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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Musings

Tackling Monday like a boss

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Do you know anyone who schedules dentist appointments for Monday mornings, first appointment of the day? That would be me. Many, many years ago I learned about what happens when you schedule any sort of appointment for the middle of the day. I once waited in a doctors office for nearly two hours and it wasn’t for a “slot me in as soon as you can appointment” either. Things can go horribly wrong in anyone’s schedule but I usually find that first thing Monday mornings are not it. That’s when I have my car serviced, teeth cleaned or anything else I have a modicum of control over scheduling.

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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!

 

Life

My foray into YouTube

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Yesterday I talked about my quest for a purpose. I dug into the passions of my youth and hitched onto the idea of doing something related to fashion. Over the past few months I have been consuming YouTube style and fashion videos (like they are sustenance) and secretly wondered if it was something I could do. All you need is a camera, right?

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Life

Purpose seeking

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Finding your purpose can be a lifelong quest. I’m not sure I’ve found mine yet but I’ve whittled away a few things that I’m pretty sure are not it. One school of thought, if you want to bring your purpose into your life (not sure if this is even possible), is to dig back to when you were young and remember what you were most interested in. The things you were passionate about back then could lead you to your next career or job. Can you get paid to read?!

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Life

Fall-ing back in love with my kitchen

I love our kitchen. If you were following my blog at all last summer, you might recall we were just finishing up our renovations a year ago. We had work done in a few rooms that started right around Memorial Day and it wasn’t until Labor Day weekend that our house became our own again. It was fifteen years in the making and worth every bit of inconvenience and struggle though. Continue reading “Fall-ing back in love with my kitchen”

Writing

The energy of ideas

Yesterday I had a bunch of ideas about topics to blog about. I didn’t write them down and they have vanished, vaporized, gone. Does that happen to you? You’re in a groove, ideas are flowing and you’re sure you’ll NEVER forget them? So noted.

On the tail of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Instagram post about writing I thought I’d pull out her 2015 book about creativity called Big Magic. I listened to the audiobook when it first came out and loved it so much I decided to pick up the hard cover edition to add to my writing inspiration library. She describes the magic of ideas: how they come to you and how they disappear if you don’t act on them. She illustrates it with an example from her life about a book idea she worked on until her personal life got in the way of her project and how she’d lost the passion for it when she tried to return to it. Poof, it had disappeared.

She talks about how ideas are energy and they are looking for a human to bring them to life but you have to be open to receiving them. And if you don’t take up this particular project, it will move on to someone else. Have you ever had an idea and saw it pop up somewhere else? Someone else brought your idea to life? This happened with that particular book project. Someone else wrote the book.

This got my attention. I decided I better start paying attention to my ideas. Write them down. Be open and see where they go.

MC

Writing

Liz Gilbert Writing Inspiration

Perusing through Instagram I was stopped short by the photo above. Sometimes I berate myself for scrolling through social media when I could be doing other, more useful things. But how would I stumble upon gems like this? I was instantly intrigued. Elizabeth Gilbert has the secret knowledge of how to be a successful writer (and in ten easy steps!). Success and ease are not guaranteed but she does share some ideas that work.

  1. Tell your story to 1 person using your own voice.
  2. Start at the beginng and tell the whole story.
  3. Use simple sentences.
  4. Don’t worry if it’s good, just finish.
  5. Don’t write to change anyone’s life.
  6. Tell stories instead of explaining stuff.
  7. It doesn’t have to be a particular length or geared to a specific audience.
  8. You have been doing research your whole life just by existing- use it.
  9. Day after day, keep going.
  10. Be willing to let it be easy.

I’ve chopped her advice into tiny nuggets here so if you want to read it in her own words, take a meander over to Instagram. She’s a voice I find inspirational to follow.

MC