Dreamer + Sickness

In a sickness-induced haze, I dreamt the following post:

1. I’d love to create a bookstore/winery. Imagine this – floor to ceiling dark, wooden bookshelves with a vast winery stretching into the distance. Each room surrounded with oversized comfy chairs and a fireplace in each corner. You heard it here first.

2. I also want to own a bakery. Sugar is my first love. From the very first time I realized the magic that happens when you cream butter and sugar together, I knew I was destined to be a baker. I say again – who eats cookies and cries? There was that one time, but it was due to extenuating circumstances. I’ll name each sugar-laden delectable a long, gloriously ridiculous name like “marshmallow magic butterflies covered in unicorn glitter”. P.S. I hate glitter and marshmallows.

3. Combine the two previous ideas with a running store and coffee shop. Of course the name of my blog could serve this idea well. Because after imbibing in wine, coffee, cookies, and remaining sedentary for hours, you’re going to need a new pair of shoes!

Currently I’m accepting cash and PayPal payments to go towards the necessary functions of becoming a business owner of which I have little experience in doing, but I can learn!

my co-owner and I

Also, in case you were concerned, my husband may or may not have tried to get rid of me by killing me with his cooking. Jokes on him. We both ended up with what I presume to be food poisoning so either he really didn’t intend to also hurt himself or he screwed up the plates. haHA I live to make his life hard another day!

But seriously. Food poisoning sucks. And it wasn’t his cooking. I’d almost take gastro onboard a floating chunk of steel than ever do this again. Almost.

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I ask you –

Which of the 3 options above is most likely to succeed?

Have you ever had food poisoning? Or gastro?

Just let me know if you’re willing to donate!

Welcome Back!

we have arrived

If you’re reading this, then it’s the very first post of 2021! What a lucky bunch of readers I have. Sound the alarm, wake your neighbors, go to work, do whatever you do best.

Let’s chat about the New Year. Most likely we’ll all be writing the wrong year for awhile, maybe even the wrong month, and still wondering why there’s so many sweets around the house. Oh, just me? Liars. I’m that girl who gets excited about a new year; a new page in our lives and, honestly, if you made it out of 2020 alive you’re doing better than a lot of other folks. Bring out the champagne!

January used to be the busiest month of the year for me. Working in a gym is fraught with resolutionists (definitely made that one up) and many eager to buy their health no matter the cost. Quite sad really. What about the other months, you ask? As expected, I say. Not to be outdone, I’m starting off my year with extra coffee and a 5am wakeup for 21 Days of Fasting and Prayer. Disclaimer: I’m not fasting; I’m de-sugaring. Again. Without my lady love home for the month, I’ll surely succeed at entertaining myself.

a girl and her shadow

Oh! And I’m run streaking! Pay attention to my words. I’m doing a run streak, as in running every day for a whole month. With clothes. It’s January! Then we’ll see where it takes us. Figured since my mini me is gone for another Tennessean adventure I should pack my calendar so full she’ll be home before I know it. Looks like I have the right idea.

Stay tuned for more from 2021!

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I ask you –

Resolutions? Please share!

On average, how long does it take you to write the correct year? At least until March.

Have you participated in a run streak?

Culinary Masterpiece

Maybe in my next life I’ll be a well-rounded baker who can do more than just amazing cookies. Not that there’s anything wrong with “just amazing cookies”. But seriously. Is it a practice issue or a skills issue? Please don’t answer.

Not too shabby, but they weighed as much as a large cut of beef. At least 5 lbs. Popular opinion: they didn’t rise long enough. The fix: let them rise longer next time. Too easy!

Also, I took a page from a fabulous hostess I know and created a breakfast ring. This was my Christmas breakfast recipe.

Since then I have made a taco ring, too. Just Kelly Crocker’ing it up over here.

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I ask you –

Am I doing this right?

Yeast and other bread-leavening ingredients: tips?

Let me know if you’d like my non-award winning recipe I so kindly borrowed from someone else and will gladly take the credit for if you like it!

Join Me in the Kitchen!

Christmas goodies were never really a staple until I was in my early 20s. Maybe I was just too picky to appreciate them before. Now? Bring on the sugar-laden bonbons, festive cookies, and chocolate-dipped everything! Even though I’m not indulging this year.

Rum balls

Rum balls have been one of my favorites! But I suggest also trying them using Amaretto or some other kind of alcohol.

Chocolate chip cookies

Of course, chocolate chip cookies are required. I read somewhere that you should never bake the “typical chocolate chip cookie” at Christmas. Whatever. I do what I want! There’s nothing wrong with chocolate chip cookies at Christmas time, in my opinion. Why change a good thing?!

Peanut butter truffles

It’s important to separate anything coated in chocolate because they all start to look the same after awhile. Unless you want it to be a surprise. I like to make peanut butter balls, coconut balls, oreo balls, and Dr Pepper balls at the holidays. Occasionally I dress them up with sprinkles of things on top or coat them in white chocolate, but it just depends on what’s available and how much time I have.

Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday. Like I said…Join me in the kitchen. I’ll just be here forever dipping balls of things into melted chocolate. Pun mostly not intended.

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I ask you –

Should I have included recipes? Whoops.

Do you bake/cook/imbibe in anything specifically for the holidays?

Share a favorite holiday treat!

Not all Sacrifices are Difficult

In typical holiday fashion, lately there has been a lot of food. But wait, there’s more! Some might say I picked the worst time to begin a restrictive eating routine; at times I may agree. But the fact I’ve located a few migraine triggers and have lost a few pounds makes me believe it has been worth it.

there’s been a lot of this
and none of this

Admittedly I didn’t have a lot of faith in myself to give up sugar completely. I have blood in my sugarstream. Fortunately for me, the perfectionist won that battle. It was sort of a game. Can you go 2 days without sugar? 5? Upon the week mark I was feeling a little cocky – I hadn’t really been challenged yet. Bring out the big guns. So when PMS hit with a vengeance and Aunt Mary Catherine’s world famous blueberry pie was offered, a meek, unsteady voice emerged from me and quietly said “No, thank you.” To be honest, I don’t know whose voice that was or why she was allowed to speak. As I calmly watched others imbibe in the pie I love so dearly, I knew I’d done the right thing but did it have to be so damn hard?!

my newest addiction

I continue pushing forward. Life goes on. Is this lifestyle for everyone? Let’s hope not! But I can live with giving up some things if it means lessening the severity and/or frequency of migraines. ‘No, thank you’ is much easier than ‘Mommy can’t right now, her head hurts’.

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I ask you –

Have your holidays been full o’plenty?

Sweet or salty? What would be harder to limit or give up entirely?

Name your guilty snacking pleasure!

Where the Pines Grow

When I’m here I remember what peace actually feels like: leaves falling, long, winding, dirt roads, and a stillness that speaks to my heart.

dirt and dust

This is the part of my life I willfully hide yet am trapped inside. Still working on that book; there’s so many twists and turns I’m half afraid a publisher may encourage me to separate it into two. But what a problem to have, right?

aptly named the white house

My childhood home – now reduced to overgrowth and rotting wood. When I look at this photo, I think of the movie Titanic. In many scenes, they show a type of flashback where the beautiful, newly painted stair case transforms into the vision of what the researchers found at the bottom of the sea. My mind’s eye paints a picture of a home with children inside and a grandfather clock chiming. Memories, the most nostalgic.

I don’t recognize any of the vehicles that pass me while out walking, but I feel my heart beating and know I belong. Still.

miles of roads

Passed down from my grandfather, a gift I hope will always keep on giving. I’ve renamed this land Kel’s Corner though family will know it always as Uncle Pete’s Place. I am blessed beyond measure to own this little slice of my past.

heaven on earth

Speaking of slices, my great Aunt Mary Catherine’s blueberry pie is legendary. Although I have the recipe, there’s no comparison. Nothing will ever be like hers. If I could have one wish, it would be to epitomize a fraction of the woman, baker, mother, friend, and God-loving aunt she is to me.

As for that pie? No, I didn’t share.

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I ask you –

Did you grow up in the city or country?

Do you revisit your childhood home? (provided you don’t currently live in it)

Fun fact: I once won a contest with a story I had written about my Aunt MC. She tells me she still has it.

Infamous History and such

Took another shot at the downtown Farmer’s Market. It appears okra and squash are still growing strong. Get it, get it. Busy as ever (clearly I mean the market, not me), I knew exactly what I was looking for this time so no wine samples. Oh the travesty.

Courtesy of The Odd Duck Coffee Co. and BCocoa

Since it was a beautiful 80° out, coffee in hand, I walked around some in search for other treasures.

Chocolate shop silliness

Wichita Falls has much history and artifacts to be explored. Trains are fascinating to me because, much like ships, it’s hard to understand their magnitude until you get closer.

Unidentified tourists (with permission)

Unbeknownst to many, WF is home to the world’s littlest skyscraper. Could be worse, I guess. Standing an astounding 40 feet tall, built in 1919, the story behind this ‘skyscraper’ is quite fascinating. Knowing my own storytelling abilities, I’ve included a link so you can read for yourself: https://www.timesrecordnews.com/story/news/local/2018/06/19/wichita-falls-story-behind-worlds-littlest-skyscraper/715470002/

Officially on the map

I also stumbled upon not one but two local shops to return to with my mini love. Peddling their wares of cupcakes and gelato, respectively, October is sure to be an exciting month!

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I ask you –

Anyone else have a vested interest in downtown character?

Is your city/town known for such an obscure reason?

Name your favorite local coffee shop!

Feels Like the 6th Week of the Month

As expected, the first week back from paradise was a trying time. There’s some, but not a lot, of exaggeration here. On the drive home, I went ahead and put my healthier eating plan in motion so while everyone else ate hamburgers I chose the salad. I love salads so this wasn’t truly a hardship. My plan isn’t full on vegetarian. Let’s face it, I love seafood and chicken. And the occasional ribeye. However, adding loads of colorful fruits and veggies to my diet fits right into my heart.

Semi-keto (because I’m still marathon training and carbs are key) with the addition of mainly plant based lunches seems doable for me. I’m also trying to support and encourage my other half to be healthier. And overall I want to experience the energy I used to have.

Cilantro, not pictured

As for work, I’ll be sifting through 300 emails for a few days. Not to mention end of FY20 tasks I’ve never done before. No one answers anymore when I call. I also returned on time card week so that’s a real joy. How difficult can it really be to load your time into a system? Apparently it’s an undertaking unlike anything anyone has ever seen. You wish to be paid? Load your time!!

No drastic changes to my workout schedule. After fully taking off the week, I awoke Monday ready to return to my second happy place. Surprisingly the gym was empty and I took advantage of it! When my mini is home, it’s too easy to find a million reasons not to get up and workout or forgo the post-workday run but my pep talk includes the reminder she needs to see my dedication for my goals.

Running buddy

Besides, her joy comes from “running” with me once my miles are complete. This is a good indicator I’m doing something right.

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I ask you –

Is it just me or does the first week back feel like the longest?

How much anxiety do you get from seeing hundreds of unread emails? I think my heart stops beating just considering it.

Tell me about some activities you and your child(ren) do/did together!

Flora y Fauna y Comida

I considered writing this post in Spanish, but figured no one but me would appreciate the work. How ungrateful!

As threatened, this is the post of vacation food, flowers, and whatever other randomness I can find. Because if I don’t memorialize it here, what kind of blogger would I be? Don’t answer that.

All the flowers

The above are all phone photos – apologies on the quality. Below are from my camera. Keep scrolling, you’re not finished yet!

My dearest mother in law (affectionately referred to as Nanners) would have chopped off her right arm to be able to transplant these back to N. Texas. Fat chance. With nightly rainfall, 148% humidity, and sandy soil, these flowers are best suited to their current conditions. Besides, it’s less for me to kill.

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I ask you –

Do you speak other languages? Bonus points for pig latin and smartassery.

How many photos of flowers do you have on your phone?

Coffee v Alcohol. Pick your poison!

Grassy Colors

Just as often as I crave sweet treats, my body craves vegetables. Ok, maybe not “just” as often. I enjoy my workday lunch of grilled chicken salad. Really, I do! But as it continues to heat up outside, I find myself seeking out new recipes for Brussels sprouts, green peppers, and fresh corn. If I didn’t love meat and fish, I would find it easy to subscribe to a vegetarian way of life. The more colors the better! There’s very few I don’t enjoy; then again you can fry anything and I’ll most likely eat it.

Shades of green

Perhaps it’s way off, but I once had a headache for a month while on a long underway. 30. Straight. Days. Sure, the Navy isn’t known for being relaxing, but no amount of rest, ibuprofen, or caffeine helped. Eventually diagnosed with migraines, I thought for sure that was the end of it, but it took some time to realize my nutrition played a large role. Onboard the ship, the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables begins to lag as time goes on. Naturally things spoil. And no matter how much iceberg lettuce I would eat, the headaches would return. Much research has been done on the link between what we eat and migraine triggers, although I’ve heard more about chocolate and some “-hypnols” than anything else. Maybe I’m on to something.

Veggie Scramble

Call it what you will: placebo effect, wishful thinking, whatever you like. However, intuitive eating is possibly more important than anything else. When my body has had enough cookies, I know. And when it says hold up lady it’s time for greenery, again, I listen. Thankfully I was raised with a deep appreciation for fresh-from-the-garden wares (although I suck at gardening). My parents would spend weeks cooking and canning fresh salsa, okra, and pickled everything. Oddly enough to me, many children aren’t exposed to this natural, live off the land upbringing now. Even then it was becoming obvious this way of life was falling by the wayside. Long gone times.

On a lighter note, my strengths include shelling purple hulled peas and endlessly complaining about ants. But…if you need some help pulling weeds or over-watering your plants, I’m your girl. Pay no attention to me stealing your vegetables.

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I ask you –

On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you love vegetables?

Name your favorite veggies!

Did you have a childhood garden or know someone who did?