A call to action lends itself to tough conversations

I don’t usually comment on issues such as the ones plaguing our country lately. However, the above image called to me so furiously, I simply have to.

When I watched the video of George Floyd being murdered, my eyes filled with tears. I shook my head, and silently begged for the cop to take his knee of Mr. Floyds neck. Even though I knew the outcome. The headline said it all. But when he cried out “Mama,” my heart imploded. The tears came and didn’t stop. It was my call to action.

I am a white woman from Calais, Maine. The second whitest state in our nation and the 9th whitest city in that state. When I say, I know not of what I speak, that is an understatement. I have no idea how Black people feel right now. I couldn’t begin to fathom. But I do know how I feel. And that feeling compels something in me that I have never experienced with such urgency. I must start speaking up.

I did yesterday. For the first time, with someone I love very much. Someone who I don’t talk about things like this with. Our views differ greatly on most hot button issues. When I called, this person was upset. While it wasn’t about George Floyds death; somehow, the conversation digressed. I remained calm and quiet for a long time. I listened to them go on a diatribe filled with ignorance and hate. And while they were unraveling, I took a moment to plot. Plot the absolute best way to rebuke their sentiments.

Throughout my life I’ve always taken great pride in my ability to connect with people. I don’t know a lot about many things, but I know enough about enough things that I’m able to talk with just about anyone. I’ve always found that speaking to a subject that resonates with someone creates a bond. A lasting connection that will carry through to whatever type of relationship becomes of it. I’ve also found that it may be the best way to have people hear what you’re saying when differences in opinion occur.

So, when they were finished, I told this person that they were one of the most compassionate people I knew. Something I knew they are proud of. But the feelings that they had just expressed didn’t reflect that. I reminded them of the conversation we had the other day about how lucky we were to be born in such a beautiful state. And then I brought them into the present. I said that that when god was handing out straws the day we were born, we drew the long one. We were born white Americans. And if it hadn’t gone in our favor. If we had drawn the short straw. Been born a minority, or in a war-torn country; that I knew they would’ve done whatever it takes for their family to feel safe. To know that they were equal. To not have to live in fear. Things got quiet after that. I don’t know if what I said had an impact. I suspect it did a little. But I do know that I will continue to speak up. To whomever may be challenging me.

With all that being said; the most difficult conversation I had, was the one with myself. Telling myself that it was time to start talking. That being silent and not standing up for what was right was just as bad as the racist population. As I mentioned at the beginning, I don’t talk about these sorts of things often. And that is simply because of ignorance on my part. I worry that the words I use to articulate these thoughts and feelings may not be right or respectful. I do not know any black people well. And I am ashamed of that. If you are a POC and are reading this; I truly welcome any and all feedback. More than anything these events have taught me that I need to educate myself better. Please feel free to reach out to me in any way.

Premonition or Déjà Vu?

Get out your wellies boys and girls.  This one is gonna get a little deep. 

I believe that most everything happens for a reason.  I think that we are all heading towards a sort of incredibly vague predetermined destiny.  Some people may find that comforting, others perhaps not.  I’m indifferent.  But it does play into this theory of mine quite nicely.

Most people have experienced Deja Vu at some point in their lives.  It’s a fairly common phenomenon. But I seem to have it regularly.  Maybe once or twice every couple of weeks.  Only, I’m not certain that’s what I’d consider it really.  When this experience occurs I dont have the feeling that I have been in that exact space before.  It’s not about space for me.  It is about the lighting, the smells, the sounds, the people, the entire experience in that split second. It’s not something happening “again”. Instead it’s something I had, at some point, dreamt of happening. A premonition. 

When these moments happen, I relish them. I close my eyes and will it to last longer.  This sudden and fleeting sense is what I like to think of as a “checkpoint”.  It’s a little blip in time that confirms I’ve made the right choices.  I’m on the right path. That all my stars are aligning just so. And I find that astoundingly comforting.

I had a “checkpoint” moment yesterday.  I had just gotten home from work.  My baby was in his walker and we were in the kitchen.  He and I have been in those exact spots countless times. But yesterday was different.  The familiar and exciting feeling came over me like a wave. I closed my eyes for a moment. Then looked at my son and smiled.  Believing that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be is one the most gratifying sensations there is.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread


My news feed has been filled with things about “Self-Care” lately.  Now, admittedly I’m not the most open-minded person I know.  But, it just seemed so ridiculous for a new mom to concern herself with any sort of “Self-Care”.  “How selfish”, I thought.

We had a rough week last week with the baby being sick.  It’s totally thrown his whole sleeping schedule out of whack.  He wakes up very early, doesn’t like to nap, and gets bored easily.  I have been exhausted to a point that I’ve never felt before. My husband asked me last night if I wanted him to take the baby to daycare in the morning. I hesitated, and then said yes. I immediately felt guilty.  I had to work the closing shift today. I went in at 4 and didn’t get home until 2am. I knew I needed sleep but it didn’t matter.  Guilt of a parent is palpable at times.

As my husband pulled out of the driveway this morning, our son in the backseat, I almost ran after him.  I didn’t want the baby to go to daycare. I missed him the second they were out the door. But he needed to.  For all of us.

I had a list a mile long of things that needed to be done today.  Clothes put away, closets cleaned out, carpets washed. Yada, yada, yada. I didn’t get the carpets washed.  That’s on the docket for tomorrow.  Instead I did something I love.  Something I’ve been wanting to do but haven’t had the energy or time in several months.  I tried a new recipe and made something from scratch.

Hello Self-Care

It came out of the oven looking like absolute perfection.  And all was right in the world. It centered me, inspired me, excited me.  I guess this whole Self-Care stuff isn’t such bologna after all.

Tomorrow I’m going to buy a book. Maybe a new cookbook. Reading is another thing I love that I haven’t taken the time to do. And if that isn’t the epitome of optimism for a new mom, well then, I don’t know what is.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 pinch Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Canola oil
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, plain
  • 1 cup Shredded Zucchini
  • 1 Egg

Recipe:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Butter and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan and set aside.
  • In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, both sugars, greek yogurt and vanilla extract until combined.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold gently. Do not over mix.
  • Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 20 minutes.
  • Take the loaf out of the pan and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.

If any of you would like to share how you “Self-Care”, I’d love to read it.  Or if you have a good book to recommend, I’m all ears.  Well… Eyes.

Find the original recipe here!

No Churn Homemade Maine Blueberry Ice Cream

When I was wracking my brain trying to come up with blueberry recipes, I remembered making ice cream in a bag back in my 10th grade biology class.  Unfotunately, that may have been the only thing that stuck with me from that class. But,  I thought that the recipe was would be  perfect to share here.  Now, the recipe itself is easy, but you may want to skip arm day at the gym before making this.  You are about to get one hell of a workout.

Ingredients:

2 Cups half and half

4 Tbs sugar

1 Tsp vanilla extract

2 cups of blueberries

You will also need:

Ice

1/2 Cup kosher salt

1 Gallon size Ziplock bag

Several plastic shopping bags.

Instructions:

Fill one of the shopping bags about half way with ice.  Keep in mind, it’s going to leak so I highly recommend double or triple bagging it.  Pour the kosher salt over the ice and let sit while making the ice cream mixture.  In a food processor, pour in the half and half, blueberries, sugar and vanilla and mix on high for a few minutes.  Pour mixture into ziplock bag and seal tightly.  Place the ziplock bag into the shopping bag with ice.  Shake for 10 minutes.  You’re arms will get tired, and time will go by slow, and you’ll worry that you did something wrong when it doesn’t harden.  Keep shaking.  I found that tying the shopping bag and rolling it on a table worked well too.  Once you feel the consistency get harder, pour mixture in a freezer safe container.  And there ya have it. Enjoy!

 

 

Blueberry Lemon Freezer Jam

When we found the blueberry bushes in our yard, my mind immediately started racing.  I don’t really care for the texture of most fruits, blueberries included. So I needed to be a little creative in what I made out of them.  My first thought was jam.  I had already been on a toast and jam kick for a while, so it was perfect.

A few months ago, my grandfather spent some time at our house.  In the morning, I would ask him what he’d like for breakfast.  It was always the same thing, toast with jam and coffee.  Normally, at home, he’d tell me, he would only have one piece.  But, since he was at our house, he’d have two pieces of toast. I don’t know what it is about our house.  Maybe because it’s a few hours away from his, he felt like he was on vacation?  He wanted to let loose a little bit. I know when I’m on vacation I usually eat more than I do normally. Anyways,  because of that, a breakfast of two pieces of toast is now known as the Bampie Special at our house.

I have never made jam.  Initially, the process seemed daunting. Just the set up alone was intense.  I knew there had to be an easier way.  I just had to find it.  And luckily, I did.  It’s called Freezer jam. It’s delicious.  And this is how I made it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups blueberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  •  Half a lemon
  • 1 package of fruit pectin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6, 8oz ball mason jars

In a bowl, combined blueberries, sugar and juice from the halved lemon.  Use a potato masher to smush (that’s very technical kitchen lingo) the ingredients together.  Once sufficiently smushed, let sit for 15 minutes.  While that’s doing it’s thing, pour water and pectin packet in a small sauce pot and heat to boiling while stirring constantly.  Boil and stir mixture for 1 minute.  Combined the pectin mixture with the blueberries and stir constantly for 3 minutes.

Pour into mason jars and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours or until the mixture has set.  Then, put in freezer for up to 6 months.

 

Also, I bet this mixture would be amazing in a homemade pop-tart.  Check out my homemade Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tart recipe to get started.  Just put this blueberry lemon jam inside instead of the brown sugar cinnamon mixture.  And instead of adding cinnamon to the icing, use lemon zest.  Man, I’m already super excited to try this out later this week.  If anyone makes either of these recipes, I would love to hear how they turned out!

 

 

 

 

Foraging Our Little Lot of Land

I found some blueberry bushes on our property a few weeks ago. We only have 2 acres.  But those two are filled with apple trees, blackberry bushes, a pear tree and several blueberry bushes. Most of which we didn’t know about before we bought the house.

A few weeks ago, when we found the blueberries, we had already missed out on the first round to ripen. Hundreds of blueberries littered the ground.  But that didn’t matter much. Our first haul garnered six and a half pounds of some of the biggest blueberries I have ever seen.
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I don’t even really like blueberries. I mean, they’re alright.  But finding them, picking them and cleaning them has brought something out in me that I didn’t know was there.  A foragers instinct that I’ve never explored.  Every few days I’ll go and survey the land.  I’ll take my colander just in case anything is ready to be picked.  I’ll stop by my pear tree, check on the one pear that still hangs.  At one time there were 2 pears on it, but something got one of them.  After I confirm that the pear, is in fact, still in the tree, I move on to the blueberry bushes.  I pick what I can.  Trying to contain my excitement at the bounty so as to not pick any before they’re ready.

Next, I move on the apple trees.  When we did our home inspection before we bought it last year, our inspector was pretty impressed by how old the trees appeared to be. Upon inspection of the apples, some research, and a professionals opinion we have concluded that these are Baldwin apples.  One of the oldest types of apples there is.  First introduced to Maine in the late 1700’s.  They are great for making pies, apple sauce, and cider. A couple of friends came over for dinner the other night and they tried some of the apples. The smaller one they tried was still tart, but the bigger one was sweet.  They should be great for baking.

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I told my husband the other day that I wanted to be a farmer.  He looked concerned.  I assured him that I meant as a hobby, not a profession.   We are going to work our way up to getting some chickens next spring, I think.  In the meantime, I wanted to make sure I could keep something alive, other than humans and dogs.  So I started a herb garden.  So far so good.  Much better than my succulent garden last year.

 

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As the weather changes and fall creeps in, the thought of all the baking and cooking possibilities with these provisions gets me even more excited for fall than I usually am.  I’ve already tried out a few recipes that I’m excited to share here soon.  So keep your eyes peeled for:

  • Blueberry Lemon Freezer Jam
  • Homemade No-Churn Blueberry Ice Cream
  • Tomato Basil Bisque

More will be added as soon as the apples ripen.

 

 

A Place For Maine Writers, Bloggers and Photographers

 

Hi there! My name is Darci and am still fairly new to blogging.  I noticed that there aren’t any FB groups dedicated to bloggers in Maine.  I thought this would be a great place to first connect, and see if there may be in interested in joining one.  If there is, than I’d be very happy to get one going.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or would like to be involved. Just comment below!

 

Thanks!

Turkey Meatloaf with Meme’s Meatloaf Sauce

Growing up, I didn’t care much for meatloaf, but it was a staple dish at our house.  We were the quintessential downeast Mainer, meat and potatoes kind of family.

Now, my house consists of me, my husband and my 28-year-old brother.  Most nights the decision as to what to have for dinner falls on my shoulders.  It’s my cross to bear.  My husband will happily eat most anything.  My brother is far more picky.  I’ve made turkey meatloaf a few times,  and he was having no part of it.  But he had a suggestion.  “Why don’t you make it like Meme does?”

I had no idea how my grandmother made her meatloaf.  I mean, how many ways is there to make it really?  I asked J.J how Meme made it.  He wasn’t sure either.  The only thing he knew for certain was that it came with some type of tomato based sauce.

So the other night, I called my Meme.  I told her I was going to make her meatloaf, and needed go over the recipe with her.  When I told her that I was going to make it with ground turkey instead of ground beef, you could sense the hesitation.  She was trying to be so nice. She said “Uh, well Darci, I just don’t know how that will turn out”. And  ” You can’t put tomato sauce with turkey!” I assured her that it would be fine.  I also had to give J.J. a pep talk. I told him that it would be fine.  He agreed to try it, and voila, he ate it all.  I win.

So here’s what I did:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together 1 lb Lean Ground Turkey, 1 egg, 1/2 a large chopped green pepper, 1/2 an onion finely chopped, and 5 or 6 ritz crackers.  Put mixture in a loaf pan and put it in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour.

When it’s done, lift the meatloaf out of the pan and put the pan on a burner and turn it on low.  Add a can of Tomato soup, half a cup of chicken stock, and a couple of tablespoons of wondra to thicken.  Heat the mixture until it starts to simmer.  If the consistency seems too watery, add more wondra until it thickens.  Once it’s the right consistency, I pour it into a gravy boat so everyone can serve themselves at the table.

So that’s that. But now, I’m curious… What was a staple dish at your house growing up?  Have you revamped it or changed it now that you’re the one cooking it?

Why Lularoe? Why now? My “Why”.

 

When you sign on to be a Lularoe Consultant, they ask you to create your “Why”.  Your reasoning for signing up with the company.  It’s not just about selling clothes, or their amazing leggings.  It could be, they are that good. It’s about so much more.  They are a company who motivate and inspire people to work hard and achieve their goals.  They built their brand with ethical business practices at the forefront,  a unique plan for customer engagement, and a beautiful product. So, this is my “why”.

The Backstory

A few months ago, I started to get bogged down a little.  I felt like I was starting to drown. One morning I was reading the news and came across a story about recurring dreams.  The most common one is where you feel like you’re falling.  I had recently started having this dream almost nightly.  The article said that usually means that you feel like you’ve lost control. And it was right, I had.  There was so much going on at home, with my brother, professionally, financially.  It was overwhelming.  I didn’t feel like any one person or thing or task was getting  100% of what they deserved or needed.   I was keeping a running tally in my head of who I had disappointed.  J.J. wanted to go to the store one night, but the dog was sick so I couldn’t take him.  I told him we’d go the next night.  The next night, something came up with Kruno, and he needed something.  But I had already disappointed J.J. the day before so I couldn’t do that two days in a row to him, so that night I had to disappoint Kruno.  My work suffered, my relationships, my health.  One of the biggest reasons we moved home was because of my health.  I was stressed to the max in Colorado.  I was having migraines almost every day.  I had lost feeling in my left arm and leg, and I had a 1.3 cm cyst in the middle of my brain.  Stress does very strange things to the body.  And some of the same symptoms had started happening again. I had to regain control, prioritize, and just get my shit together in general.

 What I realized

As things started to fall into place, and the stress was subsiding, I started to wonder about these episodes.  They seem to come on during times when I was in, what I consider to be, a mild state of depression.  I was down and out, unhappy, a real negative nancy.  In going along with my New Year post, that simply wasn’t going to do anymore.  I desperately wanted to change.  My outlook. My situation.  In order to do that, I had to do some serious soul-searching.  This is my theory:

I decided to take on a second job…  I know, it sounds crazy.  I’m sure most people would think that taking on additional projects or business ventures would be counterproductive.  Hear me out. While I enjoy my lovely little life.  I am truly blessed in all aspects of it.  There does seem to be something missing. It’s hard to put into words exactly what it is.  It’s lacking a little creativity, a bit of a social aspect, a desire to be in control (to a certain degree) of my future and success. I don’t feel completely fulfilled.  And I really really want to be, or at least know I’m working towards it.  Think of your life as a set of gears.  Lots of them, but all different sizes. Some big some small, remove one and everything after that one, will stop. And the end result will never be realized the way it was meant to be if all the gears were there. And maybe that missing gear is an aspect that you unknowingly long for, and just didn’t realize until now. For me, I think  that gear is something that brings a sense of accomplishment and confidence.  And it only took me 33 years to realize how important these things are both professionally and personally.

The Plan

Kruno and I want to be business owners.  We both have an entrepreneurial spirit.  We want something of our own.  Where we get out exactly what we put in.  We don’t expect to quit our jobs and start a business, have it be a success and make six figures tomorrow. But we wanted something to work towards.  We’ve tossed around business ideas for months.  There was always something that held us up.  Not enough time, or space, but mostly money.  It takes a lot to start a business.  But, what we’ve come to realize recently, is there will, most likely, never be the “right” time or specific conditions, for anything.  And if, by chance there is, you only realize it was perfect after its passed. I think this is true for most everything.  I probably shouldn’t be giving advice so early in the game, but at this point, I say if there’s something you want, or feel like you’re missing in life, get after it! (responsibly, of course)  You want to go on a trip?  Book it.  Want to start a new career?  Make the leap.  Want to adopt a child?  Do it.  I am a firm believer of the “everything happens for a reason” theory.  I think this opportunity came along at exactly the “right” wrong time for us.  It’s a wonderful company with a product I believe in.  I think this will give me the exact gear that I’ve been missing my whole life.   And Kruno and I couldn’t be more excited.

When a flower doesn’t bloom you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.                                          – Alexander den Heijer