off nursing easier if we had what we needed to do so while in Alaska. I doubt it. But as she’s reached the toddler stage and knows what she wants, it’s getting to be time to let my mom strings detach from her a tad bit more. I do not like it. To be honest, I think this is affecting me more than her!

So here I am and here comes a TMI moment. It is now the night of Tuesday the 18th. I have worn bandaids over my nipples for nearly 38 hours with no nursing. I have listened to a handful of tantrums and heartbreaking cry’s over the fact, and I have read 10 articles on “the right way to ween from nursing”… Parents, there is no right way. It really depends on how your child reacts the best to doing so.

Thursday night, on Evalee’s second birthday was the first time in two years that I didn’t sleep next to her. That was her choice! She fell asleep on the couch with her daddy around 8:30 that night, probably crashed due to her sugar high that day. She stayed asleep! I went into our bedroom and fell asleep, waking up every few hours to check on them. I heard her around 3:00 start stirring around and waited for her to walk into the room and crawl into bed with me. She instead went and snuggled up closer to her dad. She made it until 7:30 that morning before climbing in by me!

Kole and I decided that Sunday night would be the night we would start cold turkey without co-sleeping and nursing. Trust me. We have tried weening and we have tried getting her to sleep in her crib. It lasts a few hours and by the time she wakes up we are both so tired that we give in and let her sleep in our bed. I know, I know, we need to be more stern and we need to be willing to cooperate with the same task our little one is being put through. This is not easy. Sunday night I gave in and let her sleep with me.

Monday morning I woke up and put bandaids on my chest. A way I felt would keep her from wanting to nurse. So far so good. Tantrum #1 started that morning while we were relaxing watching her favorite show. No sippy cup full of milk or bowl of oatmeal would do the trick. She wasn’t having it. I kept calm reassuring her that she is now a big girl, not a baby anymore! We got through it together. There were at least three more fits before dad came home from work, one of them was heartbreaking. The nap cry almost got me! She was so tired but she’s a bit hardheaded like her dad and wouldn’t give in.

A few of the articles talk about weening off nursing in different ways. Some being by weening only at night or only in the day. Some say to still nurse them at nap time or when they are hurt etc… Like I mentioned before, you know your child, you know what they can handle. So instead of giving in, I went to the store and picked her up a brand new ladybug sippy cup and filled it with warm milk, a little honey and nutmeg. I made sure she had a full belly from dinner and she relaxed with dad on the couch before we went into her room to read a book and go night night in her big girl bed.

Did I mention our child is a night owl? I think it runs in the family. With no nap and all the energy in the world, she still stayed up a tad past 10:30. I know, awful parenting right?

We went into her room with her new sippy in hand and sat reading a few books before her eyes started to drift off. She soon snapped out of it and wanted to nurse. So I used my calm mom voice and told her it’s all gone and she needs to use her big girl cup! (Trying to sound excited but I am actually emotional inside!) she threw a short fit before climbing back up into my lap and rocking her to sleep, no sippy cup needed. For the first time in a long while I played her sleepy time playlist and she fell asleep by 11:15.

I placed her into her bed where she slept until 3:15. Of course I had made myself a bed next to her crib. I can’t let go of the strings too far! Once she woke up, I went out and grabbed her some warm milk and let her cry as much as she needed. I laid her next to me on the floor where she proceeded to cry due to wanting to nurse. I was so tired and I know my sweet girl was too. I just kept whispering to her and softly rubbed her back. That’s when I started To pray. I prayed out loud for her to feel peace and comfort. I prayed for her to feel safe where we laid and to feel love and warmth. Within seconds she stopped crying and fell fast asleep. God was listening. She slept next to me until 6:30 when I woke her daddy up for work. I was then able to lay her in her bed and let her sleep a few more hours before waking up from our first night nursing free and in her own room. This is the beginning of a new adventure. A difficult trial that is just apart of life. This thing called parenting. Like I said. Parenting is hard….

But so worth it.

Never Forget

September 11, 2001. This day will forever be known as unforgettable, tragic, traumatizing, memorable and the most heartbreaking day in US history. No word can truly describe the pain that happened 17 years ago, and as the years go by, nothing will make up for the loss of loved ones.

I was 7 years old at the time, living in Alaska, and still fast asleep during this attack. I remember hearing my dad Justin waking my pregnant mother up and rushing her to the tv to watch the news. This is when they woke my brother and I up to watch as the most sickening sight my young eyes could see stared in disbelief. We stood around the tv wide eyed and silent. “This is going to change our lives forever” my brother recalled Justin saying.

Justin’s words “I remember waking up your Mom, and watching the news footage and not knowing what to think (we didn’t know that it was an attack until the second plane hit the other tower). Then when the towers just collapsed it was like watching a movie, only the special effects were real. We were all just watching and not saying much. It reminded me of watching the space shuttle taking off and then it exploded! You just look at the tv asking yourself…..WHAT JUST HAPPENED?”

My mother who was a fourth grade teacher at the time and was my now husbands teacher said that she will never forget how worried Kole was when he walked into class talking about how this could be the start of WW3. Imagine that, a nine year old boys thoughts that weren’t far off.

A few days later we received a call from my grandma Linda who was apart of Red Cross. She calmly told us that she would be going to New York to help wherever she can. She called to reassure us that she was okay every week or so. But her voice was different with every call, so tiring and so sad I remember thinking. She spent a total of 68 days helping where she could.

I don’t remember much at that age, and seem to learn more and more about this day as the years go by. I am now 24, with my own family who’s safety I care and pray everyday for. I have never experienced the grief and sorrow as those who lost loved ones that day. But I do know that it has made America stronger, and so many years later we still come together as one Nation under God.

Below are a few stories, news clippings, and documentaries of 9/11. Some are sad stories, and some might bring a sliver of peace to others. This day has changed the lives of everyone in America. It is a day that my daughter will learn about in school every year. A day we all lived through, a day that left it’s mark on the world forever.

We will never forget those who were laid to rest, and we will always stand by those who will forever grieve. September 11, 2001.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1IFVsD6CaTU

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/9-11-memorial-commemoration-ceremony-today-watch-live-stream-from-nyc-wtc-memorial-2018-09-11/

https://www.unilad.co.uk/featured/terrifying-footage-of-9-11-reminds-us-why-we-should-never-forget-that-tragic-day/

“Ashia” and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

I had one of those unbelievable days. No, not in a good way either. More like one of those “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days”

I always loved this book when I was younger. But that’s because it was a book. Never would I have guest my day would wind up like this!

Let me tell you, it was our first downpour day all summer. That’s a sign, I should not have gotten out of bed.

As I got up to do my usual morning routine, make coffee, turn on my hour of Fixer Upper, sip on a strong cup of happiness and let Ev play before starting my day, it turned into a whirlwind of dominos.

As I crouched down to turn the tv on, I realized I heard the tv making sound, but it wasn’t showing anything on the screen. I figured Ev must have pressed some buttons and turned the brightness down. So as I’m sitting there trying to figure out what was wrong with the tv. (Irrelevant to the story, we found out the light strip in the back was out) Evalee proceeds to take her diaper off at some point without my knowledge and pooped on the floor. That sneaky child of mine ran straight to her room to grab a baby wipe and pick it up before I noticed!

Of course I looked up in time to see her grab it and run to the garbage. I put a clean diaper on her and decided it was time for coffee before I tried a second time to “fix” the tv.

I made my way back to our college tv that we got half off during 2013 Black Friday. The set that’s done us good for the last 5 years, not wanting to believe it’s life was worn out from restless nights and background noise.

It took less than 5 minutes for Evalee to spill her shot of coffee I gave her on the carpet. Yes she loves coffee, no I am not crazy. It wasn’t even 10:00 yet and my day was spiraling fast! I quickly sprayed down the carpet before the stain set in.

By the time my husband got home for lunch I decided it would be a good time to change out the plastic washer striker that had broken off the day before. (The piece that keeps the door locked when washing) Easy fix, no big deal, we will have the washer locked and loaded in no time…. Nope… Once I got that fixed and figured at least one thing was going right for me, someone upstairs looked down on me and said “Ha! Wrong again!” Maybe they were looking up at me, hmm, I don’t know. Needless to say another section of the washer that also keeps the door locked in place decided to jam. I figured I could unscrew the lock and figure out how to unjam the little part. No sir, no ma’am, not this time. I reached around the rubber opening to grab the lock as it showed me to do in a YouTube video and a circular spring decided to come off instead! What did I do to deserve this day!? I called the supply and service store and they said it can cost close to $160 to have it fixed!… So there I was with towels and clothes needing to be washed.

Oh you know what I did next… Warm water, laundry soap, and a bathtub later and I was hand scrubbing a load of clothes.

Whoo! Proud of myself I finished ringing water out of a load and was throwing the last of it into the dryer when to my surprise, who do I see standing bare butt on my bathroom rug with “peepee” running down her leg? Well she’s definitely making a transition from diapers to potty training pretty drastically today! still working on it. I promise guys this has not happened before! Just today of course! I get her all washed up and throw the rug in the tub to hand wash real quick before getting some cleaning and dinner started.

Smooth sailing so far. It’s been a few hours since my last “oops” of the day. My hubby is home fixing the tv, hand washed clothes are now folded and put away, just dinners left and I am at home stretch for relaxing and bed time!

Breakfast for dinner was our meal choice. Easily one of my favorites and best of all it’s a quick and easy supper! I throw the sausage links on, whip up some pancake batter and whisk some scrambled eggs. At this time I’ve got some Garth Brooks playing in the background. I’m singing it out loud while throwing supper together! “Duh 🎶 Duh 🎶 Duh 🎶 Duh 🎶 Duh 🎶 Duh 🎶 Duh 🎶 Duh! THE THUNDER ROLLS AND THE LIGHTIN’ STRIKES!”

I’m rocking out to some of my favorite tunes, whisking my eggs and throwing in some salt and pepper when i’ll be damned… I can’t make this crap up. I should have stayed in bed. The lid to the pepper wasn’t screwed on! The whole freaking thing popped off and landed right into my eggs! I looked over at my husband who was half laughing and half thinking the same thing about the saying in bed comment. I was damn near in tears! I just couldn’t believe the domino effect made its way into my house! Who’s grave did I step on? Is it a full moon!?

I quickly dumped the eggs out but not before trying to fry them and see how bad they were. Awful. Awful was the word. I chose to make some quick sunny side ups and sat down to eat. Besides the egg fiasco, my pancakes turned out better than usual so that was a plus!

Dinner was done and cleanup was about over. I walked into our bedroom where I saw the bottle of syrup hiding half way under the bed with our dog Penny on the other end licking it. I gave up! Ev and I went to bed right then and there. The earliest I had gone to bed in a a very long time!

What a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day that was! I was glad it was over!

I finished the night with luck on my side, curled up next to my sweet girl. The sun was going to rise on a new day and all will be better I thought.

Pay It Forward

Written three days ago…

As I was driving to work this morning I was struggling to figure out what I was going to write about next. It wasn’t until 2:30 today before my shift ended that I realized what It was going to be. “Pay it forward” was placed right in front of me.

As the day was winding down and cleanup was in the process, the inevitable rush came through. As we were scurrying around whipping up drinks and orders, one of the gals in the group came over. I quickly apologized for not taking her order yet and informed her that I would be right with her. She was a young, beautiful girl with colors from head to toe. She smiled and kindly said “That’s alright I’m in no hurry.”

After serving her table and continuing to clean up, she came back over to pay for her meal. She decided to purchase a local bands CD as well making her total $21.75. I rang her up, thanked her for coming and proceeded with my tasks.

As the group was getting up from their chairs and heading towards the door, I walked over to thank them for stopping by and looked down to notice that this young woman left us a tip of $28.25. I was in shock and couldn’t find the words! I looked at her and said “This is an incredible tip, are you sure!?” She simply said “Of course, I wanted to make someone’s day” I gave her a hug, told her it meant the world, and said I will pass it on. She really did make my day. One small act of kindness changed my mood completely! I left work with a smile excited to get home and share my day with my husband.

Pay It Forward has always been one of my favorite movies. It could be my love for the famous “I see dead people” Haley Joel Osment, but more so for the story line. If you haven’t watched it, well then, where have you been all these years?

Struggling mother, homeless woman, man on the break of suicide, and one little boy who’s teacher assigns his class to think of an idea to change the world for the better. Unbeknown to him, this young boy sets in motion a wave of human kindness that affects many people near and far, with one sentence. Pay It Forward.

Now if you don’t like to cry during movies this one might not be for you! But I suggest get over it, sit down, and let the tears roll. This is by far one of the best movies out there that will make you reevaluate the way you see the world. Movies that inspire you and make you look at life from a renewed perspective are truly incredible.

I am still working on my Pay It Forward moment. I know it will come at the right time and will hopefully impact someone else’s life as it did mine that day.

“No act of kindness no matter how small is ever wasted”

Laundry Loather

My day was filled with laundry, laundry, and oh yeah, did I mention laundry? This task has always been one of my most hated and worst enemy’s. I try to put it all the way down at the bottom of my to-do list and then I do my best to stretch my day out so long that I don’t have time for this awful disaster. But it’s just like the old prepaid flip phones. The minutes and chores just roll over to the next day.

So this is it. I’ve done everything on my to-do list by 3:00. I mowed, pulled weeds, managed to extend my time doing a touch up paint job on our bed frame even. Maybe I should have pulled out a sander and sanded the frame down and repainted it all over again. It would have at least extended my time till nightfall. The piles already gotten too big to hide in the laundry room closet. Tucked away so tight socks went missing behind the dryer and clothes peeked through the doors. A hidden mess in a clean house is what it was, just like the junk drawer we all have in our kitchens!

I can’t tell you why I just let piles of clean clothes build up instead of doing one load and folding them at a time. That’s just the way my mind works I guess! I have realized since my husband came home after being away for a month he has brought a lot more clothes to the bin. I was barley doing 2 loads of mine and Evalee’s a week and the day he got back from work was the day that changed! I do at least a load every day! Clothes that leave a trail to the bathroom, the 8 different outfits Evalee decides to wear for an hour each and somehow manages to dirty. The towels thrown on the ground in the corner of the bathroom. Hi ho, hi ho, off to do laundry I go, while the thought of more children equals more laundry swiftly passes through my mind.

Back to the load… I can sit and do dishes all day. One of the odd therapeutic things for me, just liking mowing and vacuuming. But as the title of this post is, I loathe laundry. For you who don’t know what loathe means, it’s “to hate with a passion” a word I learned my junior year of high school in Miss. Harold’s English class.

So here it goes, Ev is asleep for the short cat nap I can squeeze out of her. The only time I can manage to fold clothes without her help which ends with me refolding them again. I’ve got my strong cup of coffee on one side of me, my rerun of The Bachelorette in front of me and my mountain of clothes ready and waiting on the other side. The most prepared I will ever be!

I start with the towels which shrinks my load down by a quarter. Work my way to the jeans, and on through to the t-shirts and under garments. Left are at least 20 items ready to be hung and a pile of socks waiting to be sorted through. Does anyone find themselves folding laundry neatly and by the end of it you just start wrapping things up as quick as possible? I sure do. I managed to get through all of the clothes with the one item left to fold. The mother of all hatreds. A fitted sheet.

As silly as it sounds I have literally looked up the right way to fold this treacherous piece of cloth. Yet I have never been able to figure it out. I usually try folding it a few times to make it look appealing but end up rolling it into a ball and shoving it out of hindsight.

Last but not least with a little time to spare, I quietly pick up sections of the folded laundry making sure to not wake the sleeping child sprawled beneath them. I stop at her room to drop her tiny human clothes off, bring the towels to the bathroom and make my first stop at our dresser.

It must have been the squeaky drawers that woke her up. By the time I made my way out to the living room to grab my second load, Ev was sitting up trying to fold the recently folded pile of clothes that were left. She looked up with a smile so proud of herself while half of the clothes had been dumped on the ground. As irritable as I felt like being for the fact that I had spent an hour doing the chore I disliked the most, how can I be mad when all she was doing was trying to help mama out? That smile alone melts my heart! I made my way around to the couch and sat beside her and we refolded clothes together. This moment I will cherish.

I believe the link below will show you the correct way to fold a fitted sheet! 😜

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DEBSyhfNFwU

For The Love Of Cake And Pastries!

Those of you who know me know that I love to bake. I’ve had a baking bone since I was young and have always enjoyed the decorating part of it the most! I went so far as to go to Oregon Coast Culinary Institute for baking and pastry and what an experience that was!

Luckily I was surrounded by some of the best bakers I know. Miss Edna who was my first boss at the age of 14, little did I know then that she would become my mother in law later on!

She transferred all of her baking skills over to me starting with scones. Easily the best baked good out there that is simple yet satisfying. Hundreds of different flavors ranging from sweet to savory with a cut of butter and heap of flour. Chai, peppermint, lavender, bacon asiago, you name it, we can make it, and I’m sure we have! Through the years and still to this day I am learning new recipes from her. But my heart can’t replace my love for that buttery pastry.

My grandpa Tom who I mentioned in my first blog may look a bit tough on the outside but on the inside he screams food magician! He makes a mean grilled salmon, his Mexican quiche is fantastic, and let me tell ya, no one can make a batch of blueberry muffins the way he does! (I’m sure he’d like me to add that last part in there!)

When it comes to baking pastries, she may not have gotten her dads baking skills, but my word, my mama can make the best sweet and sour halibut in all of Southeast Alaska! Throw in her scrumptious fried rice that I can binge eat everyday and my belly will be full for life!

Now I must say, my dad on the other hand has some serious cooking skills! I don’t know where they came from but by golly he knows how to use what he has on hand and make something extravagant!

*I’m thinking I might have to put a family cookbook together!

I can’t forget to mention my aunt Autumn! I can tell you now, if it were possible, we would be twins! I don’t know someone more alike to me than her! We both have a love for photography, baking, and diy projects/refurbishing! We have always joked about starting a business together, and maybe one day those thoughts will become reality! Autumn works at “Sophia’s Cafe” in Palmer, Alaska. I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing her orange scones and cinnamon rolls are, but they are out of this world!

“Baking happens with ingredients that last for months and come to life inside a warm oven. Baking is slow and leisurely” ~Regina Brett

I saw this quote last week and it made me think, how have I not recognized this before? It really is amazing how you can throw a few things from your pantry together and make something out of it! Whether it taste good or not just depends on the ingredients used!

I remember when I was about 13-14 years old I wanted to make a dinner and dessert all by myself for my stepdads birthday! I don’t remember the main course but I do remember making homemade onion rings and a chocolate cake with pudding in the middle! I would not recommend putting those two foods together. At least not when a newly aged teenager makes it. I was so proud of myself! I’m sure my parents were thinking they didn’t want to touch the sunk in chocolate pudding cake that was too sweet and the heavy onion rings soaked in oil. But they ate them anyways! It was like a bad case of carnival food! That night I threw up due to the grease and sugar mixed. It was not my greatest moment.

As I got older I started to realize that I enjoyed baking pastries more than dealing with poultry foods. I loved the idea of decorating and making something look appealing with sprinkles and buttercream than plucking a chicken and chopping its head off! (I did that once in school)

While at OCCI we learned a years worth of different types of ways to make baked goods, learned nutrition and bakers math etc.. Starting with breads, working our way through to sugar sculpture art! We learned about tempering chocolate and how to do pastillage and piping. We were taught how to make homemade ice cream, the ways to decorate wedding cakes and a hundred other different things while in school!

Let me tell you, I managed to choose the one program in community college that takes up the most of your time! Most of our friends had different classes a few times a week and had long breaks in between. Not us! We were in school Monday-Friday. Our culinary class was from 8:00 – 1:00 and once that class was done we had about an hour break then went to our associates classes right after! As crazy and hectic as the schooling was it was also the most fun I had in college. I made life long friends, we had the best Chef teaching us, we learned life lessons and we took away skills that will stick with us forever!

Here’s a link to a list of things you should know before going into pastry school! It is so funny and true!

https://www.google.com/amp/s/spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/11-things-to-know-before-going-to-pastry-school/amp

A few of my classmates
Chef Darrell Folk and my wonderful friend Jess!

A part of completing Culinary school was to do an externship at a place of our choice. In my opinion I made the best decision possible! I started working for Cranberry Sweets and More! It is the real life version of Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory to me! located in Coos Bay, Oregon with a flagship store in Bandon, Oregon! They make a few hundred different types of yummy treats with samples to devour and it’s also a gift shop with beautiful gifts and more! You get to watch through the windows as the workers run the machines, dip the chocolates, decorate the candies, package the treats and share laughs around the tables! I’ve cherished the memories made with those goofy guys and wonderful women who shared their wisdom and stories with me! Jackie, if you are reading this, I want you to know I can’t thank you enough for the love you showed me and continue to show my Cranberry Sweets family! I miss you all so very much!

Below is a link to Cranberry Sweets website where you can purchase chocolates, candies and more!

http://cranberrysweets.com

2 pound caramel apples! Made around Christmas time!

11 pound chocolate Santa raffled off!

Willy Wonka Chocolate 😜

After moving to Montana back in 2014, I joined the team at a local bakery/cafe called Morning Light Coffee Roasters. We roast our own coffee beans from all around the world and I am lucky enough to make pastries and cakes there! I love getting the freedom to bake whatever sounds appealing that day! I get to drink and make coffee, socialize with our regular consumers and do what I love! Bake! How can it get any better?!

I figured a blog about baking can’t be finished without a few recipes attached so here they are!

Banana cake with brown sugar buttercream!

http://www.countrycleaver.com/2017/05/banana-cake-cinnamon-brown-sugar-buttercream.html

The best carrot cake with cream cheese icing!

https://www.browneyedbaker.com/best-carrot-cake-recipe/

Chocolate raspberry cake with chocolate buttercream!

https://www.marthastewart.com/1140966/chocolate-raspberry-cake?socsrc=soc_pin_2016_1_25_Food_Scale_CustomImage_I_Galleries&crlt.pid=camp.MHWXPkDXrxRf

Tower of cupcakes I made for a wedding this passed weekend! 💕

Summer Memories

As I’m sitting on my patio, sipping on my coffee, and listening to the laughter of my little one, I can’t help but reminisce on my summers as a care free spirit myself. I’ve got to say, Alaskan summers might be hard to beat. People travel from all around the world to visit the State, but me? I was lucky enough to spend my life there.

My childhood summers consisted of picnics, dandelion headbands, fishing, VBS, swimming at the Canary, softball, bike riding, and let’s not forget trying to conquer balancing on that old rickety red fence that once surrounded the park.

One of my favorite stories that my husband brings up now and again is the time he, his brother and friends walked passed me as i was writing “I LOVE JESUS” with my pastel colored chalk on the sidewalk. One friend went on to say “I love juicy? What’s that supposed to mean?” I still get a kick out of it every time it comes up!

At this age no cell phones blocked our vision, and if we wanted to play outside with our pals we knocked on their doors. At dinner time mom yelled for us from the front porch and curfew was when the street lights turned on.

Good Ol’ Luke Bryan said “kids oughta stay kids as long as they can” If I knew then what I know now I would have taken that advice and ran with it!

“Turn off the screen, go climb a tree, get dirt on their hands” IT’S SO TRUE! This is exactly what we grew up doing. Puddle jumping on the rainy days, or in mine and my not-so bright friends case dunking our heads in the mud puddles! Don’t ask. Going on adventures with the help of our imagination. Playing gypsies in an old rundown car as if we were exploring the world. Making the memories where at that age I never knew would fade.

At some age in my prime middle school days I went through a strong “tom boy” phase. My uncles had left home and one of them left his skateboard for my brother to use. Well of course I was the one to take it away and think I was Johnny hot shot acting as if I can ride. I hadn’t even made it 20 yards from my house when a dandelion somehow got wrapped into one of the wheels and I flew off that thing faster than I got on. I managed to fracture my wrist and wore a sling half the summer!

Every summer my brother and I would spend time in Haines, Alaska with our dad and grandparents! My grandpa would have the fridge stocked with toaster strudels and king crab just for me. Odd combination but to this day they’re still two of my favorites!

We would spend our days playing squirt guns with the neighborhood boys, enjoying the thrill of the the slip and slide and thinking we were hot shots at age 8 and 9 that we got to walk down the street to Grizzly Greg’s for a scoop of ice cream by ourselves! I always thought I was a rebel getting the coffee flavor as if I would get in trouble. Little did I know then that it would run through my veins now!

As I talked to my brother on the phone today he brought up a few stories that I couldn’t resist putting into this post. They may not be my fondest moments, but hey! They created memories worth sharing!

Almost every summer we would take a trip to Canada in the RV with Grandma L and Grandpa L. On one trip my grandma packed our backpacks with snacks and water and told us to venture out among the “wilderness”. Let’s be honest, it was the camp ground. We were probably in their view the whole time. But in our young eyes we saw an adventure awaiting.

I don’t remember much but the thought that 1. We were lost at some point. 2. the rain started to come down on us as if we had never seen anything like it, though we grew up in the rainforest! 3. I had found the most fascinating rock I had ever seen! As if it was a dinosaur egg and I had discovered it all by my 8 year old self! It was smooth, fragile and oh so round. I held onto that rock with the upmost care, excited to bring it back to camp to show off my treasures.

Once we got back after what felt like hours of exploring the great outdoors, I went up to my grandma with my incredible find, head held high and nose in the air as if I was better than my brother with his hands empty. As I showed her my rock that I was sure was going to be saved in some sort of collection, she looked at me and simple said “Honey, that’s moose poop!”

I COULDN’T BELIVE IT! I cradled that piece of poo as if my life depended on it! At that point my grandpa was laughing his big man roar with his goofy facial expression that I love so much, my brothers young high pitch giggle sounded our camp site and my grandma cackled and told me to go wash my hands. I guess that’s what I get for thinking I was better than my brother!

On another trip, while our grandparents were packing up the Rv, my brother and I went and played at the campsite playground. There we found ourselves a tire swing! Every child’s favorite park toy! We took turns pushing each other until it was time to leave. Grandma called out for us to load up into the Rv and begin our trip back to Haines. But of course, not without one last spin from my brother on that darn swing. I remember it like it was yesterday! I kept telling him to stop pushing it in circles. Being the big brother he is, he didn’t listen and kept pushing it, then ran off and hopped into the Motorhome leaving me to wait till it stopped spinning.

I remember trying to make my way back while the world was spinning around me and stars were twinkling above me. Once I made it on the Motorhome I then went on to rat my brother out for the torture he put me through. They didn’t seem to pay no mind to my complaining but instead my grandpa asked me to plug in an extension cord behind his seat before I buckled my seatbelt for the long ride home. As I bent down to do so, I threw up everywhere!! Needless to say, Kristian had to clean up my vomit and I got to take a nap! To this day I will not go on a tire swing.

I can think of at least 10 more stories that I would love to share and if it didn’t take a novel to write them I would. But for now, I will leave you with these memories. They may not be award winners but they definitely left me with a smile, and maybe they will for you too.

Cousins in Haines, Alaska (That’s me in the overalls, probably chunky from all that Ice cream!)
My friend Katie and I in our gypsy outfits!
Haines, Alaska (Photo by Judi Rice Photography)

Appreciation

It is 1:52 in the morning. I have no idea why I can’t sleep so I figured I’d write my thoughts. Because that’s a normal thing to do at this hour.

As much as I love sappy, “make you cry” stories, I’m not much for being one to write like that. I like to keep things light and funny, but there are times when things turn mushy…

Tonight was one of those nights where I cuddled with my sleeping husband on the couch while the sound of Fox News drowned the background. I just stared at him. I realized in the 9 years we have been together, 3 which we have been married, things have moved so fast in our lives and we haven’t just stopped for a break to hold each other. I mean, of course we do. We love each other and we show our affection, but it’s not always that I just take him in. His smell, his hands, his lips. Nothing in the room matters for that short time but him. There are those few moments where you are just laying there, listening to their heartbeat and tracing your hand on theirs.

All of the things my husband does, all of the hard work, sweat, overtime, side jobs busting his ass to provide for us and to better our lives, I don’t appreciate as much as I know I should. I’ve gotten so use to him being there to take care of me that I’ve completely taken him for granted! How has it been that I don’t show him how much I value everything he’s done, accomplished, worked for? Because I just assume he knows? It doesn’t work that way. He deserves to hear the gratitude and care I have for him. I know that this is something I need to work on myself, but it’s also a good reminder for other partners in life as well to truly show each other kindness, thankfulness and compassion towards one another. In these moments where I am curled up next to him watching him like a creep, my heart is filled with even more love for the man and father he has turned into.

He is our provider, our protector and shield, and my best friend. God gave me him and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Fast forward to now. I have moved into our bedroom where Evalee is sprawled out in the middle of the bed with our two dogs on either side of her. (yes she is sleeping in our bed) I made room to squeeze in to cuddle with her before what I thought would be falling asleep myself. That turned into writing a post for the next half hour. As I looked at her and observed her face that is a perfect blend of her daddy and I, tears weld up in my eyes! I have no clue why! I am still so mesmerized at the fact that she is mine! How did I get so lucky! This long legged, blonde haired beauty with the most cheesy grin and ears that stick out further when she smiles, she is mine! It just feels so amazing! I am in awe at how fast time has gone and how much she has changed. I just looked back at photos of her as a gummy, bald headed, perfectly round face with chunky cheeks little thing, and now it’s like she’s grown 2 feet over night and lost her baby fat! (As her long giraffe leg just kicked me in the face) why does time have to go so fast! Maybe someone can invent a watch like the movie Clockstoppers and the world around me will just slow down 🧐 The things that go through my head when I am tired!

It is now 2:23, goodnight ♥️

… Shoot now I’m hungry