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Cast Iron Brownies with Marshmallows

At the end of my third pregnancy, I commented to another mom my age that all I ever wanted to eat was brownies made with real butter. She reacted like I had said something weird — along the lines of, “What else would you make brownies with?”

I didn’t bother to explain that shortening is frequently used as a substitute, or that box brownies usually call for vegetable oil. I’ve always had a lazy streak when it comes to conversations, and I thought that she was the one who was being weird.

Anyway, after months of craving a variety of foods, the last few weeks of pregnancy always boil down to carbs and fat. Like brownies. Baby needs to come out chubby, you see.

Today, I decided to make cast iron brownies.

I use a normal brownie recipe, then bake it in a preheated cast iron pan soaked in butter for extra deliciousness.

As I was getting the batter mixed together, one of my kids asked, “Can we put marshmallows in it?”

And I thought to myself, “Why not?”

So, I put mini marshmallows on top of the brownies for the last five minutes of baking.

They’re so delicious, I’m certain that I have invented a new type of sin. ^.^

About Me

An arm

I was searching for inkle loom designs when this popped up (yeah, I don’t know how the two are supposed to be related either).

It made me laugh, because as a Millennial, I’ve spent my entire adult life joking about how everything costs an arm, a leg, and your firstborn child.

Gosh I wish I could have been so privileged.

About Me

Coffee

The religion I grew up in didn’t permit drinking coffee. We were often told about how it caused all sorts of ills, ranging from cancer to stained teeth, and everyone who loved Jesus should faithfully refrain from even thinking about the devil’s drink.

After I officially left that religion, coffee was one of the first things I tried. I’m not going to lie though — that first cup was a major disappointment.

Thankfully I ended up married to a man who knew a thing or two about coffee snobbery, and he taught me to think better than chain coffee stores. I’ll just say that we started roasting our own beans over a year ago, and there’s no going back. 🙂

Sometimes I like to sit with my hands cupped around my favorite mug, and wonder what’s supposed to be so evil about starting every morning with coffee. Of all the horrible wrongs in the world, why make a big deal out of something so harmless?

I like the ritual of brewing a cup for my husband and myself every morning, and topping them off with a dollop of heavy cream. I like taking the time to meditate as I transition into starting the day, to get myself into the mindset of being up and about. I like how it gently motivates me, without the jitters and sugar crash that comes from sodas.

So far, my teeth haven’t developed any staining.

And let’s be honest: there was no hope for me before I ever tasted my first drop of coffee.

About Me

The Forbidden Chronicles – 2

Once upon a time, I had a best friend.

We called each other ‘soul sisters’. After she moved out of town, we spent most nights chatting on the phone for three hours and saw each other every weekend we could. We got along like a grassfire in July.

Then I chose marriage, and she chose career.

We tried to keep in touch, but after a few years it began to feel heavily one-sided. I was the one to call and text, while she increasingly spent her days off going out and getting plastered. Everything she said about her job sounded horrifying and stressful, and she began developing a number of health problems in her mid-20s. I tried to convince her to move out of the Big City and start over in a friendlier area, but she felt too invested to follow my advice. More and more time passed between conversations, more and more texts went unanswered, and I gave up trying.

I realized the other day that I haven’t heard anything from her in two years. For all I know, she could be dead.

The dark part is, I don’t want to pick up my phone to find out what’s happened with her.

Because I’d rather not know.

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Inkle Loom Purple Flowers Pattern

I’m making this one for my baby who loves purple.

I dyed the warp cotton yarn myself, which is much softer and less of a strain on my hands than the popular crochet thread that’s in all the crafting stores (I also like it much better for lace crochet for the same reasons).

It’s kind of like magic to watch all of the individual threads come together into a woven pattern.

Maybe in the future, I’ll have to get myself a heddle loom.

About Me

Currently

So … I’m tired.

The last time I had a baby, I took a break from the entire internet. However, since I’ve hardly been around for the last several months anyway, I’ve decided against doing the same thing this time; I’m nicely cloistered from the happenings of the world as it is.

That said, I’m moving into Spring cleaning mode and nesting instincts at the same time — I want to air out the house and prepare for a new baby, and I can only manage so much in the day with a giant parasite growing inside me. XD

On top of that, I already have two birthdays happening inside my “full term” window, so it’s going to be fun. What can I say? I just love chaos. Keeps life interesting.

Even though I’m not officially on break, I’m not going to be around much either. Probably even less than I already have been.

Because I’ve got a lot going on at the moment.

About Me

The Importance of Ritual In Childbirth

I haven’t been writing about this much, but I’m currently in the third trimester with baby #6. I’ve given birth naturally to all of them, with the exception of the first — through an unfortunate turn of events, I got to learn firsthand that epidurals don’t always work with blocking pain, but they’ll still leave you paralyzed from the waist down. Lucky me!

I don’t really fancy myself as having a higher pain tolerance than others. I’m not remotely the sort that peacefully breathes the baby out either. Heck, I firmly believe that anyone who tries to tell you not to scream while giving birth needs to be promptly cut out of your social circle for good. Go ahead and scream, cry, punch the man responsible, and whatever else you have to do to get through it. Just remember: you are strong enough.

In the homebirth community, it’s common to spend time preparing yourself for labor. Women who are more socially-oriented than I am like to hold blessingways. Instead of bringing gifts for the new baby, invited guests bring positive birth stories and affirmations to bolster the expectant mother through labor, and it’s a wonderful way to come together and support each other in sisterhood.

But I don’t do that, ha ha.

I’m pretty high on the introverted scale, so I prefer quiet introspection over parties with henna tattoos. This isn’t the sort of thing that I want to go into while feeling drained from socializing.

For me, making a “costume” for labor is important. I even plan out which color I’m going to paint my toenails, and how I’m going to style my hair, in addition to what I’ll be wearing. That way, instead of feeling like a tired mom who’s first contraction hit while heating up hotdogs for lunch (true story), I can quickly transition myself into a beautiful Goddess in the process of Creation.

Mindset matters.

Rituals are important tools in influencing mindset. They can be as simple as lighting a candle, or as elaborate as you can imagine. The important part is to establish what you are setting out to do.

And when you’re on the verge of popping out a watermelon, having a firm idea of why you’re doing it helps enormously.

About Me

Wind

Windy last night.

It wasn’t destructively strong, but it was the sort of wind that howls and blows ice straight into your bones.

I can’t sleep when it’s windy. I always end up wide awake, listening to every gust, and wondering how long it will take for morning to come. For some reason, I get the mental image of giants outside …

We ended up with the one-year-old in our bed, and the four older children camped out together in one of their bedrooms. The wind bothered them, too.

I couldn’t help but think about how lucky we are, that no one has to be alone when they’re scared.

About Me

Convalescent

We caught another virus, and this one has left me feeling So. Very. Drained.

It’s been pretty bad this winter. We finally got around to checking in with some of the other parents, and apparently, our family has had it comparatively easy. Others have been hit considerably worse with a variety of illnesses, ranging from COVID to pinkeye.

Yikes.

The only thing to do is to surrender to the chaos and take things as they come. And get plenty of sunshine and vitamins.

One of these days I’ll get around to doing something.

About Me

Women’s Fiction

Aye, it’s good,” he said, handing the goblet back. “It’s also double strength. Colum takes it at night because his legs pain him. How much of it have you had?” he asked, eyeing me narrowly.

“Two, no, three glasses,” I said, with some dignity. “Are you implying that I’m intoxicated?”

“No,” he said, brows still raised, “I’m impressed that you’re not. Most folks that drink wi’ Colum are under the table after the second glass.”

-Outlander

I don’t typically read books written specifically for a female audience.

Because they make me feel bad.

Emotionally.

For example, the above quoted scene from Outlander, where the main character holds her liquor better than most men. High five, girl power, etc, etc, etc.

But me, being a real woman in real life, can’t handle booze for the life of me. It’s a bit of a joke between my husband and me, but the one time I attempted to get drunk, I ended up hunched over the toilet pretty quick. I based this scene in The Scion Suit off of my irl experience.

And, of course, the fact that I’m usually pregnant or nursing means that I’m borderline teetotaler anyway.

Back to my point: the female characters in per se “women’s fiction” are completely and thoroughly unrelatable to me.

I don’t have any fantasies about being able to out-drink a man … I don’t understand why one would want to. I don’t want to show anyone up or cut anyone down, because, well, that’s mean. I don’t like hurting people.

I’m not ambitious, and I don’t want to slave away for the sake of some job. I like having the freedom of dressing like a hippie and going to the park on the spur of the moment. I’m terrible at handling external pressure, and numbers never meant much of anything to me.

I like the color pink.

Yet if one were to go off of books, movies, TV, video games, etc, women like me don’t exist. Wow. Fantastic. I feel so accepted.

“Target audience: women” doesn’t include me. In fact, it seems to go out of its way to deliberately exclude me.

Why am I not allowed to read about relatable female characters? Why must I always feel like society is out to punish me for not living up to its expectations? Why am I not allowed to just be myself?

Sometimes I wonder if it’s gotten to the point where most women feel alienated in one way or another.

Or maybe it’s just me.