Sweet Memories & Good Times

My oldest son, almost 21 years, is staying with us for the week while his truck is under repair. We live closer to his job than he does and he needed us to take him to and from work for the week. While we were driving to go get his work boots that he forgot, he looked at me and asked, “Do you remember when I was little and we lived in Arkansas and talked to you about mistletoe? You immediately told me the Norse legend of how Loki killed Baldur with mistletoe.”

I told him that story 17 years ago…and it stuck with him and helped spawn his love of Norse mythology. Moral: read to your kids. Talk to them. Tell them fantastic stories that feed their imagination. They are listening. They will remember. And when they say, “Hey remember when…” you will remember and it will be a sweet moment in time.

Modified French Toast Cups

So, I recently came across Confessions from a Fit Foodie’s 21 Day Fix approved French toast cups. And if there’s one thing we like in this household, it’s French toast. For the record, I love the majority of what is on that site…but we’re vegetarians. H

I know (from personal experience) it can be very overwhelming for people, regardless of whether they work from home, to move to a cleaner, healthier way of eating. And some cannot afford organic versions of what they eat (even if they like produce). My family isn’t a big fan of Ezekial bread which is used in the original recipe. We also do not use Splenda, Stevia, Truvia, or other “natural” sweeteners. They make me sick. Bull does use Mio which has Splenda in it, but he doesn’t care for it all the time.

So, I’ve created a modified version of the French toast cups that just calls on what most of us have on hand. I did the math and it works out to about 105 calories per “cup.” The “cups” are muffins. Clearly, my modified version has more carbs. So if you’re low carb, this is not the recipe for you. Follow the original recipe and use Ezekial bread.

If you can afford to do so, I recommend you follow the original recipe for the best possible results if you’re a 21 Day Fix junkie or if you’re looking for healthier versions of your favorites.

Ingredients:

  • 6 pieces of white bread, cubed
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 2 t. sugar (which, by the way is a total of 15 calories. So, take that and divide it by 12…unless you’re diabetic, it’s not enough sugar to write home about)

You’ll also need a 12 count muffin tin. I used muffin liners to attempt to minimize mess.

Preheat your oven to 350. Put your liners in your muffin tin. Cut each slice of bread into 12 squares (three rows, four columns or vice versa). Place six bread cubes into each cup. Remember, this is using plain white bread. You could use whole wheat bread or whole grain bread or whatever type of bread you like. Bull bought plain white sandwich bread on sale. One piece of bread will fill two cups. That means there are 60 calories of bread per cup.

In a bowl, beat the six eggs, almond milk, cinnamon, and sugar together. I used a small measuring cup to make sure that I filled each muffin cup. The original recipe said you can mix it with your hands. I did not do that. I just made sure I covered the bread with the egg mix. Each egg is 70 calories. The easiest math is to say each muffin has half an egg. That’s 35 calories per cup. Then, you have one cup of almond milk. I buy Almond Breeze Vanilla. It is 80 calories per cup. So, that’s about 7 calories per cup (6.666666——–>7). The sugar is a little over 1 calorie per cup.

Modified French toast cups before going into the oven!
Modified French toast cups before going into the oven!

My math isn’t exact, but it’s still better than eating a plateful of French toast. Not to mention the sugar rush.

I baked them at 325 for 30 minutes. Bull loves them. I think they’re pretty good with some butter. We did not use syrup. Nancy Lynn’s post also included the use (or option) of fruit.

Eating better doesn’t have to always mean giving up everything you love. Sometimes it means finding healthier ways to make what you do love. It means finding small changes you can make to start feeling better.

National Wine Day

So, I noticed on Twitter today that it is National Wine Day (or National Wine Drinking Day). I stopped drinking on October 23, 2018 for no other reason that alcohol is dehydrating and I was coming off the med I took for atrial fibrillation. The way my morning happened (so far – it’s only 10:35 am!), I would not say no if the wine fairy dropped a bottle of red at my door.

We all woke up around 8 am since Baby Bull doesn’t have school today. I sprained my ankle on Friday (and how I did it is as equally ridiculous as my morning). It’s been swollen and I’ve not been able to really walk on it. This morning, the swelling is down and there’s less pain. I can kinda walk. I thought MAN THIS IS GONNA BE SUCH A FUCKING AWESOME DAY!

Then the shit hit the fan.

Bull went outside to check the tires on the van. Yesterday, before we drove to Broken Arrow to get his pictures done for Fight 2 Win, three out of four tires were flat (or almost flat). Coming home, the indicator for the back driver-side tire kept coming on. We stopped before we hit the turnpike to air it up as well as after we exited the turnpike (because there’s literally ONE place on the turnpike where we could have stopped for air). So, we knew that tire, for sure, has a problem. Since he is a mason, it could very well be a nail in the tire.

Anyway, so he goes outside this morning and sure enough…that same tire is totally flat. It’s cold here…not as cold as some places, but it’s cold for Oklahoma. He’s outside looking for the four way to change the flat. I am inside with Baby Bull, the dogs, and the cat putting together my list for the day and prepping for a 10 am call with a prospective client.

I remembered I soaked chickpeas overnight. I hobble into the kitchen (we have a galley kitchen and it starts maybe three feet from where I sit to work during the day (because my actual office space, which is part of the garage we converted, doesn’t have heat or air…and with a sprained ankle, I can’t go that far). I go into the kitchen with my wrist braces on to get the Knorr chicken bouillon granules so I can put the chickpeas on to cook. I take the lid off. I turn around to take the two steps to the stove…and I drop the fucking container. It went EVERYWHERE. A large portion rehomed itself on top of my six pack of Blue Sky soda. So then I have to wash the soda cans…and sweep up the mess.

I warn Bull that if he decides to drink a Blue Sky to rinse the lid again just in case…because cherry vanilla chicken cane soda sounds like some awful shit. I sat down and not two minutes later, Pandora is vomiting in the living room. (She’s fine, by the way. We sort of expected this anyway because she broke off a significant portion of a dog treat and tends to swallow and not bother to chew. She wasn’t choking or in any distress.)

I hobble into the living room to let her out back (yes, our back door is actually in our living room. Don’t ask me. I didn’t design the house!). I let her out. I walk to the back of the house to get a towel because all of the clean laundry is all over Private Christian’s bed right now. I limp back into the living room and clean it up. I let Pandora back in.

I check the clock and it is 9:45 am. MY CALL IS IN 15 MINUTES!! I plug my headset into Skype. I sit down with my notebook. I review the email sent to me. I call at 10. It is a seven minute phone call. During that seven minutes, Pandora, again vomits. I kept waiting for the prospective client to ask me what that noise was…thankfully, he didn’t. Maybe he couldn’t hear it. That’s my hope.

So, I clean that up and I get the dogs fed. Crom won’t eat in the early mornings any more. Athena is hit or miss. Pandora will eat anything at any time. I’m sitting on the couch with Athena after the other two are done eating. I’m pouring her dry food onto the cushion because right now she won’t eat unless I do that. I live stream what I’m telling you now on IG to highlight that working from home is often NOT glamour. It is often a train wreck. I’m blessed it wasn’t a literal shit show.

I will take vomit over that ANY DAY.

And right after I cleaned THAT up, Bull called. The price on the tire went up…so we have to pay the difference I guess between what we paid (still under warranty) and the replacement tire.

I don’t know what else this day has in store for us. I’m almost afraid to find out. This isn’t the post I planned for today. So with that:

Shit I Learned During 2018

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time of year when people reflect on the previous year…the good, the bad, and the ugly. Overall, 2018 was really good for us as a family. Of course, that doesn’t mean that every single day was smooth sailing. So, I’ve compiled this list of shit I learned during 2018. It’s not written in any particular order.

We All Get Exactly What We Put Out to the Universe

And noooo, I am not talking about religion, prayer, deities, or etc. I’m not even talking about the law of attraction. So, then, what in the fuck am I talking about? The amount of work we all put into our lives, of course. If you want success, you can’t work one day and then decide it is smooth sailing from there. If you want a better tomorrow, take care of shit today. What you do today will affect your life tomorrow (and, depending on what you do, for years to come). Getting more money, more happiness, more anything requires us to actually, you know, do those things as opposed to just thinking about it or dreaming about it.

You Can’t Trust Just Anyone

As usual, I had a year of wanting to believe the best in people and give people a chance. The problem, for the most part, is that people want certain things out of life, but once they figure out it’s hard, they quit. They make excuses. They want things handed to them. Or they lie to you and try to cheat you…and then try to make you into the bad guy. I’m incredibly glad I’ve always been a good record keeper. That will always continue. It provides a certain level of protection for what I do and for my reputation.

Time Off Is Essential

Honestly, this is kind of a catch-22 when you’re self-employed because if you don’t work, you’re not getting paid. In 2018, though, I found out just how much time off does for me. In general, I’m a “writeaholic.” I’d say workaholic, but we did my yearly calculation of time…but I’m always thinking about what I write for my clients or for my audience*…or for myself.

I took a few weeks off over the course of last year. Some of that time was planned. Some of it was not, but was necessitated between devastating migraines and the youngest kid being sick. (And 2019 just seems like the year that everyone will catch everything going around…) It took a lot of constant reminders to myself to stop worrying about that time off. So I could rest. And when I returned to my work, I was far more productive.

Better Nutrition = Better Overall Life

We keep improving our diets. In July of 2018, we started “clean eating.” Which, if you don’t know what that is, think about how back in the day our grandparents (great grands for some of yall) would KNOW what was in their food. They ate what they grew…and it was back before most food was comprised of 87 ingredients most of which we can’t pronounce. We weren’t strict clean eaters. We were common sense ones. More fruits and vegetables (oddly, we look for produce from Mexico and other foreign countries because remember all of the recalls on American-grown produce? Funny how that happened, huh?). Reading labels and not buying shit with a fuck-ton of ingredients we couldn’t pronounce or identify.

But, it kept moving forward. We bought a juicer. Bull and I had already cut back some on meat. We ate a lot of chicken because of its lean nature. Heart health was important for me. Physical fitness for BJJ competitions was important (and is important) to him.

Now, we’re vegetarians. Again, not super strict. It’s not a moral issue because, let’s be real, two more vegetarians isn’t going to stop the slaughter of animals (and trust me – I do not like the inhumane conditions of most places that process meat). We’re back to heart health, physical preparedness, and, as we’ve learned, feeling better overall. And, yes, we ate turkey on Christmas. We still go out and have the occasional hamburger. Although I learned yesterday, the hard way, that I should probably just pay the upcharge and get a vegetarian patty. Talk about feeling sick.

I Need More “Me” Time

I told Bull in late December that I planned to be selfish in 2019. He looked at me weird because I’m not a selfish person. Pretty much everything I do is for someone else. That’s not a complaint, by the way, it’s just the nature of who I am.

Basically, the more “me” time is shit I do that I want to do because I like it. I’d give you a list, but I’d sound like your grandma (read: quilting, crocheting, embroidery by hand). I’ve got some other things in mind for the summer while my 18 year old is at basic training.

Clarity in Goal Setting Is Crucial for Success

This is something I’ve always known at some level, but it wasn’t until around September when I bought myself a birthday present (Tony Robbin’s Ultimate Edge) that I started getting really clear about things I wanted to do in my personal and professional life. So, I bought a special notebook and that keeps my morning and evening power questions as well as my goals. I revisit my goals periodically and also do monthly goal setting (which then breaks down to what exactly must I do for each week).

I also chose three words for the year that I want to represent my life. I did this last year around September and set reminders on my phone. That was very helpful for me.

Meditation Is Life

This last year, I’ve also realized just how important that both meditation and yoga are for helping with the severe anxiety I deal with. It helps me remain calm and recenter my thoughts. I’ve been pretty good for a few years now with countering my thoughts and even not having a lot of negative thoughts, but sometimes they still creep in. I’m only human. Meditation and yoga are integral for me now.

So, that’s really all I have except:

And I Thought, “This Is How It Ends!”

So, two nights ago was some straight, next-level Final Destination bullshit. Pandora, my biggest dog is always under my feet. She will start off on the bed with us and then eventually move to sleep in the floor on my side of the bed. Also on my side of the bed is a nightstand that once belonged to Bull’s grandfather, a chest of drawers, and a juicer.

I know, I know – why the fuck is the juicer in my bedroom? There is an explanation for that. Baby Bull has gotten to the point that he doesn’t tolerate loud noises from pretty much anything. That includes lawn mowers, weed eaters, vacuums, washing machines, and…the juicer. (Our juicer isn’t even loud, by the way…) So, to just make life easier on school breaks, I remove it from the kitchen and put it in our room since I won’t be using it with him almost always home with me. I have no intentions on terrifying our kid…and, yes, I miss my juice. But, whatever.

Anyway, throughout my day, I constantly have to maneuver around Pandora. She will sleep as close to my feet or chair or desk or whatever as she possibly can. You’d think that, by now, she’d be used to me stepping over her.

The lamp was on the other night (because I’m always worried about accidentally stepping on the dog) and around 2 am, I had to get up and go to the bathroom. I carefully placed a foot down between Pandora’s paws (because of how she was splayed out). She looked up at me and I said hi. I kept getting up (because it’s not like we haven’t done this dance a million times in the past together) thinking she was just gonna let me step over her.

Oh no…not that night. She tried to stand up right when I did and tripped me. I thought, “Oh fuck…this is how it ends. She trips me. I fall backwards and slam my head on the nightstand…and then, just like Final Destination, somehow the juicer ends up in the air, comes apart, and the blade will come out and kill me!”

For the record, even IF the juicer would have somehow come apart, there’s no way that could have happened. The blade is stored within the metal filter thing that separates the pulp from the juice. But, at 2 am, my brain doesn’t give a shit. I was SURE I was going to die. Also, I didn’t fall. Miracle of miracles.