Life, Uncategorized

Small progress

Later today I’m leaving for a week away. When you’re unemployed, taking a vacation seems redundant but there you have it. At least it will be a change of scenery and better weather (although it’s pretty nice here in upstate New York).

I was so fired up from my last post about decluttering that I did something pretty amazing yesterday. Drumroll, please… I went to the landfill!!!! Yup, I took that old broken television and a monitor that doesn’t work and a laptop that has seen better days AND the huge box the new television came in right to the landfill. I have lived here 17 years without making a single trip to the landfill. It was a revelation!

I also mentioned my plan to my husband and I think the action I took about getting rid of these things that had become the backdrop of our life opened him to the idea of getting rid of more stuff. A lot more stuff. Of course he asked what I was going to do with my hot button items: the juicer I no longer use and the food vacuum sealer thing I bought because I was going to do freezer cooking. These are things I need to think about because I’m not using them and they were pretty expensive.

One thing he didn’t mention was my long forgotten scrapbooking hobby that has been taking up space in our very disorganized loft space. I don’t think you can call it a hobby because I never really did it. I actually went up to our loft yesterday with the intention of throwing out the scrapbooking stuff, but boy do I have a surprise for him. I’ll tell you more about that next week but I’m pretty excited about it.

I need to find my own word for ‘onward’.

MC

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Life

A Radical Plan

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Guess how long this mess has been here?

An idea popped into my head this morning as I was pumping gas. It’s the mundane tasks that leave our brains with time to wander and think of crazy ideas. Will it work? I don’t know. I’ll be biting off more than I can probably chew. What is it, you ask?

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Life

Sunday afternoon at the trampoline park

It’s not lost on me that it is a gorgeous, sunny afternoon and I’m with two twelve year old boys who want to do inside things. Don’t they know winter is coming?! The naïveté of youth.

I spent the early part of the afternoon outside with a book which I could barely stay awake to read. I’m certainly not complaining because napping in the sunshine is my favorite. The rays beating down, almost caressing you to sleep, the book splayed on your lap, a forgotten companion.

The boys were inside, shooting each other up on Fortnite (or whatever it is they do on that game). They couldn’t care less about blue skies and sunshine in their zombie-like state. Eventually I pulled the plug and after moaning a bit, they thought a trip to the trampoline park would be fun. Why not?

The place is nearly empty. Most parents have better sense than to let their kids stay inside all day, but this parent is too tired to come up with alternatives so here we are. Sunday afternoon at the trampoline park, 80’s music instead of sunshine beating from above. Mom gets an hour to write and read.

Hope you are enjoying Sunday, wherever you are.

MC

Life

Days Like This

I have been on a mission to blog every day in September. It went pretty well until today which was a long day of activities for my son. I started a few different posts and was going to talk about how parenting can be very boring at times or the pitfalls of over parenting (cue Felicity Huffman’s jail sentence) or how certain activities can help with parenting like my son’s involvement in Taekwondo. I titled that one Tough Love Taekwondo.

But my brain is tired and I couldn’t really pull together what I wanted to say about any of those topics in a meaningful post. So here I am at the end of the day unable to think of much more than putting my head on the pillow. My momma said there’d be days like this. Days where tired is good even if you didn’t get to tick much off your to-do list.

MC

Life

Simple morning routine and prayer

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With routines, I’ve learned that simple is best. Wake, 6-Minute Diary, then meditation followed by a short prayer. It is simple and quick, nearly idiot proof. The whole thing takes less than 20 minutes which makes it easy to accomplish. I’ve tried making more complicated routines but they were never managable for me. They included drinking a glass of lemon water (oh, the lemons I’ve had to throw out!), writing morning pages, gym time and creating a to do list for the day. I’ve learned that it takes time to build morning routines and to take it baby steps at a time, to give myself small successes first.

Although I have been a lifelong Catholic, fitting prayer into my day has not always been a priority. My prayers were always selfish, coming fast and furious when things got rough. Please get me out of this. Please make this better. If you help me with this, I’ll be a better person. Selfish. Don’t get me wrong, I’d pray for others too. If I knew of someone hurting or sick or in need of general support, I’d definitely send a quick prayer their way.

My prayers for today, though, are thankful, asking for help to stay in today, to keep myself free of fear, self-pity and self-seeking motives.  I ask to be shown times where I can help others instead of worrying about myself. When I pray during times of hardship, I’m praying more for grace to face something in a more accepting manner instead of making a situation go away. Without our trials and darkness, I’m pretty sure the sun wouldn’t shine so bright on easier days.

I also wanted to make my daily prayer more personal so I wrote my own. I used words that were in my heart, words that feel authentic when I say them. Am I more peaceful today because of prayer? I don’t know. But I do know I am more peaceful, accepting and resilient than I used to be.

Have a wonderful Friday and weekend!

MC

 

 

 

Life

An ordinary day

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The days that become big and important in our mind, when solemn and life-changing things happen, don’t they all start out as ordinary days? Weren’t you rushing out the door, hoping not to be late to work again, fighting with all the other commuters for your place on the road? The radio on in the background catching you up on the news of yesterday but you’re thinking of other things. I forgot my lunch. What’s for dinner? Will I see my newish boyfriend tonight?

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Life

Baking bread and revisiting Pinterest

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The other day I was determined to make a loaf of bread. When I visited my sister several weeks ago, to be with her for her friends wake and funeral, another one of her friends popped in for dinner with a couple of homemade loaves of bread in hand. She’d only been invited a couple hours prior and I was astounded that she came by with a beautiful lemon meringue pie and two loaves of bread warm out of the oven. I want to be like her when I grow up! I have been thinking about homemade bread ever since.

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Life

Mom’s Applesauce

This is a blog from my drafts from last fall. Today I am making my mom’s top secret applesauce for the first time this season so it seemed appropriate to resurrect it here.

My mother never used a cookbook. This was especially disconcerting to me as I left home and needed her stock of recipes to carry me into adulthood. Thank goodness for the phone as she would only be a call away when I needed her guidance about how much sour cream to put in the beef stroganoff (a couple large spoonfuls) or what was the secret ingredient to her applesauce (red hots).

Fortunately by the time she passed away in 2016, I had a pretty good handle on her recipe collection and had even written a few of them down so I don’t forget the ones I grew up on. There are lots of dashes of this and that here and there. A bunch of “add to taste”. Some of these have moved into my own family’s favorites (cue the beef stroganoff and beef stew) although Liam has put a bit of a wrench in things by forgoing meat in his diet the past few months.

From the beginning of fall until Christmas, you could always find my mom in the kitchen making her special applesauce (either on the stove or in the slow cooker) and this was one of Liam’s favorites. I have tried to reproduce her simple recipe on many occasions but it seems to be missing one thing: Grandma’s love.

I recently became the proud owner of an Instant Pot and it had been about a year since I attempted the secret sauce made famous by mom. I bought the apples but was unsure how I could obtain the red hots which don’t seem to be a staple of the candy aisle any more. Luckily I discovered Walmart carries them and sent my husband on a mission to pick up a box so I could give the Instant Pot applesauce a try.

The final product was right on for color and texture but Liam proclaimed it was a little too spicy so I’ll have to be a little less heavy handed with the red hots next time.

Mom’s Applesauce (in the Instant Pot)

5 lbs of apples, peeled and sliced
1 + 1/4 cup of water
Several red hots (to taste)
Sugar (to taste – I added about 4 packets of stevia)

Add the first three items to the Instant Pot and select Manual, High Pressure for 10 minutes. Release the pressure before opening.

Add sugar to your taste and enjoy!

MC

Life

Change of plans

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Last night I gave myself permission to sleep in. This is something I should never do because those are always the mornings I am wide awake at 5 a.m. and this is especially true if the morning I’m going to sleep in is a Saturday. Instead of trying to go back to sleep, I decided to get up and pray and set some intentions for the day. This is how I both try to turn my day over to God and take control of it at the same time. Turning over my day is hard work, but well worth it.

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Life

Should I stay or should I go?

I sat in the parking lot of my son’s school this morning watching the procession of drop offs. There was time to kill since I was planning on attending the first mass of the school year and there was only a short period of time between when he was due at school and supposedly when mass was to begin. I say supposedly because I was still unsure that it was something parents were even invited to. I had 30 minutes to figure it out.

During that time, I anxiously watched drop off to see if any other parents were staying. I scanned the emails from school and looked at the online calendar. I wrote an entire blog post about it. The play by play, which was of course very boring, but then just as I was about to hit publish (and before the morning came to a resolution about what I was going to do about attending mass) I accidentally deleted. Poof it was gone. You are welcome!

Although you get to relive it here in the after play so I’m not sure I did you any favors. Except here is the lesson I learned. The thirty minutes I spent wringing my hands about what I was supposed to do – go to mass or leave – I needed to just do what I was going to do. I had decided to go to mass and whether or not other parents were going was not something I needed to worry about. In the end, only a handful (five or six) of us attended. Apparently this is not a thing at the new school. His old school was much smaller but had many, many parents attend the monthly First Friday masses. At 52 I’m still always questioning my instincts!