That time of year

When it gets colder, thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Caillou’s holiday movie is on. Yes, I said the c-word. Parents everywhere are crying in their coffee mugs, counting the minutes until their next glass of bourbon or their AA meeting. 

And not even thanksgiving yet. 

I haven’t truly looked forward to a thanksgiving meal in some time. I’ve wanted to host one for years, pretty much since I’ve been diet challenged. My ex MIL made an effort, and I always appreciated it but I’d always feel like I brought half my kitchen over. This year, I was informed I was obligated to attend my sister’s meal. Ok, fine. I live in a small apartment, not conducive to ten kids and 8 adults. It makes sense to not host it. But I asked for the menu, and I’ll get to eat turkey, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes, which I will have to bring my own margarine. That’s it. Probably no gravy, even. I got snark from another sister about how dairy free mashed potatoes aren’t real mashed potatoes. Lord in heaven. If I didn’t have my kids that day, it wouldn’t even be a question, I wouldn’t go.

So I invited Lover over the night before, and will cook a wonderful dinner to my liking and needs. I’m pretty excited about that. Here is the positive in this whole thing, I get to host a small meal, for the two of us. We get leftovers. And then, I’ll go to my sister’s, and will enjoy the family time. No worries about eating. I don’t expect anyone to accommodate me, but it’s unbelievably hard to sit at a table and watch everyone eating food that looks and smells amazing while you can’t eat it.

I know, thanksgiving is about gratitude, not the food. I am so grateful I have a family I can spend thanksgiving with. I love my sisters dearly. I have a wonderful life I only hoped for, but never thought I would actually have. I want to be the person who finds the way to make it happen, whatever “it” is. Who won’t bitch about a meal she can’t eat most of, because she’s with a family who wants her there.
Anyway, I survived one round of Caillou. 2 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes and 46 seconds til my next meeting. 

Day 102

Homemade pizza. Dare I say, all things wonderful come to mind? Paired with Stranger Things 2, a warm cat, and snuggly Lover, and all is set for an amazing cold November evening.

I use a recipe for crust coming from Bette Hageman’s cookbook, The Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread. I have no permissions to post that recipe, but you can get it if you choose by buying her book. 

I also make mine amazing by brushing the crust after par baking with olive oil infused with garlic, Italian seasoning and some salt. It gives it that extra crunch and sooo good. Tonight, since my dairy eating Lover is over, I made two crusts, one which will have fresh mozzarella and the other with Daiya mozzarella. Toppings include diced green pepper, onion, mushrooms, garlic, pepperoni. I’m so stoked. Almost as much as I am to watch Stranger Things. 

First we par bake the dough

Then we add the toppings

Then we bake it

Omg. So. Amazing. 

1. Woke up in my favorite way. Slept in. Had an amazing breakfast of egg scramble with oatmeal that had cranberry sauce mixed in.

2. A long hot shower. So lovely. Apartment living has it’s benefits. There is unending hot water. 

3. Dance lessons. I am now learning ballroom dancing. Learned the foxtrot, the ballero (?), the hustle and a few steps on west coast swing. It was so fun! Practicing at home after as well. I’m really into it. Lover and I are working out more lessons.

4. Dessert. Still working on finishing off that lovely dessert A and I made. 

5. Snuggles and Stranger Things. Plus daylight savings made it seem to me like I got to stay up later. That’s a huge plus.

Also, got a refresher on Sandy B. on one of the car rides. I forgot how good he is. I’m hoping I can listen to more of it soon. Those are available from the Gopher State tape library…and possibly from other AA sources but I know for sure Gopher State. It’s worth a listen. 

Day 101

November…cold…cloudy…cold…

I like how November brings things I love. Like Thanksgiving. (Food) Christmas cookie baking after thanksgiving. (More food) Inevitable weight gain from all the food. (An extra layer of warmth from the food? A girl has to stay warm)

Today I did some online grocery shopping, and started buying some of the essentials I will need when I start making cookies. I freaking looove making Christmas cookies. I make all of them to my dietary standards, then give them out to my similarly restricted friends. The feeling I get when I can give delicious cookies to people who would ordinarily not get to eat them because of the ingredients is phenomenal. This year, I made a new vegan friend, and it has me thinking…how much would it change things to remove eggs from the cookies? Or at least, some of them. My goal for the next week or two is to try out a new recipe or two that is eggless, in hopes I can bring holiday cheer to the vegan in my life.

So, apparently A was thinking the same thoughts I was, and asked if we could bake tonight after I picked her up from daycare. Well, of course kid. So I ask her what she wants to make. Cookies? Brownies? Cake? She asks for chocolate and vanilla and cherries. Huh. Ok. So then we start brainstorming. Can we make brownie layers with cherries in the middle? No, she says. Vanilla layer, then chocolate then cherry. 

At first I thought about vanilla cake on top of a brownie layer, but then I got to thinking…what if there is such a thing as vanilla brownies? Googled. They exist. Damn! I had NO idea. So I grabbed a recipe for them, and layered it up with a brownie recipe, slapped some cherry pie filling on top.

Omg.

I don’t even know what to call this. I don’t know if it’s been done before. Neapolitan brownies? Maybe?

So effing good. A thought it needed whipped cream on top. I think she’s correct, but I don’t have any right now. If there are any left tomorrow I’m going to make that happen. No question. That’s my kid. I couldn’t be more proud.

Vanilla layer:

2/3 c rice flour

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

3/4 tsp baking powder 

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 c earth balance

1/3 c white sugar

1/3 c brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

Mixed, spread in 13×9 pan, greased.

Chocolate layer

2oz bakers chocolate 

1/4 c earth balance, melted with the chocolate in the microwave (because that’s how I roll)

1 c white sugar

1 egg plus 1 egg white

1tsp vanilla

1/2 c rice flour (I use Flying Horse brand. It’s so fine it’s like powdered sugar)

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

Dash salt.

I layered this on top of the vanilla layer, baked at 350f for 30 minutes. I feel like it needed an extra 5 though, because it was a tad undertone in the middle, but as you wish. Cooled, then slapped the can of cherry pie filling on top. Next time I might whip the pie filling in with some coconut whipped cream. 

Day 87

Ok. Somebody needs to cut me off.

Apple cinnamon donuts 

You’re going to have to roll me to my car so I can go to work tomorrow.

I based the recipe on the pumpkin maple glazed donut recipe from Oh She Glows, but made some changes, like making it gluten free. And making with Apple instead of pumpkin. 

1/2 tsp vinegar, 6 tbsp almond milk, 1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp unsweetened applesauce, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp earth balance, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 cup white rice flour, 1/2 cup oat flour.

Baked at 350 for 12 minutes

If I had half a brain I would have put a 1/4 tsp xanthan gum in, but I didn’t so they’re crumbly but so so delicious. Dipped in melted earth balance and cinnamon sugar.

So good.

1. Eggs fried in bacon grease on “girlfriend bread”, aka gluten free. Delicious.

2. Taco Tuesday! 

3. A’s dance night! She’s so effing cute in her leotard and tights. 

4. Fucking donuts. I need a bakers anonymous meeting. Still positive though. The reactions from Hannah and A were worth it 100 percent.

5. Hannah came over and hung out. She watched Barbie movies with A while I did dishes, then we looked through photo albums from when we were in high school and younger. I must say, we were awesome even when we were awkward. But thank sweet baby Jesus we don’t look like that anymore!

Edit: listening to Sugarray Rayford, The World that We Live In. Dirty bluesy goodness. I recommend.

Day 86

Donuts.

Oh God.

Death by chocolate. 

I completely forgot to take pictures of the finished product, but let me tell you. Wow. Super good.

I used the recipe posted by Angela Liddon on Oh She Glows. I didn’t get permission to post the recipe, so follow the link if you want to try it out. They were a huge hit with everyone who tried them. It was said, however that they were more like a brownie than a donut but no one cared. Except me. Im going to test out a couple more of the donut recipes she posted soon to see if I can get more of the donut like texture to it.

So good. 

Both weekend days were pretty packed full of awesome. I was in motion pretty much the whole time, so I didn’t post either day like I should have. I’ve decided to make just one post for both. 

1. Good parenting day. Granted, I only had my kids in the am before they went to their dad’s, but it was good. They were up at 530, so I feel like we got a lot of quality time in. At the repair shop. And the grocery. And the park. All before ten am. It was good.

2. Those donuts. Maaaan.

3. Went to a crafting AA thing. The meeting was excellent, and it felt like I got closer to people I am just acquainted with. Plus, I made a new pair of earrings!

4. A delicious dinner made for me. I don’t recall what all was in it, but it was super good.

5. Music at a dark twisty bar. The whole experience of listening to romantic music while lounging on a couch in a dark, candlelit bar while passing a notebook back and forth. I blew off two parties for this and have zero regrets.

6. Slept in. It was amazing. Probably my only day to sleep in for the next two weeks. I woke up with a migraine which was not wonderful, but I slept it off and the day just got better from there.

7. Cleaned the apartment. It didn’t take long which was even better. 

8. Went boating. It was almost 90 degrees. In SEPTEMBER. IN MINNESOTA. I know, right? The opportunity presented itself to go boating and I took it. The water wasn’t as cold as I thought it’d be, and I loved/hated (hated to love?) getting yanked into the water. It was fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

9. Made that amaaaazing sausage mushroom dish again. I’m starving again just thinking about it.

10. Practiced piano briefly while talking on the phone with my girl then tv and bed. The tv wasnt on long. 

Absolutely content with life. 

Day 84

For some reason, Atmosphere, Like Today song is coming to my mind when I think of this morning. 

Woke up, got up round 11’oclock

Butt naked except, I was wearing my socks

And that’s cool ’cause most of the time this floor is cold

Stand up and stretch, look around this mess

I certainly woke up much earlier than 11 and not naked. Or wearing socks, for that matter. But the mess part is true.

Anyway.

1. A little Wolf Alice to start the day on the right note…first song I heard in the car this morning. Followed by Across the Universe by The Beatles, and then the Postal Service with Such Great Heights. Maaaan… made it even better when I was texted by someone that they were also listening to the same songs. Love Such Great Heights. It reminds me of a time long gone while also making me want to climb a tree with someone. 

I feel like climbing a tree now. 

2. Listened to Barbara Walters you tube interviews while working this morning. Fascinating. Also made the morning fly by.

3. Listened to Atmosphere Lucy Ford album while making dinner. When i was thinking of Like Today, I felt like listening to it. I forget how good this album is, probably the best Atmosphere ever did. The song, If I Was Santa Claus was my absolute favorite in high school. For a long time, that was my ideal of love. Or, Don’t Ever Fucking Question That. Now I’m older, I have different ideas of love. I don’t want to rescue anyone like I used to, or solve their problems for them. Or rather, I stop myself from trying to. (Al Anon was huge on this) I don’t want to be rescued either. I want a partner in crime. To bring out the best in the man who brings out the best in me. If I Was Santa Claus made me a little sad listening to it, but in a good way. I’ve grown. And those are still some amazing songs.

4. Came home to a clean sink with no dishes in it. I promptly filled it with prep dishes but it was soooo nice to start out fresh! (Note, they’re mostly all clean again)

5. Made homemade pizza from scratch tonight. Ugh. So full, and in a good way. 

I started my day with snuggles and music. My apartment smells like spices and pizza, I have happy children and my heart is so full. Life is so good today.

Day 81

I mentioned a few days ago that I *might* have a baking problem.

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

I totally have a baking problem.

Yesterday I made candy bars. I didn’t actually bake them though, so does it count? Today…baked some millet bread. And made soup. Delicious ham and lentil soup. Previous attempts at millet bread led to dry loaves. Edible, but dry. Today’s attempt was slightly better. 

God, this soup is good.


1. The cat isn’t dead. I was concerened he might be seriously injured when he acted like a drunk kitty and we had an emergency vet run. But he seems fine now. No idea why he had the issue, but he’s ok and that’s what matters.

2. Lunch with my stylist friend Chelsie. We had tacos. Double win.

3. Got rid of all the empty boxes sitting in the living room. 

4. Homemade soup and fresh bread for dinner. Perfection.

5. Working out costumes for Halloween and a theme party coming up. I love costumes, and I want to go all out. I’m so excited!

Day 80

Parenting a kid with oppositional defiant disorder is no joke. No one really understands what it’s like if they don’t have a kid like that themselves.

I did some reading up online about parenting ODD kids today. Nothing really that I hadn’t heard before, but a refresher on basic skills was good. It’s been hard though. When your kid comes in for a hug and tries to bite your stomach I tend to react negatively. I want to take the kids out, but I keep getting swung at so we don’t make it out the door. 

I’m going to conquer today. I’m going to make this day my bitch and own it. Or at least I keep telling myself that. 

1. I almost dodged the pickle J threw at me. Some reflexes are better than none.

2. It’s sunny and nice out. It looks divine through the windows. I have them open and the fresh air coming in is wonderful. 

3. Lovely conversation with my friend where I was able to give her driving directions randomly when she needed it. I felt useful.

4. My niece is back from living with her dad as of today. We got to go see her, and it was wonderful. Both kids napped on the way home and it was peaceful afterwards.

5. I made candy bars. Peanut butter oatmeal almond honey filling covered in chocolate. So good. I’m so full. And yes, I  actually ate a real dinner too. Working on better taking care of myself.

Decided for today to quit quitting. It’s been hard. And it’s just for today. I’ll decide what I’m doing tomorrow, tomorrow. 

 Day 78

I started writing a post yesterday and never finished it. I deleted the whole thing. I feel like yesterday’s positives are gone. In retrospect I shouldn’t have done that, but I did.

It’s been an epic parenting disaster. I’m short on sleep, didn’t eat dinner last night, forgot my nicotine patch. J is teething more and not sleeping plus shrieking bloody murder at all hours of the night and day. A is having multiple meltdowns, physically assaulting me and having migraines. Plus, not listening and doing what she’s told, i.e. getting dressed.

I feel like the worst mom ever. I’m yelling  at both kids, irritable for many reasons, anxiety about being late for work. Lost my temper several times. Not enough hugs and kisses to soothe my girls. I realized I never read the books I promised to read to A last night before bed.

Leaving your child at daycare when they are crying and clinging to you is awful. Knowing you won’t see them again for another day makes it worse. I’m heartbroken right now. I wanted to turn around on the freeway and go back for one more hug for my baby girl. But I didn’t. And I was a half hour late to work anyway, smoking cigarettes that don’t taste good anymore. Exhausted and hungry. Hating the parts of my job I have to do today. Wanting to cry.

1. I did get up, and got to work. Better late than never. 

2. I showered. This was good.

3. Found out some things about someone I dated in the past that made me feel like I dodged a bullet. Literally. I feel like God is looking out for me in a major way.

4. I have plans tonight and tomorrow I’m looking forward to. 

5. Coffee and red bull are my friends.

Tomorrow will be a new day, hopefully full of kisses and snuggles with my little people. I’d really like to have a few good days with them.

Day 77

Fall has a smell to it. This sweet smell of leaves. It’s almost indescribable. I noticed it when I left my work on my lunch break. It’s warm and humid, and the leaves coming off the maple tree are giving off that scent. I kind of love it. It makes me want to be outside and pick apples and visit farmers markets. I’m thinking the annual orchard trip will be very soon.

Fall has always signified major changes in my life. New schools, new homes, new relationships or the end of them. This year especially. On years where there aren’t changes, I feel strange, like there should be. This year…plenty of changes. I’m completely good with it. It feels right. 

1. Another early morning yoga, meditation and breakfast. It was SOOOO HARD to get out of bed today. But I did it, and I’m very pleased I got to start my day the way I did. 

2. The bathroom light has been fixed. It decided to not work last night. There was also a moment of panic when I wasn’t sure if the candle I’d lit to shower by had been blown out. Visions of the cat lighting himself on fire, and running batshit crazy through the apartment setting fire to everything flew through my head. However, maintenance confirmed I did not leave it burning. And I have a working light. All positives. 

3. Taco Tuesday baby!

4. I signed up for classes today. Pilates+yoga power workout for 6 weeks, and then a homeowners class on plumbing as well as one on basic electrical. I’ve wanted to do all three of these for AGES. Also, the incident with the light brought it to my mind. Useful things to know. I like the idea of fixing my own stuff. 

5. Dance night for A. ❤ Also an early bed for both kids. I’m not sure what to do with myself!

Jack White, Blunderbuss album on the playlist today. Completely fits my mood.