Wednesday, April 5, 2017

French Toast

We always seemed to go out to breakfast on the weekends when I was growing up. My sister Amy and I would almost always order something sweet, like a stack of pancakes or french toast. The crusts would be cut off of mine and Amy ate every single bite of hers. Both of us soaked those triangle pieces in syrup. Ok maybe mine had more - so much more that it was kind of like little boats floating in a syrup sea. Even when we didn't go out to that Greek restaurant, we wanted Mom to make us french toast at home. I learned to make it and Michaela often wants me to whip that up for her on the weekends that she comes to visit us. Btw, she eats the crusts just like her Aunt Amy.

Here's my simple recipe that has been tried and true for me so far. Even if there is a better version, I would probably forget and fall back to this anyway. hahaha

2 pieces of bread is usually enough for one person. 2 eggs will make about 4 pieces, so adjust the pieces of bread and eggs accordingly. This is for 6 pieces.

You'll need: 3 eggs, 6 pieces of bread (any is fine, I prefer white or texas toast), milk (prob 2-3 tablespoons), butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, powdered sugar (optional) and syrup.

Utensils: whisk, tongs, spatula, and butter knife

Other stuff: shallow bowl and griddle or larger frying pan

1. In a shallow bowl, Whisk eggs with a dash of milk. You want the consistency of this to be eggy-creamy, and what I mean by that is not too eggy and not overly milky. LOL Add a couple of sprinkles of cinnamon and a sprinkle of nutmeg. (Don't add as much nutmeg as cinnamon. You want like a 8/10 ratio of cinnamon to nutmeg. I mean that and also made that up.) Whisk a bit more.
2. Heat pan or griddle to just past medium. You want it hot enough to crisp the toast while it cooks. Add a slice of butter to the pan to test how hot it is. When it's the right temp, the butter will be melted and bubbly. Too hot is when it melts, bubbles, then turns brown right away. If it does, turn the heat down a little. Add a bit more butter to get some of that melty goodness on all parts of the cooking surface and get ready to add your bread.
3. You can use your hands or tongs to dunk a slice of bread into the egg mixture, covering both sides. Add to pan, then do next until you run out of room in the pan/griddle. Cook for a minute, then with a spatula carefully check one corner of the first slice that you laid down in the pan to see if it's browning on the bottom. If so, flip with spatula. Do that until all slices are flipped.
4. Cook the second side until browned also. Remove from pan and serve to plate.
5. Sprinkle deliciously browned toast with powdered sugar. (Optional) Serve with butter and syrup. Also served well with sliced fruit and/or your favorite breakfast meat like bacon, ham, or sausage.

WA-LA! Breakfast is served up, easy and delicious.

Tips: Not enough butter in pan will cause your bread to stick; some folks add a dash of vanilla extract or white granulated sugar to their egg mixture. If you are serving with fruit or meat, always cook meat and prepare fruit ahead of french toast.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Kitchen Dishes

I went to bed too early last night which means that I also woke up too early. 4:00 AM and wide awake. UGH!

So, I gave in to the early start to my day and went to the kitchen to start the coffee pot brewing that necessary nectar. I find lots of dishes that got ignored from the night before. Fine. I'll start those, too. I don't have a dishwasher so I do dishes by hand. (Someday I will get one of those things with a stove and a fridge to match!)

This gets me thinking of the Home Economics class that I had as a senior. Yeah, that blow off class that I took because it would be a super easy A to earn. Admit it, you did that too. :) Today it's called Life Skills or something like that. My teacher actually gave us some pretty good lessons that somehow I did use and still think about. One of those was the simple task of washing dishes. Sure I did dishes at home as a child but she had a way of giving us details that actually made a lot of sense. I'm going to share those with you and how to clean the kitchen in a 10-step program. :P

1. Organize and pre-clean the dishes that are scattered around or in the sink by gathering them all on the counter. I know you are saying to yourself "organize and pre-clean the dishes? Is she crazy?" Organizing the dishes by type really does help for fitting them in the dishwasher or in the dish drainer. You'll want to keep like things together to make putting the stuff away easier. Trust me, you'll appreciate me for this. Pre-cleaning is simply scraping the leftover food and/or rinsing the nasty gook off. You do not want to add that gook to your dishwasher or your sink filled with clean soapy water.
2. Load the dishwasher (if you have one of those) with all the things that can go in the dishwasher. Do bottom rack first with plates, larger items, silverware, etc. Then do the top layer with glasses, bowls, and smaller items. Add soap, then hit the button. Lucky you!
3. Fill the sink or wash bin with as-hot-as-you-can-tolerate water. Add a decent amount of soap. I like to do this as the sink fills so it creates suds. (Suds make me feel like I'm giving the dishes a bubble bath. Cuz I'm a dork.) This hot water/soap combo serves two purposes - both to loosen any stuck on food and to kill germs/bacteria.
4. Load the sink with drinkware first. These are usually the easiest to clean and have the least amount of gross stuff attached. This leaves your water pretty clean before you get to the next group of dishes.
5. If you have room in the first batch of dishes, add the silverware to one side. Soaking these while you wash the glasses and mugs makes it all way easier to clean. Leave sharp knives and scissors out of the water. You don't want to cut yourself by digging around in there. That would be bad.
6. Wash first batch and let air dry. Add to the sink any plates, bowls, etc. that can fit. Wash the silverware. Then start drying and putting away the drinkware, then the silverware.
7. Wash second batch and let air dry. Add to the sink any plastic items like pitchers, strainers, spatulas, etc.
8. Stop and clean whatever appliance surfaces that need to be wiped down - microwave, stove, etc. Dry second batch and put away.
9. Wash third batch and let air dry. Add to the sink any pots and pans and super dirty items that you may have held off to the end.
10. Stop and clean whatever counter and table surfaces that need to be wiped down. Dry third batch and put away. Wash remaining items and leave to dry.

Bonus notes: If you use a sponge to wash dishes, then when you are all done washing put soaking wet sponge in microwave for 4 minutes. This will loosen any grime in the microwave and you can easily wipe that out. It will also kill any germs that may be in the sponge and hopefully stay clean when not in use. Sponges get pretty gross so I replace mine every week. Same with dish towels. I replace those every few days if used a lot.

It may sound like a lot of steps but usually it can all be done pretty fast, like within a half-hour or so. Playing music makes it go by fast, especially if you sing along. Or if you have a willing cleaning partner, they can help dry and put away to speed things up.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Being "In the Know"

I did it! I found out how to post. Yay me! :) Guess that means I'm blogging again.

I post on facebook (like a lot. alotta lot.) so it was probably easy for me to just use that as my outlet. But truth be told, blog posts are a bit better. For the self-expression anyway. Maybe I'll post someday specifically about facebook. Lots to say about that. ;) Many of my friends on facebook have both commented on posts and some have privately sent messages me to encourage me to write because they enjoy my writing. That's a total heart swell of a thing to say to someone. I have not forgotten that encouragement and with that and my daughter's recent prompt, I considered it with deeper thought and of course agreed.

I'll give you a bit of a backstory on why Michaela prompted me:

She's a college sophomore and has a couple of roommates that have become her best friends. So much so, they refer to each other as their "moms" because they take care of each other. It's seriously the cutest. (Here's where I would insert a photo of those adorable friends but I need to refresh my memory on how to do all of that.) They've navigated through two years of college together and are all doing so incredibly well. (Brag post coming soon.) Next year, instead of dining on gross cafeteria food and living in the dorms, they decided to get a small apartment to share. Super exciting time for them of course, which as you all know, but it also brings a certain dose of anxiety too. They start to work out a lot of details, like calling around to local apartment property managers to arrange to see what may be available. Then after the tours, they start to explore what they need to do to actually rent the apartment that they like. Wow - there's lots of commitments and paperwork and money and stuffs involved. Then they begin to talk to each other about how they have no idea how this stuff works and this leads them down anxiety lane about life in general. Oh no! How can they be "moms" if they don't know stuffs? What will we do without our ACTUAL moms?! This is likely the very moment that I received the text.
Mom I want you to start a blog just for me where you just tell me everything you know about life
Imagine my initial surprise. Then my heart swell. This girl still needs me. ZING! The moment all moms wait for. Of course I reply with "It's called adulting. We're all just winging it. But I'll share some of the things I've learned and all my favorite stuffs." With lack of a better way of saying it, I'm gonna give it the old college try. Not that I went to college for very long, but I certainly have lived a lifetime of trying. And this is where the first post to my first born's request begins.

Michaela - ya know the best way to learn something? Trial and error.

I know, not the most clever idea in the world but I can tell you that since we all came screaming into this world, we have tried - then erred - then tried again. Learning to walk, learning to read, learning to ride a bike, learning how to drive, etc. Do we figure that out the first time we try? NO WAY. We're all a bit wobbly at first. It's when we keep trying that gives us all the opportunities we need to actually do it. Then the more we try, the easier things get and the better we get at things.

Some people get better at some things than others. Some people get REALLY good at a certain things. Most of us aren't good at everything and likely it's because we stop trying or just decide it doesn't come all that naturally. In other words, practice makes perfect or at least as close to perfection as we can get. Most things require repetition. Let's talk about a few examples of what I have learned by trial and error, shall we?

1. I cannot whistle. I've tried over and over and over again. Still can't but every now and again I keep trying it, just in case my lips decide to have a breakthrough.

2. I struggle with Algebra. And other math-like things. But I bet if I really focused and did the work, I could do it. It just feels painful and up to this point in my life, I don't need it. Other math is VERY important to me though. Like I totally live in a world where percentages, averages, and margins mean something.

3. Driving takes a lot of practice. There's a good reason that it is required to have so many hours of real world application before being licensed to operate a motorized vehicle. It's called risk - the risk of potentially of harming yourself, other people, and causing a considerable amount of damage if you don't try over and over to get comfortable handling that vehicle. The risk is the reason that insurance is so damned expensive for young drivers is because of the inherent chance of erring while learning to drive. I dented the whole driver's side door in my first car because I didn't navigate the pole in the covered parking lot correctly. Whoopsie.

4. Making Macaroni and Cheese - the Kraft way. I used to need to read the directions on the box. I had to learn how to boil water first. Then, after a few thousand blue boxes later...and many boil overs and too-mushy noodles and too-runny batches to count, I can make that stuff while half asleep if needed and always without measuring a thing. Plus, if you add a bit of pepper and a dash of salt = perfection. It wasn't your and your sister's fave food for no reason. That crap is good.

5. Diapering a baby was some scary shit. Literally. The whole taking care of a baby is really, especially when I had no trials and errors because no one trusted me with their babies before. When the reality of what I needed a crash course in how to take care of my newborn took over, I knew I had gotten myself into a pretty tough predicament. You were born in southern CA where I had no Mom or sister or in-laws or best friends to tell me how to do anything. It was the most frightening and emotional time of my life (which really led me into post-partum depression but that's another post for another time). There was a beautiful tiny baby that needed me to feed her, clean her, and cover her bum. The first few times seemed innocent enough. I wrapped it around, pulled the tabs off and stuck the sides together. You peed in it, then I did it again. Then it got easier and easier. Until the blowouts of smushy disgusting diarrhea that runs up your back all the way to your neck, soaking your entire onesie and pink dress. GAK! So gross. That's when I learned that you needed to go a size up in Pampers. Or when that same darling baby girl gets a bit older and squirms around so much that I learned to distract, change quickly, and with one hand so I can keep her from rolling away while doing it. Expert status.

I'm hoping to continue to give you detailed versions of some more things that I've learned because you asked that of me. Today's post was really a general post to frame the concept of future content. And because, I also want to encourage you along the way. I've had to learn to do things by myself and sometimes I've had help. I've also had lots of encouragement in my life. Surround yourself with the best kind of people that will do that for you because when you try and try hard, sometimes it doesn't work out. And when you err or ding your confidence, they will help you to try again.

I'm still learning. I hope I never get to the point of my life that I think there's nothing left to learn. I can share my stories as I go, and maybe you can learn a thing about how things work. But I can guarantee that your best lessons will be the ones that you try on for yourself. By the way, I would love to hear about your lessons, too.

P.S. - Sometimes the best lessons are learned when you are picking yourself up, brushing yourself off, or waiting for your bruises to heal. How you navigate back to your feet is also part of the practice. Everyone trips up, falls down, and has to find the strength to get back up. That's where the lesson in grace comes in. Spend those difficult times listening to your heart and give yourself plenty of time whenever you can and if the situation allows. Learn about yourself - what you did right, what you can work on and correct - and always determine what to focus on, what you are looking forward to or striving toward next. And don't be afraid to ever ask for a hand or a hug if you need one. Your moms will gladly assist. And I'll always be there for you!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A little list

Sometimes I get the best ideas from others. Ok, well, I'm just a plain ol' copycat. Whateva. This is fun! (Got it from Dear Lizzy, but the answers are mine!)

praying for: a little peace for Kevin.
wearing: Jammies at the moment. Of course I'm blogging instead of getting into the shower to get dressed for the day.
working on: Laundry, trying not to work late every night.
eating: well, drinking, but coffee that my hubby makes every morning with Vanilla creamer.
dreaming of: My Thirty-One business taking off this month.
realizing: I need about five more hours onto my day to accomplish all of my goals.
impatiently waiting: A new car for Kevin.
anticipating: the weekend already. is that sad or what? Two days into the week and I'm burnt.
loving: My long hair right now. It's been forever since I've had long flowing locks!
stalking: My email & phone. I feel like there's something great coming.
feeling: overwhelmed. *sigh*

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Mom told me to & I listened.

And did what she told me to do. Wow, that must be a first. LOL

What's happening blog universe? It HAS been a long time. I guess I didn't feel like having yet one more commitment/obligation in my life. Maybe I'm ready to express myself again. Why not? I suppose I have some things to share. :)

Since my last post, I have started my own business, celebrated 10 years of marriage to a wonderful man, lost a job that I hated in the first place, luckily found another one that is shaping up to be pretty incredible, and well a whole lot of everydays in between.

I haven't scrapped much and would like to dedicate time to do that. I haven't taken many pictures, either.

We welcomed another baby into the family this past weekend. Steffan Crane Tarcea. My brother in law and sister in law had their first baby and he's so cute! I cannot wait to hold him. It's incredible how life reminds you that even the small things are so important and can also be the big things.

I wonder if anyone reads this anymore. Mom, it just might be a place for me to share my thoughts with you. That's ok, right? Do you want photos, too? Ask & ye shall receive. A few random photos:

And of course, I can't leave without a shout out to my business, which dare I say is going so very well right now. I love Thirty-One! New Spring catalog just launched Feb. 1 and the products are so FUN! Check out my website:
where you can download the catalog, shop online, & just browse to learn a bit more about it and me. :) Here's some additional images of some of the great items that will have you organized and on the go in style!

Ok, so that's all for today. Hopefully much more to come. If you're out there - say hi. :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Moody Blues (Warning, it's a pathetic rant)

It's a band, right? Well, it's also a description of how I feel today. It's just a really ridiculously emotional & blah day. It's pouring rain outside. Maybe that has something to do with it.

Maybe it's because there are just days when you feel the world is against you. I should've retreated back under my covers and said, "you are right, universe!" I should listen to your wisdom more often.

I was late this morning, which never helps. And even though I told myself I wasn't going to do that anymore, it happened again. *sigh* Stupid commute and traffic. Ever have one of those days where you just want a friend to listen to you be awful and whiny, like Eeyore? Everyone loved him despite his melancholy mood. I feel like Eeyore today, only without my piglet and pooh. I got to work and I just feel like all that I need to get done won't and everyone I have to deal with I'd just rather not. I forgot my lunch, nothing good is for sale in the company store, and it's still gross outside so I'm not going anywhere for anything good. Boo hoo. Well, I have fought back the tears already more times than I can count. Why can't I be a big girl today? I wanna put my big girl pants on! I think they're still in the laundry.
I'm ready to spit out this day and have another one that's bright and cheery and warm. I wanna be a billionaire. Heard that song on the radio. That's pretty funny actually. I will survive. Another song. Perpetually over-karaoke'd.

Ok, so there's my pathetically whiny overture and quite the universal reminder that I'm far from perfect. Can't wait until the universe decides to remind me that I'm going to be ok. Oh, and a little sunshine wouldn't hurt. I'm putting in my order in hopes that the master chef has that on special tomorrow. :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

My Caribou cup spews encouragement, it goes a little something like this:

Go home early and play with your kids
Max out your passport
Stir emotions
Sip it, sip it good
Take a 7 day weekend
Run your feet, not your mouth
Your are as wonderful as your dog thinks you are
Teach a child to fish
Technology is good, but people are better
Re-read your favorite book
Question authority
Roll down the hill
Marry your sweetheart
Dream big, act bigger
Do more cannonballs
Surprise your BFF with a cup of coffee
Build communities not empires
Read poetry
Pick up the check
Give a kid some crayons
Sleep under the stars
Take the stairs
Tell someone you love them
Hold hands not grudges
Get there on two wheels
Do the hokey pokey
Say 5 nice things about the person sitting across from you
Kiss slowly and forgive quickly
Remember where you came from