The Most “Wonderful” Time of the Year

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Bah Humbug.

I haven’t felt Christmas-y since 2013. In 2014 I was incredibly pregnant with Squeaks, in 2015 Poke and I had been split up for five months and I was dealing with JI’s behaviour, and this year we don’t have our own home and I don’t have any money to buy new presents for the boys or gifts for anyone else. It sucks. I’m so happy to not be homeless, and I am so happy that I have Squishy in our lives. I got a job and I’m only part time for now, but I am happy to be employed.  Overall, things are fine. Nothing is terrible.

I feel terrible though. JI keeps asking why we haven’t decorated, why there is no tree, why we have no lights. He wants to know if he is going to get a lot of boxes on Christmas morning. This is the second year he has been interested in Christmas, and I feel like I am going to fail him. I know that it is not all about the gifts, but when I have practically nothing to give but some old hand-me-down playsets, I feel like a bad mother.

In addition to feeling badly about not having enough things for the boys, I feel bad for just not being in holiday spirit. I have been trying very hard, but things have been rough around here lately, and I just don’t have it in me to be jolly. I am tired and stressed all the time. I have $40 to last me two weeks. I have no idea when my first paycheck will come. I feel like I am hovering over an abyss that could suck me in at any time. It’s so frustrating. This headache hasn’t gone away for almost a month.

But damn, as happy as I am for the things mentioned earlier, it would be really nice to get a break. I’ve been busting my ass for these kids and my family and our lifestyle for so long, and I have absolutely nothing to show for it. JI tells me that he loves Squishy more than me, and he wishes I would go away. Squeaks went from being a great sleeper to some kind of 3rd shift monster. Very little of the furniture and stuff in the house is mine; I’m simply existing in someone else’s world. It hurts.

There’s nothing to do but carry on, so carry on I shall. Keep smiling, keep being cheerful, fake it til I make it. Right?

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Expensive Being Poor

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And the car is off the road but I never had a car. And I pay more for my food ’cause the supermarket’s too far.

It’s expensive being poor because everything costs more, knocking on a closing door, it’s expensive being poor, someone throw me down some crumbs I will eat them off the floor, it’s expensive being poor but I look good when I get desperate.

And the box is on the fritz, it’s a black and white, or was, I tried taking it to bits now the picture’s just a grey fuzz.

It’s expensive being poor because everything costs more, someone pick me off the floor, it’s expensive being poor, how can I live with what I did when the cinema’s six quid? It’s expensive being poor but I look good when I get desperate.

Let the good times roll Into a bottomless hole with job, friends and future my ideal home furniture, let the trumpets sound as my house falls down.

And the dust begins to clear and I’m lying on the ground, and I’m standing on a path in an unknown part of town, and the path leads me away over hills and out of sight, in the blazing sun by day and the hanging moon by night, and I wind up in a place where I never have to count, and I never see the waves as I push my leaking boat out.

It’s expensive being poor because everything hurts more, knocking on a bolted door It’s expensive being poor. Someone throw me down some crumbs I will eat them off the floor, it’s expensive being poor, but I look good when I get desperate.

© TV Smith

The Holy Trinity (Not a Catholicism Post!)

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If you’re a “foodie”, someone who enjoys The Food Network, or just a person who loves to cook, you’ve probably heard the term “mirepoix” thrown around a lot. Mirepoix refers to the “Holy Trinity” of a basic recipe or soup/stew/stock base – a ratio of onions, carrots, and celery. Charles-Pierre-Gaston-François de Lévis, duc de Lévis-Mirepoix, Marshall of France and Ambassador of Louis XV, was a member of a house that was founded in Languedoc as Lords of Mirepoix, Ariège. The chef de cuisine of the duke (unnamed) established the basis for his culinary masterpieces, and named it “Mirepoix” in honor of his employer. Mirepoix is also referred to as “aromatics” because of the delicious odors given off when they are sautéed.

The ratio is 2:1:1 – 2 parts onion, 1 part carrot, and 1 part celery. This can be seen as 2 ounces: 1 ounce: 1 ounce, or it can be broken into “parts” which refers to “equal parts” or “equal measurements” to make up 100%. This would mean that 2:1:1 would be 50% onions, 25% carrots, and 25% celery.

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Now that we’ve gotten past the complicated math, let’s break it down into something super easy – real life. Generally the most fundamental and easiest way to make a mirepoix is to use one medium size white onion, two to three regular size carrots, and three to four regular stalks of celery. Vegetables don’t vary too much in size so it’s simple to use these common sense measurements if you don’t have time to weigh or scale out your vegetables.

To create your mirepoix, first decided how much you need. For example, if you are making a gallon of stew, you will need the measurements listed above. Use your judgment and preferences to determine how much of the mixture you will need. We can never get enough veggies into our diets! Don’t forget that the mirepoix does not have to remain in the soup/sauce – sometimes simply sautéing your mirepoix with salt/pepper/garlic/spices is enough to add flavor and afterward the solids can be strained out for a smooth soup or sauce.

Directions:

You will need the following:

  • 1 medium white onion, peeled
  • 2-3 regular size carrots, peeled
  • 3-4 regular size celery stalks, stringed (stringing refers to “peeling” the stalk to remove the sinewy strings that are tough and tend to get stuck in one’s teeth)
  • 1-2 ounces butter/margarine

Rough chop onion/carrot/celery – make sure all pieces are approximately the same size to ensure even cooking. Melt the butter/margarine and add the carrots first since they are the densest of the three vegetables. Cook the carrots for a short time, and then add the onions and celery. Sauté the vegetable mixture until the onions and celery are translucent (clear) – DO NOT BROWN!

This combination of cooked vegetables will be the essential base for all your recipes. If you do a lot of cooking, you can easily chop up the veggies at the start of your week and use as needed, as long as you keep them under refrigeration. Remember that no food should be stored longer than 5 days!

I’m Still Here, I Promise!

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Oh my gosh you guys, these have been the busiest two weeks I’ve had in awhile. Squeaks was baptised on the 28th, so I basically spent the whole week leading up to that preparing for the celebration, and the week before that was spent trying to get big projects in the house and yard taken care of so that I wasn’t doing them at the last minute. My backyard and house look great!

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I succeeded in pulling most of the weeds, yay, at least enough to lie down river pebbles and make a nice walkway in the back and fill in the bed in front of our large picture window. I also got the patio furniture painted and arranged, the sidewalk around the shed cleared of weeds, and the front sidewalk cleared of weeds. Inside I rearranged the living room so that the vents are cleared for the air conditioning to blow cold air out (instead of into the bottom of the couch and/or desk!), and cleared a lot of random junk off the kitchen counters and out of the drawers. Thinking back on everything I’ve done around here the past two weeks, I don’t know HOW I got it all done! I think I channeled my inner Wonder Woman.

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In between all of that, we hit up the zoo a few times, played in the pool, and I bought a new bathing suit. I had a one-piece that fits okay, but it’s a halter top with an underwire and it is impossible – literally – for me to get it on by myself unless I’m completely bone dry. If there is one drop of sweat on my skin, it’s over. I went to Lane Bryant and Torrid looking for a plus-size two piece; LB’s were way expensive and not flattering. Luckily I found these top and bottom separates on clearance at Torrid. Yahoo! I’m not afraid of a two piece, but I am afraid of not getting into or out of my bathing suit hahaha this sweet little number calms that fear! Squeaks had his four month checkup and has grown immensely, and even started eating real food – so far, just cereal and spinach, but he loves it. I promise, in the photo, he’s crying because I stopped to take a picture!

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The baptism was a wonderful ceremony. We are Catholic, so it was a bit involved, but it went quickly. I ended up having about thirty people at my house (950 sq ft, thank you!) including family and friends. Overall, everything went off without a hitch and now Squeaks is officially in the Catholic Club.

Woo boy, this summer is going to be a crazy one!

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Trip to the Zoo!