With all the strain that the tensions in Ferguson are causing near and far I would like to take a moment to remind everyone that we are all the same with just a few minor variances. No matter our backgrounds, bank balances, education levels, family history, traumas, hopes, dreams, or memories: we are all the sum of millions of cells making up tissues which in turn make up organs and ultimately a body. We are all the same bag of guts really. It is the same spark of humanity we all carry. So why would one bag of guts hate another bag of guts so much that they would intentionally inflict harm upon them? I know that it is hard to remember that we are all the same especially when it comes to such a passionate issue as fairness. Because that’s really what I see when I watch the news lately and it’s not just in Ferguson.
One person is killed in a carjacking… why? Because the vandal didn’t think it was fair that the victim had something he wanted so he took it. A building gets burned down in an arson… why? Because the owner didn’t think it was fair that he pays so much for insurance on the building yet his bank account isn’t as full as he would like. On Friday there will inevitably be news about fights breaking out in stores… why? Because someone grabbed the last barbie/video game/insert-random-material-object-here as another person reached for it.
In this time of giving thanks remember to be thankful for your struggles as well as the blessings. It is the battles we all fight, both big and small, that make us stronger and thrive. I know this is a strange message but I feel that it is one that we all need to be reminded of from time to time. That being said I wish happiness on everyone today and for the future.
Happy birthday to my favoritest Mama ever. I can’t imagine plotting evil things without you. :)
TimeHop is an app that alerts you daily and pulls your pictures and posts from that date in previous years. Over the last couple of days mine has pulled pictures of when I was knee-deep in broken tiles and drywall during my bathroom remodel.
Originally, the bottom four feet of the bathroom walls were covered in tile. Yes, ALL the walls. Since the gold flecked white tiles were more fab 50s than I wanted they needed to go.
I’m pretty handy around the house and have the store map to Lowe’s burned into my brain. But this project was by far the most challenging I have ever attempted. I think simply because I only have one shower and if anything went wrong I would be stuck in a big way.
The demolition was both challenging and cathartic. I didn’t care for the clean up every night. After each destruction session I would have to completely remove all of the tiles, drywall bits, and dust that managed to get everywhere. I put up painters tarps over the torn up walls so that the shower would still be functional to some degree.
Once everything was ready I realized I needed more hands to put up the new drywall and plastic surround walls. I’m lucky enough that my parents live fairly close so they came out and helped with this part.
Once the shower walls were up I attacked the rest of the walls which meant learning how to mud over all the bad spots where the 60 year old tiles didn’t want to release easily. Smooth the mud over the walls, wait for it to dry, sand, sand, sand, and repeat until the walls were back to normal. Not my favorite part since it really challenged my OCD nature. I added some paint (walls and ceiling) and that part was done.
Next up… Learning how to tile a backsplash. This was my favorite part! It was tough on my back but still so much fun!
I’m almost ashamed to say how proud I am about how the bathroom turned out. I walked away from this project having learned so many new things. I am confident that I will use these lessons again in the future.
Hemingway once said, “When you stop doing things for fun you might as well be dead.” I can’t help but agree with him and after all the fun we had this weekend during our anniversary trip I think we may just live forever.
Table Rock Lake is a huge lake in SW Missouri. Branson (The elderly Vegas of the Midwest) is a part of the 800 miles of shoreline for those that are familiar. With over 43,000 acres of water to explore we had a blast fishing and tubing but the best part was getting two full days away together. The weather has been unseasonably cool so it was completely perfect camping weather. Goldilocks would have even announced it as just right.
We’ve had such a good year together and I can’t wait to share so many more.
The supplies are gathered. I’m beyond ready for the weekend.
It’s the middle of July in the Midwest and usually that means temperatures in the mid nineties. With this latest polar vortex (at least that’s what the news is calling it) we’re comfortably in the mid-seventies. It’s crazy how much this feels like autumn. Which explains why my tummy has been craving comfort food. I made chili last week before the weather change and I felt a little silly but it was too tasty to care. So today I decided that my soup pot needed to be fed something my family calls chicken stew. It’s a hearty chicken soup made with flavorful dark meat and a creamy broth. Like all really good soups it takes a little time but very little effort. You could add noodles to this (I like Reames) but the chicken is so hearty just how it is I think the extra noodles are too much. But I’ve done it and it’s still really good but more of a winter soup that way.
- 6-8 chicken thighs- bone in and skin on
- 8-10 cups water
- 4 carrots diced
- 2 large sweet onions diced
- 1 whole jalapeño
- 1/2 pint mushrooms diced
- 2-3 mini-cups of Knorr Chicken Stock gels
- Salt/Pepper/Poultry Seasoning/Paprika/ cilantro- to taste
- 1 block of cream cheese cubed
- Over medium high heat place chicken, skin-side down, in a large soup pot.
- Cook until chicken is about half done
- Add water, carrots, onions, and jalapeño
- Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer for about an hour
- Remove chicken pieces and set aside to cool
- Remove jalapeño and discard
- Skim any excess fat from the top of the soup and discard
- Add mushrooms
- Once chicken is cooled, remove and discard skins and bones, and break chicken into medium pieces before returning them to the pot
- Season with the chicken stock gels making sure to dissolve each one in the soup before tasting and adding any more gels
- Season with the poultry spices, salt, pepper, and paprika to taste
- Remove about two cups of the liquid and add to the cubed cream cheese (I like to microwave this to help melt the cheese) mixing until smooth
- Add the cheese mixture back to the soup
- Add cilantro to taste
- Serve hot (I like to have mine with a little bit of hot sauce added)
Makes 10-12 servings
It’s no secret that I play in the kitchen when I’m bored or stressed. I’m recovering from a really nicely sprained ankle so I was home this weekend and not out playing at the lake watching fire works like so many other people. Absolutely ok since I got to try my hand at making fresh salsa. I have no idea why it’s taken me this long to attempt this sort of thing.
Looking around the kitchen I took quick stock of what I had to make salsa. I received some nice roma tomatoes and onions in my CSA basket last week. I had a few serrano peppers left over from some chili I made a few days earlier. And like any good home cook I’ve always got some garlic and cilantro on hand. Oh and cherries are in season and, more importantly, they’re on sale so I had some of those as well.
This salsa is seriously simple to make with my kick-ass blender. Toss everything in, turn it on, done. Not too hot… but it has a kind of back-of-the-palate growing heat thing going on that I happen to like. The cherries give it a nice change of pace and just a touch of sweetness.
Ingredients (makes about 3-4 cups)
- 3-5 tomatoes- I used Roma
- 1 large sweet onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1-2 serrano peppers, stems removed
- 1/4 – 1/2 pound of pitted sweet cherries (frozen can be used if you can’t find these fresh)
- handful of cilantro
- juice from a whole lime
- salt and pepper to taste
- Roughly chop the tomatoes and onion into blender manageable size
- Add all of the ingredients to the blender
- Blend until desired texture is reached
You can chop all of the ingredients by hand but in this instance I liked the idea of something a little smoother than normal.