Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Updates and 1st Stitch Fix Shipment!

We're plodding along around here... doing what needs to be done (for the most part), and learning to accept what we can't do anything about.

Wow, got to the end of that sentence and just stared at my screen for about 10 minutes. Stumped. So, moving on... In the fun department, the hubby and I are still seriously enjoying our time spent playing Game of War. (no judging, lol). Takes us out of our "reality", and we get to interact with some seriously fun folks - plus... we get to burn stuff. Lol. Even Sadie's gotten into it...
Don't worry Mom, I got this. Ready to take the Wonder.
Friends of ours got us the coolest gift... check this out

Yep, those are wine glass sippy cups. LMAO!!! Love it!!!!!

Weather around here has been crazy hot... and since the hubby insists on me growing out my hair, I've had to get creative until I could get to the store and buy some hair ties (it's long enough!). Yes, yes that is a screwdriver holding up my hair on a 115 degree evening. ;-)

I got my first Stitch Fix shipment!!! I was so excited to open that box!

I was sent 5 items... one necklace, one pair of jeans, and three tops. They also provided a neat little chart of how to put the outfits together (hello, awesome!!).  How it works is you check it all out, pick out what you want to keep and what you want to return. Any returns go in the plastic mailing pouch they provide (shipping already paid for), and you just drop it off at the post office. They give you 3 business days to decide what you want to do.

So... how was it?
Well, the necklace arrived broken. Booo. Return #1.
Next up, one of the tops was just NOT me. Return #2.
The Jeans... super comfy, and OMG, they fit PERFECT - which was a shock, since I really struggle to get jeans that fit my thighs AND my waist. But... they weren't flattering. Actually they were flattening. Butt flattening, that is. Bummer. Return #3.

Up next was a super soft gray layering tee. I mean SOFT. Wow!! Loose, comfortable. Yep, got a keeper. However, the price was a little steep for a tee. Even if it is the softest tee I've ever worn. But, I fell in love with it, so I kept it.

Then there was this black dolman top. Makes that amazing tee feel like sandpaper! Incredibly soft, super drapey and comfy... dress it up or dress it down... this is my new favorite top. It's just right for the heat we're having now, and when the weather cools down, I can throw a wrap over it and layer up. Sweet!
So, out of the five, I kept two that I love. I gave my feedback to my stylist, and am looking forward to the next shipment. I'll let you know how it goes :-)

In other news, I'm spending a lot of time working on recipes. The Chicken Enchilada soup is more of a challenge than I anticipated. I've gone through a couple different renditions, and I'm closer, but still no joy. However, that said, Bethany had a bowl of the last batch and LOVED it! ;-) I loved it, too, but hubby said it's not quite on the mark yet. Lol.

I whipped up a killer meatloaf recently, with a boatload of hidden veggies. Gluten free, too. ;-) I don't have the nutrition worked up yet, but here's the recipe... (this makes 2 large loaves, one for crockpot, one for freezer, each feeds 4-6 people)

2 lbs lean ground beef
1 lb extra lean ground pork
2 eggs
1/2 cup gluten free panko
1 15-oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 zucchini, shredded
2 full cups of raw spinach
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow pepper, seeded and minced
1 large red pepper, seeded and minced
1 8 oz pack baby bellas, rinsed, stemmed and minced
seasoning: 2-4 Tbsp mrs Dash Garlic & Herb, 2 Tbsp dehydrated minced onion, 1/2 tsp salt

I just threw all the veggies in the food processor and let them go until they were minced super fine. Toss it all in a large bowl and mix until completely combined. Divide in half, and freeze one, Toss the other in your crockpot (use a Crockpot Liner for easy cleanup), and top with natural ketchup. Cook for about 4 hours on low. Serve.

Super simple, fast to whip it up (and  you get the bonus of having one in the freezer ready to go), and it tastes amazing. Feel free to swap around the seasonings, and the veggies. The meatloaf is really moist, and very filling.

So there ya have it... that's our recent news/updates, my stitch fix review, and a new recipe. ;-)
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Invisible Wall

I posted last week - about where we're at (waiting for test results), and other random tidbits of daily life. We were pretty excited, very hopeful. On Friday, the results came in and everything just... shattered. Despite all our efforts, the expense, the treatments...

There's a scene in the 2nd Hunger Games movie (Catching Fire), where the competitors are all in the dome, Katniss and Finnick are running from one of the traps, and slam face first into an invisible wall that separates them from the rest of their team. That moment of utter shock and pain at impact, then the panic when they realize they can't reach their goal... That's how it feels right now.

I want so badly to escape where we are right now, I want so desperately to get us to the other side of that invisible wall. But even once we get there, the damage is done. If you've seen the film, you know how haunted they were once they escaped the jabberjays - the fears and worries, the sense of being beaten down. For us, the damage is done. There's no undoing it. No fixing it. We must simply live with it, and find a way to thrive, not just survive.

There's something so incredibly wrong, and unfair, about not being able to protect my children from this. We'd walk through fire for our kids, but having to watch them do it themselves is a cruelty I never expected. And yet... I'm so proud of them. They amaze me with their strength, determination, maturity, and grace. They humble me with their hope and awe me with their unity. They make me think of the Willow tree... bending with the wind, bending but not breaking.

To be honest, and I promised I'd always be honest on this blog, I feel like I'm breaking a bit. It's just been one blow after another this year, and I can't seem to keep up. I keep moving, keep trying to stay ahead of the hits, but... I feel more like the Oak than the Willow. And if you know me at all, you know that I'm beating myself up about it. Why aren't I stronger? Why can't I do more? Why can't I protect my kids from life?? Why can't I FIX this??? (Umm, because I'm not God? lol)

The journey isn't over. We've got a few options to pursue, and a lot to think about. But most important, we've got each other. While this latest storm is still fresh, and our pain is very raw, we'll all learn to accept then continue to grow. Hope is still alive, and I absolutely believe that dreams will be fulfilled.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Catching Up... Again

I know I'm not posting nearly as often as I should be. Life has been crazy, as you know.

Currently, I'm back home trying to get my head back on straight. A couple days ago, I was running some errands and automatically got on the freeway to head back to my daughter's in San Diego. Lol. We're in a holding pattern right now... looks like I won't be heading back until November. The latest batch of results come in on Friday, and after the amazing news we got last week, we are super hopeful.

And I'm also hopeful, that at that point (or shortly thereafter) I can share more about what we've all been doing. All this vague talk isn't natural for me, lol. Ya'll know I'm a blabbermouth. ;-)

This morning we got hit with another haboob, then a massive rain storm. Turns out Sadie isn't like most dogs - she LOVES the rain! Turns her into an oversized puppy! I swear she seeks out puddles, then pounces on them. It's hysterical! Thankfully, she also loves the towel rubdown before going inside or that'd be a major mess trying to dry her off, lol.

So what have I been up to? Well, cooking, of course ;-) I've been focusing on preparing some of my hubby's favorite meals, kinda making up for all the time I've been gone, haha. I've also been researching - recipes, kitchen skills, stalking bloggers (lol), playing with my dog, playing Game of War (don't judge), and I've even seen a few movies in the last several weeks! What???? I know! Crazy talk, right??? I got to see Jurassic World with the kids in Cali (amazing film), then the hubby and I watched Divergent (yes, I know it's dvd, but it's relatively new so it counts), and The DUFF - which was cute, kind of a next gen Mean Girls. While working on the computer today, I'm flipping back and forth between Food Network and The Mummy series. Diverse, I know. ;-)

I've also decided to do something I've been wanting to do for a really long time... discover my personal fashion style. Silly, right? At my age I should know my own style, but for too long I've lived in gym clothes or pajamas. :-) Time for that to change.

One of the steps I've taken is sign up for... you guessed it, Stitch Fix. I've been seeing it everywhere, and decided to give it a whirl. Took me forever to fill out the questionnaire - mostly because I wanted to be absolutely clear on my likes & dislikes. We'll see if I succeeded. I do like that they ask you for visuals - like a pinterest board, my twitter and linked in accounts... and I was able to add my website, this blog, etc. It's supposed to help your personal stylist pick more appropriately for you. (and fyi, my "personal style" apparently says that I shouldn't be living in a place that's consistently 108 degrees several months of the year, lol)

My first shipment should arrive in about 10 days. Crossing my fingers!!

Chili's Chicken Enchilada Soup
And now I'm off to do more research... hubby has challenged me to recreate another soup... this time the Chicken Enchilada Soup from Chili's.

There are several knock off recipes floating around the internet, but I haven't seen one that I'm ok with (clean ingredients, healthy nutrition) - and frankly, I think they're using the wrong base. Lol. So the rest of this week, I'm working and tweaking, then next week the hubby will have a taste-off.

Wish me luck! ;-)