Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pepper, my sweet puppy

Monday, September 24, 2012 I get home from work and Ozzy, my mini Australian shepherd, greets me as I get out of the car.  I'm like great, he dug out of the back yard AGAIN.  He sporadically does this.  He goes right into the house which means he's been out a while and has expended some of his energy.  I go to let Pepper, my wire hair terrier mix, inside and she isn't out there.  Ozzy dug a deep enough hole that she got out, too.  She never crawled out when Ozzy dug out until this week.  I start to panic because she didn't greet me as well at my car.  I talk to some neighbors and walk around the neighborhood.  Then I get in my car, turn onto one of the main roads which is frequently busy with people going WAY too fast and find her, just 2 houses down, dead on the side of the road.  My poor, sweet puppy, Pepper.  We've only had her 2 years and 26 days.  She was about a year the vet estimated when we adopted her.  She was so submissive to everyone and everything.  We lived in an apartment when we first got her.  She loved all the neighbor dogs but she would roll over on to her back regardless of the age or size of the dog she met.  Her buddy was a great dane.  We'd drop her off at my Dad's, now our house, on the weekends to play with Dad's 2 dogs.  She'd be so pooped on the way home that she'd pass out in my lap in the car.  It was so cute!  We got a cat, Rocco, next while in the apartment.  Before Rocco, she had a stuffed rabbit that she would carry all over the apartment with her.  She LOVED Rocco and he LOVED her.  She'd play with him and make all sorts of playful growly noises.  He didn't care when she pulled him by the tail across the wooden floor.  When we bought the house we adopted Ozzy so she'd have a playmate who could go outside with her while we worked.  They would ZOOM all around the backyard, catch squirrels and lizards, roll around on their stash of dead critters to get all smelly, and poke their heads in and out of the cinder block wall (doggy buffet ... or rather critter buffet as there wasn't dogs in it but critters).  Ozzy doesn't care to play fetch.  He'll go get the ball, but his favorite part is playing keep away from Pepper.  She didn't care about the ball, either, she just liked to try and get it from Ozzy.  They'd zoom even more around the back yard while Ozzy deliberately fumbled the ball so Pepper would keep trying for it.  As soon as you'd let her in the house, she'd completely ignore you and make a beeline for Rocco.  The play growling would commence while Rocco flopped on his back and just lapped it up.  Pepper also loved to do the belly crawl across our carpet.  Pepper eventually gained her confidence.  She was such a sweet and pretty doggy.  Our hearts are broken.  I love you, Pepper.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Taking Control: House

I didn't go without as a kid.  My parents are and grandpa was very loving and did their best to make sure I got everything I wanted, within reason of course (still hoping for that pony).  The downside of that was I had a lot of stuff: clothes, toys, stuffed animals, knick knacks, etc.  On top of that, for personal reasons, my Mom was and still is a hoarder.  As I grew up, our house became more and more cluttered with stuff: crafting supplies, sewing supplies, clothes, knick knacks, pictures, antiques, etc.  The older I became and the more cluttered the house became the more it bothered me.  So much was just tucked into a closet which became a whole bedroom which became numerous rented storage sheds.  Most of it was never used.

I fell into a similar routine.  My Mom ran a flea market for a couple years during my high school years which was such a bad thing for people like us.  We bought so much just because it was pretty or cool.  Since graduating high school in 2003 I started renting a storage unit and I have moved 5 times.  Packing and moving your belongings is NOT fun especially when you have SO much stuff.  It's overwhelming.  I am a neat and organized person, away from home, but once I got home from school and/or work I was tired.  I didn't have any motivation to do anything.  That plus a lot of stuff meant a messy house.  I hated it.  I started to completely go through my stuff a couple times a year and donate the items I could part with.  Very, very slowly my hoard got smaller.

I met the love of my life in 2007 and we were married on February 14, 2009.  My 4th move was into an apartment with my husband.  He moved from Canada to marry me and brought only what he could put in his carry on, 1 checked bag, and 1 mailed box yet we moved boxes and boxes of stuff into our 2 bedroom apartment.  I still had so much stuff pre-husband and received a lot of kitchen supplies from our wedding that we only really needed to buy a kitchen table.  Yes, I already had a couch BEFORE college.  It was crammed into my bedroom at my parents house.  When my husband and I moved into our first home together I made a BIG step towards reducing my stuff.  I EMPTIED my storage shed!  What I couldn't part with went into the 2nd bedroom, the rest my parents kept or was donated.  Yes!  I continued to periodically go through all of my stuff.  I found that each time I did, it was easier to part with things.  Repacking everything I wanted to keep and having an empty box left over was SO satisfying!  I love my family and friends but do I really need to keep everything they've ever given me?  NO!  The memory is in my heart not in that vase or bunny figurine.  If the item goes away, the memory doesn't!  Take pictures and/or start a blog/diary if you are afraid of forgetting anything so you don't need the item as a trigger to remember something.

My husband and I bought a 2,000 square foot house in December 2010.  That was my last move (for now).  I am happy to say that I have taken control of my house.  I have drastically reduced what I own and I do not purchase anything without giving it a great deal of thought.  I feel that what I have reduced my belongings down to is what's most important to me and necessities with a little bit of likes and some hobby items.  If there's something we want, it goes on a wish list.  I love Amazon's universal wish list button that I added to our web browser.  I also try to add it to a list on my iPod for when we are not at home (no smartphone here).  We really do not want to re-clutter our house and have decided to try to be as minimalist as we can.  We are by no means hardcore minimalists, but we do try our hardest to get over the OOO THAT'S COOL I WANT IT impulse and wait a while to purchase (if at all).  A lot of things we decide are just not worth it as it won't get used very often although it would be handy during the rare times we would (fancy ice cream scoop? spoon works just fine).

We are currently designing the house we are going to build in the future.  It is going to be 600 square feet with a 160 square foot loft master bedroom.  With that in mind, we've been working even harder to go more minimalist and will be putting a lot of items up on Craig's List soon!  It is SO relieving and refreshing to not be owned by my stuff.  I own them.  Most are just things.  If my house was destroyed for whatever reason, Heaven forbid, I would be OK.  It can't destroy my memories.

Taking control of your house, for most, will likely not be instant.  It took me years.  YOU have to REALLY WANT to for YOURSELF.  Once you want to, then take baby steps.  Go through a box here and there.  Any amount you can sell or donate gets you closer to your goal.  Think before you buy.  Don't buy now.  Put it on a wish list.  Get rid of a couple items to make room for that item.  Is there something you have already that's similar and can do the job?  Is it a convenience, necessity or cool gadget?  Will you get your money's worth out of it?  Don't forget your goal to take control of your house.  Write it down and put notes where you'll see it if you have to.  Thanks for reading and good luck!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Peppermint Patties

  • This recipe was adapted from The Food Lovers Kitchen
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, 1/4 tsp peppermint oil, 1 tsp peppermint oil, 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • Melt chocolate in a small saucepan on low and add 1/4 tsp of peppermint oil
  • In a small bowl, mix melted coconut oil and 1 tsp peppermint oil
  • With clean hands (or unused paint brush), use fingers to paint melted chocolate into candy molds
  • Place the molds in the freezer for 10 minutes
  • Fill molds with mint filling and place in the freezer for an additional 10 minutes
  • Cover tops of with a layer of chocolate and freeze at least 10 minutes or until ready to enjoy
  • I could have made a couple batches of the heart peppermint patties, but instead played around with the remaining mix.  You can see some of the experimentation with my frozen orange things (can't remember what kind of citrus fruit is pictured)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Breakfast Burger

  • Chunk of beef heart diced (pictured) or 1 lamb heart diced, approx 1.5lbs ground beef, 1 sweet onion diced, couple stalks of kale diced, 4 strips of bacon diced, choice of spices.
  • Cook bacon to desired doneness (I like mine chewy).
  • Remove bacon and saute onions.  When onions are almost done add the kale.
  • Remove veggies and brown ground beef and diced hearts.  When almost done add your spices of choice.  We put a good sprinkling of turmeric, garlic powder, pepper, and paprika. About a tsp of salt. Plus a dash of cardamon. 
  • Add veggies, mix well and cook for about a minute so the juices combine.
  • Enjoy!
  • When I eat it by myself for breakfast, I divide it into 5 dishes and add a tbsp of coconut oil.  Each morning I reheat and fry up an egg in some ghee.  If hubby's eating it with me I don't  add the coconut oil until I reheat mine as hubby doesn't like it (although he loves it in his Bulletproof coffee), we split a dish each morning and eat 2 eggs each.  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chocolatey, Fruity, & Creamy Pudding

  • I found this recipe on The Food Lovers' Primal Palate
  • 6oz dark chocolate, 1 can coconut milk, 1 tbsp vanilla extract, 2 eggs
  • Chop up/break apart the chocolate for easier blending. We used this.
  • Add the chocolate, vanilla extract and 2 eggs into the blender and blend until smooth.
  • Heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan until almost boiling (steaming but not bubbling).
  • Add the milk to the blender and blend until smooth.
  • Place your choice of berries on the bottom of 6 6oz ramekin/souffle dishes.  We used frozen mixed berries (raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries).
  • Pour the chocolate mix into the dishes over the berries.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • ENJOY!  This has to be our new favorite treat.  Super yummy, super easy!