Friday, July 27, 2012

First Slumber Party

My cousins' kids are in town while my cousins pack up in Louisiana to move back to Austin. The girls came down one day last week for a play date with Liv, which resulted in Liv's first slumber party! Emmy and Aubrey are several years older than Liv, and just act like little mothers to her. The three of them play together so well. Usually Liv is shy around other children, but these two girls were her instant BFFs. Olivia stayed up waaay past her bedtime, and there was a lot of girly giggles going on in my house. When Olivia woke up the next morning and saw the girls come in the room, she lit up and thought that was just about the funnest thing ever.

Amelia (Emmy) and I share a birthday!

A little impromptu backyard swimming!

Sweet little Aubrey (on the left) cuddled up and slept with Liv's lamb chair all night. I think it was bigger than her (yes, there's a little girl under than lamb)!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sloppy, Sloppy Joe

I have bestowed my sweet tooth on Olivia. As vegetables go, she'll eat green beans and that's usually it. I always offer her vegetables, but I'm trying to find ways to get them in her even when she refuses to eat them. I heard a rumor that Sloppy Joes masked vegetable well, so we tried it.

My first thought was that I did not want to be eating Sloppy Joes regularly. However, after making this meal, the whole family is obsessed with them! We've had sloppy joes three times this week.

Our recipe was basically adapted from Pioneer Woman's Sloppy Joes recipe, but I changed it up to be healthier and more to our taste.
  • 1 1/4 pound of ground turkey (Jennie-O's is my favorite)
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 1/2 cloves of garlic (I'm lazy and use the minced refrigerated garlic)
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (I've used regular mustard in a pinch)
  • 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce (I've been using Cattleman's Memphis Sweet)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Whole wheat hamburger buns
  • 1 pat butter
Brown the turkey with the onion (drain fat if there is any, but I use the leanest turkey I can find), then mix in bell pepper, garlic, ketchup, water, brown sugar, chili powder, mustard, BBQ sauce, and salt & pepper. Simmer about 15 minutes to cook down the water. 1 pat of butter (less than a tablespoon) melted and brushed onto the buns was plenty to toast 4 buns on the stove top. Yes, my picture is of my Dad's white bun. The rest of us ate whole wheat.

We've been having it with a side of sliced up Texas peaches. You can never have enough Texas peaches when they're in season!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

I've had to reinvent our lives lately. I was scared in the beginning, but it has turned into quite the journey.

I couldn't afford to eat the way I had been. Neither my health nor my bank account could afford drive throughs, rich restaurant meals, and frozen food. I really love to cook, but hadn't taken the time in quite a while. After my divorce and significantly lowered income, though, things had to change. Around that same time, I caught up with an old friend who told me all about her new way of eating. She's always been gorgeous and healthy, but her new lifestyle showed from her head to her toes. I saw the quote above literally the next day. Now when I'm meal planning, I ask myself, "Medicine or Poison?"  Liv and I (and my parents, since we often cook together so Liv can have family dinners each night) have been having delicious, home-made healthy meals. So much so, that when I try to eat out or eat fast food, it literally makes me sick. I feel SO much better on a daily basis as well. I still struggle with the serving sizes of the food I'm eating, but at least I know I'm not poisoning myself or my daughter.

While I don't like to use the D word with regards to our food, it's safe to say I'm on a financial diet. You know what? It feels as good as eating healthy. I was so used to being able to buy whatever we needed or wanted, that living on just my income has been a serious adjustment. Since I no longer have money to burn, my house has been cleaner, more projects are being completed, and I've had more time to spend with Olivia. I'm trying to simplify as many aspects of my life as possible, and just enjoy the things we have. Having less "stuff" around the house has somehow lifted such a burden off my shoulders! Less stress + more baby time = a happy Momma. :-)

*I left both my camera and my phone at home today. I have a slew of new Olivia pictures coming soon! The girl has been having a fun summer!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Starting Again

This blog does not feel very personal lately, or representative of myself. A large part of that is there is only so much I'm willing to share on the Internet, especially when a lot of what is going on is primarily in other people's lives.

Lately, it's also in part due to my avoiding my feelings. Between losing Bandit, being sick off and on for several weeks, and life being incredibly busy, I just didn't know what or when to share.

So ... let's do snapshots, shall we?

WTF is this hole in the ground?! We decided some kind of animal made it, and have the bright idea to flush him out with a hose. Nope, it's just a giant hole in the ground. We put the hose in there, and the water just ran, and ran, and ran, and ran some more. So now we're just waiting for my parents' house to collapse into the cavern they are apparently sitting on.

4th of July side dishes = super tasty fruit. If only summer could last forever...
(Yes, that's easy to say when it's raining and a high of 85)

 This is a pretty accurate picture of my child lately. She's as sweet as ever, but man can she start a ruckus.

 Bandit died in the middle of my Mom having the crud. She promptly shared it with Liv and I and between us, we were sick for almost 2 weeks. It wasn't "OMG I'm DYING" sick, but it was still not any fun, can't get out of bed, super tired sick.

The refi on my house is not going well. I can hardly keep up with my bills, let alone have any extra money. I need this refi to come through, but I'm getting nervous it's not going to happen. Money problems are THE most stressful. I can handle just about anything else, but I don't like being broke. I know this is temporary, and I know we'll come out okay in the end, but for whatever reason that never helps undo my stress over money.

I get to have a root canal today! YAY! On the tail end of being sick, I got a toothache. I spent the 4th of July doped up and trying to keep the pain at bay.

Worst of all, as a friend put it recently, I have a green-eyed monster on my back. I'm not usually a jealous person. I've had a very blessed life, and usually have no problems feeling genuinely happy for other people and know that everyone has some pain in their life. This week,  I've found myself being jealous of other people that I know for a variety of reasons. I'm HAPPY right now, I just didn't obtain that happiness the way I thought I would. That's life, 'eh? I've just been wishing things were easier/pending issues were resolved/I knew where my life would be a year from now.

So that's about that. Here's to this post getting this blog rolling again!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Rz Bandit 7/28/03 - 6/22/12

I have been putting off this post, because I'm not sure my heart can do him justice yet. I begged and pleaded for a dog. I did a LOT of research, where I went from wanting a Papillon to falling in love with Greyhounds. Bandit was my birthday present in 2006. We went down to San Antonio to meet him, and I loved him right away. We brought him home a week later on March 3. I remember that drive home like it was yesterday. He was so shy and so ... broken. Clearly, he'd been hurt by men in his past, because anytime someone raised their voices or a man came too close too suddenly, he'd be terrified. In the first year, there were more than a few bites to the face when people got too close to him. Bandit and I, though, bonded right away. He was terrified of being alone in the house, and thanks to some greyt friends, we figured out he needed another dog there during the day. Literally the day Kimber came home (just a month or two later), he quit having accidents and chewing up the apartment. He just always wanted someone around to protect him. Kimber and I were his protectors.

He just loved to be loved. As soon as you started petting him, he'd lean on you with all 90+ pounds. His teeth would chatter, and you could see his face zone out into bliss.

Bandit was my heart dog, no doubt about it.

The longer he lived with us, the more comfortable he became in his skin. My Dad still always referred to him as Eeyore, "Thanks for noticin' me..."  The irony of him loosing his tail is not lost on us! That brought on another transformation in Bandit. It was like his tail made him feel abnormally large, and out of place. When he had his tail docked (from an overzealous "happy tail" incident), he became a whole new dog! Suddenly he was running and playing, and he was so confident, and more comfortable in small spaces. I don't even know how to describe to you what a different dog he was after that.

A couple of weeks ago, I was working in the yard with Liv and Bandit and Kimber. I knew Kimber was next to me, rubbing her wet nose on my hand and whining. However, it took me a few minutes to realize she was trying to get my attention and that Bandit was gone. He has gotten out the gate and was no where to be found. In my state of shock, I let Kimber run off too. I'm standing in the yard calling both my dogs, when they came running around the corner and back home. Bandit had the dumbest, most happy-go-lucky face I'd ever seen on him. Looking back, I think he knew his time had come, and he was just a boy out for one last adventure.

In his last week, he went from healthy looking and muscular, to so thin he could have posed in a sad animal poster. The tops of his hip bones were sticking out of his skin. He looked like a skeleton. He was eating normally. In fact, he ate VERY well that week. My mother and Liv and I cooked up and gave him every treat imaginable. He was a happy dog. ;-) Wednesday night he collapsed jumping onto the back deck. I had to pick him up and help him get back inside. Thursday morning, he couldn't even stand. I stayed home with him that day, and I just kept telling myself, "He's been worse; He'll get better ..." I think I knew, though, because I called Chris to come over - telling him it was probably his last chance to see Bandit. Bandit had a lot of love, and a lot of treats, and a lot of attention that Thursday. All the things he loved. I gave him medicine to help make him more comfortable, because he was clearly in pain. By midnight that night, I had decided it was time to take him to the vet on Friday for him to be put to sleep. He had been sick for a long time from the tick disease (from his racing days), and the vet told me 2 years ago that she didn't recommend any more medical intervention. I agreed - his quality of life could only go downhill. I feel SO lucky to have had the last 2 years with him.

However, he didn't make it to the vet Friday. He was gone when I woke up Friday morning. From the digested blood in his stool, the rapid weight loss, and his litter mate history, we assume he had stomach cancer or something similar.

I'm glad he had a good last week. I'm glad I knew him. I'm glad he won't have to be afraid of anymore thunderstorms, and I'm glad his legs can't hurt him anymore.

But I miss my very furst baby. He changed my life, and will always have a special place in my heart.

About Me

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South Austin, Texas, United States
Consider yourself warned ... I'm "that" Mom.

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