Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Journey of Sophia Grace (mostly a photo blog)

 
I am fortunate in life.
I have an amazing and beautiful family.
And amazing and beautiful friends that I consider extended family. They are a small group but are an important and lovely part of my children's lives.
One of these friends is one of my favorite people and exceptionally talented as well.  
When she mentioned her desire to photograph a labor and delivery how could I say no?
The images below are a few I'm willing to share. But overall I'm excited to have images like these to share with my daughter one day. Her entry into this world was well documented.
You can see more work from this fabulous photographer at
 
 
This has some deeper meaning that makes me smile. Tiffany is all too familiar with the circumstances and understands how appropriate this day happens to be.


 
 
The view of Tacoma from Saint Joes is amazing. All four of my children were born here.

 

 

Connor is a big brother now!

Big Brother Andrew

Big Sister Moira

Aunt Bonnie

 
One Month Old Sophia Grace Casella.
 


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Gestational Diabetes is a Jerk Face

So here I am in the tail end of pregnancy number four....yes I know I look fabulous right?!
 
All kidding aside, in past pregnancies I've always felt like I was a damn fine baby making machine. Healthy nuggets, feeling good, minimal negative pregnancy symptoms, etc. etc.
 
Sadly with this pregnancy I cannot boast to such an amazing experience. Granted, things aren't all bad-I didn't experience any level of morning sickness however I've felt exceptionally fatigued--gotten pregnancy acne!--and have had crazy mood swings. It's amazing I haven't slashed someone's tires or told someone to burn in hell outright. Seriously, it's a little madness inside my body right now. To add to the list of things that bum me out is now Gestational Diabetes. I gotta say, I'm a lotta surprised. I don't have a stellar diet, but it's not half bad and I've only gained a total of 10 pounds so all of these things I assumed would contribute to pregnancy induced diabetes are really a non issue....it wasn't even on my radar....so after an extra visit to the lab and more blood work the last thing I expected to hear was that I was indeed positive.
 
BOO. Atop from meaning I am now 85% more likely to develop adult onset diabetes (again, what! This isn't even a thing in my reality), it also increases the risk of my soon to be little person of developing it AND it means some major lifestyle changes.
 
For instance:
 
No Cereal (PERIOD) not the "good" kind or the bad kind--none. This is difficult as it is my breakfast and often my go to for late night snack. Good bye cereal.
 
None of the following:
bananas
potatoes
white rice
pasta
bagels, white breads
corn
carrots
fruit juices
sweets
etc............
I'm to check off the top 20 items on the glycemic index.
 
Initially my mind translates that to mean this:

 
Don't get me wrong, lettuce is A-Okay....but c'mon.
 
Breakfasts MUST include a source of protein and limited amounts of fruit. This does not really equate to convenient to me. This bums me out. It also means I need a new blender so that I can depend on the most convenient source of protein in the a.m. protein shakes! *bacon is a protein right? Likely not the lifestyle change they are looking for me to make I'm guessing*
 
Lunch is, oooh get this salads! with protein.....but I've never been a salad girl. Ever. Never Ever. Damn.
 
Dinner? You guessed it salads....or hearty versions there of. Dinner may also include a large portion of veggies and a small bit of protein. God Damn it.....still bummed.
 
I'm always baffled by how people make these dietary decisions. Just looking at it makes me want to sob.
 
My name is Jackie and I'm a carb addict.
 
I will be sharing my dietary adventures and keep you posted on the all super yum things I'm sure to come across regardless of my current state of disappointment.
 
 
Update:
Here's that super rad list of the delicious things I cannot eat....it includes cantaloupe!
 
Foods containing sugar
honey, molasses, & corn syrup.
Fruits -
bananas, melons, pineapple, raisins
Vegetables -
potatoes, corn, carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips
Breads -
all white breads, all white flour products, corn breads
Grains -
rice, rice products, millet, corn, corn products
Pasta -
thick, large pasta shapes
Cereals -
all cereals except those on the Low GI List below
Snacks -
potato chips, corn chips, popcorn, rice cakes, pretzels
Alcohol -
beer, liqueurs, all liquor except red wine
 
 
 

A Little Naughty, A Little Nice~A Flavor Matrimony Made in Hot Wing Heaven

I've been neglecting my wingdom duties.
 
Round two of the Wing Challenge brings us to Crockett's Public House. Now, why no one made the suggestion to visit this gastropub in Puyallup I couldn't tell you, because these wings are well deserving of some air time.
Another assignment brought me to Crockett's casual BBQ diner vibe but when I spied Honey Siracha Wings on the menu there was NO way I was walking out of those doors without trying them.
 
These meaty chicken bits are perfectly cooked with a nice crisp outer layer and tender well cooked meat within.
Their house made recipe is a combo of honey and siracha that is nicely balanced. With things such as this someone could walk away horribly disappointed as the wrong recipe could leave you overwhelmed or missing one or the other. This is not the case.
The siracha gives these wings a flavorful heat that is far superior to the vinegar-y Franks Red Hot traditional wing sauce you come to expect with most hot wings. And the honey is a nice treat, naturally sweet and flavorful making the siracha an adequate but manageable level of spicy.
 
Each order of wings is served with their housemade ranch which is creamy and delicious and a side of coleslaw. While not a lover of slaw this slaw is a nice traditional coleslaw and will be well liked by those who dig it.
 
 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Insert the Sound of me Squealing Like a Little Girl Full of Delight

Like many of you, or so I'd like to think, I will often troll around the interwebs aimlessly. It's usually in an attempt to get my brain out of a fog and distract me from staring onto an empty computer screen awaiting words that should make sentences but have alluded me.

Anyways, today I was aimlessly floating about cyberspace reading about Erin Morgenstern. Having recently ready her novel, "The Night Circus," I wanted to cyberstalk her a bit......
this blog post isn't really about her though, rather something I found reading her blog.

I discovered FLUFFY COWS!


Anyone that is close to me knows that I have a soft spot in my heart for cows. Look at em, with their big ole eyes and sweet dispositions, how could one not love them. I've never been that girl that loved horses, although they are very sweet and majestic creatures. And I am DEFINITELY not in any risk of being a cat lady. Cats are okay, at best, they just aren't for me. Our aloof ways would not compliment each other. BUT cows on the otherhand.....gah, love em. And just when I though they were the best of all the animal kingdom I come across this?! A fluffy cow~One day I will be that old lady with the bagillion grandkids who come to visit the cow who lives in my backyard.

One day, you will be mine fluffy cow.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Reflection on my "Craft"

I have had a deep admiration of the written word since I can remember. This is not to say I'm a word master. My vocabulary is not esspecially verbose. I do not pretend to carefully craft words so that I may appear an intellecual giant among my peers.

Simply put, I like words.

Storytelling has always been a love of mine. Poetry swept me off my feet during times of what I perceived as angst in my teen years. And journaling has always been an aspect of my daily rituals.

I've been fortunate enough to have the opportunity not only to share my words but sometimes receive compensation. Let's face it, in a time when anyone can start a blog and many of those are far more well versed and talented than I, to have the opportunity to call writing, "work" is a blessing.

I was sitting here and pondering all of these things and began to read some of my most memorable articles over the last few years. I say most memorable because they may not be the "best" or even my favorite but they've stuck with me.

Here's just a few:

This link in particular sticks with me because there's a deeply personal aspect to it (I had chosen two originally but it seems as though one link is no longer live). The content includes my children. Anytime a parent is discussing parenting it is and should be a very personal experience. Parenting styles are open to interpretation, they are judged with great vigor and not everyone is going to agree with you. Regardless of how adamant you are in your specific set of moral standards and actions, there is no "right" answer that applies to all parents or all children. It's completely subjectional. Also when writing about your children, in perhaps an imperfect perception, you're admitting what some may view as a weakness. But really any parent knows it's not all fun and games and cute babies and the woes of parenting far outgrow the pooping, puking, loss of sleep and generic "burdens" of parenting.

School Yard Fist Fights

My husband is a fierce music lover. In particular he loves him the Black Keys, he has a broad taste of music but most definitely was on a Black Keys (and anyone influenced by the Black Keys) kick for a time. When we attended one of their smaller concerts I took it as an opportunity to write a review. Not simply because it was an amazing live show but they had just reached #1 status for iTunes sales and the Billboard charts.

My husband naturally LOVED this piece. It was the first of many that he would be like "Oh, Honey" and hug me. His mother was a writer as well and found a fair amount of success writing for publications and even publishing several cook books. Yes, he married his mother. Funny how that happens.

The Black Keys~Sweet Music to my Ears

My first ever real life feature in the Weekly Volcano was bourbon based, naturally. The link is a bit wonky now due to the Weekly Volcano merging with The Ranger though I must say I really enjoyed that article. A. It was about my favorite libation and boasting of new distilleries here in the PNW. B. It included one of my favorite interviews, and interviews for me is something I struggle with a little bit. I understand that I am simply compiling information to include in a piece but I can't help but always feel like I have no place interviewing people. It's an odd sensation for me. This is a close second as far as my feature pieces are concerned. It was a fun adventure, included phenomenal company and the people simply must be informed of such things. Isn't that why we become writers to begin with? To share with the reader?! Besides, even if I had not written it, it's a piece that I would enjoy reading.

Taste Testing Tacoma and Gig Harbor Brews

The next one served as an "AHA!" moment. I had the pleasure of working with some great editors. Some will take your piece to the chopping block and spew out a bit that hardly resembles your voice, your words, your perspective. I've felt different ways about this. Sometimes I feel like, "Shit, that would be in the TV Guide, don't put my name on that." Other times I've have seen the changes made and felt like "DAMN! They made me sound like a genius. Noted." Both are going to happen I suppose and it's all about content, voice and what is relevant for that specific publication. The first of these two was one that the editor served as almost a mentor and professor for me. She took a piece I had originally written and given me advice on how to better improve. The final product was FAR better than the original. The second piece is an edited version of a show review I've shared on my blog already. It's a prime example of an editor changing a piece that morphed it into something far superior. Let's face it, I need and love my editors. They put up with my crap, teach me divine lessons and allow me to continue submitting.

1022 Cocktail Hour

Tacoma Cathedrals


Anyways, there are plenty of other pieces I'd love to share and some far better than these but really the point is that not every piece is going to be a masterpiece. You have to type, scribble and write away~once in awhile you're going to look at something and see the brilliance and other times that brilliance will seem juvenile and amateur and that's a good thing. This means you're growing. Don't even be so good at something you don't think that this is a positive thing.

 






Tuesday, May 7, 2013

It's a very strange phenomena to witness.....the closing of a door and opening of another. The cosmos find this mysterious fantastic balance that leaves me in awe.
Have you ever really paid attention?

An optimist, which I am not, will say "things always work out!" and to be honest I will chirp the same thing often enough but not for the same reasons. I'm not the eternal sunshine in life. I have no na├»ve stance that allows me to play ignorant to the fact that shitty things happen. And yes, they happen to good people. I'm not a believer that God only gives you what you can handle.....I simply subscribe to the belief that the cosmos will maintain balance. Period.

Change is scary, it's difficult, it presents new obstacles that challenge our way of doing things. It presents the notion that you may just be good at something else you haven't discovered yet. Or even the notion that you may be not so good. The fear of failure is a strong one. The fear of success, I think is stronger. While the fear of change pretty much tops them all.

I've been making a lot of changes in the last year. Transitioning, learning and testing myself and abilities. I've been doing things in the past due to obligation and necessity for stability. I've been granted a very divine luxury of having the ability to try something new (thank you husband of mine). Not really new to me, it's been a part of my character from the time I can remember. But committing to it as a career is a whole other thing entirely.

I've been spending the last couple of months really investing my energies to refocus....reconnect....manifest what is truly important. My priorities. My goals. My ideals.
This has included rebuilding a relationship with my children that had been neglected in recent times. I was entirely too distracted attempting a type of success at "grownuphood" and attaining a status that they could respect that our close knit relationships began to see a growth in distance, our former strength as a team of three began to dissipate.

My oldest children and I have essentially grown up together. As I've found my way as an adult, including honing my maternal instincts, they have developed into adolescence with strong convictions, compelling ideals and unwavering kindness. And when it comes down to it, my relationship with them has always been the driving force of my ambition.

So here I sit, fabulous opportunities seemingly dropped from the sky into my lap. Right time right place and simple luck or a drawn out chess match that has been in play......
Whatever the case I consider myself absolutely fortunate and refuse to take it for granted.

Monday, April 29, 2013

WINGA ZINGA

Okay, Okay~

I am a devourer of meat. It doesn't matter if it's grilled, fried or broiled, I'll even gnaw meat straight off the bone! (though less enthusiastically than some).
Wings in particular are a favorite of mine~each establishment can concoct their own "claim to fame" recipes, which I quite enjoy as it keeps me on my toes and makes dining a real adventure. And I don't know about you but I like eating out to be a journey that is often unfamiliar.
When I asked the masses via Facebook what their fave wings in the Grit City were there were several suggestions though one in particular made it clear that my sports bar visiting, wing noshing friends had a culinary crush on the Loose Wheel.
Here's the thing, I don't share their LW hard on. It's okay but mostly unimaginative with a heavily deep fried selection (including their desserts) and their burgers are of the hot mess variety. But I digress. The masses had spoken so a trip to Loose Wheel was in order.
We anted up to the rail on an evening that a friend of ours was working. Score! To top that off his lovely mother was visiting from out of town, so we had the opportunity to saddle up next to her and chat between sloppy nibbles of wings that aren't very socializing friendly appetizers.
Back to the wings.
Let me start by saying this, their wing selection is impressive. You can choose several levels of heat from mild to super hot, Asian, BBQ, spicy BBQ and more.
We chose both the Traditional Hot and Spicy BBQ (as per the tenders suggestions).
They came out wicked fast, which is always nice.
Now, the Spicy BBQ was good for those who don't really like spice at all. They were mild in flavor but well coated with saucy goodness.
The Hot were great. I'll give it to my friends, they were indeed good wings. Though they could have been coated more evenly, the flavor was spot on.
The Loose Wheel's Hot is a traditional vinegar base, like Frank's Red Hot with lots of other spices added in to add a nice flavor. Decent heat and flavor combo. Sometimes a place makes hot wings that are hot for the sake of being hot and totally lack flavor. These guys know that balance is key. Did they woo me to become a admirer of the Loose Wheel?
Not really, but they were tasty enough that if I happen in again they are on my list.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Welcome to the Wing Dome!!

I need to fill my time and write my words with a focus on another adventure. Granted projects that don't include libations of the booze-y variety don't sound as intriguing or nearly as fun, but so long as I have a little person growing inside me divine indulgences such as manhattans are simply out of the question.

I've thought about doing a burger comparison but feel as that is almost too easy.....besides every one is doing it......Tacos? Nah, I like tacos but I don't LOVE them. Soooooo I'm doing wings....
Here's my logic....not all wings are created equal. Many establishments from the swank wine and dine places to the greasy neighborhood bars have wings.....and often they strive to put their own spin on things. There's Asian, BBQ, Traditional Spice, Curry, Jamaican Jerk and more. They come fried, baked and seared. Smothered and swimming to dry. You name it.SO then, there you have it.......my pregnant culinary journey to all things wings that Tacoma has to offer.

This will also feature how we do them up at home!

First stop to be announced soon so stay tuned.

A Process of Digesting Thoughts

I'm having some difficulty lately putting things into proper perspective.

I remain to participate in my usual daily activities, many of which have some underlying "greater good"....or so I like to believe. But in the midst of living life day to day I have been losing sight of the true intentions. Living up to someone else's perceived "me" rather than my own version or in some cases horribly failing at my attempt to be that version that one desires. I'm torn between things I find great passions in, things I've simply never been well equipped to display at any remarkable level and wading through distractions that greets us all, each through different tempting venues in disguise.
That's not to say that my behavior is dishonest....simply not a full commitment as it should be.
I'm struggling with personal endeavors and things that can be deemed by some as obligations to others. I'm feeling surrounded by some sense of entitlement and disheartened by my inability to deliver such duties to satisfy them.
There are times of the day often wasted by me. I've attempted to fill them productively....writing, brainstorming, connecting and feel justified and established much of the time....but then, it just takes one persons perception to see that those realized intentions amount to nothing.
There is really no point to this entry. Just some thoughts to "paper." Hoping that in typing them I can find a solution and move forward with unwavering conviction that what I'm trying to do is something.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pinterest Attempt: Nutella Cupcakes

Oh Pinterest, you challenge ladies (and gentlemen) to DIY weddings, crafts and more. Hell you can find a link to make just about anything yourself. Become a domestic goddess and discover I've had several sister dates with my sister Bonnie to concoct cork balls, teeshirt scarves, buffalo dip and more with great success.


Pinterest ignites trends of culinary and design and often brings awareness to some well loved flavors.....one in particular....NUTELLA. mmmm, hazelnut chocolatey goodness. Perfect alone but add it to baked goods is a no brainer!!!

I followed a recipe last week for "Self Frosting" cupcakes and I have mixed results and a word of advice.

Here's the link to the recipe: http://blogs.babble.com/family-kitchen/2011/05/04/self-frosting-nutella-cupcakes/

mmm swirly goodness


Now, as I've established, Nutella is amazing. It's delicious and a compelling flavor unmatched by anything comparable as far as "sandwich spreads" go.

Sadly this particular recipe results in a very dry cake. While the self frosting prowess of Nutella topped cupcakes was spot on, the cake sans the spread was bland, dry and almost biscuit like.

Bottom line...try this at home...using a different white/pound cake recipe.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Today~Well.




No deep and thoughful words today. Not oohing or aahing over a culinary adventure.

Simply,

This is how I feel today about everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is not directed at any one person. Just all of those that are breathing. So I apologize if I come across as pissy. I'm cranky. Whether I am thinking about work/project to dos or personal issues my sunny disposition is busted right now.

 





Thursday, February 28, 2013

Oh My It's Been A Long Time

It's been so long my little blog.

You would have long grown dusty with neglect if you could. I apologize.
To be honest, I haven't made time for personal writing....well...personal anything almost. Life has been a very busy place lately.

What does this mean to you?
Likely lots of outdated posts. Take my final entry of the Manhattan Project. Being pregnant now, and well into it, I haven't had a Manhattan for months....but Tiffany and I did venture one last time for the sake of all those brown liquor lovers.
Expect that soon.

Pregnancy updates. Oh yes, you didn't know you were reading a mom blog...but let's face it, I am a mom....this has always been a mom blog and it will follow the winding road that mommiehood takes me through.

Another project....wings? burgers? desserts?
Well hard saying but it's sure to be delicious....and sober....and mostly delicious.

Is there something that has been just begging to be holler for the mountaintops of my domain? Perhaps.....but only time will tell.
I'm just now getting settled in after some exciting changes in my life. Transition is sometimes tricky

I'll continue to write about culinary delights via our favorite local weekly news source in the Weekly Volcano.
I will start writing a monthly local book review to be featured in Wrist. This will include novels and other works from local authors. And really just a good excuse to read more.
April/May will be filled with another 8 week session of Peace Out. After May, I'm not sure what the future will hold but I expect things will change as we switch gears readying for the new ones arrival.

Until then.