Oh, hey there May! We have now experienced four months of the year 2020! Can you believe it? Four months, and boy have we experienced a lot! I know this has been a year of loss for many of us, a year of “let downs” shall we say, and basically just a year very different than what we planned. I remember, sitting down at the very beginning of the year, a stack of magazines in hand, along with scissors, glue, and a pack of poster board, and a vision for what I wanted for my 2020 year.
I cut out pictures and words symbolizing vacation goals, home goals, health goals, etc. I carefully arranged each item as I glued them down and hung the finished product on my closet with pride and high hopes for the year.
Five days in January passed where that vision board held all the possibilities for the year. Five. Days. On day six, things took a serious turn in the opposite direction. My husband stepped down from his position at work to take some time to do some personal and family healing. At first glance, my world appeared to have turned upside down, but after a couple months, and plenty of inner work and reflection, I’m seeing our world was actually flipped right-side up. We’ve enjoyed plenty of time together as a family, myself and my husband have done months of intense work with counselors and life coaches, and we are better than we’ve been in a long time – both individually and as a unit. Throw in Covid and stay-home orders that seem never ending (Hey Washington State!), and my vision board now looks like a board of impossibilities. I actually thought for a few weeks that I’d just paste a “2021” over “2020” and use the same board next year. Lol, saves me some work. I then thought, these could just be life goals, and not put a time limit on them. I mean, it is a great idea and a reasonable one at that. However, I kept hearing a small voice in me say no, hold faith, there is still time, and plenty of it. So, every day I look at my 2020 vision board and get a spark of happiness and excitement for what’s to come. And, when I look at it, I see things on it that have happened, even during Covid. We bought a new bed, my goal for a “good morning” where I get to chill out and enjoy my coffee has definitely been happening. Since I don’t have to drive my kids to school, my mornings are real chill. I’ve also been incorporating things such as Bible reading plans or meditation to start the day off in a good mindset, and I’ve recently ordered a new journal from Amazon that you use morning and night to set intentions for the day, write what you’re grateful for, and so on. As soon as that arrives, I’ll be incorporating that into my mornings. Another goal was for family time, and our family has grown closer and spent lots of time together, and I’ve even gotten some intense housework done, like cleaning out and reorganizing my closet (another goal).
In reality, my vision board is coming to pass. I’m just looking forward to the trip to LA and other beaches that I put on there because we all know after the stay-home orders are lifted, we are all out of here.
Anyways, whatever you have been experiencing during this time, don’t let the current situation keep you down. Don’t let the loss of a job, the lack of money, or whatever else be the focal point of your life. There are so many good things that you can look at, new opportunities you didn’t have before because you were always on the grind, so let those be your focus. We are cruising on the same boat, but honestly, I’m loving this time…although I could use a little in-person interaction with friends.
Moving past my reflections over the last four months, let’s look at the recent week or two. My husband and I went down to Carpinito Bros and picked up some flowers to plant in our back yard. We’ve had this big, annoying tree that attracts lots of bees when the flowers bloom, and then pots from the previous renters that didn’t have anything growing in them. I picked up all sorts of flowers, mostly starters, and some geraniums to plant in the pots and I cut that annoying tree/bush down. At one point I thought I had too many flowers, but after planting them all, I want more. We also want to plant some green bushes to add a little life to the area by our deck. It’s a slow work-in-progress, but it’s coming together, and now that I’ve learned how to propagate flowers/bushes, I want to pick up some root hormone and grow some starters from the plants we already have in the front of the house. Save some money, ya know!
I’ve also been doing some baking on the weekends. Last weekend I made conchas. I absolutely love these but didn’t feel like driving downtown to the store to get them, so I ventured out on making my own, and they did not disappoint. I used this recipe because it calls for butter and not oil or shortening. I really wanted to use only butter. I made one change and did the second rise after I put the topping on. That’s how another recipe said to do it and it makes more sense, so you don’t accidentally smash the bread when putting the topping on, like you would if you waited to do it until after the second rise.
This weekend I whipped up some cinnamon rolls. I’ve been planning to do this for weeks, so I figured it was time. I prefer to use rapid-rise or instant yeast to speed up the process, and this recipe calls for exactly that. I doubled the batch, so it took longer than an hour, but I didn’t care. I HIGHLY recommend these and have decided for you that you should make them this week. For a fun twist, I used the second half of the dough to make orange sweet rolls. I greatly reduced the amount of cinnamon in the filling and added fresh orange zest. It smelled amazing. Unfortunately, it appeared that the filling melted out of the rolls as they baked (might have been because I got impatient and put them in the oven as it was preheating, but oh well). Despite the lack of filling, they were still great, and so soft and fluffy inside. I topped the orange zest ones with a frosting of butter, a little cream cheese (half of the traditional cinnamon roll recipe), and plenty of fresh squeezed OJ and more zest. These were my husband’s favorite. Now I’m thinking of other flavor possibilities because why not?!
Those are the big highlights of the past couple of weeks. I do have one smaller thing I wanted to share because I love to share the things I find and think are amazing. So, Skinny Syrups. IF you’re a sugar-free syrup kind of person, then listen up. If not, cover your eyes.
Skinny Syrups can traditionally be found at Home Goods, but since they are closed, that option is out. However, you can order online straight from the Skinny Syrups website. Plus, they usually offer a free bottle of syrup on your first order. WIN!! If you’re missing your lattes, then pick up your fav flavors AND the foam topping they sell. This is life changing if you’re lazy in the morning. They only have a few flavors, but get the vanilla. Trust me. I use this on the days I don’t want to make a latte. I simply brew a cup of coffee with the Keurig, add some milk for cream, and then pump a bunch of the foam topping on top. If I’m feeling fancy, I even drizzle a little caramel syrup on top (that’s not SF). BAM! Fancy drink!
Next, swing on by the fruity flavors on the website and pick up some that sound great to you. We’ve been using these to make slushies (my daughter got a little Frozen themed slushie machine for her bday), and for my personal fav, sparkling beverages. My go-to drink is sparkling water, SF cherry syrup, and some fresh squeezed lime juice. Throw in a slice of lime if you’re feeling fancy. You can also turn this into an “adult” drink by adding vodka, but I don’t like the taste of alcohol, so I go without. Thank me later when you’ve bought all the stuff and tried it.
And that’s our update. We’ve been enjoying the slow life, eating delicious cinnamon rolls, and gardening. Now I need to venture out to a grocery store to restock on some items. Fingers crossed there aren’t lines to get in. Weekends are rough because I always see lines, and I don’t like lines. Wish me luck!