So as a “grown up” I have some wonderful friends and family. I have had the pleasure of joining in a myriad of amazing life events and celebrations with these folks. I am blessed to get to see bridal and baby showers…first birthdays and at this point high school graduations of children that I first met as babies. I love all of this. I have noticed though an odd trend (more through social media than in my own circles) of people really expecting so much from their connections when it comes to these events.
Let me explain myself. If I look at my parents generation and how they celebrated vs. how my own and the one just behind me celebrate life events it seems so different. I mean when a couple got married in the 1970’s the bride had a small shower at usually a family member’s home…and perhaps a bachelorette party at the local bar. When my friends were all getting married it had become the norm to have a weekend in Vegas for the shower or some other destination and then another for the bacherlorette. I always passed on these trips because I just had no reason to spend a ton of money to go to a place that I had no interest in. Baby showers have become big to do’s in hotel banquet rooms or nichy tea houses…and don’t even get me started on what is expected when a baby turns a year old now. I am not judging so much as wondering when did our expectations of friends and family to participate in our lives change so drastically?
I am a very no fuss no muss kind of gal (refer to our wedding blogs for more on that)…and I am still of the mind frame that it is rude to ask people to take their vacations to celebrate my life…and especially to spend money that they work just as hard for as I do. I see a ton of acquaintances on social media really ripping on people for not wanting to travel with them…when did it become a thing to still take massive trips (not once in a lifetime ones mind you) with your friends once you have a home and family? Like I get a guys weekend or a girls weekend here and there…but like expecting your adult friends to spend what may be their family travel budget to celebrate your 27th/ 39th…whatever birthday? I just kind of wonder if as a society we are all trying to be like the cast of E network shows…or do I just not understand?
I for one enjoy sending presents and cards and celebrating old school style…I hope that becomes the trend again in the near future…but I kind of doubt it. Until then I promise all of you that the only “destination” that any of my celebrations will have is my back yard or living room and that you are all welcome and don’t need to bring anything but a smile.
I woke up today like any other…as I was drinking my coffee and thinking about what to take for lunch I looked at my phone. I don’t do this every morning but I had a little extra time. As I scrolled through social media I learned that a “kid” that I went to school with had lost his battle with PTSD. We weren’t friends really, and I can guarantee that I hadn’t seen this “kid” but once since the day we graduated just over 20 years ago. Still I saw the posts and pictures and I had that recognition of a face that I probably had seen every day almost for four years.
As the coffee started working and my eyes as well I began to feel a deep sadness. The sadness for people that were my friends as they mourn the loss of their friend. The sadness that even if we weren’t close a little piece of our whole was gone. The most poignant sadness was for those fighting the silent battle. I saw immediately posts sharing hotline numbers and friends reminding the world to take each day like it may be your last.
I guess I don’t feel comfortable sharing these thoughts on social media…but I do want to share the idea that if you know a person fighting in silence know that they need you. They deeply need you to call, text, email or stop by even if they say they don’t. They need to know that they are not alone even when they feel the sharpest loneliness. You need to know that every person fighting PTSD is an individual…each person gets help in different ways and from different sources- but all of these people need to know that they are not alone. Sharing hotline numbers is good, but I can tell you from being the former significant other of a soldier that they know the numbers…and many do not feel comfortable calling them. The ones that do call those numbers either get a band aid for that moment or even more frustration trying to navigate that system. I don’t know how to fix any of this…I don’t know how to tell anyone else how to fix this…but I do know that every time we lose a person to PTSD that we have ALL lost…we have lost friends, family, heros, strangers…we have lost some of the most deep hearts.
So it has been a while since I last blogged. I thought I would keep it simple and share my favorite recipe for my favorite food. Particularly great if you have a cold. Pho. This recipe is for Shrimp Pho…but really you can sub any meat or meat substitute that you like. Instead of meat you can just add extra veggies…not sure if it would still be Pho…but it would still be tasty.
What exactly is Pho? Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup generally with thinly sliced beef or chicken. There are many variations from region to region from the type of noodles to the flavoring of the broth. The heart of it is the same though no matter what version. A broth with a variety of rice noodle with fresh herbs and a meat.
What you will need:
- 4 ounces of brown rice spaghetti (or any rice noodle you like)
- 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 gloves of garlic (minced)
- 1 fresh jalapeno (minced after removing seeds and membranes)
- 2 green onions/scallions (sliced thin)
- 6 C low sodium and or fat free chicken stock/ broth
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 cup button or baby bella mushrooms (sliced)
- 12 oz shrimp (pre cooked is a super step skipper).
- salt and pepper to taste
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/8 C chopped cilantro (including stems)
- 1 TBS low sodium soy sauce
- 1 TBS Five Spice (often called Chinese spice mix or Chinese Five Spice)
- 1 tsp dried basil
What I generally do is make my broth the day before and store it in the fridge overnight. Not necessary but it makes my life easier.
For the Broth:
In a large pan or dutch oven add olive oil. Add garlic, jalapeno, and green onions. Saute for a few minutes. Pour in chicken stock or broth, fish sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, 5 spice, and basil. Bring to a simmer. Stir in mushrooms (and shrimp if using raw). Remove from heat and add lime juice and cilantro (at this point let it cool and store in an air tight container in the fridge over night if desired).
To assemble the Pho:
For the noodles it is best to follow the instructions on the package. I used Brown Rice spaghetti so I cooked them right before serving the soup…heated up the broth from above and then assembled all of it in each bowl. I like to add fresh basil and cilantro just as we are sitting down to eat, but you can certainly skip it or just have a plate with the fresh herbs on the table so that each person can add what they like.
**If I make the broth the night before I generally do not add the shrimp until I am heating up the broth at the time of serving the Pho. I often buy the precooked ones and put them in the Pho broth straight from the freezer and by the time the noodles are ready and broth is hot- the shrimp are warmed but not over cooked. If you are using raw shrimp you can still add them to the pot the day of…nothing is worse in my book than over cooked seafood.**
So it is that time of year when everyone seems to get sick. I have theories (totally not backed by Science or Medicine at all) as to why we all get so sick right around the first of the year. I think for most of us it has to do with just being plain worn out/down after the holidays. Top that with all of the social settings we are in during the holidays with new people and new germs it makes for a time of year to get sick.
It is no different in my house. Exactly one day after Christmas my husband started feeling icky. I told him to rest. He sort of did…then ended up being sick from Christmas until the week after New Year’s. Now he wasn’t terribly sick that last week- just kind of puny…but for a solid two weeks it was like the plague had hit our home. I tried my hardest to rest and disinfect EVERYTHING – OFTEN. I managed to not get his bug.
Now this week I started to feel icky on Sunday…and snotty…lots of snot..by Tuesday I left work early and skipped all together Wednesday. I slept pretty much for 20 hours straight. I had no fever…but had the chills and sweats. I had a raw nose and basically my body and head felt like I had a cross between the world’s worst hangover and a migraine. My HAIR HURT.
Now during the 4 days (well 3.5 really because part of Sunday I felt fine) of the Killer flu I dosed myself twice with a nasal decongestant then switched to all herbal. I made ginger lemon tea and was religious about drinking it (every time I woke for a few min I drank a cup of the tea and a glass of water). I used essential oils in my bath…I even used a swipe of oregano oil across the tongue once a day (not for the faint of heart- very strong very unpleasant- but effective). Now I feel pretty much like I was never sick.
I titled this killer flu vs. man flu because it amazes my how differently we are all hit by the same or similar bugs and how we all react differently to over the counter meds and natural remedies and what not. I think the real reason why I feel better is that I was getting 10-12 hours of sleep then the day I stayed home I slept around 18 hours. I didn’t check my phone…I didn’t log onto the computer or watch tv…and those little things are why I think I got better in 4 days and hubs took three weeks. What is your favorite home remedy for colds/ flu?
Having a blog around this time of year I have so many things that I think to myself” I should blog that…” then I get home and forget what I was even thinking about blogging…or eating…or wearing…or did I get milk at the store?
I don’t think I am alone in having Holiday Brain. I have decided that it is actually so much more than the holidays that causes this. Of course no matter how simple or small your holidays are there is that preparation factor, depending where you live there is the weather factor, and end of the year stuff for both your home and or job. I feel like I am living on post it note reminders and calendar squacks from my phone.
All that said I ADORE THIS TIME OF YEAR!!! I love all of the holidays. I am thrilled when I am wished a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah, or a Blessed Kwanzaa! I love seeing different people celebrate in different ways. I love that even people who are not exactly friendly any other time of the year say hi or wave. I like to soak it all up and I hope that I spread it around!
I hope that you are all safe and happy and go into the New Year with the best of what we have learned in 2016…and with the best of luck and best wishes for 2017!
I realize now that I have been on here for FIVE YEARS! It seems crazy and amazing to have a blog that sort of measures time in your life. There have been long periods of time that I had nothing to share…or no time to literally even get logged in to share.
I started this blog when my ex was stationed across the country in a military school. It was actually his idea that I should blog some of my craft “things”. I thought it was kind of ridiculous because who would want to see anything that I blogged anyway? I decided that since I could do it for free why not? Life moved on. I looked for ideas to blog about and did. I was teaching some crafting and cooking classes at a community school sponsored by our local state university and the two sort of fueled each other.
Fast forward and the relationship that prompted the blog ended (in a very begining of a romantic comedy kind of way). I didn’t touch the blog for months because I really was focusing on me- on finding new things to love and new experiences to have! I met a wonderful man that would eventually become my husband and after several prompts from friends and family I pseudo- blogged the wedding and prep for it. I did that mainly because after joining a few bridal forums I realized that A LOT of the women on those things are super mean and petty. I thought I could maybe give some ideas- or perspectives that you don’t get on the places that are sponsored by big wedding industry.
I love being able to share happiness and I adore this blog…even though it is sporadic…it is a fun way to track this thing I call LIFE.
Happy Blogging everyone! Happy Life Living!
So we have officially ended Summer, the Wedding, Halloween, Pro Baseball Season, and Autumn was kind of not there at all this year. I am usually super excited about Thanksgiving and decorating for Christmas by this time of year. This year however I am just not feeling it yet. I think it has more to do with us having unseasonably warm weather. It hasn’t felt like Autumn at all…we have had a few cool mornings but for the most part it has been warm. The trees look confused, the lawn still needs cutting…could this be my problem?
I decided that I have to get in the spirit and fast! I love the extra family time and all of the joy that is shared this time of year. I love giving gifts and decorating and especially wrapping gifts in unique ways. I love cooking and baking for a crowd. I am sure most everyone feels that way too. This year however I have to kind of make it my mantra to get motivated and get it done. I am not talking about being fake- but more like the “fake it till you make it” kind of mentality. Going through the motions until the real excitement returns (and I know it will).
So what can you do to “fake your way into the spirit”? I am sure that for every person struggling with my issue there are a number of ways to get yourself there…but here are a few things that I have done so far…and I am starting to slowly feel that beautiful joy that comes with family centered holidays.
- Get my Christmas Cards ready and addressed. (done)
- Gather and try new recipes to either take to holidays or give as gifts. (working on that a few nights a week).
- Clean our closets and other storage areas to accommodate normal house stuff that has to be stored in order to have up things like the Christmas Tree and other Seasonal decor. (taking another load of stuff to the thrift store this weekend).
- Make my list and check it twice. (we have almost all of our birthdays in December so I have to plan ahead with all those gifts).
- Organize gift wrap supplies…see if there is anything I need for specific gifts.
- Get favorite Holiday movies and music out and ready to go. (not listening or watching until after Thanksgiving- but have them all in the same place)
- Look at pictures from past holidays. (beware this can be a bitter sweet task)
- Find a new handmade gift to give. (see picture below of one that I am giving out at Thanksgiving)
I think for myself I want to feel those happy feelings…to have the same fun with the holidays that I always do. I have no real reason not to be in the holiday mood such as a loss of a loved one, or life event like a job loss or something that clearly would impact any time, but especially the holidays. If you have any of those issues and find yourself getting really down- please talk to a friend or family member or professional so that you don’t find yourself in a holiday depression. If you have friends or family that you know may be having a harder time than usual this holiday season, please take the first step- stop by for coffee or invite them over for a visit. Even if they don’t take you up on it, knowing that you are being thought of can really help lift the spirits.
I am giving paper white bulbs to family and friends on Thanksgiving so that if they would like- they can have blooms in time for Christmas or New Year’s. I printed up the insert which I will tie onto the 4oz mason jars with a pretty ribbon. All you do it place about a teaspoon of “pea gravel” in the bottom of the jar, then add the bulb “pointy side up”. Next spoon in enough gravel to keep the bulb in place. Add the ring back to the jar and tighten. I am going to use a glue dot to stick the lid/seal to the bottom of the jar so that if anyone wants to use the jar after forcing the bulbs they won’t need to get a new lid/seal.
Mail order paper white bulbs while they are still available:
(Or check your local home and garden center)