Author Archives: Sarah

Age and The Value of Quiet

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My 25th birthday is upon me. In fifteen days I will be a quarter of a century old, as someone said early this week “ancient” or “a real adult.” The term real adult is my own.

I believed by the age of 25 I would have so much more figured out. I imagined my house organized, uncluttered but eclectic and stylish and most of all stylish. I envisioned my mothering self as a calm, collected and gentle, free-spirited type mom. I assumed I would know what I was doing  with my life and be relatively successful by this point.

Alas, my house is an unorganized, cluttered pit of dusty despair. Toys and books and papers and stickers (oh my goodness stickers!) and crayons and pencils litter the floors. My kitchen floor has a border of dirt around the edges and I don’t even want to talk about the bathroom. And while I do consider myself a fun mom, I am anything but collected and I yell a lot. And I’m confused and conflicted in every way about what I want to do with my life. So many options exist as to how I should focus my energy, yet I cannot manage the simple task of keeping my home in order.

When I stand amidst the disarray that is my home and my life, I feel very close to failure.

Then, today, while I was procrastinating, Elizabeth sat on the sofa with me. She was playing and talking; “and one day” is her favorite line. After a few minutes, you see I was deep in my world of procrastination, I noticed the room was quiet. Elizabeth went to sleep. I didn’t ask her, she didn’t whine. She simply laid on the couch and fell asleep.

I was left in peace and in that peace I could listen to the cicadas hum in the heat that I know looms outside. I felt an absolute freedom.

The few minutes of quiet were enough to remind me to enjoy time.

The quiet that is given when a child naps, those minutes of calm, they must be considered precious and consumed wisely. Any minute some one could drive by my house and feel compelled to honk and yell or the dog could bark at a neighbor walking her dog (because apparently he had NEVER seen another dog before!). Or a plane or jet or something flying ominously low could  pass over the house (that just happened, but she stayed asleep). Or calamity and noise could be held at bay for a little longer while she sleeps. Each nap is different, but each nap is the same because those minutes are limited.

The same is true for our lives. We’ve been given a limited number of days and spending those days regretting and dwelling on mistakes and past failures is wasteful.

I’ve used up 25 years worth of those days, 9,125 to be exact.  According to the internet, the average life expectancy, as of 2009, is 78.7. That means I have about 53.7 years left  (And, I’m a little on the pudgy side of things, so I can probably slice a few years off if I don’t start watching my carbs!)

So, instead of vegging out in front of the television or computer, I think I should go do the dishes or scrub the kitchen floor or clean the toilet. And while I do those things I’m going to pray that God would help me be patient when Elizabeth is screaming because she wants to watch Dora or eat candy for dinner. And after I’ve accomplished some of those things and have successfully put Elizabeth to bed, I’ll write a little or draw some or just sit and listen to the quiet.

She woke up from her nap when I took the picture. Oops.

Indefinite Hiatus

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In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t posted in a while. That is due to list of reasons but mainly I haven’t the time or the energy. I love blogging and sharing all my adventures but that will have to wait.

Thanks for your readership. Have a lovely day.

-Sarah

Lizzie, Lizzie, How Does Your Garden Grow?

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At the beginning of Spring we planted a little garden and lined our patio with soil filled terracotta pots. We’ve waited and we’ve waited..and now are garden is in full swing!

And Elizabeth is really excited about it!

Or angry?

My jalapeño plant is staring to blossom.We are also growing bell peppers for Brian. And I’m trying to cross a jalapeño plant with a banana pepper plant.

Then we’ve got some flowers.This is our first wild flower bloom!

Then there is my personal favorite…my chocolate mint plant! It’s growing like a monster!One of its branches is actually resting on the plant in the next pot!

And you may have noticed my little garden decor..A sweet friend, who knows I am trying to start an herb garden, gave me the coolest gift.They are beautiful antique spoons turned into garden markers! How lovely huh? (Thanks M!)

Well that is our garden!Elizabeth thinks we did a good job!

She also loves her Daddy!Have a beautiful day!

-Sarah

Painting with Chocolate?

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Painting with Chocolate! Impossible you say? I say you’re wrong and look, I can prove it…

In fact, I think I may have found my calling in life.

This process is pretty simple and doesn’t require any special tools. You SHOULD try this at home. If you do, please comment and link to a picture!

I got this technique from Eye Candy, and she gives more details on how to get a good image. So, make sure you check out her blog too.

Yes, that is made out of chocolate and peanut butter. I will give you a moment to “oooooh” and “aaaaaah.”

Isn’t it crazy? I don’t mean to sound so prideful, I was just really excited and proud to see how it turned out!

Anyway, on to how you can make your own edible masterpiece.

First, you need a picture. Word of advice Uncle Sam is not an easy choice. I have no idea why I chose the most difficult image I could find. This decoration was for Memorial Day and i didn’t want to a cliché image. I guess my idea was vintage-y? Anyway, I just Googled this image. The awesome thing about this technique is that you can do portraits! Jojo, from Eye Candy, did a beautiful portrait of Audrey Hepburn.

Once you’ve found an image, you need to make it black and white. Then you need to reverse it if you have any writing. I don’t know a good way to do that, except for with Paint…yes, like one the “accessories” on a PC. I may be ghetto, but it was effective. You don’t always have to reverse it, unless you have text. Again, Eye Candy, has a video tutorial or something on how to make you image easier to work with. Basically, your image will be easier if there are only three tones to work with. I just picked an image and ran with it. I’m not a big planner..I guess.

Any who, now you have your black and white (with maybe a grey tone) and reversed if needed image. Next, you need to lay some parchment or wax paper over the image. (I think parchment paper will work better. I only had wax paper at the time and I think it left some residue.) What I did, was tape the image to a cutting board and then tape the wax/parchment paper over the image. If both are taped on to the cutting board, you can move if you need.

The best part! Now you need the chocolate. You have choices here. You can use milk (or dark if you really wanted) chocolate and white chocolate. To get the mid-tone you would mix the white and milk chocolate. Or you can use chocolate and peanut butter. I used the chocolate and peanut butter because it went with the dessert I made. (Check back soon for that yummy recipe) Another option is to use white chocolate with food coloring. This give you the option to have a more complicated design with color. I don’t know how well this works but you are welcome to try it.

What kind of chocolate? Well, you can baking chocolate or you can do what I did. I just bought chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. I guess this also opens the door for butterscotch painting since you can buy butterscotch chips. I did the chips because I needed peanut butter. I really don’t think it matters too much. Melted chocolate is melted chocolate, no?

You will need some piping bags (you know the kind you decorate cakes with) or just some plastic baggies. And you will need a toothpick or a bamboo skewer. These will be your painting tools.

Now, it’s time to melt your chocolate. Try not to eat it! Melt the chocolate and then some how manage to finagle your liquid chocolate into a plastic baggie or pipping. Then cut off the tiny tiniest tip of your baggie. You should probably give it a test squeeze and see how the flow is. If you are comfortable with you choco-flow, start working!

All you do is trace your design! Seriously, it’s like paint-by-numbers with chocolate. See…Okay, so my image was a little more difficult than paint-by-numbers, but if you have an easy image, it’s like coloring with chocolate. You will need your toothpick for detail areas and scraping away misplaced chocolate. I would also keep a damp paper towel on hand. You can wipe of your toothpick and use it again instead of using a million toothpicks.

To make your mid-tone, all you have do is mix your light and dark color. Then fill in the parts that are that middle color.

A warning, the melted peanut butter chips create a thicker consistency and I ended up kind of sculpting the peanut butter. I used my toothpick a lot! The chocolate was easier though, so if you aren’t looking for a challenge, maybe stick with white chocolate.

Then, let those layers dry for a few minutes….now, take you lightest color and fill the whole thing in. Bye-bye, Uncle Sam!

Just let your artwork firm up and then you can turn it over and take off the paper.

Here is my finished product.The first picture (at the beginning of the blog) is before I peeled the wax paper off. I don’t know what caused the white discoloration. I have a few theories: I let it dry over night, in the refrigerator, and that might just be too long. I used wax paper instead of parchment paper. The peanut butter might just do that. Those are my theories and I’m leaning toward the first one.

Regardless, it still makes my Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake look extra yum-tastic! And there you have it! Now you can be the Van Gogh of chocolate! Have fun!

-Sarah

A Small Success!

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It has taken faaaar too long, but I finally did it. I finally opened my Etsy shop.

Introducing….Drop in for my Grand Opening of Essie LoveGoods.

I have all of two items! I know, exciting right?

Okay, maybe it isn’t that extraordinary, but this is a big step for me. I am pumped to have finally opened up my Etsy store.

Happy Shopping!

And for my readers, if you find something you can’t live without, comment on my blog first! If you do, I will give you a 10% discount.

-Sarah

The Zoo??

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Remember how we went to the zoo forever ago? Remember how I meant to post pictures? Well I really did mean to do that. I still don’t have the time to upload all of those great picture much less try and sort between the best ones to put on this blog. So, I came up with a solution! I will just provide the link to my Facebook photo album.  Let me know how it works!

Oklahoma City Zoo Trip- Spring Break 2010

This was by far the coolest picture we managed to take!

Enjoy the other pictures!

Before/After pictures of the kitchen are on their way, I promise!

-Sarah

I heart Primer!

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We’ve been preparing to repaint the kitchen all this week. We took the drawers out and the doors off of the cabinets, washed all of it, sanded all of it, washed the sawdust off all of it and then primed everything.  Phew! Now we can enjoy Memorial Day weekend and avoid feeling like lazy poop-sticks!

While I was priming I discovered I have an overwhelming love of primer. I know, weird, but let me explain. There stains in and on the kitchen cabinets that no matter how hard I tried, I could not scrub off. The stains made everything look so dirty and unpleasant. I was starting to feel like maybe moving into the house was a mistake….

Then I started priming! We bought the heavy duty, oil based primer that will kill and block stains (and apparently odors). And boy, did that stuff work. As I watched all of those yucky stains disappear under a thick coat of primer, relief flooded over me. It was such a wonderful feeling to see dirty old cabinets transform into a type of clean white canvases. So, there you go, I heart primer!

Except. . . .when my toes are stuck together with primer. No joke, I couldn’t pull them apart! (I had a close up but my toe hair was too gross! But I might as well have posted it since I told you about it.)

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.

So much love,

-Sarah

A Bit of a Break

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So, this is definitely one of those “umm, I should probably post” entries.  And really it should be titled making excuses because that is essentially what I am about to do. I just wanted to give you readers a heads up, in case you haven’t notice. I probably won’t be blogging as much, or at least not as consistently as I have been.

Why you may ask? (Here come the excuses)

Well frankly…because I am exhausted. I don’t know how the couple from Young House Love do it!

Brian and I have started working on our house. We started with the kitchen this week. We are just repainting, but geez louise! There is so much work. I will give the details another time.

Oh, and the other reason that I am so exhausted? Umm, I have a baby. Yeah. When we get done for the day we don’t come home and take a bath and sleep for the rest of the day. Nope. Sure don’t. We shower and then play with Elizabeth, make dinner, feed her, bathe her, change a diaper or two and then put her to bed. Then once she is off to bed, then we get to relax or just go to bed.

So there you have it. If you  miss me, well here is my excuse. And if you don’t miss me. . . well, just keep it to yourself and go read another blog! Did I mention I was tired.

Here is a sneak preview of the before pictures:This is the kitchen. And yes, we are getting rid of the poop smeared look.

And that is the baby. She loves to play in the cabinets!

Enjoy.

-Sarah

How did my butt ever get this big?

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There used to be a point where I would unashamedly wear a swimsuit:There was also a time when I would wear my favorite prom dress:There was a point where I felt confident enough to show off mt shoulders:There was even a time, unbelievable as it seems now a days, when I would wear SHORTS:(I’m in the blue shirt/black shorts, front left)

And now…well let’s just say there is a reason, I don’t like to post pictures of myself. But here I am:I hate this picture; it is the worst but the most honest look at my ridiculous weight-gain.

Since Summer is just about here, I figured now would a great time to try and get rid of that baby weight as well as all of that I-love-chocolate-and-bread-too-much weight.

Here are my top 10 reasons to lose weight.

  1. I’m in love with food. Actually, I have decided to keep being a foodie and to continue my baking habit, I need to start some kind of exercise routine. If I am going make all kinds of sweets and rich foods, I need a way to burn off all those extra calories! Cathy of the blog, Noble Pig writes that she walks “5.2 miles a day just to be able to chow-down on fattening food while maintaining a normal weigh.” I think I will need to work up to that.
  2. I would really like to fit down a normal slide! When we take Elizabeth to the park, I have to wedge myself down the slide carefully because my butt gets clogged in the tube. And let me tell ya, if it’s a hot day, you don’t want your butt stuck in a slide.
  3. Eventually, sometime in the distant future, Hubby and I would like to have another kid. I have got so shed some pound-age before I start that whole process again. During my first trimester, the only thing I could stomach for breakfast was chocolate milk and doughnut holes. Then in the third trimester I was hungry every second of everyday. I would just go stand in the kitchen wondering what I could eat. Needless to say, starting out at this weight could produce disastrous proportions.
  4. I would like to wear shorts again.
  5. I would like to wear a swimsuit again. (Not including boy length shorts)
  6. I think my body would say thank you. My poor ankles, knees and back are really feeling the pressure of all this extra weight. I am pretty sure at 23, I shouldn’t have chronic back pain.
  7. I know my mind would say thank you. I beat myself up every time I look in the mirror. I avoid full-length mirrors. I hate the way everything looks. Looking in the mirror and not wanting to Photo Shop my body into oblivion would be quite refreshing.
  8. I’m at risk for Diabetes. My mom has it and my brother was, at one time, diagnosed with borderline diabetes. I also had gestational diabetes. If I don’t want to end up sticking myself with a needle everyday, I should probably take some action.
  9. I live in Oklahoma. Has anyone ever noticed how freakin’ hot it gets in Oklahoma? Well I have. I would like to dress in such away that I would not become a blubbery sweat-covered mess. I would like to stop dressing like a Puritan because I am ashamed of my thunder thighs, thick calves, flabby arms and poochy tummy.
  10. I love my husband. I love Elizabeth. I love my friends and my family. I want to be alive to love them. I also want to set a good example for my daughter so she doesn’t fall into the same problem that I did. I want to be healthy for the people I love and for myself.

In reality, this post was probably more for myself than you readers. But I hope if any of you are struggling that you know I am right there with you. This is my way of committing to being healthier and losing weight. I hope I will have some positive results to show you. (Although they won’t be as extreme as The Biggest Loser!)

-Sarah

I love my job!

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Okay, so do you remember the “Sleep Must Happen” series? It was that traumatizing phase of development where Elizabeth decided she could NOT possible go to sleep on her own, much less with out holding my face? Do you remember this, because I do! I remember feeling like I would never get any work done again. I thought either Elizabeth or I would have to give up a normal bedtime. Either she would have to go to sleep after I finished my homework or I would have to go to sleep at 8pm instead of 11pm. I thought I could never handle her crying it out for less that seven minutes. I thought I would hate myself forever for making her learn to go to sleep on her own. Most of all, I knew something had to change for life to stop being a stressful vortex of procrastination and late assignments.

Do you remember the conclusion to series? It started with one hysterical night where Elizabeth was refusing to go to sleep and I was crying and Brian was desperately trying to drag me to the car so we could drive around and get her to sleep. (I don’t know if I shared those gruesome details or not..) We drove around for two hours. While we drove we talked, argued, deliberated and decided how we were going to fix this problem.

The solution: We enacted a brand new bedtime routing. The routine included a wind down time followed by a bath. Then we went to the bedroom to finish drying off and put on pajamas. Upon arrival in the bedroom, soothing music would be playing and the lights would be low. Then we would hold her and cuddle her. Then it was bedtime. We put her down and slipped out of the bedroom.  She would have to go to sleep on her own.

The plan worked beautifully! Now we do that, sometimes leaving out quiet time or bath time, sometimes adding a snack, sometimes cuddling for an extra few minutes. She is out within a few minutes every night.

Of course we aren’t militant monsters. If she had a rough day or doesn’t feel good we are flexible. We take care of her physical and emotional needs first. And once in a while, if she wants to stay up late and cuddle while we watch a kid friendly movie we let her.

So that was the end of that story…….

Tonight though, I had a flashback to the holding my face days. Only tonight the moment was precious.

I was in bed taking a nap. It was getting close to her bedtime. (Yes, I know, taking a nap around her bedtime is probably silly, why don’t I just go to bed early?) She came into the bedroom and climbed into bed with one of her favorite books. She had be read her book. Then she laid on my shoulder and put her arm under my head. I loved on her and she cuddled with me. I tickled her face and arms. She was surrounded by three lovies (favorite stuffed animals) and chose to cuddle with me. She eventually fell asleep snuggled right next to me.

I stayed with her for  awhile but then I was successfully able to carry her to bed without waking her up. Well, she woke up once, looked at me and went back to sleep.

I love my job!

Now, doesn’t that just make you stick you bottom lip out and think (or say) one of those extended “awwwwwwwww”s?

Sweet dreams!

-Sarah