Seasons Come and Seasons Go

I’ve been thinking about this little corner of the web over the past few weeks.  This blog has meant so much to me over the years.  It was a place for me to explore various interests that I had at the time – cooking, sewing, photography.  Sometimes I’m afraid to look back over this little archive and see all I’ve written, worried it’ll be ridiculous or embarrassing.  And sometimes it is, but only slightly.  Usually, it reminds me of who I was then.  And how I’m not that girl now.

It’s strange how much can change in so short a time.  How things that once seemed like so important are no longer even on the radar.  This blog was a small place where I chronicled years of trying, experimenting, and exploring.  I think that’s why it doesn’t seem embarrassing to me know: because it’s such a picture of who I was then.

But this is also the reason why it has left me perplexed at how to pick back up.  In some ways, I don’t want to disturb this image of who I once was.  Just like me, though, this space can’t remain unchanged forever, or else it would be incredibly boring.  It kind of already is.

(Also coming up with a new name for a blog is more than I can do.  Let’s be honest here.)

So here I am, ready to try this again.  Except, it’s going to be different.

Previously, my life seemed to revolve around cooking, food, and photography.  These days, though, I’m generally grabbing something quick to eat while running out the door.  When I do cook, I shoot for quick recipes, and the fewer dishes, the better.  My big black camera, while still important to me, is mostly in its bag now.  It’s been almost a year since it’s been out.  I know, sad.  Most of my photos are now taken on my phone.

What’s life look like now?

As a full time student and a part time piano teacher, I’m either teaching, learning, studying, or driving between all three.  It’s a lot to try to balance, and can be super stressful at times (ok like all the time).

But here’s the (not really) secret: I love it.  I absolutely love it.

I have been given myriads of opportunities I never would have had otherwise.  It’s opened horizons, stretched me, and taught me so very much.  And I can’t wait to see what will come next.

So what’s that mean for this blog?

Some days, weirdly enough, this science major just has the urge to write.  Whether it’s a thought I’ve been pondering, a memory that pops out, an interesting experience, wondering why we do something a certain way, or nostalgia, it sometimes just begs to be written.

So that’s what you’ll see here: a weird snapshot of my mind.

It won’t always be pretty, it probably won’t be very good.  But I’ll enjoy it. Hopefully, you will too.  And maybe, in five years, it will give me something to look back on.

If you’ve read this far, you are a fantastic human and you deserve an award.

And that’s it.  Hopefully I will be on here more – and we’ll see where it goes.

 

 

Today–12/9/13

Dusk is falling.  It’s one of those snowy dusks, which translates into everything just turning blue.  It’s really pretty.  Especially when viewed while drinking a dairy-free o.k.-sugar mocha.  Yes, I have FINALLY cracked the code and found out how to make a (see above).  Maybe I’ll tell you sometime.

Now I am (should be making) dinner.  And I should be posting about our lovely Thanksgiving (and my first 5k!) and our Winter trip to Branson (we got snowed in), but instead I feel like just posting what’s up.

Today I gave Lucy a shave.  May seem like an odd thing to do, what with the cold weather and all, but she was in desperate need.  So I gave her a good shave.  She still isn’t talking to me.  And by that I mean that when I call her, she doesn’t come, since I called her when we were cutting her hair, and she resents that.  Or thinks that I still have the clippers hidden somewhere.

I also baked a pumpkin that I had, cause it needed to be cooked so it didn’t rot.  Last time I cooked a pumpkin, Lucy helped herself to some, and it turns out she LOVES pumpkin.  And I found out that pumpkin is good for dogs.  So this time around I gave her some.  She wants more.  But man was she begging while I was working on it.  Those little puppy eyes.  Oh-so-cute!

So now I am cleaning up the kitchen and prepping dinner (fish).  And rocking out to music.  Everything’s better when done to music.

And my mocha’s cold now.  Oh well.  Still tastes good.

Off to dance and cook,
Allison

Thankful For

I’m…

thankful for family.

thankful for sunsets.

thankful for my puppy.

thankful for work.

thankful for warm blankets.

thankful for music.

thankful for my piano.

thankful for my piano teacher.

thankful for ideas.

thankful for understanding friends.

thankful for sibling parties.

thankful for being redeemed.

thankful for love.

thankful for laughter.

thankful for life.

thankful for beauty.

thankful for the country.

thankful for working together.

thankful for blood, sweat, and tears.

thankful for late nights and early mornings.

thankful for inside jokes.

thankful for knowledge.

thankful for wisdom.

thankful for grace.

thankful.

 

 

love,
Allison

(What are you thankful for?)

Why!?

I’ve spent the past two days and nights sweating.  So now today I thought I would outsmart myself, and wear a short sleeve shirt.  And it’s 65*F, so I should be able to wear a short-sleeved shirt.

And you know what?

I AM FREEZING MY FEET OFF, WEARING MY THICKEST SWEATER JACKET (for inside use).

Grr…

(welcome to my life)

10 Things Running Through my Head Right Now

1.  I’m not really hungry, but I want something to eat.

2.  I want to sleep.

3.  I want a gluten free cracker.  RIGHT NOW.

4.  Did someone sneak in my bedroom and beat me over the head with a baseball bat last night?  Cause it kind of feels like that happened (either that or my head’s congested – and NOT with good ideas).

5.  Is this magnesium body butter ever going to soak in, or is my arm just going to feel sticky/oily all day?

6.  My bedroom PROOVES spontaneous generation.  You should SEE all the junk stuff in there!

7.  I think a cheese stick sounds good right now.

8.  I’m crazy.

9.  Is it wrong to want to eat your homemade beauty care products?

10.  I’ve got a huge mess to clean up.

Movin’ on…

Why Every Cook Should Have Their Nails Painted

I haven’t had my finger nails painted in, like, 8 years or so.  At least.

But that all changed last week.

(Unless you count the time I painted a few nails, then promptly removed it because I didn’t like it.)

Last week I attempted to paint my finger nails red.  And I painted all the layers too soon after each other, and my polish got nicked and rippled.  Also, I had painted all over my fingers, not just on the nails, since I have painted my nails in so long.  So I took it off.

But the next day I just put on a clear coat, thinking that would at least be some nail polish, and I could start getting used to the feeling of having my nails painted.

Then today I painted them purple.  And they turned out pretty well.  My right hand is a little nicked, because I didn’t wait long enough between applying layers, and when I was finished, I went outside and picked up acorns instead of letting my nails dry as long as I should.  I mean, think about it:  pick up acorns with 7-year-old sister for the pig, or sit there and do nothing while your nails dry?  Clear choice.

One of the reasons that I haven’t painted my nails is that I cook a lot, and the thought of my hands in the food with nail polish on the nails just grossed me out a little.

But today, in between layers, it hit me.

EVERY cook should have their nails painted.

Because it happens to the best of us and the worst of us, no matter how good your knife skills are.  You’re chopping something in the kitchen, and either someone bumps you, your little sibling thinks it would be funny to scare you right now (NOT), the mail man rings the doorbell, or the FBI shows up (just kidding about that last part).

And you slip and cut yourself.

And besides the minor details of stopping the blood flow, getting through the freak-out session over the fact that you just cut yourself (the thought of the knife slicing your skin – YUCK!), wade through the apologies (or lack thereof) of the bumper or scarer, find somebody to keep you from hyperventilating, and determine whether or not you need stitches, there is always the important part of making sure that there are no nails left in whatever you were preparing.  Particularly if the cut wasn’t of your skin, because your nails were long, and that’s what the knife got to first.

Just think: if your nails were neon green, wouldn’t they be much easier to find in the food you were chopping?

Now the only think you run into here is that if your nails are red, for example, they wouldn’t show up so well in tomatoes, for example.  And dark green wouldn’t be great in romaine lettuce.

So this is what we need to do:

For those of us who paint our nails every day, you should coordinate your nail color with dinner.  So, for example, if you are going to make spaghetti, you should paint your nails green, blue, or yellow, but should avoid most reds and browns, although certain shades of pink and orange would be O.K. (if they were bright enough).  And if you were going to make a big salad, you should avoid greens and dark blues, and go for bright blue, turquoise, and any of the warm colors (red, orange, pink, yellow).  You get the idea.

And for those of you that don’t paint your nails daily, you should try to pick a color that wouldn’t match your foods.  Bright turquoise.  Bright yellow.  Any neon color would fit the bill.  Just any color that was bright enough to be seen easily, and that doesn’t match any common foods.

So don’t you agree – All cooks should pain their nails?

 

 

NOTE:  This was meant to be funny, not an actual representation of anything I do, or intend to do, or anything that I would like you to do.  By all means, when you cut yourself, forget about your nail color or even where the nail went, and attend to your finger.  And hygiene comes first.  If it’s gross, throw it away.  Over and out.

Today–More Canning

I love that my last post was titled “No, I Didn’t Die.”  And then I disappear. For about three weeks.

So maybe I didn’t die.  But *apparently* I was abducted.

By whom or what I HAVE NO CLUE.

*lol*

So today I canned plum jam, made a crisp, marinated a roast for dinner, made a pumpkin spice latte knock-off, and…

And…

I don’t know. 🙂

Did you know that peeling plums will turn your fingers brown?  At least it turned my fingers brown.

And I spent something like two and a half hours peeling little plums that were being so stubborn.  They didn’t want let go of their skins.  And I blanched the things!

So, here’s where it all starts.

(Listening to a song, and it just mentioned snow.  And it made me get excited.  Can’t wait till it snows!)

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Mashed plums.  That turned brown because I was going slow.  (Welcome to my life.)

So after mashing them and measuring them, I dumped them in a pan and mixed in the calcium water, pectin, and sugar (that’s minus a few steps).

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Next I filled some jars.

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And then canned them.

Hey look!  A pile of pits!

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Then I still had about a cup and a half of plum smash goo.  So I had to do something with it.

So I turned to what is becoming my favorite way to use up miscellaneous fruit: a crisp.

And I threw together a plum apple blueberry crisp.  No one’s had any yet.  So I have no idea how good it is.  Or how good the plum jam is, because no one’s had any, because I canned all of it.  Otherwise it would have been tried.

*Sidetracked!*

Back to the crisp.

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And then I had to clean the kitchen.

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Goodness.

But actually, I started cleaning the kitchen, then started dinner, played piano (not necessarily in that order), and cleaned up more.

But I also interrupted the cleaning to make a pumpkin spice latte.

Boy was it good!

(Note:  I don’t necessarily know this website.  Not vouching for everything on it, and not even everything on this page.  Just love this recipe.)

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It was SO GOOD!

I’m so excited – I’ll hopefully be posting an exciting (for me!) post tomorrow.  So check back tomorrow to see it!  Oh, and you may find a hint in this post!  (And if you already know, don’t give it away!)

What’s Up?

So.

I’ve been gone again.

Busy.

Life happened.

I’ve been working.

Doing school.

Helping at home.

Catering my cousin’s bridal shower. (Loose use of the word “catering.”)

Attending my first birth.

Photographing my first birth.

Taking the knife to my closet.  (The old ugly stuff has to go!)

So.

First things first.  I am working at a fun little salon in town two days a week, four hours a day, as a receptionist, and cleaning.  Actually, this is the first week I have worked two days.  Which I am really excited about.  I like it.

School and life it pretty much normal, so not a whole lot to say about that, except that I’m loving school, as usual.

The shower went well.  It was great to see everybody up north.  For the dessert at the shower, I made mint chocolate brownie bites, lemon poppy seed cake, and Mom made coffee punch.  Yum.

Last night, my good friend had her sweet baby, and I was blessed to have been invited to the birth, and it pleased God to have all the circumstances happen exactly right so I could go!  I am so blessed to have gotten to be there, and it was wonderful.  She had asked me and another young lady to take some photos during the birth, which I found quite enjoyable.  What a blessing to record that special moment!

My closet has been getting too full. Not just that, but after doing the Botkin ladies’ beauty webinar, I have really been thinking about what I am wearing, and trying to look nice.  To be honest, some of my old clothes aren’t really nice.  So I have decided to start paring down my closet, then filling it with things that look nice and that will look good on me.  I emptied a whole bunch yesterday morning, which made me surprisingly slightly apprehensive?  anxious?  teary? not quite sure which.  But the first cut is the deepest, right?

So, that’s what’s been going on.  I’ll be hoping to post a full post about the shower tomorrow when I process the pictures, or at least in the very near future.  So look for that.  In the meantime, here are some photos of the closet-cleaning!

 

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The first pile to go

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One side of my closet, after the first clean-out (hopefully not the last)

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Fun new hairstyle I tried, and wore all day, and it didn’t give me a headache!  Which made me SO HAPPY!  (I usually get a headache when I where my hair pulled back, usually at the base or near the base of my head.)  What do you think?

Today’s Projects and a Caterpillar

I had quite a bit of kitchen time today.  And you know what that means:

BIG MESS!

Not exactly what I was talking about.  But, yes, that happens, too.

I made quite a few things.

First, I made enough lip balm to last me awhile.  I had no more in the fridge, so I had to make several more.  I think I made around a dozen.

I tried a total of three recipes, because I have new oils now.  I picked one recipe out, only to realize while I was making it that it was basically the same as the one I usually make.  So I tried out another one with shea butter, but it only made two, maybe three tubes.  So I tried this third recipe with cocoa butter.  And once I had gotten it in the tube, I was afraid that it wouldn’t harden the way I wanted it to.  So I stuck one tube in the fridge and waited.  When I checked it, it wasn’t as hard as I would like it.  So I decided to empty all eight or so of the tubes, remelt it, and add more beeswax.  I had also forgotten the essential oils, so I opened them and set them right next to the pot so I could add them.

After I added the melted lip balm back to the containers, I realized that I had never added the essential oils.

Back into the pot!

So all that rigmarole took much longer than I would have liked, so I didn’t get started on my next project as soon as I would like.

Next thing on my list was to make gluten-free coconut-milk-based cookie dough ice cream, which I did using my normal chocolate chip cookie recipe (which has AWESOME tasting dough), and chopping up the chips extra small.  Meiling helped me form it into little piles and flash-freeze it to add to the ice cream.  For the ice cream, I just combined coconut milk, vanilla, and honey until it tasted good, then threw it into the ice cream maker.

It turned out pretty well.  The ice cream isn’t as sweet as the cookie dough, which makes it taste a little bland.  But I think that all the vanilla that I poured into it is keeping the ice cream softer (because of the alcohol), which is great, since coconut milk ice cream is usually rock hard.

And then I tried a recipe for powder foundation which contained arrowroot powder, cocoa powder, and cinnamon in one recipe, and that plus nutmeg, bentonite clay and ginger, oh, and lavender EO in another.

They did not work for me.

I see other people saying it worked for them, but it just made me look dirty.

 

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The ingredients for the first recipe

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Me, wearing the foundation, as well as the foundation mixed with a bit of lotion (which only made me look dirtier) (look around my chin).  I am also in need of a few other things, but overlook my bad hair.  Please.

I took these pictures of a caterpillar the other day, and am just posting them now.  Enjoy!

 

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I love the rain drops caught between his fat rolls

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I think fat rolls on caterpillars are funny

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And I like using the term fat rolls when relating to caterpillars

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Cause it’s fun when talking about caterpillars

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Friday

I had grand plans of posting about our trip to a you-pick blueberry farm this evening.

And then tonight happened.

But nothing really happened tonight.

I was in the kitchen prepping dinner semi-early, and Meiling and Noah were outside.  They had two Frisbees that they had gotten at the County Fair last night (we worked there yesterday).  They were the kind with the big hole in the middle – just large plastic rings.  They weren’t throwing them at each other, they were using them to…um…do things.  Like the put a long stick thing through both, then one carried one Frisbee and the other carried the other.  They hung things from them, dropped things through them, carried things with them.  And they showed us many of the poses.

Mom and Dad were behind me, just chatting, discussing (among other things) plans for tonight.  There weren’t a whole lot.

Once I had gotten dinner pretty much ready, I headed out the door to go pick up Drake from work.  On my way, I stopped at Sonic to get a medium cherry limeade, since Mom had a token for a free one, and she told me I could use.  So I got it.  A whole medium!  It made me feel so grown up.  A soda AND driving.  If myself 4 years ago could have seen me then, she would have asked who that person was, because there was no way that could have been her.

Earlier today I ran something over to a friend’s home.  After I had gotten over halfway there, I realized I had forgotten what I was supposed to take to them.  So I had to go home.  And it made my trip that much longer.  But I actually kind of liked it.  It was one of those beautiful days, not too warm, clear blue sky, just a few white, semi-wispy clouds, and all the colors oh-so-vibrant.  And there is just something  wonderful about flying down a country highway, windows down, radio playing, hair flying.  It almost made me half glad that nobody was home when I got there, so I just had to leave my things there.  No one needed to see THAT crazy hair.

That feeling carried over to my trip to get Drake, and the soda.  It was so beautiful.  After I grabbed Drake, we chatted on the way home.  He said that, since it was Friday, everyone there was joking, and having more fun.  It just added to my feeling of a relaxed, happy Friday.

When we got home, Mom and I were outside, when I heard some music.  And it sounded like it was getting closer.  Dad appeared around the corner holding the speaker from inside, music blaring, with Meiling and Noah behind him, bearing Frisbees.  We all started throwing the Frisbees back and forth, to the happy music.

And then Mom lit the burn pile, and the smoke outlined the sunbeams that were straining through the trees.  I ran inside to get my camera.

I took a few shots of the smoke, and then laid down in the grass, and took a few self-portraits.  They are among my favorites.  Not because they are amazing.  Because they capture the moment.

It wasn’t anything that we did, or really anything we did.  It was the feeling, the mood, that prevailed, that is what made it memorable.  The relaxedness.  The laid-backness. The love.  The feeling of family.  The whatever goes feeling.

We have been running almost nonstop for the past two weeks.  And I have been feeling pressured to do more school, and to be more busy (if that makes sense).

But the other day, Meiling and I were home alone.  And we were sitting on the floor in the family room, making friendship bracelets.  After that, we were going to read “Little House on the Prairie,”  which we call Laura.

While we were sitting there, I kept feeling like I should go do something productive.  School.  Prep for our trip.  Oh, I am sure that my room could have used a cleaning.

But I really just wanted to stay there.

And then it kind of hit me.  It’s summer.  I don’t ALWAYS have to be working, busy.  And this was one of those times that I was going to remember for a long time, if not forever.  And I don’t want to squish that, brush it out of the way, with “what-I-really-should-be-doing.”  School.  Cleaning.  All great things. 

But in the end, what do they mean?  What do they count for?

Meanwhile, I have a little sister who won’t be seven forever.  And what do I want her to remember about me in 10-15 years?  The older sister who was always closeted up with her books, saying, “SHH!  Please shut the door when you leave!”  or as the sister who took time to read, to make friendship bracelets, bake fun things, do projects.

Oftentimes, Drake, Noah, and I talk about all the things that we used to play.  The forts.  The games.  Like pretending that we were orphans (our parents had been killed by monsters – more specifically, their bites, I think), and we had to move from room to room, being orphans with no home now.  (Side note: we actually didn’t remember this one, but I found it in an old journal, and it TOTALLY sounds like something we would have played.)

And Meiling doesn’t have any of those memories.

Now we’re doing school, driving, going to work, running errands, cooking, programming, building, and other what-not, while Meiling is being her little self, at the same age when we were playing in cardboard boxes, cooking pretend food, and taping paper facial hair on one another (I don’t think I ever wore any of that).  And she doesn’t have any memory of that.

So I want to be the sister that takes time for her.  If not to play in cardboard boxes and make paper facial hair, but to at least take time out for her.  Read to her.  Participate in her make-believes.  And give her some of the memories that we have.

And tonight was one of those nights, in a way.

Just a random, fun memory.  Not perfect, but wonderful in spite of the imperfection, maybe because of it.  Or maybe because it seemed so great.

That was today.

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