Giving Back

I have always been close to my family. My parents instilled in us the importance of family and having a relationship with my grandparents. I was able to spend the week of Thanksgiving in my Colorado with my grandparents.

While I loved spending the week with them, it was an eye-opening experience. I spent the week taking care of two old people. Cooking for them, running errands and helping my grandma when she shook so bad her pills would dump on the floor. Family is important. I got to give back to two people who always had my back growing up. 

I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for them. Their first home cooked holiday meal in about 4 years. It broke me heart to leave them. 

On a positive note; Colorado is gorgeous. Here’s a few pics of my trip. 

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The Mountains Are Calling

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I am a mountain girl at the very core of my being. While I do claim land mermaid status, my soul longs for the mountains. Seeing the mountains out of my parent’s mini van windshield meant we were almost to my grandmother’s house. As I had gotten older, and we had moved to Wyoming, seeing the mountains was an every day occurrence. We traveled those Rocky Mountain ranges every year, at least twice a year to see my grandparents. My life has always been in the mountains. My soul is happy in the valley of those towering, snow-capped ranges.

The mountains are calling, and I must go.

In two weeks my feet will touch Colorado soil after close to 5 years. Far too long. I will get to spend a brief, but wonderful week of Thanksgiving with my grandparents, in the valley of the San Juan Mountains. My soul will find it’s rest. It is weary.

There are never enough words to express my love for the mountains. The crisp breeze of fall, the rustling of the leaves as they flitter off the Aspen trees. The snowy hills and the creatures that roam free and quiet in the stillness. There is a quiet unlike any other, one that refreshes and restores.

I belong in the mountains. It is calling me home. 2 weeks to go. My heart is about to burst at the thought. Adventure awaits. Take me home.

 

 

Fall in the South

It seems like it has been forever since we have been camping anywhere. And even longer since I have put any travel anything on this blog. So I am going to combine two wonderful trips into one post! Our first trip was in September and we went to Ichetucknee Springs State Park near Lake City, FL and a few weeks ago we went to Cape San Blas State Park in Cape San Blas, FL.


Ichetucknee Springs was a wonderful weekend full of floating lazily down a very cold, clear spring then swimming in the crystal clear waters of one their natural springs. Let me tell you, they are cold! 72 degree temperature, but hey when it’s hot and humid, those are amazing. We rented tubes and floated down the river for a few hours. It was the most relaxing trip. Well, besides one of the boys losing his flip flops because he didn’t listen when told to put on boat shoes, or when the other boy nearly tipped me off my float because he had to pee….yes that is life with boys.

Our other camping trip was to Cape San Blas State Park. We spent a three day weekend just laying on the beach, enjoying the waves, the sun, and the ability to walk to back to camper anytime we wanted. My boys were in heaven because they got to fish all day long. And they did. It was marvelous.

We didn’t do much. I sat in a beach chair and read Harry Potter. I watched my boys knee deep in the water fishing. I watched my daughter and my four year old niece play in the sand. I watched my Mom and Dad enjoy being able to relax. I watched the sunset and my loves sitting by the fire roasting marshmallows.

It was a weekend I needed in the midst of the chaos of school, work, and raising kids. It was good to get away, even for a short while.

 

Pork Green Chili

Fall is in the air….well somewhere else anyways. This is Florida after all. But, here in the south it is football season. One of my favorite meals is green chili. You can serve it over rice or burritos or whatever else you desire! This recipe is easy and very flavorful! Spice it up or tone it down depending on your taste.


Pork Green Chili:

Ingredients:

2lbs boneless pork roast cut into chunks

Cilantro (I use dried and add as much as needed for flavor)

2-1/2 cups Chicken Stock

2 cans diced green chilies 

4 garlic cloves crushed

1/2 onion chopped

1 jalapeño (more if you want more kick)

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp pepper

1 package of Green Chili Enchilada Sauce

2 tbsp oil

2 tbsp flour

Directions: 

Heat oil in medium-high heat. in large pot. Sautée onions, garlic, and jalapeños until onions are opaque and jalapeños are tender. Add pork roast, season with pepper, cilantro, and pepper, and cook until browned. Add chicken stock, green chilies and flour. Mix well. Bring to a boil. Then reduce to low heat and simmer for 2 hours. 30 minutes before serving, add sauce. Mix and continue to simmer for an additional 30 mins. 

Serve! We had ours over rice but it’s great over bean and cheese burritos as well!

Aren’t We All a Little Mad?

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Life can be so freaking hard. Like really hard. The kind of hard that makes you wonder if you will ever recover, catch a break, or be free. And it seems lately, life just keeps getting harder. It shouldn’t be this hard to just survive each day. However, sometimes it takes everything in me to just get out of bed.

I am a full time mother of three kids. I work full time. I attend classes at the local college full time. Dating? Who has the time? And lets just be honest, guys of this generations (not all but most I have found in this region anyways) still act like they are in high school.

Last night I mouse paid me a visit in my bathroom. I screamed, he screamed and we both ran in opposite directions. Sadly, I don’t think I am going to come home to a clean house or a new dress. Or dinner on the stove. Okay that was a rat, but still. I will be coming home with mouse traps, however.

Every day offers a new set of challenges. I have two starting middle school this week. Challenge 1. I have a 5th grade girl. Challenge 2. I am juggling working at a middle school, while raising middle school kids, while taking a full class load. Challenge 3. The list goes on. With each new addition to my overflowing plate, I being to think this is all impossible. How can I possible juggle football practice, school (for all of us) household chores, being a mom, working, being a daughter and hell just being a woman! It is impossible.

We must all be a little mad to be able to get through this life with a sense of humor and be able to laugh at it all. My plate runneth over. My mental capacity is reaching its limit. Exhaustion overload. The Mad Hatter may actually know a thing or two about life. Yes we are all a little mad. And yes, it is only impossible if you convince yourself that it is.

Take a few lessons from the Mad Hatter. Drink some tea, celebrate a half birthday, pull up your big girl (or big boy) panties and get to it. We can rest when we are dead.

Mermaid Water

I love birthdays. I really love summer birthdays. Especially mine! I like to create a new alcoholic beverage for all the adults at my parties. This year was Mermaid Water. Because those that know me, know I’m part mermaid. 😉 This drink made a nice size pitcher and even those who don’t really drink (like my mom) even found it to be refreshing. We enjoyed ours lounging by the pool. 


Mermaid Water

Ingredients:

3 shots of Spiced Rum

3 shots of Coconut Rum

3 shots of Blue Curaçao

1 bottle of Pineapple Juice

3 limes, sliced 

1 lime juiced

Ice

Directions:

Place a half the sliced limes along the bottom of the pitcher. Full halfway with ice. Add the shots of both spiced and coconut rum. Add 3/4 of the bottle of pineapple juice. Add the juice from the limes. Top with remaining pineapple juice. Add three shots of the Blue Curaçao. Garnish glasses with limes, add ice and serve! 

You can always adjust the amount of alcohol and pineapple juice to fit your taste. As always, drink responsibly! 🍹 Cheers!! 

Next drink up will be my newest favorite: Dirty Shirley Temple!

Bacon Wrapped Hotdogs

It’s summer!! Well at least in Florida. And summer means drinks and barbecuing and fun outside. 

To kick off summer I made bacon wrapped hotdogs stuffed with cheese. The bacon made a great wrap but requires constant watch on the grill. To round out the meal I made myself a Dirty Shirley Templr. Because hey, sun’s out so the rum’s out. 

Bacon Wrapped Hotdogs stuffed w/cheese

Ingredients:

Package of bacon

Package of hotdogs

String cheese

Directions:

Slice string cheese into strips. Slice a slit into the hotdog. Place cheese into slit. Wrap with bacon. Secure with toothpick.

Heat up grill. Turn heat to lowest setting. Place hotdogs onto the grill. Check on hotdogs every few minutes to prevent burning. Rotate as needed.
And serve with your favorite alcohol! Or any drink of your choice 🙂
Enjoy and happy grilling!

Tater Tot Breakfast Cups

It was a rough day of being sick, and the last thing I wanted to do was cook. This meal is not only easy, but simple enough I could enlist my kids to help. Bacon, eggs, cheese and tater tots; the perfect breakfast for dinner combination!


Tater Tot Breakfast Cups

Ingredients:

36 Frozen tater tots

12 eggs

1 package of bacon

Cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tin by spraying with non-stick spray. 

Cook bacon in skillet until desired crispness. Chop into small pieces. 

Place 3 tater tots per muffin cup. Crack one egg over each cup. Season with salt and pepper. Top with bacon and cheese. 

Bake for 25 minutes, or until eggs are cooked through. Run a knife around the edges to loosen. Serve warm! Top with salsa or eat on their own. Enjoy!!

Zucchini Corn Chicken Fritters

It takes a little creative thinking to get my kids to eat certain veggies. Zucchini is one of those veggies. So, since I know they love ground chicken patties and corn, I mixed them all together with a little bit of shredded zucchini and they gobbled them up! Best part, they had no idea here was any green veggies in them! 


Zucchini Corn Chicken Fritters

Ingredients:

1 zucchini; shredded and drained of Ezra water

1/2 can of corn; drained

1lb of ground chicken

1 handful of Monterey Jack cheese

1 egg; whisked

1/2 cup of bread crumbs

1 tsp of pepper

1 tsp of garlic powder

1 tsp of dried minced onions

Directions:

Preheat 1 tbsp of oil in a skillet to medium heat. Shred zucchini and press out any excess water. Place into medium bowl. Drain can of corn and add half to the zucchini. Add ground chicken, cheese, egg, bread crumbs and spices. Mix well with hands.

Form into parties and place into the heated oil. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until chicken is cooked through. Continue with the rest of the chicken mixture. Top with extra cheese. 

Enjoy! 🙂

#Whoneedsalabel?

This blog usually consists of food and travel and the occasional comments about cooking in general. Here lately, life has been so hectic that even cooking a meal that is picture worthy is a struggle. We are in the final stretches of school, so travel is on the back burner for now as well. That doesn’t mean life has stopped. It doesn’t mean that we are hiding in a hole waiting for the first glimpse of summer break.

Life is full of labels. Ones I am quite sick of seeing or being pushed onto me. #Imnoangel #plusisequal #skinnyisbetter #mediumwomenunite. The list goes on. While I am all for body positive image, being in between the Medium woman label and the Plus Size Woman label, we should all feel comfortable and happy in our own skin. Why does my body need a label? But these labels are going beyond our looks. They are stepping into our careers choices, whether it is working full time, part time , working from home or raising kids, labels are everywhere.

We are told to be individuals, be our own person, don’t let society define you. However, we are put under a label of some kind. How am I to be my own person when society is putting in box of conformity?

Why do we need a label? Why can’t we just be a uniquely, wonderfully made creature? If you were to wear your label…what would it read? Is this one that you gave yourself or one that was given to you?