Tuesday, December 31, 2013

thoughts about 2013.

2013 was the year i started a nanny job i loved (for a sweet 3.5 month old boy whose birth i attended as birth photographer).

it was also the year i said goodbye to that job. it was a pretty sad day when i rocked him to sleep and laid him down for one of his mid-day naps for my last time. :\

2013 was the year i planned an outdoor wedding, with some special people, to a pretty amazing guy.

2013 was the year i got married. (only 7 months ago.) :)

2013 was the year my hair had grown out almost to my shoulders for our wedding, and i got it cut pixie-short again just a few days after the wedding...2013 was also the year i started growing my hair out (again) in august...and it's going to be for good this time. for a while. i know i love short hair, even two times in a row, and i might go back to it someday (like...when i'm a mom? i don't know.) but i'm so ready to have messy buns and ponytails and braids and length to play with a little. :P i miss it so.

2013 was the year we drove to kentucky to buy a second vehicle with great gas mileage--a cute little car off craigslist (from a really nice, considerate guy), a geo metro in great shape and made the same year i was born.
(hah. hah. hah.)

"I learned some hard lessons about friendships and that some need to be let go, and some you need to fight to the death for."
via michmash: 2013

2013 was the year i moved 6 hours away from my family, and joined my husband to make our home here in southern illinois.

2013 was the year i started running. also, the same year that it got so cold (and icy, and snowy, and hey, i've been sick off and on so heck no to the question "don't you want to persevere and go running anyways?" ...hahah. heck no. i can't wait till the spring though. no promises to myself or anyone else that i'll get back to it on any and every above-freezing day...)

2013 was a super hard, super good year. filled with so much goodness, so much hard stuff, things to grow through and learn from, and quite a bit of bittersweet.

2013 was the year my old blog fell quiet and i started a new one. this one. :) 

december 31, 2013, i got to stand next to my husband and watch the ball drop in new york, along with most of justin's family and a couple friends. we kissed as the first part of north america stepped into the first moment of the new year. (i really like that tradition. a lot. after being "long distance" through the beginning of our friendship, dating, and engagement, i cherish getting to be by his side even moreso.)

i'm looking forward to this new year ahead of us.

time to start writing 2014 at the beginning of my journal entries...

Monday, December 30, 2013

cardamom bread.

Cardamom Bread
(via Sharla:)
Sift together:
4 cups flour
2 tbsp yeast 
3-4 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
3 cups milk
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 lukewarm water

Add to the above wet ingredients: 
3 eggs
Beat and add to milk mixture
3-5 cups flour
Add more flour til dough is of good consistency. Let rise 30 minutes to an hour. 
Separate into 4 parts for loaves. Cut each "loaf" portion into pieces for braiding with 3 or 5 parts. Place on cookie sheet and let rise till double. Glaze top of bread with egg wash. Sprinkle white sugar and/or almond slivers over top. 
Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or till done to preference.
Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

thoughts on marriage.

i'm listening to the goo goo dolls right now, around 9:19pm on this fantastic tuesday night on december 10, 2013.
    i had this post in my blogger drafts from an early november day when i needed to rant in a direct way addressing things a few people had told me in the pushy, know-it-all, affirmative style that some have when a 22 year old newlywed like me says we're waiting to have bebes. oh yeah. like you, being just several years older than me, are showing any more happiness or readiness for that season than someone my age.
    anyhow. this is not meant to be a rant anymore, but rather a compilation of my personal, unique loves and paragraphs of gratefulness for the goodness to waiting a little while before stepping into that huge life season. i'm so thankful for all that God is showing us in the quiet and settling and remaking our mindset about life and people and grace.
    onto the main writing, though. i edited it, so be thankful. (lol.)

i really like being married to my best friend. we've been married just a little over 6 months. i'm thankful it's just him and me, having a go at life, figuring things out together, making time for family and hobbies and downtime on his weekends.
    back in the first few months of marriage (when baby fever was the strongest), i took a good look at life and myself and decided i wanted to start and learn something that would be worth it in the end; something i didn't ever really think i could do before --it was an impossible thing, too challenging.
something constructive, good for my health, something i never dreamed i'd take up.
    thus started my journey of running. cousin andrea encouraged me, and now so does kelsey, a fantastic lady i met through blogging.

now, halfway through the first year of being married to my wonderful guy, i'm so glad we didn't choose to start a family quite yet.

i am learning that marriage is something to be cherished, and grown into every day. i have so much free time and energy to place on us and who we are right now. the kinks or frustration that crops up sometimes with different decisions to be made, whether financial or family wise. i know a baby will add to the frustrations and the joys, but right now i'm thankful for this just us time. (i love kids, i love babies. don't get me wrong at all!) we won't be just us again till we're old and getting touched with gray and then, bam, we'll probably have grandkids coming along after that..

i am learning that in marriage, while there is room in this present moment of our particular lives, i have the privilege of stretching into a skills that i never thought i'd acquire.
gaming. i'm slowly turning into a nerd. i love leveling up. i love health and power potions that i find and craft as an elf in The Lord of the Rings: War in the North video game.
    my efforts truly sucked in the first few weeks of trying to game, but he watched as i learned and grew and i gradually adjusted and became less stressed as moving my thumbs on the ps3 controller became easier for my brain to understand.
i'm also super thankful for justin's strong tendency towards story and character-led games, not focusing on numbers and stats and crazy suspense and zombies and guns only. i like his brain and philosophy regarding the whole video game thing. i like it a lot. (any of you who ever meet him and/or get to ask him about video games and all that jazz, you'll know what i mean.)

thus ends my thoughts on this so far.
maybe i'll write another post at the year mark.

my first real post: what i've learned.

they're mesmerizing:
the wet wisps of fog swirling up from my coffee cup --zapped in the microwave because i let it cool earlier on accident; forgot about it...
i've been remembering why i liked ramen noodles when i was a kid. (i know, not the best thing to remember...)

i've been drinking a lot of coffee.
i've been cleaning our house, enjoying weekends with justin, and cleaning the house again when he leaves for work.

i've been sleeping in late with my husband (mostly due to his cray-cray work schedule), enjoying sleep and downtime and life with him.
i've been learning more about the best friend and lover i married, and he's turned out to be more unique, giving, fun, kind, dramatic, grace-filled, and wonderful than i ever knew before.
i've been savoring this season we stepped into a little over six months ago.
i've been thinking about the blogging situation --and the reasons (both imaginary and logical or real) why i should or shouldn't or don't want to or can't.)
i've been wishing for wi-fi over at our little rented house, but instead of spending $50 every month on it quite yet, we're saving for a most-likely-going-to-happen 1st anniversary trip to Portland, Oregon.
i've been beyond excited thinking about it, sketching out mind plans and saving internet links and writing notes in a notebook.

i've been running these past few months; learning to pace myself on the country roads in my pink and grey Merrell's, growing to learn to love the burn in my muscles, growing into a habit, pushing myself past the comfort of speed walking.
i've been taking up handwork in the evenings, fibers in all colors giving the imaginative-creator part of my heart small sparks of joy.
i've learned today that i really like red nail polish and clear coat, my husband's green t-shirt, these $5 noir-wash White House Black Market jeans i found at goodwill the other night with justin, before the sleet and snow hit our southern illinois country road.
i've learned that it feels good to create, it feels good to sit on the kitchen floor with two other women and talk about what we find important and enjoyable, it feels good to savor ordinary moments with the special humans i get to live this life with, whether i see them once a month or once a week.
i've learned that it is highly under-rated to spend time with people who encourage you in your unique life story, people who let you be yourself simply because they accept and love you for the you that you not only can be, but tend to be.
i've found that it's not only easy to let those people in because of the freedom and kindness they give your soul, but it starts to develop in you an ability to encourage and love on them more sincerely.

this is what my life has been comprised of lately.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

kale-sausage-(baked)-potato soup.

this is my view of the foggy, turning-to-fall surroundings from my kitchen window.
a couple weeks ago, i wrote this post.
so yeah. here goes...copy...paste! ;) read on.

i just made the best soup ever.
the soup mood sprung itself on me.
i've been planning on making this soup for the last two weeks. i even bought a nice bag of potatoes last time we were at aldi's, rinsed and cut them and put them in freezer ziplocs because i knew i wouldn't get to it with summer weather trying to come around again one last go here in southern illinois.

fun times, i tell you.

today has been a day of waking up late (a result of staying up late because justin gets home at 11:30 from work on two of his workdays), brewing coffee that i set up last night, drinking said wonderful brew, kissing the husband before he went off to work, and then pulling out journals from 2008 and up, looking for a journal to end in 2011. it's for a project i've been contemplating ever since then.
maybe sometime i'll write more about it.

but more about this soup.
what i used:
  • most of a tube of pork sausage (originally a 16oz tube)
  • half a bag of carrots, sliced
  • 1-2 white onions, diced
  • half a carton of aldi's organic, low-sodium, free range chicken broth (hey, it sounded fantastic, and it was a fantasticer price. so i got it.)
  • two huge handfuls of kale (i buy the big, $2.50-3.00 bag of non-baby kale from wally's, for awesome salads mostly, but yay for it already being a regular in my house now for this recipe too.)
  • 3-5 potatoes worth of halved/diced potatoes
  • 2-4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • half & half
  • salt
  • cajun seasoning
  • olive oil
  • butter

put your potatoes in a pan, drizzle olive oil over them, sprinkle them with salt, and i also used a bit of cajun seasoning to give them more flavor and kick to bake with. put those in the oven and set it to 350 or 400. depending on how much time you have on your hands to wait on them to be done.
bake until they are soft for your fork to go into when you test them.

cook up the sausage in a covered saucepan on medium-high.
i pulled the sausage apart with my fingers first, because i had it in the fridge for the past day or two waiting for the perfect chilly day to make either eggs, a quiche, or this soup with the sausage.
brown the sausage.

next, with a slatted utensil, take sausage out of the pan and put it in a bowl on the side.
dump your diced onions and sliced carrots into the sausage grease. cover, and saute on medium-high for a few minutes until the carrots are turning brighter orange, and the onions get translucent.
throw in your two or three huge handfuls of kale. i know it looks like a lot, but it will wilt and cook down. don't worry.
cover and turn down to medium.

whisk together 2 cups of milk and 1/2 cup of flour.
put a tablespoon or two of butter in your soup pot on medium-high. (watch closely so it doesn't get too dark.)
once it's sizzling, pour your milk/flour mixture in, and whisk till it starts to thicken.
add a little bit more milk to thin it out, but keep whisking.
after it thickens a little bit again, pour in a cup or two of chicken broth. or three. i had half of a 32oz carton left of my chicken broth, and i dumped it all in to up the amount of creamy broth going on.
keep whisking. once it's heated up, pour your onion-carrot-kale-sausage-grease mixture in.
mix it up, and pour maybe a half cup of half & half in.
turn the stove top down to medium-low. (you don't want the soup getting browned, hardened, or burned on the bottom while it heats.)

test a spoonful of the creamy broth part of your soup.
season to taste. add a dash of salt if it needs it.
add cajun seasoning to the soup if you want more than the zip of it on the baked potatoes.

add the sausage to the soup.
when the potatoes are done baking, add them to the soup.
mix it all up.
let it heat on low or medium-low until it's hot enough for your liking.
serve it up, and enjoy!