So many new things

So I am excited to announce that on August 30th I will officially be unemployed. Well sort of. It’s more like, I will be self-employed! Turns out – there’s a great possibility that I will be busier in my new rolls then I was when I was employed full-time!

I’m sure I have mentioned it before, but I have an amazing life partner. The hubs is not only one of the hardest working people I have ever met, but he has a great passion for his work and his family (and his Tigers). I know that he would be over the moon happy if I was working for someone and happy. It would settle him, if I was… settled. But that’s just not ever happened for me. I am a bit of a dreamer (no, really.. !!), and probably a tad unrealistic about somethings – but when I am happy and feeling challenged and in an environment that is healthy and creative – I am also a hard worker with great passion. The Hubs has noticed how unhappy I have been – and has simply said, “make a plan, and do it… just do it”

So.. 2 years after he started saying that – I am happy to announce that I have done it.

Made a plan.

And did it!

I will get to spend more time with my Captain. He is my world – and watching him discover his world is the most inspiring thing of all time. I have so many plans! I can’t hardly wait.

I have been working with a good friend on a design business, we call it jo&co designs, and hope that our website will up and running in a matter of time! We have been so busy designing lots of pretty things for weddings and baby showers, that we have not had the time to finish our site!

I also have had this amazing opportunity to work with and learn from one of the best photographers in the city. If you don’t know Nicki Griffith and her amazing skill – you need to. I am getting the opportunity to work for her and help her with marketing and selling – and learn a ton! I so so love it!

The best news of all I will have more time to dedicate to you all too!!

“Love, like everything else in life, should be a discovery, an adventure, and like most adventures, you don’t know you’re having one until you’re right in the middle of it.”  ― E.A. Bucchianeri

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Being artfully inspired

I go to Dean and Deluca once or twice a month… always in the morning, when it’s not busy, there’s a hum of people preparing for the day. Today, I stood and waited for my coffee – and took in the sites and smells. From the white subway tiled walls to the beautifully designed desserts and packages all around, and the giant photos of the most amazing looking cheeses and breads — I was artfully inspired.

Olive and Sinclair ChocolateThe store at Town Center Plaza is never terribly busy in the morning hours before I have to be in the office – it’s the perfect time to go, and today, a Monday, it was a nice beginning to my week. I decided while standing there that a beautiful box of artisan chocolates would be the perfect gift for me.. someone tell the hubs please! Dark Chocolate with sea salt.. sounds heavingly (why isn’t that a word?).. but more so – the packaging was awesome! It’s like a designers porn.. I swear!

Right then and there I decided I needed more of that in my life. I needed to be inspired by the beauty around me, taking trips to World Market and Paper Source, not to buy something but to be inspired by the everyday. I don’t need special trips to the museums, although I would love a few of those as well.

For years I have heard about the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden, seen hundreds of images from inside the gardens – and have never been. I recently decided to focus more on passions and picked up my camera again, and chose the Kauffman Gardens as my first spot for portraits. It’s such a lovely place. I absolutely LOVE the grounds, the fountains — even the bathrooms were super clean!

Even if you are not a “designer” or think you are creative, I challenge each of my readers to look around and see inspiration in the everyday. Inspire yourself to do, see, create or just be. Inspiration can come from just about anything — just open yourself up to it!

xoxo

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Toddlers act like little drunk people..or..OH THE HORROR..Pants!

Seriously, I hit an all time low this morning.

I locked myself in my closet!

I wanted to cry, although I knew I didn’t have time too because it was 7:30 and I wasn’t dressed and needed to leave my house to get to work on time… so I just stood there taking deep breaths and counting to 10. When I came out, the Captain had removed his pants (he doesn’t particularly care for pants..), put under ware over his pull-ups and put his rain boots on. This all after I wrestled him to the ground and forced pants and a clean shirt on him. You would think I was force feeding something nasty to him all the while flailing about, screaming NO PANTS..

oh the horror .. PANTS!

So what do you do? The Hubs and I are constantly reminding each other to pick our battles. Today, I picked it – and I’m not sure that I won. Shouldn’t moms win.. I mean, he went to school with pants on .. but no coat – bc he refused, no socks, and his cape. I am at a total loss with my little monster right now. He’s extremely stubborn (so is his dad.. I am not at all… wink wink) and hard headed.. but the sweetest little monkey ever.

I googled “Raising a toddler is hard.” It’s what I was feeling, and wondered if anyone else felt this way – all the while, knowing EVERY parent feels this at some point. I read this article on Parenting.com called Reality Check: Raising a Difficult Toddler – she makes some really good points:

  1. there is nothing funny about the mix of worry, anger, guilt, and frustration you feel as the parent of a difficult child. (But I ask.. Is the Captain truely a difficult child? Who measures that?)
  2. You must realize that he is not doing it to you (Yes, I think I said today – I do everything for him and sacrifice for anything he needs or wants.. and he doesn’t listen, and doesn’t respect.. oh yeah, he’s 2)
  3. He is not out to get you (I’m not sure about this one..I think he’s working on something with the dog)
  4. Step one is to accept that, for better and worse, this is just your son’s personality, steps two and three are to notice which situations set him off (sensory overload, transitions, not being asked what he wants to do) and teach him how to manage his own intensity (by getting lots of exercise, having quiet book times, being given choices).

It all boils down to wanting to do the right thing, wanting the Captain to turn out to be a good person, who loves and lives and has many friends.. who loves his parents and siblings (god willing) and DOES NOT TURN OUT TO BE A SERIAL KILLER. So if there is some magical math problem that can ensure that.. could someone PLEASE clue me in?

Sometimes, I have to go to one of my happy places…

The mall!

Oak Park Mall! Boo Yeah!

Love these fools

The beach early in the morning

This is Mindy Clarke, and I approve this message!

Mindy’s cause..

Ray and Mindy ClarkeWe recently had our family pictures taken.. and although I totally hated my hair in them – I loved the pictures so much. This one, of the hubs and I makes me smile, ear to ear.

If you are needing someone to take pics of you or your littles, you should check out Nicki Griffith. She’s a doll. Seriously, coolest lady, coolest job, mega talent!  There are LOTS of amazing ladies (and some gents) right here in KC that do amazing work… we are so fortunate to have so much talent in our little cow town.

I have really started trying to make more of an effort to support local businesses. I feel like it’s so important to help our community thrive. I pledged to help our community by eating local as much as possible this holiday season. There is a great website, Eat Local KC, that can lead you in the direction of great local Farmer’s Markets, Grocery and Healthy Food Stores, Meat Purveyors, and my personal favorite – Kansas City Restaurants! 2 of my favorite restaurants in KC are listed, Aixios and Blue Bird Bistro.. but sooo many are not…  Do you have favorite local hangouts? Beers? Wines? Meats? We would love to hear what your favorite businesses and restaurants in Kansas City are.

Here is a short list of some of my favorites!

That’s all she wrote folks. I know I have often shared my favorites with you. But I would LOVE to hear some of yours. Won’t you please share them with me!
One place, I’d really love to go is up to Smithville to The Justice Drugstore, I have heard it’s so good.

Here’s a little picture that Nicki let Alex take of his mom and dad.. it’s not the best picture of me.. but I think it’s so cute. I am having one printed and put on a shelf in his room!
Mommy and Daddy by Alex

Pretty Darn Perfect…

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So here is something random about me: I love pot racks. I don’t really have a good kitchen for them though.. I could..but I’d have to knock out a some walls – and let’s face it – I am not willing to lose a 1/2 bath and a laundry room upstairs for hanging pot rack. So I will look at pictures and love the look of old farm house kitchens with pot racks… and know it just wasn’t meant to be.

I fell in love with my house when we saw it the first time. I didn’t have to look at the bedrooms or the basement, all I had to look at was the kitchen and dining room and family room – and I was IN LOVE! The fact that the master bedroom had a walk in closet and there was plenty of room for Ray and I to both have our own offices (I do not use mine.. Ray will be the first to tell you that) were the icing on the cake that got the hubs as well.

Alex was 10 months old when we moved.  He won’t remember the home we brought him too after we left the hospital, or the room that I worked so hard to decorate for him. This makes me so sad to think about – because I also loved that house. There is a lot of blood sweat and tears at that old PV house and Charlie is buried (his ashes are buried) in that back yard. It’s where Ray and I fell in love, it’s the house we made all of our “plans.”

But the current house is pretty darn perfect for us..even though, right at this moment, I have plans to change some rooms – to update some colors – or fix some areas that need to be fixed, it’s still pretty darn perfect. 

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This summer the Midwest went through a terrible drought. Our perfect house has many cracks inside and out, and I am so very worried that it’s going to cost us our worth, and we won’t be able to stay. I have started looking into basement fixers and mud jackers and foundation repair dudes, and we will weigh our options and fix it, because that’s what you do when you’re a homeowner – but it all scares me  and makes me so stressed. It makes the hubs so stressed too, and I hate that. I wish I could take that all from him.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matt 6:34

The things one does when they are forced to get up at 3:40am

Yes.. 3:40am. I feel like I might be drunk.. but that’s impossible – considering I haven’t a drop of alcohol in 2 days!

The Captain has been peeing out of his diaper – and in the days where he can’t get his pants off – he lays in bed, soaking wet, and cries until I get up and get him. This am I tried putting him in our bed after changing his clothes and diaper – but it didn’t work – he couldn’t settle down. So we went to the living room, turned on Megamind, got a snack and mama went to asleep on the couch… for 5 minutes…. so here I am .. 10am – shocked it’s not 4pm – and I’m exhausted and out of Chocolate Syrup – for my chocolate milky loving son.
Have you ever wondered if you can make your own Hersey’s syrup? Well you can!

I found a blog called, One Good Thing by Jillie, and she had an awesome recipe – so here I am in my kitchen, waiting for the syrup to set up… I will give my review later today or in the am.. let’s hope it doesn’t come at 4am!

Cheers! Hope your having a wonderful Saturday!

Recipes..

I love to cook. LOVE TO COOK! I love to be creative in the kitchen, and try new recipes.. Pinterest is great for this! I have tried so many many things from pins on Pinterest. What I need to do – is start doing more crafts from Pinterest – and expanding my wardrobe based on items I love from Pinterest.

Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest!!

Ok, so here are a few of my favorite new recipes.

From Food Network:

Pizza Snacks
Directions

Serves: 8
Version 1: Vegetable

Ingredients

Preheat oven to 375F. Place English muffins on a baking sheet lines with aluminum foil. Top with marinara sauce, bell pepper, olives and basil. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 12-15 minutes until cheese is melted.

Nutrition Information per pizza: Calories: 130; Total fat: 4.5g Saturated fat: 2g; Carbohydrate: 16g; Protein: 7g; Sodium: 390mg


From Chocolate-Covered Kate
Cookie Dough Dip

Inspired by this awesome recipe.

  • 1 1/2 cups chickpeas (1 can, drained) (250g)
  • 1/8 tsp plus 1/16 tsp salt
  • tiny bit over 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup nut butter (You can get away with using only 3 T. If you use peanut butter, it’ll have a very-slight “pb cookie dough” taste, so if you don’t want this, you can sub oil.)
  • up to 1/4 cup milk of choice (Start with 1 T, and add more as needed)
  • Sweetener (see note below, for amount)
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips or Sugar-Free Chocolate Chips
  • 2 to 3 T oats (or flaxmeal) (You can omit, but also omit the milk if you do)

Add all ingredients (except for chocolate chips) to a good food processor (not blender), and blend until very smooth. Then mix in the chocolate chips.

I made this recipe for the Super Bowl – and it was a big hit! We all seemed to really love it!
From Deep South Dish

Recipe: Three Envelope Picante Roast

Prep time: 5 min |Inactive time: 8 hours | Yield: About 6 serving

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 pound beef chuck roast (or other braising roast)
  • 1 cup of water
  • One envelope of dry onion soup mix
  • One envelope of dry Italian dressing mix
  • One envelope of dry brown gravy mix
  • 1 (8 ounce) jar of Pace Original Mild Picante Sauce

Instructions
Whisk together the water with ingredients from all 3 of the envelopes. Pour about 1/4 cup of the liquid on the bottom of the crockpot, place the roast on top. Don’t be tempted to season the roast. There is plenty of salt and other seasonings in these envelopes.

Pour the remaining liquid mixture all over the top and all around the roast. Pour the jar of picante sauce on top of the roast, cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high 4 to 5 hours.

To thicken gravy, remove the roast and tent with foil to keep warm. Carefully transfer the contents of the crockpot to a saucepan and stir in a slurry of one tablespoon of cornstarch with just enough water to loosen. Stir into the sauce, bring up to a boil, reduce and simmer until thickened.

I also love to be as creative as possible when I cook for myself. When the hubs is traveling, I tend to try ingredients I wouldn’t normally try when I am feeding him.. and I love to open my freezer and throw stuff together! I have had a goal lately in cleaning out my freezer – but using the items inside, and not throwing them away.. I am really sick on Lean Cuisine meals right now because of this! But ultimately I want to put together crock pot freezer meals – you can find these on Pinterest (betcha knew I would say that..!!). So – it keeping with trying to do low-carb – I made this dinner..
  • Turkey Burger
  • Raspberry Balsamic Wilted Spinach with Panceta, Almonds, and Citrus Olive Oil
  • Cottage Cheese
  • 12 grapes

It was delicious!! The best meal I have made in months!
Trader Joes has really amazingly good Turkey Burgers.

That’s all I’ve got for now! I have tons to tell you – but have had so little time to share lately! Hopefully life will lighten up a bit soon and I can get back to doing what I love – telling you things!!
mindy.