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Everything Happens for a Reason

I hate cliches. Nothing pisses me off more than a sappy, true to the heart cliche. Well, unless I am that cliche. A walking, living, breathing, truism in life. You see, for the last twelve months much of my life has been happening for a reason. Even more so, my faith in humanity and the just good of people makes my heart swell with joy.

You see just three short weeks ago corporate America tried to break my spirit. I worked for a misogynist. He feared my greater success over his, due to the fact that he had capped out his career based on his competency level. Plain English, he was a dumb ass. Bless his heart. With that being said, what actions do intellectually inept female hating bosses take? They seek to eliminate a threat. So he did, and I was fired for not lying in an email. But that’s another story. A rather good one to share as well. I digress, back to the story of why things happen for a reason.

The moment I was delivered the news of my termination I had a sense of calm, a relief rather and I knew that everything was going to be alright. Despite the fact that all the cells in my body were screaming, “Fuck!!! This is a mess…”

For weeks the cosmos were sending me signs, much like this one. Actually, my husband sent me this sign, but it is one that is forever changing our lives.20140713 210349 75829616 Everything Happens for a Reason

As I mentioned, over the last year things have been happening for a reason to lead up to where we are today. So during this time I have been talking endlessly about my dreams. You know? The dreams kids have. The dreams of what they want to be when they grow up. I have been dreaming big. I love to cook. I love to write. I love to serve people. I love to help. I wanted a restaurant, bistro, cafe. All mine with my own menu, flair, panache and to take in ego boosting, voyeurism of watching people eat and enjoy my food. But I kept thinking not yet; now is not the time. In the meantime, what’s a girl to do with all of these passions? Apparently you are suppose to get fired from a decent paying corporate job and go opening a freaking juice bar is what you are suppose to do! God had plans for me and I was not going about his plans the way I was intended so he was making destiny happen.

I was at a crossroads when I was leaving my former employer. Shaking, trembling, crying, grieving, cursing. What a horrible process to experience for anyone, is the grief of being fired by a dolt. Then the process of attempting to find other employment all while your dream is staring you in the face. So here I am. Writing this post to share with each of you that dreams do come true. Dreams are attainable. Never sell yourself short! Go for the goal. Reach for the stars. Get out of your comfort zone. My faith has tested me more in the last three weeks about my level of comfort than in the years I have been alive.

Please do not get me wrong. I am scared shitless! I am hopeful with my love of God and his sweet son Jesus that this project is going to pull through. A part of me is saying, “just suck it up Kar and go get an eight to five job and grind it out and maybe we can build the dream on the side.” But the divine infused part of me is telling me to grab the bull by the horns, slap it’s ass and serve him up for dinner! YE HAW!

20140713 215925 79165223 Everything Happens for a ReasonWith all this being said, please take a moment to check out what we are doing on Kickstarter. It’s a quick blip. We are doing what we love. I love God. I love people. I love to serve. I love to cook. I love my family and by golly I am going to do STUFF! So help us do some stuff. We are already seeing support. I watched Facebook explode when I posted this. Sadly I felt a bit of shame at first.

I was battling with myself to hit the big green SUBMIT button that was looking at me in the face. My divinely infused brain was yelling at my right hand to click the mouse while my scared shitless self was being a punk. In between my ears all I heard was shame. Beggar. Mooch. Scrounger. Bullshit. God took hold because I hit submit and within minutes a childhood friend from kindergarten kick-started my movement. My eyes welled and burned from the tears. The muscles in my jaw were contracting as my cheeks tightened to fight back all the emotion of love, joy, and HOLY SHIT this is happening feeling that was rushing over me in waves. Notifications were going off in my feed. I saw my photo in my Facebook stream as my friends liked and shared my story. My thanksgiving cannot be fully placed into words how He is working. How my friends are helping me to go make a difference, to make my mark.

Come share in our joy and successes. Help us to make a difference in this world, even if it is the smallest difference, that one small difference could be someone’s entire world that they are paying forward. Won’t you pay it forward. Share our Kickstarter. Just passing on the word is payment enough. Thank you friends for all your support as we go on our new adventure with food!

 

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Easy Gluten Free Pizza

gluten free 300x300 Easy Gluten Free PizzaIf one phrase could sum up 2013 and 2014 I think it would be gluten free. Whilst seems to be the latest fad and trend among the clean, healthy, organic living movement, a small population of folks actually suffer from a condition known as Celiacs disease that reeks havoc on ones GI tract. With that being said, I have a dear friend who is borderline. Quite frankly, if she has any gluten foods, she could clear a radius like Hiroshima and that is being mild.

So with her condition our weekend soirees could get a bit dicey with the meal plans. I also am not a fan of any man (or woman) being left out of my cooking. I take pride in my cooking and it is my one true area of zen in my life. Interestingly enough considering it consists of sharp weaponry and open heat, maybe this is a doorway to my past life. I digress.

Anyway, with her inability to have the standard Friday night favorite of pizza for any family and friend gathering, I looked for alternatives. As opposed to her requirement to purchase anything pre-made in order to partake in our weekly festivities. What I found was truly awesome, and my adventures in cooking dove into a new culinary path that I thought would be calamitous to my swarm of familial critics and would result in swine slop. Worst yet,  I would be subjected to trying to stomach the indelicacy in order to avoid waste. My voluptuousness did not just happen overnight you see.

Off to Whole Foods in search of a tasty gluten free flour. My previous GF experiences were…lets just say unfavorable. My bit at baking GF ciabatta bread resulted in more of a focaccia look and texture. Rice flour I avoided, while texture is gritty and I like in my sweeter baked goods (cookies and pancakes are amazing!) I was looking for a bit more velvetty to achieve that great pizza taste and texture. Personally I am a thin crust girl, I like a bit of chew, but the crunch adds an addictive punch of satisfaction in every bite.

Low and behold, I found the mother of all simpletons for gluten free baking.

Pamela’s.

Folks, Pamela. Pamela, meet the foodies.

Scoff all you want, but this bag has helped me deliver some simple goodness in a snap to an angry mob of THREE, all under five feet tall. Seriously folks, angry children are like gremlins after you add water. Not. Pretty.

Out came the mixing bowl,

  • the Pamela’s
  • fresh or organic rosemary (or a sweet mix of  fresh or organic Italian seasoning),
  • a dash of salt,
  • water,
  • 1 yeast packet, and
  • EVOO. (EVOO = Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

Mix with a dough hook for the best results.

Prep your area with parchment paper (at least two sheets) and some EVOO to dip your hands in for play time.IMG 2159 300x300 Easy Gluten Free Pizza

The dough feels like peanut butter on the roof of your mouth. You will be peeling dough off your hands if you don’t use enough EVOO to roll around with; trust me, you can’t use too much EVOO in this next process.

After mixing the dough and splitting in half I placed a glob to shape out on my parchment. Take care not to spread too thin or you can create gaps. Then let the dough rest. You might need to also if this is your first time with GF flours and doughs. Remember peanut butter type reaction, this can be a bit frustrating if this is your first rodeo slinging without the wheat.

About 10 minutes before your nap, I mean the rest, is up, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and if you are using a pizza stone, toss her in at the same time. This will ensure a nice and even bake time. I like to pre-cook my dough, as I mentioned, the addictive crunch adds panache to the overall flavor, so 20-25 minutes in the oven the dough goes, then place toppings and bake until warm or melty.

My last batch of true GF pizza was dairy free too! Topped with  hummus, capers, sliced fresh veggies (bell peppers, mushrooms, red onions), littered with fresh organic baby spinach and dolloped with roasted red peppers and tomatoes. For an even more exquisite taste, balsamic vinegar can really set your taste buds ablaze. Try some goat cheese for another dairy/dairy free alternative.

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“Truly” Done Spring Cleaning

Spring and summer weather dawn the days of increased creatures, crawlies, bugs and the like. As a desert dweller, Arizona native, we know that the warmer temps definitely mean that tiny creatures will be crawling, flying and scurrying about. In addition to the warm weather, rain and humidity often bring about pests that can cause damage and are very costly.

One might think that living in an arid and dry climate such as Arizona we would not be susceptible to the most expensive property damaging pests; termites. These little buggers are estimated to incur $5 billion in property damage costs each year. Sadly, home owners insurance rarely covers these wood chomping menaces, and the path of destruction accounts for more than combined damages of storms, floods, and fires.

20140526 204133 74493766 300x225 Truly Done Spring CleaningLast year our home saw a rather extensive infestation that we quickly remedied. But while in the throes of the chaos of what to do with these nasty little pests, we experienced stress from trying to gauge how catastrophic the infestation truly was and the overall costs associated with treatment and repair, if needed.

However, you can be armed with the necessary tools to treat and avoid termite infestations with Truly Nolen; they can provide you with the following information in first line defense to combat these springtime pests. Some tools to help identify and cope with termites:

  • Small wrench to tighten your pipes. Remember, termites love moisture!
  • Number 2 pencil. Mud tunnels are pencil-sized tubes that protrude from a house’s exterior walls and serve as an environment of protection and moisture for termites.
  • Measuring tape so you can be sure that your home has the recommended minimum of 6 to 8 inches between ground level and porch steps, lattice work, door or window frames, etc.
  • Small flashlight to help you search for rippled or sunken traces behind wall coverings, which are indicative of termite infestation.
  • Truly Nolen stress ball to keep you calm while preparing for this year’s termite season.

Above all else, just know its not IF you will get termites, but a matter of when. No one is safe from these destructive pests, but now you can be ready to take preventative measures.

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This post is brought to you by Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats. All opinions are my own.K168055010 3D right 150x150 Kindergarten is the Big Day with Kelloggs Frosted Mini Wheats

All winter parents were longing for the dog days of summer to arrive. When the day finally came for the kids to depart from the crayons, pencils and elementary learning’s, groaning ensued once more from parents counting the days until school resumed. This year our fish family ventured into a new era as the twins had their first big day celebrating their fifth birthday and we counted our days all summer until the little squids had their first day of kindergarten.

What better way to start the BIG DAY right but with the most important meal of the day, breakfast! My three fish kids started their morning off with a bowl of Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats with skim milk. Although my daughter will secretly confess she prefers hers without milk at times. Frosted Mini Wheats has eight layers of whole grain fiber to help kids feel full and focused to conquer their first BIG DAY.

20130831 124038 300x225 Kindergarten is the Big Day with Kelloggs Frosted Mini WheatsNot only were the twins beginning their education adventure but they were enrolling in a new school environment. We helped to prepare them by doing some of the following to make that first BIG DAY less hectic and reduce their anxiety:

  • Chose their own clothes and shoes for the school year
  • Picked out their own school supplies
  • Showed excitement for picking out backpacks
  • Let them choose their own lunch pails
  • Stress free excitement (from parents)

As parents we often forget the last step in helping our children to tackle their BIG DAY is to show lots of positive reinforcement and excitement and pocket all the stress. Not only are our kids anxious and a little stressed but so are the parents. Remember that everyday can be a BIG DAY with tests, activities and the like for our kids when school is in session. We can help them overcome any fears and anxiety with lots of simple fun, excitement, and always focus on the positive.

Did your kids have a BIG DAY this year when returning to school? Any major milestones like my twins entering kindergarten?

For more BIG DAY success stories, tips, and ideas visit: http://www.scholastic.com/pcbigday/

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Tastebud Tuesday – P Allen Smiths Radish Top Pasta

radish top pasta, organic

So I love to share my food and what I make. Great pride is taken in what my family eats as far as food and if you want to know or catch a glimpse of your diet snap photos. If you are ashamed to show the final result, chances are you should be ashamed to put that into your body. The other night I shared my version of P. Allen Smith’s Radish Top Pasta. Who you might ask is P. Allen Smith? Well spend a Saturday morning perusing public television and you might have the gifted opportunity to watch from Garden to Table where Mr. Smith shares some real delicacies from his garden for meals. My family was in heaven when we saw this dish so I knew I had to make it.

My radishes did not do so well this year in my garden. Sadly the feral cats of the neighborhood destroyed the fruits of my labor and I only yielded one beautiful radish of the bunch, so until next time I have to settle for store bought from Whole Foods.
Here is how to prepare this zesty, peppery and refreshing dish at your dinner table.

Radish Top Pasta 300x300 Tastebud Tuesday   P Allen Smiths Radish Top Pasta

  • About 12 large radishes, with leaves
  • 12 oz small pasta, such as penne
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for passing
  • 1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped (I like flat parsley)

Be sure to wash the radishes well and rinse the leaves ever so gingerly. You do not want to coat and or drown the leaves so that they end up wilting or soggy, we want them crisp.

While waiting for the water to boil, slice the radishes paper thin and set aside. Take the greens and tear these ever so gently so they are bite size. Chop the onion (red onions will give a stronger more pungent flavor while a yellow onion will be more full bodied) and set aside.

Add pasta to boiling water. Boil pasta for about 10 minutes or until desired texture, drain and place in serving bowl. We like our pasta al dente.

If you want to save some time, you can toss the pine nuts into a skillet on med-low heat and begin to brown them until they are golden. They will begin to brown very easily so be sure to toss often as not to burn them. Set aside when done.

In the same skillet as the pine nuts add your olive oil and then add your onions. Once the onions are translucent add in your garlic, pine nuts and radishes. Toss together as not to overcook your radishes we want their crunch and zest, and then add in the radish top greens. Cook until the radish top greens are starting to wilt, again you do not want them soggy.

Pour the mixture over the top of the pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan and toss the salad together, add more Parmesan if you like and sprinkle with parsley. Serve warm.

We served our radish top pasta as a side dish to some grilled chicken. It is also a wonderful addition to a Spicy Sweet Potato soup that I have made as well. A real table warmer with fresh bread, family or good company.

Perfect for fall. Enjoy!

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Whos guffawing over the detachment parent

Copyright of Sarah Maizes Moms.Today.com

Maintaining the wild giggle to myself of the faded memory of the TIME magazine cover I too shake my head in misunderstanding of the critical judgment passed by parents and non-parents alike. I wonder why we “freak out” to see that a parent so chooses a path to nurture and bond with their child that may be socially out of norm, albeit unacceptable to a vast majority. Yet the parent that lets their child run the streets, is unaware of any retardation they may experience that puts them at a huge disadvantage among other children, and lacks the parental attachment necessary to provide basic loving care is ignored. Not even a huff, snort, or pissy remark given to this form of action and behavior.

I am talking about a parent that has no nurturing qualities whatsoever. I am speaking to a parent that lets their child leave the house and is unaware of their disappearance and is not in the least bit concerned to their childs whereabouts. I am speaking to a parent who has fully admitted the only reason the child is in their life is to save their marriage.

And we thought breastfeeding a kindergartner was preposterous.

detachment parent 300x214 Whos guffawing over the detachment parent

Copyright of Sarah Maizes Moms.Today.com

What I find most appalling is the fact that this parent ADOPTED their child. They CHOSE this child. They CHOSE to bring a special needs child into their home. They CHOSE this life. Call me callous, but this is like adopting a dog. Now when faced with the challenges that childhood brings with this child and the struggles of social growth and cognitive skills they seem to think that this behavior is the norm and ignore the fact their child has greater needs that some parents do not have the capacity to work with, through, or have any experience in the matter. They seem to brush the kid under the rug like he or she is the everyday norm, run of the mill standard kid with no special needs.

I struggle with this parent daily due to our close proximity. I have struggled to not write on this subject because of the damning effect. I struggle as I watch this parent spend more quality time with the family dogs on her daily constitutional than she does quality time with her child. I fight the urge to tell her to fuck off when her child randomly leaves their home and she is unaware of his disappearance, or maybe she is aware and does not exude concern, and the child shows up at my house, unannounced, unwanted, as the child stands at my doorstep entitled to come in and spend time with our family. I find pity and concern and anger with this situation that the child finds solace and acceptance in my home despite my hidden anger, concern, and lastly my pity.

This child acts as an ape in my home, climbing on counters, standing on counters and other household items that are not meant for this type of behavior. Pulling my window coverings from their bases in the walls leaving gaping wounds in my drywall needing to be repaired due to his feral behavior. I had patience and understanding in the beginning, knowing his situation. At first I made excuses that the child needed to know the boundaries in our home, to understand our rules and so we discussed healthy boundaries and rules.

Out the window….like their coverings.

I tried to reason and explain to the parents what his behavior entailed so as not to have a repeat offense.

Ignored.

Now, as the child visits my home on an almost every weekend basis I am faced with a rage I can no longer bridle from this parent who lacks any form of attachment, love, or concern for her CHOSEN child. The child is very special needs and quite frankly I am not equipped to deal with this sort of child that is not mine. I do not have the skills to entertain him on the days that are MINE to spend with my flesh and blood. To relax and enjoy my children because I am too spun and wound tighter than a drum because THIS child invades my home. Call me selfish, I can. Not my kid. You are probably thinking: “Don’t let him in,” “Send the child home,” all warranted responses to which I say, I am not the one letting him enter our home.

Often times the child shows up and is let in by my husband, sometimes my kids. If left to me I would leave him at the door at which he compulsively rang the door bell where I would want to rip the notification device from the wall to prevent further use. I then begin to question the motives of the mother who once sent him over stating, “It’s my weekend to relax and I want my time.” I nearly cam unglued and my rage almost got the better of me as I began to hoof my angry, selfish, self-righteous ass over to her house to demand she explain who the hell she was to make such claims and assume the weekends were not my family’s either. TWAT!

I digress.

So I then question her motives again. My only assumption is her daft obliviousness to the fact that we have goings on in our lives, that we do not just sit around waiting for her to send her child off to our home to give her reprieve, she must just think that since we have three children…in the grand scheme what is one more. Again I curse TWAT and how dare she. But then I thought, why not play her game. One day the child came to the door and we sent our THREE children in tow with this child back to his home for a full on play date at their house.

The silence lasted about week. It was bliss.

Until the weekend this child came to the door on a Sunday, of all weekends, that we all decided to sleep in. By sleep in, I mean we all slept until roughly nine in the morning. The morning was glorious until I was ripped from my peaceful morning arousal by the door bell, a knock at the door, dogs barking fervently. FUCK!

Running to the door I answered and politely sent the boy away as he attempted to pout and I bit my adult lip to not rip his head off. Meandering back to my room to lay quietly again in my comfy bed to get my wits about me I hear another knock. Short of losing my shit altogether I advise my eldest son that is awake to ignore the door and the child coming to it every fifteen minutes. For an hour the child paces in front of our house after being sent away and finally I cannot take it and so I text the mother to see if she understands the gravity of the situation. Advising her I sent the boy home at nine…by now it is fifteen after 10 in the morning.

She doesn’t catch my drift.

Then the child is trying his hand at jimmying open my son’s bedroom window. At this point my husband is awake, because my sleeping lion has now come full rage and is about to pull the kid home by his ears. By no means am I a violent person, but the events that have taken place have pushed me to corporal actions. My husband calms me for a moment, steps outside and takes the boy aside, speaks to him and sends him on his way. While I pace furiously through my kitchen eyeing the events to the front of my house through my dining room window, I cannot take anymore shenanigans. I text the mother to explain that their child was sent away an hour ago because we wanted to sleep in without their child coming over for once, I explain him pacing in front of our house for the hour, I explain the attempted break in.

Crickets.

No apology.

No admission of guilt.

Not even giving a fuck.

Then I am speechless. At a complete loss to the lack of concern on behalf of this parent. Their child was away from their home with no known whereabouts for more than a hour. They had assumptions I am sure. Let me further caveat all this that the child is EIGHT years old with special needs. Born of a mother who abused alcohol and drugs. A child who has spent his entire life in some form of therapy classes for social, cognitive, and other basic skills born unto children who are not born of the deficiencies he faces. But clearly he is of sound mind and body to walk around a neighborhood block, on a very heavy traffic neighborhood street, to come play with my children, without supervision on his jaunt, without concern of his whereabouts.

Maybe I am blowing the whole situation out of proportion. Maybe I just care to the whereabouts of my children. Maybe I care to their concern and to that of others. Maybe I enjoy to just spend time with my children on the weekends after I work all week. I am selfish in that I do not want to watch another parents child who sends them off so they can have peace and quiet. Maybe I find that there is a happy medium between the attachment and detached parenting ideals. I like that my children are their own person and being, sleep on their own, completed breastfeeding at one year, but still have me tuck them in at night, I have them still hold my hand across the street and through parking lots, I find that more of being a concerned, loving parent, than fitting into any mold of parenting principles.

When has the detached parenting gone too far? Or in this case was their any “parenting” involved at all?

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Manny or Daddy – Is dad a manny or a daddy in your home

dad, daddy, raising kids

chadherring 300x300 Manny or Daddy   Is dad a manny or a daddy in your homeOur current economic atmosphere has evolved a new breed of a stay at home parent. Formerly mothers were the primary care givers in the home and the most likely proponent to attend PTO meetings, running the kids to sports activities, and doing the household upkeep. Homes used to be comprised of a working father and stay at home mother, very a-typical, very “Cleaver-esque,” very reminiscent of our grandparents, possibly our parents of the baby-boomer era. The idolization of the American dream of a stay at home parent to raise our children and the other parent in the workforce, “bringing home the bacon.” However, as aforementioned, the weather has shifted and as a society, more and more dads are in the home world heading up the household at her core. Now mom is the one who is bringing home, and sometimes, frying up the bacon too.

Yet how much credit is afforded to these men who collide head on with the “stay at home” job? Men are men, and they do not have the same nurturing and caring as women do who often take to the stay at home career much more gracefully. Not to say fathers and men cannot be as effective, I am only indicating that the vagina is an upper-hand in the soft touch of caring for a home and family. But again, who is to say that a man cannot keep his hardened parenting style as the brute force in parenting, and carry on a softness and tenderness that emanates greatness in our children.

My husband is one of these men. He is my hero. He was formerly a manny. A slapstick reference to his job by calling himself a male nanny (manny) where he was and is much more than that. Gifted with a layoff leaving him unemployed, we thought to only be temporary, has become a full-time opportunity that has afforded him time with our children that fathers are not often privileged to experience. He wakes with them in the morning, they ask for him at bed for good-night story time, and they are all different people, The Chad included, because of the power of daddy. Many men “claim” to be a stay at home dad, where mom works in the home and dad happens to stay at home and claim to be a care taker, but really he is a glorified babysitter, not a true parent, not a true parental caregiver, nurturer. I say that very cavalier because these men are aware they lack the nurturing gift of fatherhood, a gift and art learned only through precious time spent with their children. Face it, most dads fumble with the kids only because mom comes in and takes over, rules the roost, puts out any fires and calms all the storms. Moms have only learned this by experience, gifted again with precious time with the children, the nurturing that begins from womb to breast as we hold our babes tightly. Men have a different experience and much different than the woman’s, so some detachment can be expected, they do not have 40 weeks of bonding prior to delivery.

cha daddy 225x300 Manny or Daddy   Is dad a manny or a daddy in your homeI say that men fumble because they do, at no fault of their own. I commend any dad who will spend alone time with his children sans mom. Sans a woman of any sorts to jump in with maternal instinct to care and nurture and fix the errors dads should be afforded to make when adventuring through parenthood, fatherhood. Ladies how many times have you bitched, moaned, groaned or carried on because dad served up peanut butter and jelly for dinner and didn’t prepare the three course meal topped with sparkling water in a clear glass tumbler? I have a few small words for you if they have done this – FUCK YOU and of course GET OVER IT. Admittedly you know you have had moments of weakness where a full meal was not served, you have half assed the house keeping, or best yet, you ponied up to hire a housekeeper because “you don’t have the time” or “the energy” or flat out you cannot handle the way your husband handles the housekeeping for you because its not “your way.” I pity you for your coarse and selfish behavior. I pity you for not appreciating a man who is willing to be that bigger man and take on a traditional feminine role for the greater good of the family unit. Given any amount of time men glide through the home calming any household storm, simmering a sibling bickering bout, and giving to his wife with the truest love and affection money cannot buy.

I could not be more blessed and more honored for my husband and all his struggles to take on his role as a true daddy in our house. We will be able to look back on these years and be thankful that each of us was afforded time to be home with our kids and watch them grow in different phases of their lives. We will never regret any sacrifices and or struggles during this time because we gave of ourselves to our children, selflessly and with the utmost love.

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