Too Soon

Is it too soon to be thinking about the holidays!? Today’s prompt has me looking ahead to December and winter break. My busy season ends after the first week n December, so I’m thinking Goalielocks and I may fly up to Minnesota for a visit. The Mayor has a showcase in Tampa the following weekend, so I’d like to be back in Florida for that. Once the showcase is over, he’ll be on winter break too.

How do you celebrate holidays?

We celebrate the holidays with family and friends. I bake a lot of cookies some with the boys’ help. If my mom’s in town, we’ll get more ambitious and make lefse. I’d say that a good portion of my weekends leading up to Christmas are filled with baking Christmas cookies for our annual Christmas brunch.

On Christmas Eve, we join Melody’s family for church service, which is an absolute joy. Melly is one of the singers at the church and is so talented. Plus, the sermons are always top-notch. Afterwards, we do a family dinner. Last year, it was at Melly’s folks house. Sometimes we have dinner at my brother’s house with him and his friends. I use friends loosely because family would be a better way to describe his circle.

On Christmas morning, we host a brunch for our family and friends. The centerpiece of which is my caramel rolls and the hubby’s cholesterol bake. Personally, I’m partial to Brandi’s cheesy hash browns. It’s a high-carb, high-calorie meal combined with mimosas, Bellinis and beers served around our commodious dining room table. The food is always as magnificent as the company. Needless to say, there’s no food waste at this brunch.

In years past, we followed brunch up with paintball, but the place closed down a few years ago. It reopened last year under new management, but they don’t have many maps anymore. We may still try to play some paintball this year or even ride the go-karts. It’s nice to do something active after eating your weight in carbs. Our Christmas finishes off with some delicious Chinese food. Anyway, I suppose it’s never too soon to start looking forward to the joy of the holidays.

Frosting fail

Write about your most epic baking or cooking fail.

Today’s prompt is about my most epic baking fail. While I’ve had several, but if I were to pick my most recent one it would be a frosting fail. A couple of weekends ago I decided to make homemade toaster strudel. This was a part of my prednisone-fueled baking fest. I also baked an apple tart, kouign-amann, and short ribs that weekend. It’s no wonder that prednisone makes you gain weight.

The recipe was super simple and easy to make. Yet, I managed to royally screw up the frosting. I mixed everything together and it looked super clumpy. As an aside, frosting should never look like pastry dough. Since it looked so odd, I decided to taste it. It was then I realized I had accidentally grabbed flour instead of powdered sugar. Whoops! So if I may give one piece of advice, label ziplock bags when you put flour or sugar in them.

Another baking fail, and I swear it wasn’t my fault, was when I baked lasagna after Goalielocks’ graduation. My parents were staying with a few weeks, so I decided to make lasagna as it is always a crowd-pleaser. Everything was going well and I put it in the oven. When I checked on it thirty minutes into the baking time, I noticed it wasn’t cooking. That was a fun and expensive puzzle to solve! Ultimately, I was able to cook it in our bottom oven, which was thankfully still operational. Eventually, I got a new oven and I absolutely love it.

I think all bakers and cooks have failed in the kitchen. Often times the failure leads to laughs and second attempts. Some recipes take a lot more practice and refining than others. I, however, find it rewarding to finally master a more difficult bake. It should come as no surprise that I love watching the Great British Bake-off. I often end up baking items I’ve seen on the show. It’s a fun journey that connects me to my mom, my grandma, and all the bakers in my family.

Monday, Monday

“Monday, Monday” damn now I have that Mamas and the Papas song stuck in my head. It’s been a shit day at work, which happens. It’s literally one of the most normal things in a salesperson’s life. Not all days are gonna be easy. Anyway, this is usually a non factor because anyone that works sales knows this axiom to be true except for one person who shall remain nameless. While they shall remain nameless, they shall live in shame and infamy for their ridiculousness. Anyway, time to brush that shit off my shoudlers and move on.

If I seem a bit cranky, it’s because I am. I haven’t slept well since mid August and I need my sleep. The fact that I can’t fall asleep is driving me nuts. I’m hoping since I stopped taking the prednisone yesterday that my sleep pattern will go back to normal. Hopefully, once my sleep goes back to normal everting else falls back into place. This past month has been really tough. I’ve pretty much had to cancel any and every plans I’ve had even when I was in Minny because I wasn’t up for them physically.

Anyway, I didn’t get much accomplished this weekend outside of baking. I did, however, get our bushes fertilized and trimmed. Unfortunately, the skies didn’t open up like I had hoped, but hopefully we get some rain today. Afterwards. the Hubby walked me through his plans for the bedrooms upstairs. Spoiler alert, they’re going to look amazing once he’s through with them. My only feedback was to get the painting and closet organizers done first, so we can maximize the space.

I did two bakes this weekend to keep myself busy since leaving the house was a risky endeavor. The first bake was a homemade toaster strudel. I’ll share the recipe in a later post, but it’s super easy. It’s literally puff pastry, the filling of your choice, and simple frosting. Honestly, this is a recipe I’ll make often when the boys are home. It’s simple, but really tasty. The second bake I made was an attempt at Paul Hollywood’s recipe of Kouign-Amann, which is a magnificent dessert from Brittany. It was a lot more complicated, but very tasty.

Describe your ideal week.

My ideal week is one spent exploring the world with my family. It’s not spent behind a desk or on a couch. I’m looking forward to the week I have planned for Jake and I exploring Utah’s Mighty Five and the surrounding national monuments and state parks. Adventure, hiking and exploring the world is something that I enjoy. I find myself at peace up in the mountains of Utah, so I’m really looking forward to my trip.

Long Weekend

I made the most of my long weekend and I hope you did as well. It was our first Labor Day in well over a decade that hasn’t revolved around a hockey tournament. Admittedly, I felt a bit lost going into the weekend without the hectic run up to the season’s first tournament. I got my fill by following the Mayor’s coaches teams. Nevertheless, it was nice to be home and relaxing instead of running around Orlando.

So true

Saturday we just chilled around the house. I was exhausted from a busy week and not sleeping well due to the prednisone. I did manage to bake a rustic French apple tart to take to the Kennedy’s for dessert. We enjoyed some yummy food courtesy of Sicilian Oven for dinner, followed by a nice swim in the pool. After our swim, we had dessert and played games with Ava. In what must be one of life’s greatest mysteries, the game Hi Ho Cherry-o that features cherry shaped fruit (down to the stem) is an apple picking game. Maybe I was just too sober to play it.

Sunday I made a rum cake and was going to make short ribs, but I was way too tired for it. The rum cake, however, was mighty tasty. It was my first time making a Bundt cake, which was fun. I was worried that cake was going to get to stuck, but it came out beautifully. The rum flavor was apparent, but not overpowering. I used rum I bought in the Turks and Caicos. The rum was beautifully fragrant as I cooked the syrup. I binged season 1 of White Lotus while I baked. We also spoke to all three boys, which was nice. All three are doing great.

Yesterday I binged the Flight Attendant season one while I worked on purging my closet. The preponderance of stuff in said closet, I no longer use. I still, however, am finding it difficult to part with my old work clothes. There could come a time when I need clothes for work that don’t come from Fabletics. I really enjoyed the Flight Attendant. It’s a well written and well acted show. We started season two last night as I baked the short ribs. Prior to starting dinner, I bought some new running shoes! After dinner, I could have used a whatchamacallits or some other chocolate to satisfy my sweet tooth.

What does your ideal home look like?

My ideal home is the one in which I currently live. The only difference is it would be super clean, cleaned by anyone other than me preferably, and full of doggos. I love our current house and wouldn’t want to move out anytime soon. Now that the boys have moved out, we can start fixing it up and making it ours.

In With the New

It’s that special out with the old in with the new time of year. Personally, I can’t wait to wave 2022 goodbye. At the same time, there were definitely some bright spots, 2022 of as an emotional roller coaster punctuated by gut punch after gut punch. Unfortunately, I know I’m not alone in this. 2022 was a rough year for so many people that we know and love. To say I’m looking forward to the hard reset that the new year new you offers would be a vast understatement.

One of the highlights of 2022 was Goalielocks’ graduation from high school. It was fun to take part in all the end-of-year/end-of-high school rituals that go with graduation. My folks and Luke’s dad stayed with us for the week. Unfortunately, my older brother and his family couldn’t make it due to the late scheduling by our school district. Nonetheless, it was a great time to celebrate Goalielocks and an important right of passage.

Second, we went to the Bahamas to celebrate our friend’s 50th birthday. We had one rainy day, which was okay. It gave us a much-needed chance to chill. Goalielocks and TK enjoyed their newfound ability to legally drink and gamble in the Bahamas. Both boys came away with some great memories (albeit some may be fuzzy) and some extra cash courtesy of the casino. They also enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Nobu to celebrate the birthday boy. It was a wonderful trip.

No sooner had we gotten home from the Bahamas when we turned around and headed west. Jake was home!!!!! I can’t even tell you how excited I was to see my boy. It was like the anticipation of first seeing your BMT graduate tuned up to the nth degree. I had hoped he would be home in time for Goalielocks’ graduation, but current events and world leaders had other ideas. Nevertheless, that first post-deployment hug hits differently. I think Jake worried I’d never let him go. But honestly, would you blame me if I didn’t let go?

The boys and I spent ten days out west hiking and getting Jake re-acclimated to live in the US. There were a couple, okay, maybe a few unpleasant surprises awaiting him stateside. The cost of living had soared tremendously while he was overseas. Particularly, gas prices, rent, and food prices were problematic. His post-deployment rent was almost double his pre-deployment rent. It was absolute insanity. As always, we had a blast exploring and hiking Utah.

In August, we took on Arrow as a foster through Justin Bartlett Animal Rescue. As was the case with Anakin, Arrow is another foster failure. We simply fell in love with the adorable puppy and couldn’t bare to see him go. We loved his name, so we left it as Arrow. Athena took to him immediately. Unsurprisingly, Anakin was slow to warm up to the idea of a little brother. I have the feeling that somewhere Maya is getting the last laugh as she watches Arrow harass Athena and Anakin as they harassed her.

Perhaps one of the most exciting wins of 2022 was that I finally lost my thyroid weight. It was quite the battle and took over four years, but I did it. I’m so grateful for my wonderful endocrinologist and primary care doctor, who have both guided me through this Graves’ nightmare compassionately and effectively. Honestly, I’m keeping it a bit broad here as I’ll give into it more in my post tomorrow.

Finally, the holiday season has been fantastic. It was a complete blessing having Jake home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Moreover, I love having my parents here. Anakin, who doesn’t like people coming to the house, finally took to my parents on this trip. In fact, he started to greet them and open the gate for them in the mornings. Of course, the piece de resistance of this holiday season is Jake and Melly’s engagement. I love them dearly as a couple and am so glad she’ll officially be part of the family. Tonight we’ll celebrate the out with the old and in with the new (aka the new year.)

Today’s accountability tracker:

  • Workout: Rest day!
  • Book: The Marriage Game by Alison Weir
  • Blog: almost done
  • Today’s song: Whiskey in the Jar by Metallica Live at Slaine Castle

Holiday Break is Over

My holiday break is over, so I’m back. Well, at least I’m back to blogging. Fortunately, I don’t have to return to my day job until the third of January. While I’ve been off, I’ve been nursing a Christmas cold/allergy misery. Unfortunately, this mean I also had to take a break from running and working out. Thankfully, I was able to go back to working out yesterday. Truth be told, my lungs were not super thrilled with the run. Today’s run went much better.

It’s been so nice having Jake and my folks here. I’ll be so sad when they leave. I’m sure they’ll be sad to leave, the now nice, Florida weather behind to return to the reality of a northern winter. Nonetheless, we experienced a shortened Florida winter from Christmas Eve until yesterday. In fact, Goalielocks even turned on the heat upstairs for one night. To be fair, it was in the 40s, which makes for a mighty cold shower.

Most of Christmas Eve and the days before were filled with baking esculent treats. My mom and the boys baked a couple rounds of mint cookies after I mixed up the dough. While they baked the cookies, I mixed up some joulutorts (Finnish stars cookies) to bake later. I also baked some peppermint patty cookies and rosettes. The rosettes were a pain in the ass to make, so I’m not sure I’ll make them again. We did attempt to make lefse, but there was a mishap in the fridge. I made Prosecco parfaits for Christmas Eve dinner. Lastly, I made my infamous caramel rolls.

I usually make the caramel rolls one time each year. They take a long time and they’re definitely not compliant with any diet. The kids have protested that I should make them more. In fact, it’s been mandated by the family that I make the rolls one more time this holiday season. Consequently, I’ll be baking more yummy caramel rolls on Saturday morning before the holiday break is over.

Today’s accountability tracker:

  • Workout: Ran two miles, walked one. Hamstring Opener Restorative practice via Practyce App.
  • Book: The Marriage Game by Alison Weir
  • Blog: almost done
  • Today’s song: Rock Show by Blink 182

Early Rise

It was not an early rise for me this morning. I’ve gotten into a good rhythm of going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday since last spring. It’s actually an important part of the Calibrate program. Sleep hygiene is an integral part of living a healthy and balanced life. I’m hopeful that I can return into my normal program tomorrow. Truthfully, the late nights that started last Friday have got me off my routine.

One part of my routine that I’ve managed to maintain, despite the late nights and burgeoning cold, is my workout routine. I had such a long hiatus from working out due to my thyroid running hot. Now that I’m able to workout again and gotten back into the routine, I don’t want anything to knock me off my game. Originally I had planned to run a mile, but I was feeling good so I ended up running 1.5 miles and walking a mile. While I was working out, the boys and grandma made cookies.

Before I got to my workout, my mom, Jake and the Mayor and I ran to Target to pick up some goodies. We got lots of supplies for making cookies and pickle roll-ups. Clearly, there will be no shortage of goodies in our house over the next few weeks. I wanted to buy Arrow a cute wooly sweater, but they didn’t have his size. Consequently, I ended up getting him a cute pair of thermal pajamas. Tonight we took the grandparents down to Melly’s house to. meet the great grand birds. And now I’m headed to bed, so I can be ready for an early rise.

Today’s accountability tracker:

  • Workout: Sweat HIIT beginner week 2 full body workout and a 1.5 mile run
  • Book: The Marriage Game by Alison Weir
  • Blog: almost done
  • Today’s song: O Holy Night performed by Celine Dion

Winding Down the Weekend

We’re winding down the weekend with a nice quiet Sunday evening. Fortunately, Comedy Central is running a marathon of The Office tonight, which is the perfect way to relax. I mean, who doesn’t love the antics of Michael Scott and his epic movie Threat Level Midnight. While we watched The Office, Arrow went to the groomer for a bath and haircut. The groomer loves Arrow. Tonight he even picked out his own bow tie.

While the Mayor and I picked up Arrow from the groomer, the hubby started dinner. Tonight’s dinner was steakhouse pork chops with roasted potatoes and broccoli courtesy of HelloFresh. Truly, I enjoy trying new recipes and foods through HelloFresh and Blue Apron. It’s a great way to try new foods without much risk. Moreover, the cost of food through HelloFresh has been cheaper than the prices at the grocery store.

Friday night we had a late high school hockey game. Yesterday we went to Luke’s goddaughter’s birthday party. It was a bit of a last-minute deal, but it was a great time. They catered the party with Park BBQ, which was really good. My friend Hanh makes the most incredible cakes. To be honest, I’m not sure why she doesn’t make cakes full-time. Her cakes are better than any cake you’d find in a bakery. She’s so talented!

I had a blast playing with Ava and her mermaid. We ran around the house for a good hour or two, while everyone else watch the Panthers game or played cards. Fortunately, I was able to distract her long enough that mom could grab a shower. Three is such a fun age, but when you’re the parent of a three-year-old it can be exhausting. Being an aunt, however, is so much fun.

We ended up staying out much later than anticipated. I mean two late days in a row knocks me off my ass. To be fair, I define late at this stage of my life as 10:30. Nonetheless, I’m not great when I deviate from my routine. I think the late nights combined with the weather resulted in the massive sinus headache I’ve had since yesterday. I took some prednisone this afternoon, so hopefully, my sinuses will open up. Originally, I had planned to run two miles today, but the headache sidelined those plans. Consequently, I’m taking an extended break from my running.

Despite the sinus headache, I still managed to have a petty productive morning. I got the pantry and countertops cleaned off this afternoon. The kitchen, less the top of the island, is looking pretty good. My Christmas decorations have been put out. I love my Juleniss, or as we call them here Christmas gnomes. They’re super cute. I still have to decorate the tree and hang the God Jul sign, but I have plenty of time to finish those tasks. And now I’m going to finish winding down the weekend with a nice, steamy shower and a soothing restorative yoga practice. Happy Hanukkah to all our Jewish friends!

High School Hockey

So I have to say, last night’s high school hockey game validated all my misgivings about it. As I shared in an earlier post, the disparity in skill level is stark leading to dangerous situations. After all, these folks are wearing seriously sharp blades and have some good size. The contrast in skillset between teams and players is incredible. Let’s be honest, nobody likes to get blown out. Last night our team had only ten skaters and yet we won 8-0. The score was 8-0 because our boys pulled back in the third. It could have been an absolute bloodbath.

Unfortunately, the opposing team’s players got frustrated as our team pulled away. When hockey players get frustrated, I included, we tend to react violently. All of the sudden, the other team took their hits up a notch, they started swinging their sticks, and no fucks were given when leveling a player from behind. Incredibly, the dangerous play culminated when the other’s team’s defender flipped the Mayor. It was a play straight out of WWE. To be clear, the flip was utterly unnecessary. This defender played the puck and Mayor well.

It was a glaring reminder of why I watch games from the penalty box. There’s nothing productive that comes from me sitting in the stands when something like that happens. Honestly, the only people that need to hear my opinions in this instance are the folks watching my Facebook live. That being said, I sit in the stands instead of working the box for the high school hockey games. Fortunately, the acrobatic hit did not hurt the Mayor. In the end, the referees suspended the opposing player anyways for taking too many penalties in the game.

Enough about the dredge that is high school hockey here. I’ve been quite productive today despite waking up with a sinus headache. While I finished watching Wednesday on Netflix, it’s amazing you should watch it, I made more cinnamon swirl bread. After I finished the bread, I cleaned out the pantry and reorganized it. The Mayor and I made a Sprouts run for a few items and sushi for lunch. Post lunch, I did a wonderful restorative yoga practice via the Practyce app. It was absolutely yummy. Post-yoga, the Mayor ran and got us both some Starbucks. The perfect treat for a rainy afternoon.

I heard today’s song last night while watching Wednesday. It’s a beautiful, haunting version of Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters performed by Apocalyptica. Enjoy!

I’m Back

I’m back after a well-deserved and much-needed hiatus from the blogosphere. Life has been quite busy especially with AEP over the past seven weeks. Since I last blogged, hockey season has been in full swing. Unfortunately, I missed a showcase and Thanksgiving tournament due to AEP. I did miss a couple of league games too. This year the Mayor is playing travel hockey and high school hockey as well. If you know me, you know I think high school hockey here is a complete abomination. The high school league is notorious for its huge disparity in both skill level and application of the rules. Teams have players that should be in learn to play on the bench with AAA and junior hockey players. Due to AEP, I missed most of the games. While I’m not in love with it, my player is having a great time playing with his friends.

It’s not just hockey that has kept me busy these past few months. In August, we started fostering the sweetest little puppy named Arrow. They believed him to be a husky mix. We, however, think he’s a border collie, Australian shepherd, and husky mix. I bought a DNA test, so we’ll see what breed that comes back with. Arrow is an absolute sweetheart, but also full of mischief. He’s quite the character. At eight months, he’s an avid chewer and loves to play with his siblings. Athena and Anakin have adjusted well, but they do tire of getting harassed by a puppy. Surprisingly, Arrow shares many characteristics with our sweet Maya girl, who passed in September of 2021. This, on top of his looks, is also why we think he may have some Australian shepherd in him.

In October, right before AEP, the Mayor and I traveled back to Charlotte for a showcase. He had a great weekend at the rink. This time the weather was absolutely beautiful. When we traveled to Charlotte two years ago, the weather was awful. It was freezing cold and it rained every day. There’s nothing worse than a cold winter rain especially if you’re from South Florida. This trip was great too because our team manager made arrangements for the players to eat at the hotel daily. While the players ate and watched videos, the parents could go enjoy a quiet lunch on their own. It was a really nice trip. Our next hockey trip takes us to Chicago in January.

One of the main reasons for the blogging hiatus was my health. Since joining Calibrate, I’ve lost all the post-RAI thyroid weight. Yay!! It’s been a huge year for reclaiming my health, but it hasn’t come without some hurdles. Since I don’t have a functioning thyroid anymore, I take both Synthroid (T4) and Cytomel (T3) as thyroid hormone replacements. My dose had been quite stable, however, when you lose 40lbs your dose has to change. In May, I found myself hyperthyroid again. Fortunately, my Apple watch allows me to easily track my heart rate. By the end of the month, I was getting high heart rate notifications when I was waking up. Since my heart rate wasn’t behaving, I had to stop working out. My Endo lowered my dose again and within two weeks I was feeling much better. I’m finally back to running and working out, which feels amazing.

As I type this, my oldest is on his way back to Florida for the holidays. I can’t wait to have all three of my boys home for Christmas. Last year Christmas was tough with Jake being down range. To add to the excitement, my parents will be joining us for the holiday as well. My folks haven’t been down for Christmas since 2018, so I’m super excited to have them here. My mom and I will be trying our hand at lefse again along with the smorgasbord of Christmas cookies we love to bake. In all actuality, there will be way more baked goods than necessary in my house over the next three weeks. We will be hosting our annual Christmas brunch, which is always a big hit. We’ve got it down to a science, no need to reinvent the wheel. And just like that, I’m back.