Eat, drink, and be scary.

Posted on | Saturday, October 30, 2010 | 1 Comment

Once again Halloween has been 'moved' in the city I live in to accommodate for college football. While all other cities and towns in the metro area celebrate Halloween tonight, we are postponing it until tomorrow. Yes, I know that doesn't make any sense. This is Oklahoma, after all. It was still irritating to check the news and read trick-or-treating was to happen tonight, get our costumes on, drive to our favorite neighborhood and find not a single child in sight.

Growing up things like this just didn't happen. Halloween was never moved or postponed. It could be a Tuesday evening and raining cats and dogs, you still went out in your costume and got yourself a bag full of candy.

When did dressing up to get free candy get so complicated?

Thankfully I was smart enough to have a back-up plan. I knew that a church across town was having a Halloween bash tonight and so we high tailed it over there just in time for the festivities to begin. Honestly, I think Kael had more fun at the church's Family Fun Fest than he has trick-or-treating through labyrinthine streets. What neighborhood can really compete with a moon bounce, candy, AND a hacky sack the Goliath game?

Last minute changes

Posted on | Friday, October 29, 2010 | 1 Comment

I'm writing this with the Jedi Song from Weird Al Yankovic playing on repeat in my head. Please forgive any weirdness. We now may resume your regularly schedule blogging.

There have been a few changes in this season's Halloween costume line-up. Meaning, neither Kael nor I will be wearing what we had originally planned. As some of you may remember I was going to dress as Lucy Ricardo/Rosie the Riveter and Kael was going to be a pony. But then Katy, marvelous Katy, showed me her costume design as a lion tamer. That she was sewing herself. I drooled. I envied. And then she offered to make me my own costume and I bounced around Hancock Fabrics with ridiculous childlike glee.

I have hidden you in the dark until now as to what exactly I am going to be for Halloween. I figured this blog needed more suspense, although in hindsight a teaser picture or blog post likely would have helped. Oops. Let's just pretend I did that part.

The pattern says "Pirate"...

The things a person can make from cornmeal and squash

Posted on | Thursday, October 28, 2010 | 2 Comments

This entry could also be titled, "When in doubt, call it rustic".

Rustic is such a magic word in the culinary world. By adding it to the name of a dish the sloppy appearance of said food is suddenly pretty. This especially relevant in baked goods and pastas. It excuses any mishaps and somehow makes the food even more delicious. Or maybe that last part is just me.

I have been itching to bake something this week but I couldn't decide what. Then suddenly and desperately I knew. I needed to bake muffins. Scrumptious fluffy muffins. I had seen one of my favorite baking bloggers post this recipe a few days back, and it was like trumpets sounded and the skies parted. These were the muffins I must make.

Jam-filled cornbread muffins. Her pictures looked heavenly and I became filled with glee as I realized the recipe did not require a mixer. An easy recipe that promised delectability and effortlessness? Sign me up. It came together in a blink. My only mistake was over-filling the cups (and then thinking that I needed more batter and making a whole extra batch that I had to quickly find a use for). I put them in the oven and about twenty minutes later my house smelled exquisitely like baked goods.

I opened the door and for a moment my heart sank. The muffins had exploded.

Happy birthday, Kael

Posted on | Tuesday, October 26, 2010 | No Comments

Today you are four.

You were born and the two miscarriages before you healed. You were a little miracle in the making, even if you didn't realize it. From seven months on it was twice a week visits to the hospital because my kidney's had begun to fail and my heart was working to keep up. I was told again and again that if any tests showed you were not doing well it would mean an emergency cesarean. Yet at every hospital visit you were bigger and stronger. My body was slowly falling apart and you were untouched somehow. I kept telling myself if you would keep going so would I.

11:11 am and you were born. You were perfect. Bright red and indignant at the world you had been unceremoniously welcomed to. I told you hello and you opened your eyes, because you knew that voice. You knew me.

You made me strong, Kael. Without realizing it you saved me. You've given me the strength to do things I never could have imagined accomplishing. I hope one day I can show you, but until then I will embrace every silly giggle-filled moment we have.

I love you my little man.


Posted on | Saturday, October 23, 2010 | 3 Comments

Well, almost. In three days (if we really want to be technical two and a half days) he will be. It seems ridiculous to think that my little boy is THAT grown up. When did this happen? He went from being a squishy one-year-old to this little person who has his own personality and ideas. Looking back it seems impossible but then I have photographic evidence that says otherwise:

First Birthday --

Second --

Third --

Today had the potential to be awful. It stormed all day and was freezing cold with wind and rain that exemplified such wonderful meteorological occurrences. There were several guest list fiascoes followed by half of the RSVPs for Kael's party not showing up. And I felt like I had been tossed in a burlap sack and beaten by gnomes. Believe me it is not a good feeling. But we had a cake and Kael was more than ready to spend a day of fun at at the Orr Family Farm. He had a blast.

Pony rides, petting zoo, train ride, a carousel, cake and pizza. What was there not to love!

It was unbelievably cold. And windy. Thank goodness that didn't stop us. Forewarning. There are a ridiculous amount of pictures behind the link. Can you blame me? Kids only turn four once!

In which we discuss how incredible hollandaise sauce is

Posted on | Thursday, October 21, 2010 | No Comments

I've tried to make hollandaise sauce twice on my own and both times turned into a gigantic mess. It seems easy enough; beat egg yolks and lemon juice then add butter and whisk whisk whisk. Well, apparently my method makes fancy scrambled eggs.

What's to be done when I can't cook something? Call Katy.

I love my Katy.

Of course if you make hollandaise sauce there has to be a meal that accompanies it. We chose artichokes and blanched green beans. If you are going to ingest half a stick of butter in one meal it's best to counteract such delicious foodiness with something healthy. If only to appease your conscience.

That, and artichokes with hollandaise sauce sounded incredible to both of us. After a quick trip to the grocery store we were ready to begin.

Something sweet

Posted on | Wednesday, October 20, 2010 | 3 Comments

I am beginning to feel normal again. I still ache and my muscles are occasionally rebelling against me, but it's progress. Katy and I ended up canceling our Tuesday lunch date yesterday since I was still feeling yucky. However I couldn't let Tuesday pass without having some sort of culinary venture. So I decided to bake.

You have to understand how monumental baking is for me. I used to never bake, the concept terrified me. Unless it was store-bought and only required plopping it in the oven for fifteen minutes I avoided it. Measurements were always so precise and I had this idea in my head that any attempt at baking a cake would result in the kitchen catching fire. This isn't far from the truth; I have caught the stove on fire, and several bags of popcorn have lost their lives to the evils of my microwave.

Then one dark and stormy night (alright it was 10pm on a balmy summer evening) I suddenly and desperately wanted cookies. Kael was already asleep so driving to the nearest grocery store to buy a package of Nestle Toll House cookies wasn't an option. I looked in my pantry: I had flour, sugar, milk, eggs, butter, and chocolate chips... and I thought, why not? Amazingly I didn't burn the house down. Even more astonishing they tasted good!

Since then I've become engrossed in baking. It's not as terrifying as I thought it was. I've become motivated to not only learn to bake, but to bake well. Creating things equal to the pictures on Martha Stewart's website has become a culinary goal of mine. I won't lie, I obsess about it to an extent that might not be entirely healthy. Have I mentioned how lucky I am that Alex puts up with my special brand of crazy?

Even with this new-found passion I haven't baked very much recently. Mainly because I know a majority of said delectable creations would go to waste (or directly to my hips). But no longer! Instead of eating my way through a batch of cookies or muffins I've begun taking them to the coffee shop on campus where I work. It's just an added bonus that I get free coffee in exchange for my home made treats. It gives me the perfect excuse to bake like a fiend. And bake I have.

I know I have mentioned my Lemon Bars, but I have also made some scrumptious apple cinnamon bran muffins, confetti squares, mug cake, and most recently brownie candy cups and yogurt raspberry teacake muffins.

Oh yeah.


Posted on | Saturday, October 16, 2010 | 2 Comments

This blog post isn't going to be about something I've cooked or the random exploits and adventures I have with friends. I have been sick for the past four days and right now I can't tell if I'm on the tail end of it, or if it's just gaining momentum. When I get sick it's difficult. It's painful. It makes life a challenge. Some days are harder or than others. Today has been one of the harder days.

My body doesn't always do what I tell it to. Walking takes effort and focus most days, telling my body to put one foot in front of another. Sometimes I will tell my legs to walk and I fall. My knees, hips, and ankles will give out and down I go. It hurts. I have to hold onto furniture to ensure I don't collapse. My hands don't work all the time either. Opening doors, holding a fork, hugging my son... they all hurt too much.

Some days, like today, my hands still work. Though I don't know why or how. Usually my hands are the first thing to go. I'm thankful for it, because even though the rest of my body isn't working I can still do some things. Not many, but some. I can walk, even if it's painful. I try to focus on what I can do, because the list of what my body can't do is depressing.

Before I had Kael it wasn't so bad. The only person I would let down when my body didn't work was myself. Now my heart breaks when I have to tell Kael that I can't carry him. He doesn't understand that Mommy's body doesn't work right. He will crawl into my lap and cry. The weight pressing against me hurts, his head on my shoulder makes me want to cry, but I try to hold him anyway. I'll bury my face in his shoulder so he can't see my face and realize he is causing me pain.

I was diagnosed at 14 with my autoimmune disease. I felt so angry when I found out what was wrong with me. That my body wasn't going to get better, that there wasn't a cure for the pain I felt. Someone that age shouldn't be in and out of hospitals not knowing what is wrong with them, or talking about pain management and medications. It took me years to learn how to do things differently, how to walk up hills without falling, using different muscles to make the journey. I learned to hide my pain. I worked hard to train my face not to show it. I built resolve that I would still do the things I did before and that the disease I was stuck with could shove it.

It's been hard keeping that mentality. My hair has fallen out from my immune system failing, handfuls just fall out and then slowly it grows back. I forget things. Mostly it's short term memory. I have to leave notes because I will forget otherwise. Sometimes I pretend I remember discussions because I know people have said the same thing not a day before and I don't want them thinking I don't care. I've had to train myself how to remember.

I get heat stroke easily because of the various things wrong with me. Spending 15 minutes in the sun can make me pass out if I am not careful. I lose my balance easily and I fall or trip often. My kidneys are damaged and I have to always be aware of what I am doing and that I stay hydrated. When I know that I must take stairs and I am having a hard day I tell people I will catch up because I need to take them one at a time. Sometimes I can't sleep, other times I am exhausted for days on end and no amount of sleep fixes it. There is so much I have to be wary of. When I go out I have to plan ahead: will I be able to rest as I need it, will I be able to watch and tend to Kael, will I be out in the sun for too long, will I, will I, will I.

I don't mention this to people usually, that so much thought goes into the most basic plans. I have to do my chores around my body's schedule. Everything revolves around when and how my body can do it. I don't tell people that when I am terse with them it is usually the pain talking. I'm in pain so often it seems ridiculous to tell people when I hurt. I always hurt. There is always pain somewhere, it's just the severity that changes.

It makes life harder in a way to not show that so much is wrong with me. You can't see the diseases I have, I don't look sick even though I am. I don't broadcast it to everyone, and so when I am bedridden for days on end the response is that I am faking it. Explaining to co-workers or my boss than there is something wrong with me feels insurmountable. Telling someone that even though I look okay I'm not is hard. It is hard to admit that I am not okay.

I've gotten used to people seeing me differently after knowing how much is wrong with me. I secretly hate it. I don't like that some people allow my disease to define me. I'm not my autoimmune disease, my kidney damage, my crooked back, my PTSD. I am me. These are only one part of me, not what defines me.

This morning as I was in bed trying to force my muscles to work Kael crawled under the covers with me and cuddled. It hurt, but I held him. I told him I was hurting, that I didn't feel good. And he looked at me for a long moment then grabbed my hand and kissed it. Then he smiled and said "It be okay, Momma."

Pesto and sewing patterns

Posted on | Wednesday, October 13, 2010 | 1 Comment

Yesterday was Tuesday, and you know what that means. Lunch date with Katy! Although they are quickly becoming all-day events involving shopping, cooking, and ridiculous picture taking. It makes me happy that Katy shares in my enjoyment of documenting are exploits.

Yesterday we went to Hobby Lobby again. We can't help ourselves, it's all the glitter and crafty things that call to us. Katy talked me into ditching my Rosie the Riveter costume en lieu of something far more shimmery and awesome-looking. We needed fabric. And buttons. And fringe.

Prior to going on the hunt for fabric and other necessities we skimmed over the costume patterns they had.

If I ever have two children close to the same age I am making them wear this. Likely before they enter elementary school so that they won't have the sense to tell me no. Isn't it just too freaking adorable?!


Saving boobs is what we do

Posted on | Sunday, October 10, 2010 | No Comments

Yesterday I met with Hannah for the Susan Komen's Race for the Cure in downtown Oklahoma City. It was really fun and a great way to spend the morning. Well, minus the 35 minute fight to find parking at Bass Pro Shop in which a truck towing a boat nearly totaled three cars including mine (people cannot drive in large crowds, holy crap). Thankfully the rest of the day didn't involve automobiles and was exceptionally wonderful.

We did the untimed 5k along with her brother, sister and her sister's boyfriend. Kael chilled in the stroller for most of the trek but he did walk for about half a mile. My legs have been aching since last night but it was great to spend the day with her and Kael while doing something for a good cause in the process. :)

And it shouldn't be surprising by now, I took a bunch of pictures!

Everyone was getting ready for the race to begin. I had to hunt down Hannah since she go there before me and didn't know if we were walking together. Sillypants. Thankfully she called me and waited for Kael and I to catch up with her about 1/8 of a mile into the race.

I Swear, My Life Is More Than Lunch Dates With Katy

Posted on | Wednesday, October 6, 2010 | 2 Comments

However per our new tradition on Tuesday we got together after work/school and a lunch date which turned quickly into an all-day affair of shenanigans and merriment. Katy said she had heard of another restaurant just off the OU campus called Pad Thai, so we were willing to give it a shot. I haven't had good Thai food in years and Katy was relatively new to such cuisine. Most places near the university are pretty good and cater to a diverse palate and Katy had heard good things about it.

Of course hats and cooking go together!

Posted on | Friday, October 1, 2010 | No Comments

I had another impromptu date with Katy. Instead of having another cook for us we opted to cook for ourselves. This involved an epic trip to Homeland (holy crap I love their food selection, why have I not shopped there before?!) in which we procured two butternut squash, a container of mozzarella balls, a box of whole wheat penne pasta, and a ridiculous amount of tomatoes parsley and onion.

From this we made what can best be described as a "rustic Italian pasta salad" with baked butternut squash for dessert. I had never had butternut which both shocked Katy and made her all that more enthusiastic about rectifying my lack of such a culinary experience. I am now a fan of winter squash. And rustic pasta dishes.

I've been kicking myself mentally every five minutes for not bringing my camera. I would have loved to take pictures of us chopping up parsley and tomatoes, or how scrumptious the butternut looked immediately after leaving the oven. The whole afternoon seems less impressive without pictures, but I promise copious amounts of giggling and silliness was had.

To make up for it I came back to the house that evening and Katy crocheted me a purse and promised to teach me. Because I need another hobby, of course.

The crocheting queen herself.


Photobucket I was born and raised in California. I have also lived in Hungary, Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, and I will be moving again this summer. Kael is my incredibly awesome kiddo who is growing up far too quickly, and Alex is my fiance who makes me happier than should be legally allowed. I write about them a lot. I'm mildly obsessed with cooking and photography. I write about those things, too.