Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I could wait until New Years Eve to say this...but it's on my mind so you get it now:

This was a very tough year. It's horrible to know that I'll always remember 2011 as the year we lost my nephew. Life will never be the same. Because of this... 

I will not take life for granted. I will speak fiercely. I will get back in shape. I will remember that I deserve to be happy. 

It was also a tough year financially. This year I want to learn to cut back and live more simply so when things go wrong like they do, I can "pull myself up by my bootstraps" and go on.

OH! Also I swear this is the year that I am finally not going to worry so much about what other people think of me.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Six Feet Under...

I recently did a basic marathon through an HBO series on Netflix. It unfortunately wasn't on instant view, so I had to watch it disk by disk, waiting each time for the next to arrive in the mail.
Talk about impatience....

But the reason I bring this up is because I thought this was an excellent series. I'll be the first to admit--it's not for everybody. But if you can get past some of the stuff that may make you squeamish (whether it's watching a scene where a funeral worker shows an apprentice how to sew a dead woman's mouth shut, an opening scene in every episode where someone dies, or a slightly incestuous dream sequence), this is a great one to watch.

Here are some of the caveats:
  • There are a LOT of death scenes (at least one per episode)
  • The language is heavy on the salty side (plenty of "F-bombs" dropped each episode)
  • There are some pretty explicit sex scenes--both heterosexual and non-heterosexual
  • The humor in it is mostly on the dark side, so if you're not into that you probably won't like it
If none of that bothers you, or you plan to just fast forward through some of it, then do yourself a favor and watch this series. As most people who read my blog know, my 23 year old nephew was killed in a work accident this past May. Believe it or not, my sister is the one who recommended this series to me. We both enjoy the same types of movies and tv shows and we share the same warped sense of humor. Both of us found this series oddly comforting, in light of the tragedy that our family went through. I won't say that there weren't some scenes where my eyes were watering, or I was even bawling outright. But this show enforces the fact that everyone grieves differently. Some people keep it inside, while others wail at the top of their lungs. This show lets us know that we're all human and as messed up as we think our lives may be, remember there are others who have gone through something equally (if not more) messed up. I think this has honestly opened my eyes more to the normalcy of death and the process of grieving. 

Check out this trailer for season one:

If you've watched this series already, let me know what your thoughts are. If you haven't but are interested, watch it and then let me know what you think.

"Everything. Everyone. Everywhere. Ends."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Buttercup Squash Anyone?

If you are like me, you had never heard of Buttercup Squash before. You've probably heard of Butternut....but this is different. I got these seeds from my sister, who had gotten them from a family friend during Feast. I honestly can't remember which little Ziploc bag they came from--the one labeled Butternut Squash or the one labeled Acorn squash. Whichever one it was, it was apparently mislabeled.
So when the squash started growing and it didn't look like it was supposed to, it was kind of fun to try and figure out what I had. After much investigating and countless Google searches, I came upon Buttercup Squash. 
Now that fall is here and the frost will be coming soon, I decided it was time to harvest the squash and try it out. Again, I wasn't sure what I should be doing so I did another Google search and found a simple way to cook & serve it.  Here's what I did:

 This is the squash--dark green & light green rind, pumpkin-shaped but smaller.

 The Buttercup Squash often has a light silvery-green disk of rind on the blossom end. (I cut it before I thought of showing you this side of it, so I had to hold it back together to get the picture).

 Cut the squash open lengthwise, through the stem. Beautiful orange flesh inside!

 Scoop out the seeds & stringy "guts", just like you do when you're getting ready to carve a pumpkin, being careful to leave plenty of the edible flesh intact.

I cleaned off the seeds and set them out on waxed paper to dry out, since a few of my friends have expressed interest in having some of these seeds. (You know who you are!)

Pour about half a cup of water into a pan or casserole dish that has sides and put the squash halves in, cut side down. Cook for about 30 - 45 minutes (or until flesh is tender) at 375 degrees.
 Notice how the rind darkens and becomes shiny after cooking...

 The flesh is tender and moist after being cooked with the water, basically steaming it.

 Scoop out the flesh, being careful not to go too deep & get the green rind.

 For some great flavor, add some butter, brown sugar and cinnamon to taste.
(Sorry about the sideways picture. Not sure why it won't post right side up when I saved it that way).

 Stir it all in and enjoy! I get a little exuberant with my stirring so my bowl is pretty messy. The taste is definitely like a squash, but mild and a little nutty. Similar to a sweet potato, but a little less sweet.

This is just one way to serve it, but it is delicious. Does anyone out there have any other suggestions for ways to cook and serve a Buttercup Squash?

The Witch is Back...

Okay, I don't really think I'm a witch or anything....I was just referring to the new decor or my blog in honor of Halloween....and the title just kind of went from there.

So you've probably noticed it's been awhile since I've been here. As you can see from my last post, we had a devastating blow to our family back in May and honestly it's been a long time since things have felt normal. Heck, I don't know if they'll ever feel normal again... But as with all things, we go on. 
So here I am again, putting down my thoughts and regaling you with the exciting adventures that are my life.
Since the last time I was here, I started a new job. I am now working at a local community college. I am totally thrilled about this change, although I will miss the gang at Curtis Clean Sweep. This job is about three miles from my house so I'm saving a LOT in gas money! Plus there are a lot of great benefits, including discounted fees if I want to take any classes. I work with a great bunch of people and I already feel so welcome there and a part of the team.

We also added two more goats to our little goat family. With help from friends, we have named them Gingersnap and Buttercup. They're a hoot! Our mini herd is doing well and I hope to maybe breed some of the females next spring so we can get some milk and maybe I can learn to make some cheese, lotion, or other goat milk products.
Gingersnap & Buttercup on checking out their new surroundings, with Cupcake watching on.

Our garden was a success this year, although smaller than I've had in the past. It was sort of an experiment in how much I could grow in that space. It went well overall, but I think next year I will change up what I grow a little so I get more of the veggies I really like instead of an overabundance of squash. I'm also excited about the idea of heirloom vegetables that I can save seeds from each year when I find something I really like.

How was your summer?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Charles Edward Bevins III

I tried to think of some creative title for this post, but realized it doesn't need one.

On May 1, 2011, my 23 year old nephew CJ was killed in a work accident.

There are so many things I've had on my mind since we lost CJ and I wanted so badly to say them here.
But every time I start a sentence I can't finish it.
I can't describe CJ well enough.
I can't express the pain our family has gone through.
I can't find the right words to say how sorry I am for his mother (my sister) & father, his sisters & brothers, his fiance, his son & daughter and all of the rest of our family who loved him so much. 
I can't tell everyone how much this boy meant to me without sounding inadequate.
For now all I can do is post the video that was made by a friend of their family.

In Memory of CJ Bevins from Remember CJ on Vimeo.

CJ was laid to rest on a beautiful hillside on their family property.  He will always be close to the family and they can visit with him anytime they want or just sit quietly and remember everything that was so wonderful about him.
 In time I may be able to express the other things I want to say.  But for now, this will have to suffice.

The Past Four Months...

Where to begin?  So much has happened since my last regular post back in February.  I have a LOT to catch up on, so fair warning--this will be long.  

If you've followed my blog or know me very well, you know that every year I try to grow a garden.  This year instead of listening to my husband (sorry honey, I still love you) I decided to reign in the size of my garden.  Years ago, my sister introduced me to the concept of "Square Foot Gardening".  Over the years I've incorporated small hints of the SFG method into my gardens but have never done a full blown actual square foot garden.  Since I also wanted to move the garden closer to the house this year to make gardening more enjoyable, I figured it would be a great time to go all out.  I got some used wood from someone who was dismantling an old deck.  I had my son bring in some gravel from my old house.  I used the existing laundry line structures to make my vertical portions of the garden.  I got some seeds passed along from my sister.  
The result?

  I am very pleased with how it turned out.  I would have liked to have gotten an earlier start with more of the seeds my sister sent me, but due to unforseen circumstances my planting schedule started much later than anticipated and I ended up having to get several already started plants.  But the point is that I got it planted & now I can enjoy working in it each day.  Bring on the veggies!

New Additions 
We have goats!

 We got them primarily to try to keep our pasture down.  As you can see from the second picture it's gotten a bit out of control.  We were hoping the goats could do some serious damage to the grass & weeds--however we're quickly learning that having just two of them probably isn't going to cut it.  Are we going to make the leap to goat herd farmers?  You'll have to stay tuned to find out...

Back in February I made the decision that I wanted to run my first 5K.  I saw an advertisement for a 5K race called "See Jane Run" and I figured that was the perfect one to try.  I started off okay with my training, but again, due to unforseen circumstances, I lost about a month of training in May and at one point wasn't sure I still had the will to do the race.
But with less than a week to go before the race, my friends encouraged me to go ahead and try.  I had to remind myself that I didn't have to run the whole race--I could walk if I needed to.  And I needed to.  I didn't turn in a great time and I found out halfway through the race that an old knee injury may keep me from being a true hard core runner.  But I was happy that I finished the race and I had a great time with my friend Donna & her daughter Shelby.
 (Photo taken with my phone...sorry about the bad quality)

I had intended to write about one more thing that happened recently but thinking about it now, it doesn't seem right to include it in this post.  It really needs a post of its own and I need to be in the right state of mind to write about it.  It may show up later tonight or sometime during the next few days.  But it will be written, if anything, to help with the healing process.  You'll be hearing from me soon.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Update Coming Soon!

Yikes!  Sorry about the little break in posting there, folks.  (Ha! Like I have a big following or something, lol.)  Just wanted to let you know I will be updating soon.  This will include an update on this post earlier in the year: See Jane Run
Be back soon!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

See Jane Run...

I have a new goal for this year.  (Well, for the first HALF of this year at least.)  I am going to run a 5K.  I know, I know...it's not a MARATHON.  But for someone who has become as unfit as I have over the last year or two, this is a big deal to me. 

The seed was planted for this when a cruising friend of mine (hi Brandi!) got herself off her couch and started training for a 5k.  She did it through a website/application called Couch to 5K.  I saw her posts that kept popping up on her Facebook page, following her progress.  At the time, I thought, "Good for Brandi!"  I knew she was trying to drop some weight and I thought it was a great goal for her.  I was excited for her the day before Halloween when I saw her post her pictures from her first 5K. 

Fast forward four months to me sitting in my living room on my couch, reading a book.  For some reason in the middle of reading, I had a realization hit me.  I am SOOOOO out of shape!  Okay, I didn't just realize this.  It's been creeping up on me for awhile now.  (We all remember the muffin top?  That should have been the first sign.)  So when I thought about this last night, that weird little part of my brain that remembers stuff I didn't realize I remembered told me that there is a program out there to help a beginner like me get back in shape & have a goal to work towards.  I did a search for the Couch to 5K program and started reading.  This sounds really good!  I got out my phone and did a Marketplace search for the Android application and found the free C25K Lite.  (The more advanced version costs money but not only a couple of dollars--so if I don't like the free Lite version, I may decide to use the other one.)

While on the Couch to 5K web site, I noticed that you can do a search for 5Ks in your state.  I put in Idaho and lo & behold the See Jane Run Women's Half Marathon/5K came up.  Oh..My...God.  It's actually called See Jane Run!  How can I NOT do this?  Even better, it's just two days before my 43rd birthday.  What a great way to celebrate my birthday, by getting fit and feeling like I really accomplished something!  (Not to mention the race ends with chocolate & champagne, lol!)

So there's a reason for me telling you all of this....I want to be held accountable.  I figure the more people I tell about it, I can't slack off and not do it.  People will hopefully ask me, "How's it going with your C25K program?"  I am one of those people who is often driven by worrying about what other people think of me.  If I know that people will think I'm a big fat quitter for not seeing this through, then telling everyone about it definitely helps.  Progress updates will be posted to my Facebook page through the C25K application. 

I hope I have a good sports bra....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Too Big For The Bed...

My dog Zoe is a Dachshund/Border Collie mix.  I know I posted a story about how she came to be part of our family at one point, but try as I might, I can't find that post!  Grrrrrrrrr.....  Oh well, I'll get over it.  Basically she looks like a Standard Dachshund (larger sized than a Mini) but with slightly longer legs and shorter ears.  Did I mention she looks like a sausage?  She's a little...uh..."big boned" right now.  Yeah, we're working on that.  (We'll be taking lots of walks when the weather warms up).
So since she's a little on the "large" size, she tends to sometimes try to fit in places that aren't necessarily a perfect fit for her.  Case in point:

I bought this bed for her when she was smaller...not only in size relative to her age, but also in size relative to her girth.  I'm not sure why I've kept it--maybe it's like when we women save a pair of smaller jeans, determined that "someday" we'll fit back into them.  I love how she's just kind of spilling out onto the floor, completely oblivious that we are snickering at her from across the room...

Or....maybe she isn't so oblivious....

Way to make it work, Zoe.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Strange Fact #1

When I was a kid, I didn't like raisins because my sister told me they were monkey boogers.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year....

A friend of mine doesn't call his New Years resolutions "resolutions"...He calls them "intentions". I like that idea because we all know that we start off the new year with the best of intentions--they just don't always stick. So, with that being said, here are some of my intentions for this new year:

1. Eat healthier
My son has been a vegetarian for over a year now and I've honestly been inspired by him. I'm not saying I'm going to throw away all the beef in my garage freezer (I love steak way too much for that!) But in researching vegetarianism and learning to make vegetarian-friendly dishes for him I've discovered that I love a lot of the wonderful flavors in meatless meals. I realized how many tasty things you can do with vegetables besides just heating them and plopping them on your plate next to your meatloaf. So although I'm not planning on giving up meat, I definitely plan to add more vegetable-based dishes to my meals.

2. Get more exercise
Yeah, I know....this is one that everyone says they're going to do. But I am in the middle of an honest-to-goodness freak out about what has happened to my body lately. After years of never having much fat on my body, even when I was pregnant with my son, I am now dealing with the "muffin top" syndrome...and the reality that I am collecting fat around my middle like a hungry squirrel storing up nuts for winter. My Wii Fit game is gathering dust on a shelf and the last time I laced up my walking shoes was several months ago (although I try to attribute this last phenomenon to the colder winter months.)  Maybe it has something to do with the days in my early twenties when I worked at a health club and taught aerobics three times a day (after riding my bike to work), but I have always kind of prided myself on being physically fit.  I can honestly say that this is the most un-fit I've been in all of my adult life.  This must change.  I guess it will kind of go hand in hand with intention number one.  If anyone out there who happens to be in close proximity to Nampa is looking for a walking partner, let me know!  (It's so much easier to stick to these things when you have someone else who wants to do the same thing and can hold you accountable.)

3. Be more self-confident
I'm not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way in my life I started caring way too much about what other people think about me.  And I started second guessing myself a lot.  I'm sure it was somewhere around those awkward years during junior high school when I overheard the boys at school talking about me...("too bad about her face")...Or maybe it was when I was a single mother and was so worried about making the wrong decisions, afraid that I would permanently ruin my son's life.  Possibly sometime during my first marriage when my overweight husband used put-downs as a protection mechanism to lash out at others before they could do damage to him. 
Regardless of when it happened, I know I need to change this.  I need to be proud of who I am.  I need to remember that I am very knowledgeable when it comes to what I've learned on my jobs over the years.  I need to realize that even if I make a "wrong" decision about something, it can usually be fixed.  If I have to ask someone about something I don't know, it's not because I'm stupid but because I'm most likely dealing with something new.  I am woman, hear me roar!  Ha ha....(Okay, now I need to get that old early 80's Enjoli commercial out of my head....we all remember that one, don't we?)

4. Learn something new
I want to learn how to knit.  I guess technically this wouldn't be something new because my mother taught me how to knit back when I was 16 years old.  I attempted to knit a scarf for a guy I knew who road a motorcycle (for some reason my 16 year old mind thought that a man on a motorcycle needed a scarf).  I think I was a little bit ADD back then because I got tired of it quickly and it ended up being only about two and a half feet long.  I remember giving it to him and he just kind of tied it around his neck like a giant bow tie.  But now that I'm older, knitting seems like a great way to pass the time when I don't have a book to read.  It also seems like it would be very relaxing, once I get the hang of it again.  So be forewarned friends and family--next Christmas you may all be getting hand knitted hats, scarves & tea cozies!

Happy New Year!