Fandango’s Provocative Question #10

I’m trying to participate more in other blogs’ questions and story prompts and I still need to add my part to ‘finish the story’ (hoping to do that today). I’m trying to be more creative and more free-spirited but I’m also the one that loves to watch tutorials, look up how-to’s, reviews, pretty much anything that will help me find a blueprint to what I want to do. With that being said Fandango hosts a question that can help get those wheels turning.

“What is more important to you, doing the right thing or doing things right?”

Well, let’s see here. There are times that it’s easier for me to complete a task even though it’s not the ‘right way.’ It’s Jo’s way. I’m that person that it’s better to do the right thing. It’s easier for people to preach about what’s right or wrong but no one wants to demonstrate what’s right. Also, deciding if an action is ‘right’ can be a hard decision in itself. All of the pros and cons and what-ifs are thought of in a split second to reach a decision. Is it right to give a homeless man holding a sign money or better to bring him food? Do you do anything at all because you see in the news the fraud with the Go-Fund me campaign or the good Samaritan was robbed while trying to help? I think because of when and how I grew up affects my choices a great deal compared to younger people. I’ll help the elderly trying to reach the top shelf and the kid that’s trying to cross the road but traffic won’t stop. But for me, it’s about doing what’s right and I’m learning more about that through the Havamal.

Another Weekend-Another Year

There is something to be said about being productive on a Saturday morning. All week I’m drained by my day job and then come home to get my day to day done. It can be draining. Trying to explain to my husband that physical tiredness is different from mental tiredness. There isn’t any amount of sleep that can help recoup from being mentally tire. I woke up early and decided that I was going to be good to myself and got on the treadmill. I didn’t make it the 30 minutes that I wanted but I did make an effort. I spoiled myself with oatmeal and banana but also took the time to apply for more jobs. I wrote personal cover letters and summaries for each application. Then it was off to fetch groceries and fill the car up ALL before the snow storm system moved in. Once home I completed some of my web development course. It’s amazing how much came back to me after years of not coding. Sunday was my ‘lazy’ day. Since my birthday is today and I have to go to work I laid in bed watching Netflix. I cooked an awesome dinner and watched Christmas shows with my family. I couldn’t have spent an early birthday any better.

Today I will order cookies for a belated birthday treat for my coworkers tomorrow. As much as I would like to forget I’m turning a year older, we do not have a bakery in my town. The business that bakes fresh cookies only does it during the week because they don’t run oven during weekend hours. I’m ok with that. I debated on treating my coworkers but they haven’t really been that awful towards me, it’s management. So today I contemplate opening another Twitter account to accompany my graphic artist portfolio or one for my blog. Happy Monday everyone…let’s kill it!

This is a stippling doodle I did at work on Friday. It felt good to doodle again. I do have to replace my pens and markers because the dogs ‘plucked’ my art bag out of my purse that was sitting on my bed and demolished them. I will slowly replace them a little at a time.

Friday’s Corner

It’s Friday! Made it through another week. I’ve had hardly any work to do but since everything is blocked on the internet I’m left sitting playing solitaire on the computer. I had people express their sympathy for how I’m being treated and that it hasn’t gone unnoticed but that’s not going to change the fact that I’m looking for another job. I had two emails from employers, ‘we are going ahead with our process’ or ‘we feel another candidate would be better suited.’ I’m just hoping that my current employer has given a bad reference. Why would they? I’m bringing my doodle book and some other stuff to keep me occupied.

I wrote a little short story. It’s nothing much but it was enough to get me excited about writing again. Happy Friday!

Corner Watcher

For years she played with Gemma. They were inseparable just as a girl and friend should be. Then her Gemma grew apart having less in common. Gemma sits on a chair in the corner of her friend’s room, watching as she made plans and growing up.
She sat in that corner for years watching her friend grow up into a young woman.
She watched triumphs and trophies, first loves and heartbreaks. She watched fights with her parents and life learned lessons. Through the years Gemma noticed an unknown shadow slowly get closer to her friend’s window. At first, Gemma didn’t think anything of it but grew concerned when she could see that the shadow had human characteristics. She wanted to scream at her once forever friend about the danger lurking outside. One night her friend was woken by the sound of broken glass. Gemma could see the figure was now in the room and her friend was making an escape. Gemma glared the man down as he hurriedly left out the window he broke through. The father came in the room with a 911 operator on the floor, ‘Yes, I think we’ll be able to identify the intruder,’ as he picked up Gemma from her corner chair. As usual, Gemma saw everything sitting in the corner. The triumphs, heartbreaks, plans being made and thanks to the little nanny came, she also saw the intruder.

Give Thanks for Life, Love and Laughter – The Thanksgiving tag

IT’S DONE! I completed a basic online portfolio. Now I just to take the time over the days that I have off and build it up with projects that I can create on my own.

I haven’t participated in one of these in a LONG time and since I’m kind of boycotting work at the moment I thought I would do this. I would like to thank Kristian for this Thanksgiving Tag that was started by My Namaste 365. Now it’s no surprise, according to my children, that I have ruined the holiday with one click of the mouse but they’ll be ok. This is something of a list that kind of get’s my mind off of things and try to focus on the task at hand. I literally drew a blank on most of these 🤔

RULES:
List your thankful ABC.
Add one theme clip art to your post.
Tag 3 people you hope would participate.

  • A- Art, in any form.
  • B- Brushes, as in all sorts of paint brushes for me to paint with (when I steal time).
  • C- Coffee, yup I’m addicted and drink it every day.
  • D- Dogs, if it wasn’t for my dog I would know what to do with myself sometimes.
  • E- Evening time, this is when my family is together the most.
  • F- Frustration-I know weird but if I didn’t get frustrated I wouldn’t set some of my goals.
  • G- Goals, they help me be a better me.
  • H- Havamal…there is so much wisdom in the words.
  • I- Ink, to both use to write and draw.
  • J- Jeans, a good pair can hide a multitude of sins.
  • K- Kids, mine specifically. They are the reason why I push myself.
  • L- Love, learning to love me, others, and to be loved in return.
  • M- Music, sometimes all you need are good tunes to get you through the moment.
  • N- Naps…I’m a mom. I’m happy if the kids get ’em or I do.
  • O- Okaying…pretty much what it sounds like and that’s what I’m doing. And that’s okay.
  • P- Projects. If I don’t have one these planned, in the process of, or just finished I feel off.
  • Q- Quiet, something I need in the mornings to get ready for the day.
  • R- Routine, I am a creature of habit and without some of my routines, I’m not myself.
  • S- Spirituality, I love that I can form my own path in the direction that I’m comfortable with.
  • T- Time, however I use it, I’m glad I have it.
  • U- Uncanny County, this podcast is awesome and lifts my spirits.
  • V- Vices, I have them and without them, I wouldn’t be suitable for public consumption.
  • W- Waffles, without them my son wouldn’t eat breakfast.
  • X- Xendochy…hospitality. I had to look this up. X was difficult.
  • Y- YUMMY food…this brings my family together.
  • Z- Zappers…the electric bug zappers. It’s a southern thing.

Nominations (it’s OK not to participate, I promise):

The Ministry of Shrawley Walks
Bitchin’ in the Kitchen
Lavender and Levity

Happy Birthday Daddy

Today is my father’s birthday. As I get older I now understand how important it was to him for us to just be there. We didn’t have to bring gifts of cake but our presence was what he wanted. It’s what I now want with the kids getting older and having their own lives and things to do. I’m learning to let a lot go and understand that they have to grow even if it means away from me. Tonight I thought we would all go out to dinner for my dad’s birthday and then over the weekend, I’ll work on finding a Scottish or Swedish dessert recipe to take place of his birthday cake, or even better a Scottish cake. If any of my readers have a recipe of Scottish or Swedish origins to share it would be greatly appreciated.

I thought I would try my hand at poetry again but this time kind of honoring my father and my quest to understand what he unknowingly passed down to me.


I Lost Something

I lost something I’ve never known.
Obsolete and unsure,
without the guidance from a living cornerstone.
Often wondering if I belong or even where,
Identifying with no one and solitaire.

I lost something I’ve never known.
Is it there and can it be shown?
Do I ask to learn?
Is this my concern?

I lost something I’ve never known
but promise an oath to learn of seeds sown.
How do I prepare?
I’ll start with some cookware.

Who am I? And what do I eat?

It’s one thing to grow up being proud of a heritage ONLY to learn that there is more to the story. In my quick video, I had mentioned that my father was adopted. My grandmother was a single mother to my father when she met, fell in love with, and married my grandfather who was in the Navy. The family (her side) kept secret the identity of my father’s biological father. So much so that the secret has gone to everyone’s grave. I unknowingly kicked a hornet’s nest (with my mother but that’s for another post) and did the Ancestry DNA test. In the FAQs, it details which parents DNA you may receive. Apparently, I received more of my father’s DNA and who knew that he was Scottish and Swedish?! I also got my mother’s DNA with Norwegian and Irish. I am trying to embrace my heritage both new and old. With my husband learning that he is Norwegian as well I started with recipes from Norway. NORWEGIAN SUCCESS TART (SUKSESSTERTE) and NORWEGIAN BUTTER COOKIES (SERINAKAKER) were my first two actual attempts. I’m so thankful that these two sites posted Norwegian recipes. I was proud of what I was able to accomplish. My original idea was to use my great-great grandmother’s Krumkake iron to make those awesome delicate cone cookies but my mother squashed it. So I searched all over the internet and found these two recipes that would be simple for me to find all the ingredients here in the states.

The tart and the cookies didn’t last long at all and I felt like I was able to own some of my heritage. The tart had no flour! I was shaken, to say the least. I was able to make something so light and filling from just a few ingredients. The excitement happened when it tasted like something I already was familiar with but never had. Bonus-it looked just like the picture. The cookies were a simple cookie that I could easily make from scratch again and again! I know my father and great-great-grandmother would appreciate it. One thing I learned and felt while tasting the little treasures from my oven is the fact that I felt a sense of belonging but also coming from somewhere. I didn’t feel as lost anymore.

The Scottish recipes seem to be my nemesis. I cannot find for the life of me some recipes that are new and exciting to try and make at home. This was an interesting find for me in my DNA and it belongs to my father. He passed away 8 years ago and I would like to make something that helps me feel closer to him and our heritage. Until I am able to get my hands on a recipe or two from Scotland I am going to try my hand at recipes from Sweden…I just have to find them first.

My Plea: I’m asking for help. Anyone with family recipes from Norway, Scotland, or Sweden that they wouldn’t mind me trying to make myself I would greatly appreciate it. Know a friend of a friend whose grandmother LOVES to pass down tradition and wouldn’t mind passing on heritage and the stories that go with I would be grateful. Unfortunately, I do not have those living relative links, family ties, but would like to slowly build my own for my children and myself. I can’t get to see these beautiful countries and experience the culture first hand but I can start to build tradition at home. Please share and ask if there are any recipes.

How I Single-handedly Ruined Thanksgiving Dinner…

At least according to my 16-year-old daughter. (I wanted to start with some journal entries to feel like I’ve caught myself up on my blog so thank you for hanging in there with me) First and foremost…I know my mamaw was rolling over in her grave the minute that I received the confirmation email. Being a southern woman, wife, and mother there are some things that are expected of us and one of those things is cooking a from scratch holiday meal, every holiday,  until the day we die. Before we die we are to also make sure to pass down ANY AND ALL cooking knowledge to the next in line which is learned through cooking every holiday. This year I did something so completely radical that my kids are ready to throw out the ENTIRE Thanksgiving Holiday. It went something like this once I got the kids home from school, dinner started, homework in progress and answering phone calls:

ME (to kids): Announcement Everyone!! (I’m all smiles so they know it’s not bad news)
KIDS (gather in the kitchen)
ME (still smiling): I will not be cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year. (still smiling)
KIDS (uprising officially commencing): OOH WHAT!! Now we have to go to grandma’s and PRETEND to like her food and PRETEND to like her boyfriend. Then have NOTHING for leftovers when we get home! I don’t want to let’s back out!
ME (wishing I had the ability to yell ‘SHIELD WALL’ and have the Vikings to back me up): No No…we’ll have leftovers.
KIDS (uprising paused and puzzled looks): Are we cooking?
ME (Still wanting that shield wall): No one is cooking?
OLDEST DAUGHTER (takes lead with fire in her eyes): Are we not doing Thanksgiving at ALL?!
ME (she is my mini me…I can take her if she rushes me): I ordered Thanksgiving dinner so all we have to do is pick it up, heat and serve the day of.
KIDS (in unison): What!? *Moaning and groaning noises*, its tradition! You ALWAYS cook dinner and WE eat it!
OLDEST DAUGHTER: *Steps forward, Thanksgiving is RUINED! *Stomps off.

This is the basic rundown of the conversation. I didn’t need that shield wall but I did need to explain to them the reasoning behind the break in tradition. Time, my employer only allows one day off for the holiday and I would spend an entire week of prepping, cooking, and clean-up. With the hectic schedules that are in my house, I would be up until midnight or later. Budget is another reason for my decision. I can easily spend $200-300 on all the ingredients needed to make my authentic from scratch southern Thanksgiving dinner but ordering the already made dinner I am spending less than half of what I normally would. BONUS of ordering…unfortunately the place I ordered from is about an hour away. I know you’re thinking why waste time and gas? My husband and I haven’t had a decent night out without the kids. We are treating this as a little date night and the town that we are traveling too has a bunch of shops that we have been meaning to visit.

My oldest girl has been sulking since I told her what was happening. I compromised and agreed to use the china (She has to wash it since I wanted to use paper plates but this will also appease my ancestors). Instead of me running around, exhausted, and irritated with everyone we can have a nice meal and spend the quality time together that we have been missing. My advice to mom’s EVERYWHERE…make it easy for you. Break tradition if you have too. You are not ruining ANYTHING for your children. Looking back they’ll see that you were there and in the moment instead of in the kitchen killing yourself frantically trying to recreate your great grandmother’s recipes.

Image from Cracker Barrel

It’s Happening AGAIN!!!

I’m reading blogs I follow trying to catch up and get inspired knowing I have a busy rest of the week and my mind is shooting in a million different directions. I thought it would be good to take a break here at work and read some of my favorite bloggers. That’s when I noticed it. Creepy blinking on and off of the star that lets the blog author know I liked the post. It wouldn’t stay orange. I’m frustrated…how long have I been reading and liking and that stupid little star wouldn’t do its job?!

So-blog authors and artists…I enjoy what I’m reading 🙂 

PS
GRR to WP.

Experimenting With Curds and Whey

Yesterday after doing all the running around and chores I had made a goal. It started with my husband suggesting that we attend an Asatru Blot this month. Something that was being asked of us was to bring a dish to pass around for the feast. I can do potluck like no has ever potlucked before. It’s a huge southern tradition to get together with friends and family and pass around dishes that make up a HUGE meal. Then I read, ‘dish that has been harvested from either your garden or farmers market. Or meat that you have hunted or fish that you’ve caught for this event. Homemade baked goods from scratch are also welcome.’ Well…shit!

I just did a small experimental garden and even though fruits and vegetables grew there weren’t nearly enough ingredients to make an entire dish. My husband doesn’t hunt or fish so that is out of the question. Then I had an idea and after a little research into what the Norsemen ate I decided on making cheese and bread from scratch then add herbs from my garden. I sought out a dairy and was pretty lucky to find one on the outskirts of my town that sold by the gallon at a decent price. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty intimidated by using raw milk. Am I going to make something that will poison us all? NOPE!

It’s starting to curdle! YAY!

I made sure and set up all my utensils and ingredients for the cheese. Then I got to work. Bring the milk to temperature, worrying about the milk scorching, stirring until I thought my elbow was going to break, and then WOW. Adding the lemon juice made me realize…I can do it! I was so proud that the pot of milk was doing what it was supposed to do. The recipe isn’t mine but what I found helped A LOT! I bounced between several how-to articles and decided on:

  • A gallon of Raw Milk
  • 2 TBSPs of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 TBSPs of apple cider vinegar
  • Salt

Bring to temp and add acid. The method suggested was to turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes. WRONG. REMOVE FROM HEAT COMPLETELY! I added salt at the end when it should have been done during the drying process. But the final product, in the end, was AMAZING.

What to do with Whey? The leftover product from straining the cheese from the milky water is actual whey. I can’t believe people spend so much money to purchase this stuff. I could have sold it but instead, I decided that making Whey Bread would be more beneficial to the blot that we are attending. I wanted to practice ahead of time so I don’t appear so new. I found a recipe and ran to the store while the whey was to warm. This is where I was again intimidated. I make quick breads all the time that doesn’t call for active yeast. I had a HORRIBLE disaster in my younger years making bread and I haven’t used yeast since then…until yesterday.

The recipe told me to add warm whey to the yeast. I panicked and added some whey from a smaller batch that was cooled making it warm. This worked and ta-dah! Happy yeast! Even though the cheese and the bread were high in points…I still counted and ENJOYED what I had made and baked.

The batch of both cheese and bread that I’m going to make I’m going to dried basil from my garden (it wasn’t dry enough yesterday but will be by next week). So I will have made homemade cheese from raw milk (which by the way is from grass-fed cows and Whey bread (not wasting anything) seasoning with basil that I grew in my experimental garden.

Any other ideas for easy homemade cheeses? Hmm…I could make butter.

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