Friday, September 4, 2015

July 2015: In The Shop

I thought it would be fun to include some of what is going on at my "shop" here on the page.  I've been really busy.  So here is July.  Doesn't look like much but considering all I squeezed in with coming back from New Orleans, house stuff, and the boys--pretty cute!

School Teacher Shirt
Disney 2015 shirts with super cute monograms!
"grab-n-go" diaper quick change bags
Custom Pillow Shams to match a quilted throw pillow
Navy Chevron wetbags
Gaint t-shirt and jersey throw quilt with football jersey pillow
black and white chevron minky blanket
wedding monogrammed bridesmaid shirts and mother-of-the bride hankies
mother of the bride hankerchiefs
2015 Disney cruise shirts
mini mouse shirt
Customized Riley Blake diaper bag
Customized Riley Blake diaper bag
Riley Blake burp cloths and receiving blanket in navy, cream, and orange chevron
Riley Blake car seat canopy, diaper bag, burp cloths, and receiving blanket in grey, navy, and orange
Blue personalized seersucker backpack
aqua/teal personalized seersucker backpack
pink personalized princess onesie, four-patch quilt, and shabby rose dress
princess tiara personalized hot pink onesie
shabby rose ruffle dress with personalization

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Gluten Free Gumbo

Gluten Free Gumbo

3/4 cup oil (olive oil, not extra virgin, for corn free)
3/4 cup flour (this is my blend but Bob's has worked well too)
2 onions, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup sliced okra
1 medium whole chicken 
2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 bay leaves
4 Tbsp Worcestershire (for corn free, I have done balsamic vinegar)
1 lb sausage, sliced (optional)
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (optional)

Combine oil and flour in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
Constantly stirring until a dark, fragrant (it should smell like roasting nuts) roux forms; approximately 10-15 minutes. Do not let it burn, but also do not remove until it has obtained a nice rich brown color.  
Add chopped vegetables (the trinity) and sauté until soft. Add garlic and cook an additional 3 minutes. 
Transfer the vegetable and roux mixture to a large stock pot or large crock pot. Add all remaining ingredients except the sausage and shrimp. Cover with water, put the lid on, and allow to cook on low heat for 6-8 hours on the stove; for the crockpot, cook on high for 4 hours and switch to low for an additional 4-6.  
30 minutes before serving add the sausage and shrimp (fresh oysters are good too).

Serve over steamed rice. 

NOTE: I usually save my thanksgiving turkey carcass for gumbo and the bones make the most flavor. Then I would definitely add sausage or additional chicken or protein of your choice. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Coaches Wife, Coaching Life

Season officially started a few weeks ago but last week was the first week of school.  The kids were so terribly last week we barely left the house because I could hardly trust them to function.  Coach wasn't home either and for whatever reason, this season they only have 3 home games and 1 of those is actually a game at Cowboys Stadium (which is cool, but on a Saturday so eats up one of the few days the boys get with him during season).  So I'm ready for them to be back at school and get into our rhythm.

I need a break.  

And I always feel so guilty saying that because I'm fortunate to be home with them right now and it's such a limited amount of time I will be.  It's starting to approach that time where me staying home is not going to work any more and finding a job will be a necessity.  We need the money.  The surgery and the leak in the floor, the resulting flooring repair, all the medical bills, it's killed our savings.  I feel like we are drowning in "we will pay ourselves back" IOU's.  

Business is booming but even working out of the bedroom (so cramped), I am just now turning a profit after having to return the crappy serger and buying my big bernina one.  That left a giant hit in my sewing savings that I am just now on top of following paying for our wonderful NOLA trip and putting Lloyd in Ice Skating this fall (he's been begging for hockey lessons, especially after seeing Inside Out).  All of our extra things come from sewing.  I have had to turn down breakfasts with friends because I can't handle bringing my own food to eat while they talk.  I feel such shame.  

I keep getting so mad about teachers salaries.  Even with Coach working all summer, even with 5 weeks off (3 months is a LIE), he still makes less than minimum wage.  To have such an important job to so many thousands of kids he will see walk through his classroom, to be paid such  a pittance makes me so frustrated the longer we are married.  What profession is so thankless? No raises, no bonuses for a job well done.  No incentives to do better.  If your kids score off the charts, what do they do: not reward you, they take your good classes away and give you remedial classes. What business model would support action like that?  80+ hour work weeks with nothing but complaints and piles of bills to await you at home.

We are blessed, we are.  And the only reason I'm at home still is because we live so frugally, pay cash, and because my mom provided for the kids so amazingly when she died.  We are lucky.  But I really want more.  I want to not worry about finances. I would like a pedicure. I would like to be able to take vacations with my friends. I would like to go visit my sister and her family only 3 hours away (guilty guilty).  I would like to help people I cant afford to help right now because I feel like every dollar that doesn't go towards groceries needs to go back into the bank.  

I hate this.  This season of our life is so hard.  I go through months were I'm basically in denial over our state of finance and try my best to just provide.  I repeatedly do the math on daycare and going back to work and try to reassure myself that we wouldn't be bringing in anything extra. Plus I would still be responsibly for making all the food for the boys still and I would be so drained.  

Lloyd goes to Kindergarten next year and that terrifies me after seeing so many of my allergy momma's struggle with teachers who just  See this epipen? If I can't trust you to respect it, to prevent having to use it, then how can I trust you to foster my child's knowledge in a safe environment?  How?  I don't think I have it in me to home school.  But the closer we get the more I fear we need to look into it.  My mom should have home schooled me multiple times and my education suffered for the poor social and educational situations I was put in.  I will not do that to my boys. Will not, I refuse.  

So now I approach completing my PhD as well.  So much to think about.  So much tumbling around my head.  As I sit here delaying feeding my kids breakfast with grapes, to even type this out.  It's been such a rough few years.  I'm so tired.  I would like a life where we can be in a home that fits our needs, in jobs that pay for the life we want, that my husband who works so hard was paid what he deserves and not stuck coaching a sport for 10 weeks where he is miserable.  Where he can go to grad school.  Where he could one day coach college soccer like he dreams of.  We want want want.  I just need to feel some peace.  I'm over this stress.  

I'll go make vegan, gluten free, corn free, muffins now.  With blueberries.  Because at least I have mastered that.  

Uhg.  If you made it through that, sorry.  I'll post cute stuff later I've been up to in the shop.  It is adorable.