Monday, March 18, 2013

The exodus of the Combe family

So ... I know that I haven't blogged in forever ... but I had good reason ... I wanted to share that I was going on vacation to Texas!!! However ... It couldn't be shared just yet because it was just E and I going alone ... Not just going alone ... But driving alone! So, for safety reasons, we only told our dear friends the Deans, my sister, my in-laws, and of course my parents ... I mean ... You all know me ... I'm an open book ... But R gets a little nervous when I start blurting out that he is away and E and I are home alone ... He told me that I shouldn't talk about driving alone ... And so I have kept mum, and boy has it been hard.

Maybe I can paint a mental picture for you ... There I would sit ... Night after night ... Staring at a blank blog page ... Brimming with news that I was dying to share ... Rocking forward as the words reached all the way to my fingertips ... Quickly rocking backward to prevent them from coming out ... Reeling them back into my gut ... Over and over again this would happen until I would just give up for the night.

This didn't last forever ... I mean this was kind of an impromptu trip ... I have only known about it for a little over two weeks ... But you can imagine that for me ... The one who tells all ... That this felt like a really long time. 

But let me explain.

We all know that R travels for work ... Usually once a month ... But he hasn't for a little while now. R and I knew that another New York trip was in the works ... We just didn't know exactly when ... What was exciting for me was that we had a free flight and it was finally time for me to go with him! I mean ... New York City is like my lifeblood ... Every chance I ever get to even get a glimpse of that city ... Or spend time on Long Island with my family makes my entire year. Enter devastation when the time finally comes and our free ticket still doesn't cover the entire cost ... Hello three hundred extra dollars I don't have ... Goodbye special time with the hubby ... Curse you New Dawn for booking flights only two weeks out. 

Once the anger subsided (don't worry ... I wasn't angry for that long ... It's all good) I started the next stage of the grieving process ... Acceptance (ok ... I don't really know if that's what the next stage of the grieving process ... But that's where I went next) ... I decided that there would be a lot of time in front of movies and a lot of time over at the Deans (even if they didn't know it yet). E and I would be fine ... One week ... No problemo. Then the other boom was lowered. "Oh hey Ryan, I know that we all give you a hard time for how much you miss your wife after only eight hours, but we have decided that not only are we sending you to New York for a week but we are going to send you to Nevada for a week right after that, have fun", why thank you New Dawn, you are the kindest people ever (so ... I really do appreciate Rs employer, I just miss him).

Basically, when I found out that news, here is what ran through my head ... Well ... That sucks ... I hate being a big girl ... What am I going to do for two weeks ... I can't just camp out at the Deans ... The single mom thing is super horrible (like, wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy ... Props to the woman who do it daily) ... Ugh ... This is miserable ... I can't handle him being gone for eight hours much less two weeks ... Hello the deepest depths of h-e-double hockey sticks that I have just entered (this was a literal thought) ... I wish I lived by my parents it might make it easier ... I should just go to Texas (that last part came out as actual words). R said do it ... And so two weeks later here I am ... Texas ... The house of the parents ... Sweating my brains out and still loving it. 

I don't think I knew long enough to get excited ... I mean ... I am a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl, but that is with day to day things ... I don't just get up and leave for weeks at a time without more planning ... Especially when E has school and a recital coming up for ballet ... But I did it ... Just left ... Two weeks notice then gone. It felt good is something I feel like I would have done if I had ever had young and reckless days ... The responsible side of me is going a little crazy ... But nothing compares to the feeling of being with my parents (when I can't be with my hubby). I know it may sound weird for a lot of people ... But that is just me ... I love my family ... I would much rather be with them than friends ... Maybe it's my anxiety and my fam creates a comfortable zone for me ... But even when I had all these friends in high school I still loved being at home ... I know ... I'm a weirdy ... Get over it ... It's just who I am. 

And so we left ... All of us ... It was the exodus of the Combe family. Unfortunately R went in a different direction ... I can't even count how many times the parents have told me they miss R and how it isn't the same without him (what am I guys? Chop liver) ... Either way we will be gone for two weeks ... Making the most of life while life keeps us apart. 

And so from Texas I bid you goodnight my friends!! Have an amazing couple of weeks ... Hopefully I will still be blogging regularly! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Five Year Old Birthday Party!

Ok ... let's be totally honest here ... I have stunk at this whole craft blog thing ... not because my crafts stink ... I know I can rock a glue gun ... ha ... but because when I am doing a craft I get so wrapped up in it that I totally forget to take pictures!

Before you get too excited ... I didn't take pictures while doing these crafts either ... whoops ... but seriously I think that I killed it on the party planning front when it came to Es fifth birthday party! Every decoration was handmade by me ... and if you really want a tutorial I will completely go back and do a tutorial for everything ... Seriously ... I have no problem with that ... just comment with the one you want to see and I will do it for you!

Anyway, as most of you know our dear precious E turned five on Sunday. Since we believe in only doing things that help us think about the Lord on Sunday we had a party for her on Saturday afternoon! Before the whole money sitch happened we and E talked about her party like it was 1999. We couldn't just back out on that now could we? And so invitations went out to all aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, classmates, and schoolmates E has ... enter household of people!

For the kiddos I planned bracelet making, balloon animals (thank you so much grandpa Kirk!), pin the crown on the princess, and some other party games ... when the kiddos got here all they wanted to do was play in Es room ... well ... when grandpa pulled out those balloons they were pretty entranced ... but aside from that tearing the kiddos away from their imagination proved darn near impossible ... I think that is what made this party so easy ... the kids entertained themselves! A few made bracelets ... everyone played pin the crown on the princess ... and they went crazy for the balloons ... other than that there was little interest in anything else! They didn't even feast on the popcorn bar! Hello ... four different kinds of popcorn ... candies to put into them ... and all you want to do use your imagination ... alright then! Just kidding ... if any of you know me and my parenting style I am one of the biggest advocates for using the imagination ... hence why E doesn't watch more than one movie a day ... if she even watches one. I guess all I have to say about it was that the party really was so ridiculously fun! Thank you to all of the friends and family who came and celebrated in our little Es big day ... we love you all ... her birthday would not have been the same without you!

And so ... without further ado ... here are pictures (I am sorry that they are fuzzy ... but you get the idea right)!

The main party room (or so I had hoped), game table on the right, what would become the gift table on the left , and food table in the middle. Tissue paper puffs, hanging balloons, plastic tablecloths ... these are the things that really made this room what it was.

I thought by posting this picture you could get a better view of the food table and how I decorated it ...  Es princess bed mesh hangy thing with tissue paper puff balls hanging in the middle of it. 

Since the party was between lunch and diner we decided to do a popcorn bar ... which also became the take home bag (popcorn ... I didn't get a picture of the gift bags ... but they were just brown paper bags with a flower I made that said thank you on it.) ... types of popcorn movie theater style, kettlecorn, carmel (which I have never made before but it was totally delicious! thanks pinterest) and snickerdoodle (recipe here). Cake will be explained later ... we had ice water for the drink ... I don't think these kids needed any more sugar ... the water happened to be the fastest thing that went!

Last thing I made ... used scrap paper from when I threw my friend a bridal shower ... ended up looking quite good ... it hung over the door that hide our washer and dryer (which just happens to be in the kitchen)! Every birthday party needs a banner ... since I used triangles with the next one you will see ... and since polka dots was an underlying theme ... it only made sense to make this banner round.d

What is a party without a flag banner? Not as good that's what! This one is made of three different colors of canvas glued onto twine ... the canvas was left over from a wreath I made from my sister in law ... I wanted it to be durable because the colors E wanted work perfectly for every valentines day to come ... free valentines decorations anyone? yay! two birds with one stone!
I was super excited that hanging balloons were big this year ... they are so cheap and they are so good at filling a space, pulling a room together, and making it look complete. As you saw I not only did them in the front room but over top of the game and gift tables as well.

E punched out all of these dots ... I thought they would be a cute transition from  the  front room to the back ... only one got knocked down the whole party! These dots are made of those paint sampling cards ... ergo free ... nice right!

Just a random picture to show room transition.

what the kids were doing practically the whole time.

What the adults were doing ... I should have got a picture of the kitchen where the rest of the adults were hiding!

Balloon animals! HUGE success!

Like I said ... HUGE success!

Pin the crown on the princess ... I drew this at maybe midnight the night before ... hence the not so great job ... but it totally worked!

All the party animals!

Singing happy birthday! (cake explained next)

E wanted a unicorn cake ... unfortunately I do not possess that type of skill ... no matter how hard I tried to harness baking over the years ... and so I found this cake on pinterest ... everyone loved it! I loved it too ... but I mean ... it was lopsided ... and I am a perfectionist ... it was on a cookie tray because I don't have a cake stand ... and I am a perfectionist ... the purple care crumbled on the bottom ... and I am a perfectionist. So, in my opinion it could have been better ... but it looked cool ... and I'm over it!
Special thanks go to my father in law who used all of his lung capacity to make more than one balloon animal for each kid; also to my sister who took E earlier in the day shopping which made it easier to finish up the decorations; finally to my dear friend Amanda who I could just look at without saying anything and she automatically knew what she could do to help and jumped up and did it! You are all simply amazing!

I hope you liked seeing this stuff ... remember ... if you want a tutorial let me know!

have a great night my friends ... I love you all!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Skillet

Hey friends!

So this little ditty was something that I found here at the picky palate website. Lets be honest here ... I have been a picky eater my entire life ... even to this day I only eat three forms of meat consistently; Chicken, cow, and occasionally turkey (which has become a lot more often as R and I try to eat healthier) ... the only kind of pork I like is bacon and a ham sandwich every now and again. Basically what I am saying here is that this website has become one of my favorites ... what can I say ... she caters to the picky in me.

I stumbled across this recipe over the summer and have made it a couple of times ... our family loves it! It may not be the healthiest ... picky palate isn't known for it's healthy recipes ... at least ... not to me ... she has some amazing sweet recipes ... like ... to die for. Anyway, I have been meaning to post it ... but I always get too wrapped up in the prep and the eating of this to get a picture! I recently ... last week ... made this for my in-laws so that I could compensate for me being over there all day to make decorations for Es impending birthday ... thank goodness for creative mother in laws who allow me to use their resources ... that's all I have to say. Thank goodness I finally got a picture ... even if it is a terrible picture (and by terrible I mean completely awful ... deal) ... I mean ... this recipe should be shared with the world ... who cares what the picture looks like ... if you want to see pretty pictures go to the picky palate website ... amazing pictures!

The recipe makes a lot ... that is why I chose to make it for the in laws ... There is a lot of prep work. This may be an easier thing to make, but it will take you a while if you do all the prep work at once. It is completely worth it though ... it is cheesy and creamy ... with bacon ... who the heck can resist bacon these days? That's what I thought! So,without any further ado ... here it is:

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Skillet:

1 pkg. turkey bacon
4 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. cheddar cheese
1-2 tbsp. hot sauce
2 c. shredded chicken
4 c. cooked white rice
1 c. cheddar cheese

Cook bacon. Leave all excess fat in pan and set aside. In medium sauce pan melt butter on medium heat. Once butter is melted whisk flour and pepper into it until smooth and bubbly. Slowly whisk in chicken broth. Increase heat whisking continuously until sauce has thickened. Reduce heat to low and stir in 1 and 1/2 c. cheddar cheese. Stir in hot sauce. Simmer then set aside. Rip bacon into bits. In pan where you cooked your bacon combine rice, chicken, bacon bits (about 3/4 of the bacon), and sauce. Top mixture with the cup of cheese and the rest of the bacon bits. Broil for around five minutes.

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as my family does!!

have a great night!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Hello friends!

I know I said I was going to lower the amount of recipes there would be ... but I am not going to abolish them completely! I still love creating new flavors to sing within our mouths ... I won't let a silly little budget stop me from doing that entirely! I plan on doing one to two recipes a week ... hopefully!

So this little number I bring to you tonight is absolutely fabulous! I know that soup season is just about over ... but I just had to post this ... besides ... who doesn't love a good chicken soup when they are sick ... and this one is perfect for that because it is easy and healthy ... win win! If you are looking for a super simple yet awesomely delicious recipe for chicken noodle soup look no further ... this soup may not contain homemade noodles and a lot of veggies ... but the rice and the chicken make it so filling and divine!

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup:

3 c. water
1 can chicken broth (14 ounce)
1 can reduced fat and reduced sodium cream of chicken soup
2/3 c. wild rice
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 c. (aprox. three to four breast) chicken shredded
2 c. fresh chopped spinach

Shred Chicken. In crockpot combine all ingredients except for chicken and spinach. Cook on low for seven to eight hours or on high for three to four and a half hours. Right before serving add chicken and spinach.

Easy right! I told you you'd love it!!!

Have a good night my friends!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hot Topic Monday: I want a baby ... almost

Children ... blessings of the world ... sweet ... innocent ... tender .... love.

Except ... that is not what I really think ... well ... halfway ... maybe I have just been thrust into realism with the entrance of  a four year old into our lives. I think that everyone knows how I really feel about kiddos ... if you don't ... well ... read my blog ... you'll get the idea real quick! However, these feelings have not stopped my womb from calling out to me ... maybe it is because I am twenty-five (ouch ... did I just say that out loud). The bad thing ... well ... I think I have been wanting this little creature for all the wrong reasons.

Before I carry on ... I should clarify for a few people that R and I had talked about this subject before our trip to Texas. Middle of last year ... about a month or two after we got E full time ... we decided that it would be beneficial to the normalcy of our new family to add a baby ... what we forgot to figure into this equation is the mental health of the mother.

Again ... going into my marriage I knew R had a kid ... but that didn't mean that my rose colored glasses weren't on ... I knew the attributes of Rs previous spouse ... but I still thought she would give us three years before signing over her rights ... it took her three months ... at least I got the three part right. I was not ready for kiddos ... everyone knows that I spent the majority of time from the ages of twelve to twenty taking care of other peoples kids ... I babysat ... I worked in daycare's ... I worked in kids clubs ... I worked in preschools ... yea ... I loved kids ... I loved the kids I babysat ... I still wonder how they are doing to this day (facebook stalk some of them ... maybe ... but not in a creepy way). Regardless ... it was that last and final job of taking care of adults with disabilities that threw me over the edge ... I no longer wanted kids ... seriously ... like ... never. That didn't stop me from marrying R ... from raising his daughter ... it has just made it a little more difficult ... we all have our Goliath to face.

But I digress ... we decided to have a baby ... but it was a bad idea. I feel very blessed to have a mother who is no-holds-bar with her feelings ... most people don't understand how our family talks to each other ... but it works for us. With the help of my ever vigilant mother R and I were able to realize that having a baby was not exactly the best idea yet. We chose to have a baby for the benefit of E ... we wanted her to have siblings close to her age so maybe we could all meld better ... and there is nothing wrong with that ... it is ok to do things for the sake of your children ... as long as it won't put you in the psych ward for the duration of her childhood. And so, after much praying, R and I decided that we are going to hold of for a little bit on the child front.

But then something happened ... all of a sudden I craved a dang baby ... I know how difficult they are ... I know that babies don't fix things ... I know that I would struggle just as I do now. I said before that I want a baby for all the wrong reasons ... let me tell you the reasons. I live away from my immediate family ... I miss them ... like crazy ... all the time ... my sister ... my brother ... my parents ... sometimes I miss them all so much it hurts. I have had to sequester myself to my house because E has been having a couple of growing pains ... this means no adult interaction ... it is amazing how my eyeballs are still in my head. E ... although she and I have been getting better ... well ... like I said ... growing pains ... she doesn't like me ... and makes it very apparent ... every time I say something there is a complaint (we have changed her fit chart to promote a good attitude) ... it I had a quarter for the amount of times she has said "I hate you" in the past two months, I would probably be a millionaire (I know that this is not unusual from a teenager ... but remember ... E is only four). I haven't talked to my bff in over a month and a half. R works too much (eight consecutive hours is too much for me ... don't forget ... I am still a newlywed) ... and he travels ... he is now going to NY again ... I was going to go with him ... but it was way too much money (one thousand dollar ticket anyone?).

I know that this was just a jumbled list of reasons ... if it even makes sense that these are reasons at all ... but what it is, is that all of these things boil down to the fact that I am craved for love (Remembering of course that I know that I am dang fabulous ... I mean ... come on ... have you met me ... I know I rock! Believe me when I say I love myself). I know that a babies love is unconditional ... at least ... that is what I have heard ... so I want a baby for the love it brings .... I know my family loves me ... I know R loves me ... heck ... I even know E loves me in her own way ... but when it is not right in front of your face all the time (when the love feeling is overwhelmed with angry hate daggers that fly at you constantly like Chinese death stars) it gets easily forgotten. my thoughts behind having a baby would be to try and remove the death stars ... to bring someone who is going to love me unconditionally all the time and it will be right in front of my face all the time. I am a sensitive person ... sometimes I need this ... especially on the days where there seems to be nothing but dark clouds of hatred encircle me. Wow ... that all sounded really depressing ... I should liken it to that saying that if you say negative things about yourself enough times people start to believe you ... and then eventually you start to believe you ... I think that that is how it feels like ... when you spend all of your time with one person and the feelings that person has towards you are rarely pleasant it would eventually wear on you ... after over a month and a half it has begun to wear on me ... hence the baby notion popped into my head again.

But that is exactly why I should not have a baby ... I mean ... again ... babies don't fix things ... I have to work on me ... on being ok with being me and being the kind of parent I am that makes E not like me so much. I need understand that when having a baby is not like I imagine (as it rarely ever is ... sorry if I burst bubbles).

That is alright though ... I mean ... being a parent is one of the most fulfilling things that anyone can ever do in their lives ... I fully believe that children are angels in our lives ... it is so amazing to watch E grow and change and figure out who she is going to be ... to see that light in her eyes that she carries ... I may not like children at this point in my life ... but I sure do love them ... and I know how important they are in our lives.

I also know how important it is to be ready to have kiddos ... being a mother is giving of yourself one hundred and fifty percent of the time. It is the most unselfish calling you can ever have. You have to be prepared to put that child first at all times (within the bonds of sanity) ... Mothers are angels ... I know this ... because I have an angel mother of my own. I want to be like her ... She loved spending time with us so much that she hated when the summer ended ... she would cry when we had to go back to school ... I know that I am not at this stage yet ... I try so hard to not be relieved when E is at school or at her moms. I want to be a selfless person ... I want to have the ability to put down the phone and to pick up a barbie (not saying I don't do this ... but I would like to do it more often) ... I pray for it ... I strive for it ... I try to be better everyday ... to play just ten extra minutes ... but I am not there yet ... I am absolutely getting there ... but I am not there yet ... be patient with me.

So now you know ... I may have a craving-ish type thing for a baby ... but I know I am not ready for the hard things.

Things to take away:

  1. Babies don't fix things.  This was the main thing that I needed to realize that I am doing by wanting a baby ... by R and I almost trying to have a baby. E is a product of two people trying to fix a broken marriage ... R will always tell you that it made it one hundred times harder. I am a firm believer ... when I get my head out of my own imaginations ... that this is the case. We are a selfish people ... parenthood is unselfish ... completely unselfish ... can you imagine trying to fix something about you without having much time in your own head to even think about yourself? A parent (and this part I do know by experience) is constantly worried and wondering about their child and the life thereof ... there is very little time in my own head to think about me ... therefore how in the heck could I fix me with two of them in my life?
  2. Be ready to have kids before you jump in. I think that that is pretty self explanatory. Just be ready because you have to give up a great deal yourself (I'll say it again ... within the bonds of sanity ... it is important to pamper yourself too) and your time for your children ... if you are not ready for that I fear that resentment may start to grow ... and resentment, no matter who it is geared towards, is an awful thing.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Quarter of a Century

Oh man ... it is finally here ... I am a quarter of a century old ... holy cow ... I seriously can't believe it! Is there such thing as a quarter life crisis? Oh ... yup ... there is ... I just looked it up ... thanks google! Ok ... too dramatic ... Ill take it down a notch.

I actually don't feel very different ... if I don't think about how old I indisputably am ... I know that I am not old ... by any stretch of the imagination ... but I sure feel like it! But really ... I started to feel old as soon as I hit twenty-two. I'm over it.

R was laughing at me ... but this is my new year ... I don't believe in new year resolutions ... but I think I am ready for changes ... nay ... I am craving changes! I am now going to proceed telling the whole entire bloggosphere what I want to change ... or things I want to do with this old age ... maybe that will hold me better accountable.

1 - I want to get in better shape ... I was continuing my losing weight streak up until we got E ... since then I have let it slowly slip ... and since I no longer had a gym pass it has been gone completely ... holy cow ... bad news. Since R and I have had E (I gain weight when I am stressed ... in a monumental way) I have gained fifteen pounds ... fifteen pounds ... do you realize what that looks like on someone of my height and stature ... well ... lets just say I look like a different person! R and I have decided to train first for a 10k to be ran at the end of the summer ... but to do a half marathon at the end of next march with my mom.

2 - I want to stop eating so many sweets! I mean ... everyone already knows that I have the largest sweet tooth around ... I would eat sugar for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I could. When I was a kid I used to grab a big spoon and stuff my mouth full of straight sugar ... whoops ... there's a confession mom and dad ... I mean ... you used to wonder why the floor was sticky ... not all of it got into my mouth. But lately in my old age I have begun to feel a shift ... I want salty things too! I think it really hit me when the blonde lady on this season of Biggest Loser was told that she had toxic levels of sugar in her system ... I think the doc would keel over with how much sugar I probably have in my system! I mean ... I cook healthy meals (I'm super big on that) ... E rarely ever gets anything sugary at our house (and seems ok with it ... maybe she gets loaded up at her moms house ... she did come back today with two boxes of peeps and a sucker [her tongue was even already pink] ... hmmmm) ... but I wish I could say the same for Es parents! R and I love sweets! maybe with this shift I am feeling I can finally kick the addiction.

3 - I want to write a book ... alright ... this is a lifelong goal ... but I think I have had some good ideas lately ... and don't worry ... I actually have very good grammar ... I just like this whole stream of conscious thing that I have going with this blog. 

4 - I want to craft more ... I love crafting ... and my wonderful in-laws got me a saw for my birthday! hello dream! I can also get pallets from them ... uh ... hello dream again! I think that I will start to tap into my creative side again this year ... even if I can't take beautiful pictures with a beautiful new camera ... I can re-teach myself how to paint ... I can do crafts ... I can make a goal to go on Craft Wars!!! Is that show even still on? I totally could have done it ... I mean ... I only saw one episode ... but my ideas were so much better than the contestants ... yes ... I am patting my own back right now.

5 - I want to get in touch with my daughter. This one should be first. E and I are growing together ... but it is rough ... it takes a whole heck of a lot. I want to put in more effort.

6 - I want to be more selfless. I want to be better at giving of my time and talents. Put more effort into getting out of myself and helping others ... maybe I'll finally start putting into action my abuse and addiction recovery center for which I only have have of a business plan written up ... maybe I'll work towards becoming an advocate for those things ... perhaps if I do this then my dream of this place will actually come to fruition. Not only will being selfless be good ... but it will force me to be kinder ... I feel like I have been a little rude lately ... have a bit of a tough exterior ... I think I need to finally shed what is left of the bruises left by the ex and go back to who I was before ... well ... a better version of that person ... being selfless will for sure help with that.

Six should be good right? I mean ... those are some tall orders aren't they? Remember ... they aren't new years resolutions ... they are just things I would like to improve about myself!

Ok friends ... I love you ... thanks for twenty five years full of great stories and good times that you all have provided me with.

Oh! Be ready ... I have already written a hot topic for tomorrow ... and we haven't had one of those in a while!

Goodnight lovelies!