Im still here!

I know it’s been a while since my last post and I am very sorry about that. I have just had a whole lot going on lately.
To start out, I haven’t had a whole lot of time to do much spinning lately, nor have I had much money for fiber. Because of this I have only spindle spun about an ounce of fiber in the last couple weeks. I haven’t touched my knitting at all, but that has more to do with the fact that I don’t have anything started that I want to work on. I don’t know exactly what I want right now, but definitely not a wool scarf! Lol! I really need something lighter to work on and I have been a little too stressed to work on a super intricate lace pattern. Maybe I need some sock yarn and make some socks. Maybe I should see what sock yarns I have. Hmm. That’s a good thought.
As far as my goal to start cooking and baking from scratch more… Well I made homemade poptarts! They were super delicious and well, super ugly! Lol! Here is where I got the recipe if you are interested: smittenkitchen.com/2010/04/homemade-pop-tarts/ it wasn’t difficult and they really were tasty! I highly suggest them!
On a slightly related topic, my husband is doing so much better, healthwise. This whole go round has been difficult but he’s tough and we are tough together. My husband is older than me by about 15.5 years. I know a lot of people probably think that’s just wrong, but it really works for us. The bad thing, however is the fact that chances are I will outlive him and that is hard. The whole heart attack thing really brought that into perspective for me. I mean I have thought about this from the day we started dating so it’s not like I’ve been in the dark on this or anything. Now it is even more clear to me that no matter what happens, I need to be able to support myself because you never know what’s going to happen.
When we moved to Georgia in September, it took me a month or so to find a job. I started a temporary job for a filtration company. When I completed my assignment in March, I had a hard time finding a new job. There aren’t many jobs around here and the ones that are available tend to want you to have a degree or manufacturing experience. I have neither. I am an office worker. I don’t know how it happened but it did. Anyway it took me 2.5 months to find a job. At first I wasn’t actively looking because we thought we could make ends meet with just Jim working. Yeah, not so much. As long as we didn’t need anything extra and he worked 7 days a week we were ok, but things were stressful. We didn’t always have decent food, maybe just enough for 2 meals a day. So when I finally got a job, things were really looking up. I started working on June 7. One week later on June 14, Jim came home having a heart attack. I got my first pay check the Friday after his heart attack. So basically we had 1 week that we had 2 checks in 3 months. So of course they don’t release him to go back to work right away, or for 3 weeks or that matter so it is just my puny paycheck supporting us and paying for all sorts of other expenses because of this. And then his job didn’t want him to come back. They didn’t say it so many words, but strongly implied it. Then the job hunt began again, only for him this time instead of me. Do now we have the added expense of his meds, no more insurance, we can’t get the VA to do anything or call us, can’t afford gas to get down there to whoop some VA rear, and insurance is pretty much denying the whole thing because of this. I am prettys sure that my stress levels are off the charts right now and I know that his are, which is the last thing he needs right now. I am doing my best to keep Jim calm and all through this and sometimes it works and sometime I end up stressing out and kinda cracking that it adds more stress on him. All of this has motivated me to get ALL of our debt together. I have everything written down and I have a tentative plan to get rid of it all. Some of it is just going to have to wait, some can’t wait (electric bill, rent, ppt on the jeep, etc) but all in all it’s going to be gone soon(ish). If I can just find a second job, we are talking like 2-4 years and if I can’t, probably closer to 7. As depressing as that is, it’s one step closer than we were and I think that’s an important part of stress reduction. I am hoping to get it all under control soon and maybe buy a house in the next couple years.
Besides the destress goal, or maybe in addition to that, I have a goal to get healthy. I am not in the best shape. I am 5’2″ and I am about 60 lbs overweight. I wear most of my weight in my belly, which puts me at a higher risk for diabetes. I have knee pain that I don’t believe is due to my being fat, but I know that the extra strain from that weight makes it worse and I want that gone. I want to be around for my husband forever. I am trying to eat healthier, which honestly isn’t horribly difficult for me. I love veggies. I could eat them for just about every meal. I do enjoy carbs too, which is my downfall, but I don’t mind limiting them, some! I don’t drink soda for the most part. I will occasionally have a sprite if my tummy’s upset, or a orange soda, but that’s pretty much it. I drink my coffee black. I do have a weakness for sweet tea, but even that I rarely have. The problem is I am broke! We eat like college kids because I can eat ramen which is less than a quarter per meal. I hate that veggies are so expensive. I know that compared to most convenience foods they aren’t, but I don’t buy most convenience food either. I do buy frozen veggies a lot because they keep. I don’t have to worry about spending $1.49/lbs on something for it to go bad before I eat it. And I put them in my ramen sometimes. So I could eat a lot better AND a lot worse! But since I can’t change my diet much more than that for now, I have decided to start exercising more. I am not the type of person that sticks with hard workouts. I need to feel the workout, but if I am sore for day, I don’t want to do it again. I really got into walking and jogging and even some running when we lived in AR and had the nice walking trail by our house. It didn’t matter if it was hot or cold, I would go. It helped me relieve stress and clear my head some after my stepson died. It helped me lose some weight (which I gained back when we moved here) and I really enjoyed the “me” time. I wanted to do the Couch to 5K at the time but never managed to keep up with it. I just didn’t have the motivation to do it i think. Now I am motivated. I got an iPhone app the otherday and I have to say that after my first week, I am hooked. I chose to do week one over this week because I am SO out of shape and have had some health issues that have made it difficult so I want to start over. Actually as I am typing this, I am charging my phone so I can go and have music and my app. :0) hopefully I will have many more updates on this in the future.

Hubbys Birthday Surprise Cake!

I am so tremendously proud of myself. Actually it is too early to say that, but I am. I baked a red velvet cake from scratch for my husband for his birthday! Since his birthday isn’t for another 10 minutes and he is still at work and has no clue about the cake, I can’t really say I am proud. Hopefully it turned out tasting ok and I will be able to say it! I haven’t baked a cake from scratch since I was in Jr High in home ec class. I still haven’t totally figured out my oven so the edges may be a tad over done. It turned out looking ok though. I used a recipe I found on the Internet. I googled red velvet cake recipes and it came from a site that came up called southerncooking or something like that. I will try and find it again and link it later.
There was one thing that I really didn’t like about this recipe. It said mix all the dry ingredients together, no problem there, but then mix the eggs and oil into the dry mix and after that mix the rest of the wet ingredients. So I was mixing them into a glorified paste. It reminded me of white gravy (only different colored) and was really hard to get it all to mix. I am not sure if there was a reason for this but if I use the recipe again I am mixing all the wet ingredients at the same time. I also don’t have a decent mixing bowl, which is no fault of the recipe, and ended up with my hands red. Like I said, my oven and I don’t always see eye to eye so I am hoping that it is ok. I also might have added too much sugar. Thinking back, I can’t remember how much I put in there. It may have been the right amount, I just don’t know. The batter tasted awesome! So did the cream cheese frosting (from the same recipe), although in the future I will add the nuts after the cake is frosted. It is really hard to frost with chunks in it.
Thanks to my best friend Jessica’s mom, I now know that the best way to frost a cake is to freeze it a bit first. It was so very helpful. This is the first time I have baked a cake since learning this and I will never go back to my old ways again.
Baking a cake from scratch was truly exciting. I have been on a cooking spree lately. Ok, I haven’t really been cooking so much as I have been facinated by people who do. I really would like to decorate cakes. I also would like to be able to make a big meal for guests that is really impressive. I know that may sound odd, but I want to. I don’t even know anyone here who would appreciate it, unless it was fried chicken. I want to grill veggies, make casseroles, big fancy ethnic meals, and general good meals. I have done pretty well about making meals from nothing since we have had nothing to make anything from. I don’t eat meat, but I want to make pretty cooked meat. My husband has no complaints about that since he is a carnivore! Mostly I want to make meat free meals that would make even meat eaters forget that there’s no meat in the meal.
I guess I should make a little list of recipes I have tried and recipes that I want to try. Why? Because I love lists. Do I need a better reason?

Foods that I have recently tried to cook:
Fried rice- apparently I cook this well despite the fact that I don’t like fried rice.
Cheesy broccoli rice- this was good but I think it could have used more cheese. Using a different kind of rice may have resolved this issue though.
Red velvet cake- up in the air until morning.
Fried jalepeños- amazing. Love love love.
Peanut butter cookies- super quick and easy

There are many other things that I have learned to make throughout the years: vegetarian chili, 4 cheese lasagna, and enchilladas to name a few.

Foods I want to try:
Vegetable lo-mein
Poptarts
Grilled things. What can I say I have never grilled.
Pretty cakes.
Homemade noodles like mom makes
Homemade ravioli
Fancy fondue- who doesn’t like playing with food!
Eggplant parmesan

Again this list could probably go on for miles and miles, but these are some things I want to try sooner rather than later. Suggestions and/or recipes are welcome! I am planning on starting a recipe box soon of my favorite recipes. The more the merrier!