Thursday, February 24, 2022

Throwback Thursday: And Just Like That...

...she's old enough to pay for her own health insurance. 

Wait, did you think I was talking about the crappy remake of Sex in the City? Oh, hell no; I've not heard great things.

Anyhoodle, yesterday, Queen B turned 26, which means she is no longer eligible for our health insurance. She actually took the initiative to get her own health insurance last month, so this is no great tragedy for her, but; I have to admit, it's a bit strange for me to grasp that my daughter is too old for me to insure.

I'll recover.

Anyhoodle, again; since it's Thursday and I have started posting Throwbacks again; this is the post that I wrote about the day of Queen B's birth. It was a 36 hour labor of love (her birth, not the writing of the post, although, I did love writing about it) and it resulted in one of the two greatest gifts that I have ever received.

On this day 26 years ago, I was recovering from having a tiny, wailing human expelled from my uterus. Today, that tiny, wailing human is no doubt recovering from a night out with friends.

Circle of life, y'all.

Circle of life.


Wednesday, February 23, 2022

What's Up Wednesday, February 2022 Edition


I was going to skip this post this month, but, decided that I can't break a streak just because there's not a lot going on in my world, so, today I'm linking up with Sheaffer and Shay for another exciting edition of What's Up Wednesday, and, by exciting, I mean completely mundane; just to be clear. 

What I'm Eating

I've been on a bread baking kick lately, which means that I have been eating a lot of bread. I'm not mad about it. 

I tried focaccia for the first time, and, since I'm apparently easily influenced; I made a Pinterest-inspired artwork out of it. It tasted as good as it looked and, not gonna lie; I was quite proud.

What I'm Reminiscing About

Queen B turns 26 today and, as I often do on this day; I am reminiscing about her birth. I've written her birth story here before, so I don't feel the need to spew forth another 5,000 words on the experience, although, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life and well worth every word.

What I'm Loving

I actually decorated for Valentine's Day for the first time, ever and I really enjoyed the cheerfulness of the decorations in what is otherwise a pretty dreary month.

What I've Been Up To

Hugh, The Newlyweds, and I went to BINGO at the local American Legion Club. It was an experience and a half. Also, I think we may go back.

What I've Been Working On

I wrote a half-million dollar grant. That was fun.

What I'm Dreading

I'm dreading the half-million dollar grant I wrote not being funded; that money is critical to the functioning of Not So New Job, especially considering the fact that my Board of Directors just gave me another raise (third in two years because they are wonderful people who appear to believe that I am good at my job. Lord, do I hope they are right).

What I'm Excited About

Hugh and I are traveling to the Front Range (Geography lesson: Colorado is split by the Continental Divide, creating the Front Range to the East and the Western Slope to the west. The larger cities reside on the Front Range, while the Western Slope is dotted with smaller towns and cities) this weekend to meet Queen B, who is flying in from Dallas. We are all attending the first birthday party of Queen B's goddaughter as well as celebrating Queen B's birthday, so it is certain to be a good time.

What I'm Watching

I've made the most of my Hulu subscription this month by binge-watching The Great as well as every installment of Pam and Tommy. I seriously loved The Great. The acting is top-notch, the (occasionally true) story is hilarious, and I find myself randomly exclaiming "huzzah!" throughout the day. I am also enjoying Pam and Tommy, although, I wish I would have waited until it was complete before starting it; I hate waiting for new episodes to stream.

What I'm Reading/Listening To

I lumped these two together this month because I really don't have anything to say. My reading list keeps growing, but my time runs shorter and shorter. I have been listening to my running playlist on repeat because I am on a 52 day step streak on my Fitbit, but, otherwise, I have nothing of interest to report (I told you this was going to be a boring post).

What I'm Wearing

Today? Snow boots! We got about six inches overnight (that's what she said) and I will need to shovel the sidewalks once I get to the office.

What I'm Doing This Weekend

As I mentioned earlier; I'm going to the Front Range. It's not my favorite place to visit, but the company is going to be well worth the trip.

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month

Springtime! I am so ready for longer, warmer days and to seeing the first buds begin to sprout. I am hoping to plant a garden this year, but am relying on Hugh to build raised beds in which I can plant. I'm not at a place in my life where I can keep up with the kind of gardens I used to plant and I think that raised beds would be easier to maintain. I'm not holding my breath, though; there are only so many times that I can be told "I'll get to it" before I lose faith and move on.

What Else Is New

Nada! And, if you made it through to the end of this without falling asleep or hitting that little X in the corner up there; your life must be almost as exciting as mine. We should get a drink together!

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Hair's to a Great Girl! Birthday Box 2022

Tomorrow is Queen B's birthday and, since we won't be seeing her until Friday; I sent her gifts in a care package earlier this month. Of course, she had strict instructions not to open the box until the 23rd. 

When I asked her what she wanted this year, she was pretty specific: new hair extensions since her current ones had gotten "scraggly". She chose the extensions online so she was well aware that she would be getting them.

Since I cannot allow a birthday to pass without at least a few surprises, I filled her box with a few other items, including a new blow dryer. I figured, why not stay with the hair theme.

So, in the box:

Sassin Halo-style Hair Extensions

Amika Blow Dryer

Red Velvet Cake Mix

Cream Cheese Frosting

Unicorn Birthday Candles

Cake Sprinkles

Unicorn Bath Puff

Am I a little sad that my daughter will have to bake her own birthday cake? Yes. Will I make it up to her when I see her in Denver this weekend? Also, yes.

Am I still the Boss of birthday boxes?


Friday, February 18, 2022

Favorites on a Friday

It's been a long, busy week and I am very much looking forward to a nice, long holiday weekend. Now, having said that, I will get hit with an emergency call-out, just you watch.

Anyway, we kicked off the week with Valentine gifts for my favorite people. The Man-Cub and his girlfriend got plenty of sweets, including the puffy sugar cookies that the Cub has loved since he was old enough to grasp one in his chubby little fist.

Hugh got a giant tin of his favorite Swedish butter cookies and a pair of the same virtual reality goggles that we got the Cub for Christmas; I took notice that he had been coveting them.

I got a box of near-dead mail-order roses that arrived on February 11th because Emily's birthday was on the 13th and Hugh figured he would kill two birds with one stone and order flowers for us at the same time. 

Happily, I also got a shipment from my new Vine O! subscription, which included two bottles of wine...

...some facial wipes, a set of bangles, a travel mug, a travel backpack, and a small box of gourmet caramels. The timing of the box was perfection, even if the contents were slightly underwhelming. On the positive side, it only costs $59 a quarter and two bottles of wine cost darn near that on their own. So, it's a deal.

Last Sunday, I tried my hand at focaccia and I am unashamed to say; the flavor rocked!. I suppose I should be ashamed to admit that I stole the idea for the artwork right off of Pinterest, but, eh. Life's to short to beat yourself up #shameless.

I may try a completely original design on a new pan this weekend, but, I am also toying with the idea of making cinnamon rolls, instead. The dough feature on my bread machine is a recently discovered marvel of modern technology and I'm going to use it accordingly.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Never Have I Ever

I decorated for Valentine's Day this year, which, is not something that I have done before. I even decorated the Orphan Tree, which, has been up since Christmas, although sporting winter decorations in place of Christmas ornaments. Again, not something that I have done before (leaving up a tree and decorating it for anything other than Christmas? Unheard of!).

I've learned, as I've grown older, never to speak in absolutes; never say never has become my motto and I take special care with how I use "always". Life laughs at the hubris of always and never.

Anyhoodle, my new Valentines decorations are actually reminiscent of the Valentines that I sent and received as a child, and, quite frankly; I love them.

The Orphan Tree is definitely coming down with the Valentines decorations because I have a plethora of Easter stuff to put up in its place, but, for this year; I can say that I enjoyed having it around for a little longer than usual.

Will it hang around this long next year? Who can say? Only time will tell.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Recipes From the Porch: Wheat Bread For Sandwiches

In my search for a wheat bread that was both hearty and soft, I came across this recipe. While it is still not as soft as commercially baked wheat bread, it is less, um, sturdy than the 5 grain wheat bread that I have shared in another post. Because, sometimes, a girl needs a less sturdy loaf, if you get what I'm saying.

As always, I am using a bread machine because I am lazy AF and cannot be bothered to actually use my arm muscles to knead dough. Ain't nobody got time for that.

Anyhoodle, the ingredients are pretty simple:

1 1/2 C Warm water

2 TBSP Oil, vegetable or canola (Dealer's choice!)

1 TBSP Molasses

3 3/4 C Whole wheat flour

1 1/2 TBSP Vital wheat gluten

2 TBSP Non-fat dry milk powder

1 1/2 tsp Salt

2 TBSP Sugar

3 tsp Active dry yeast

Place ingredients in the pan of the bread maker in the order recommended by your bread machine manufacturer (mine calls for the order listed above. I also make sure to spread dry ingredients completely over wet ingredients, adding yeast on top, because that's what my machine calls for).

Follow instructions for your bread machine. I use the Wheat program on my machine, as well as the 2lb loaf setting and I dial my crust setting to light.

The end result is a loaf that slices, beautifully. It's perfect for sandwiches and for toast, as well as for snacking on with a drizzle of honey or fruit preserves.

I am really enjoying my recent foray into bread baking, in case you couldn't tell. For my next trick, I am going to create one of those amazing works of edible art that all the cool kids are doing with focaccia dough and a farmer's market worth of vegetables and herbs. What could possibly go wrong?

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Throwback Thursday: Waxing Nostalgic About Valentines Day

When I was in High School, the Student Government used to sell carnations for Valentine's Day. For the bargain-basement price of $1, you could have a carnation delivered to your sweetheart, complete with a personal message inscribed on a card in some Sophomore's best attempt at calligraphy. The carnations were temporarily stored in large buckets of water in the front office, where every student office aid was able to read every heartfelt message.

That always felt like a huge invasion of privacy to me, and, I wasn't wrong,  because it was how Kim found out that Greg was cheating on her with April as well as the reason that everyone in school discovered that the the quietest girl in the Freshman class had multiple secret admirers.

Of course, none of that prevented me from purchasing carnations for my boyfriend; I just made sure that the message attached to his flowers was sealed.

These days, I am still penning notes for my Valentines, and, attaching them to gifts, and, while there is no Junior class busy-body snooping through them looking for a new piece of gossip to share on the quad; I still seal them. 

With a kiss, of course. 

This year, however, I am including a wax seal for good measure. I'm using this cute set that I found on Amazon.

It contains wax pellets in a variety of colors, tweezers for handling the pellets, a burner, a metal wax ladle, tea lights, embossing pens and embossing dust, and a stamp. The stamp that came in the set features a Tree of Life design, but I purchased an additional stamp with a heart design specifically for Valentine's Day.

The burner and melting ladle are really easy to use; you just light the wick on a tea light, place it under the burner, add wax pellets to the ladle, and set it on the burner until the pellets are melted.

When the wax is ready, the ladle makes it easy to pour a perfect circle, which, I always struggle to do when I am using my wax sticks and a lighter.

I always wait just about 15-20 seconds for the wax to start to cool before I press my stamp into the middle of the circle. Then, I let the stamp sit for an additional 10-15 seconds before I pull it off the wax, just to ensure a good imprint.

The pens that came with the set are great for helping the details of the imprint to really pop, and, while I didn't use the embossing glitter on this particular card; I know it will be something that I will use in future projects.

This card will accompany Hugh's Valentine's Day gift, which, I assure you, is not a bouquet of carnations.

As an aside, am I the only one for whom the spicy scent of carnations will be forever enter-twined with Cupid's holiday? Surely I can't be alone in this.


Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Galentines Care Package

Last week, I put a package in the mail for Queen B and the Rodeo Princess. I try to send care packages for major holidays and, sometimes, just for no reason, whatsoever.

This month's package was themed for Galentine's Day, which is another made-up holiday, similar to Valentine's Day (thank you Hallmark card company!).

Since neither my daughter nor my niece are in a relationship at the moment, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to shower them with items meant solely for self-love, and; I think I managed to meet the theme pretty darn well.

In the Box

2 Large ceramic coffee mugs

2 Chocolate cocoa bombs

2 packages of Blow Pop Charms

1 Large heart-shaped box of candy

1 package chewy cherry hearts

1 package Twix Mates

10 Pairs of  themed socks

1 Scent diffuser in Mango Citrus

1 Heart-themed coloring book

1 package water color pencils

2 tubes of hand cream

1 decorative plaque (Gnome with Bee Mine)

1 Novelty pop-up figurine of Maleficent 

2 Nourishing Face Masks

The girls got the package and actually managed to wait a couple of days to open it. I give them mad props for their restraint.

Once they did open it, Queen B sent me a Snapchat and my heart is now completely full. I hope they enjoy a relaxing and sweet Galentines Day.