Grati-Tuesday, February 20th

As I sit here and listen to Bethel radio on Pandora, drink coffee, and reflect (while hanging out with my hubby), I’m so incredibly grateful for the life that we have.  It has been a really hard journey for me, … Continue reading

Instant Pot Carnitas

There is some misunderstanding about what carnitas are, so for this purpose, the carnitas I’m talking about are shredded pork tacos.

I honestly don’t ever measure how much seasoning I use so I’m going to do my best to give some measurements, but you can always add more or take away based on your taste.  I know that I rarely follow a recipe as is :-).

We make these often when we have people over because it is so easy to make a larger batch.  I have two instant pots: an 8qt and a 6qt.  Typically I make the carnitas in one and beans in another.

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I am lucky in that our store (HEB) has carnitas already cut up and easy to use.  I am able to easily layer this way.  You could use a pork roast just as easily, though, you can’t really layer with that.

These are the seasonings that I use.

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Ingredients:

  • 4lbs of pork roast (or carnita meat)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1-2 bell peppers, diced (I usually use red, yellow, and/or orange)
  • 1 jalapeno, de-seeded and diced very fine
  • About 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 orange, cut into fourths
  • 2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder (we use dark red)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cumin

Basically, I just layer them in the instant pot.  One layer of meat, one layer of seasoning, one layer of veggies, then repeat.  I top it by squeezing the orange over it and leaving the oranges in.

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I then set it on high pressure for 55 minutes.

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I usually let it natural pressure release for 10 minutes or so.

After it is finished, we shred it and eat!

My favorite tortillas are some that I buy from our local store.  They are basically homemade.  I also love the type that are a mixture of corn and flour.

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Robert makes his “famous” guacamole and we also top them with cheese, sour cream, and maybe some more cilantro.

Happy Monday, February 19th

This past weekend was pretty great.  It ended with some anxiety last night, but that’s not abnormal.  I would say that except for that, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Saturday I did a bunch of chores (and so did the kids), we went to meals in the dining hall which were amazing, and went on a long family hike.  It was a beautiful, warm day.  In fact, it almost got too warm in the sun!  It made me want to make it a regular thing again!

Karis had time with her daddy playing Minecraft on the Wii.

I also did some food prep.  Not a ton, but enough.  Veggie and fruit tray, bagged salad (red leaf lettuce and spinach), and breakfast cookies.  I also made homemade yogurt last week and it’s in the fridge.

Yesterday we went to church, went to lunch at an amazing Chinese restaurant, went to a party supply store to buy plates and napkins for my friend’s baby shower, went to counseling (and Robert ran some errands while we were in counseling), came home and cleaned up the house a bit, and had friends over to play games.  I only have one pic of Sunday because I’m trying to be more “in the moment” with my family and friends.  But obviously as seen on our Saturday, I still want some pics for memories!  This is what I found for the baby shower.

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Today we are doing nothing.  It’s so nice.  The kids don’t have school because of President’s Day.  Robert is off.

Levi made a paper version of his Skylanders game, which is super cute.  He already played it and “beat it.”

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Next we will do a little bit of cleaning, though it won’t take long because we don’t have much to do.  I imagine some game playing will happen.  Also, I plan to write up my Instant Pot Carnitas recipe (so good).  I will also do a little more food prep for the week.

This week is going to be pretty busy.  Tomorrow I have AA at noon, I’ll be hanging out at the library by myself until 3:30 when the kids get out of school, then Karis has choir at 4.  At 8:00 tomorrow evening we are celebrating my friend by throwing her a baby shower.  It’s going to be a good day, but I’ll be tired by the end!  Which is a good thing.

Wednesday I am having coffee here with a friend, having Bible study here at noon, then cooking dinner for some new friends here at camp.  I’m making my carnitas, pinto beans, rice, and guacamole.

Thursday I will do some cleaning and organizing, then I will have AA that night.

Friday the hope is that I will be able to go grocery shopping.  But we have like an 80-90% chance of rain!  So we’ll see.

Speaking of, it’s supposed to rain ALL week starting tonight or tomorrow morning. I like rain, but that’s a bit much!

I hope you have had a good Monday and that you have a great week ahead!

Happy Weekend!

Hey guys!  I hope your weekend has started out well! I absolutely LOVE that I am no longer sleeping my weekend away!  I woke up a little later than a week day but it was still early enough to enjoy … Continue reading

Hello Friday!

I’m so thankful that the weekend is coming.  And I’m also happy that today is a “chill day.”  I have a short list and my goal is to focus on self care! I have been off of Facebook for a … Continue reading

Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow

I have never been a huge fan of Valentines.  It seems to be a “Hallmark Holiday” and just a reason for people to feel like they can’t keep up… especially with children.  The kids (well the boys) had to take valentines to school and this morning Ethan asked me why I didn’t get something for his teacher.  Umm.  I know that teachers like stuff from their students, but I have always been a parent and see both sides.  I know their teachers will be okay.

Anyway.

I decided last night (at the last minute) that I wanted to do something special for the kids.  I had already bought some amazing cookies from my talented friend, but I wanted them to wake up to something different today.

I decided to set each a place setting with a plate, cloth napkin, a mug, hot chocolate in the mug, their cookies, and then I also made muffins and sweetened cream cheese.  I used the confetti from the box with the cookies to throw around on the table.  The kids woke up quickly when I said, “Come see the surprise!” They were pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed their morning!  Again, this was all throw together at the last minute.  Nothing difficult.  Not Pinterest worthy.

Today at noon I hosted Bible study at my house.  I made a pot of amazing coffee (Ruta Maya) and got the water for tea ready.  Unfortunately, only one person came.  So we just talked and prayed which was really nice.  We have decided that in the future if only one other person comes we will go ahead and do the study.

My hubby had to go somewhere today and came home with a sweet Valentine’s gift.  🙂  Well, that’s on top of the blue tooth speakers that he had ordered me (that are coming in today!).

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bluetooth speakers

I have an amazing life.  Yes, I struggle with bipolar 2 and severe anxiety, along with insomnia… but I have so much.  A wonderful husband, beautiful children, amazing friends, this camp to live at and do ministry at, a beautiful view and a home that I love, a relationship with my Creator, and the ability to take good care of myself most days.  We also have all of our needs met, even if the budget is tight.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Pursuing What Sets My Soul on Fire (Jesus)

Being in a constant state of worship and adoration, service, gratitude, prayer, and confession are what set my heart on fire. Unfortunately my life has been just one struggle after another and my spirit has gotten lost in all of … Continue reading

More Organization and Update

This weekend and yesterday I worked a little more on my bonus room.  It is where I want it for now :-).  I want to eventually do some painting in there but it’s fine at the moment.  It’s cozy and practical all in one.  I spent a total of $39 on the room.  Curtains ($20, Walmart), desk lamp ($6, Family Dollar), curtain rods ($8, Family Dollar), and prints ($5, Dollar Tree)

I also changed a few things around in my bedroom and moved some canvases from my room to Karis’ room because it fits better in there.

I want to get some curtains for my bedroom :-).  One thing at a time.

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On another note…

Robert shot another deer last week.  So we have gotten about 70lbs of axis venison in the past couple of months.  Of course, we have gone through it pretty fast :-). We currently have 26lbs of ground, 3 roasts (10lbs worth), a package of tenderloin (about a pound), 3 large backstraps (at least 9lbs worth), and 4lbs of stew meat.

I love my food storage :-).

 

I am worn out.  I have been going, going, going for weeks now and the night before last I only got 3 1/2 hours of sleep.  Today I slept a lot.  I hate sleeping during the day.  I’m so worried that I’m going to be depressed again.  I try to fight it.  But sometimes I just can’t.  So I allowed myself to rest today.  I’m hoping I sleep well tonight and that tomorrow is better.

I just cannot go back to sleeping all day every day.

I’m a little worried that maybe I’ve been hypomanic and that I’m headed back down again.  But I cannot base anything on one bad day.  So tomorrow I will try to get up early again (when they kids get up) and see how I do!

I am still struggling to come up with things to write about.  I have a beautiful space now to write in, and I just stare at my computer.  I want to type up a bunch of my recipes, write about my journey/story, talk about sobriety, discuss mental illness, friendship, loving who I am, self care, etc and I just can’t seem to get started!  I guess I’ll try again tomorrow!

What are some things that you would like to see more of?  That might help give me some inspiration/motivation!

Life is Hard, but God is Good

Wow.  This week has been transformative for my body, soul, and mind.  I had no idea what I needed, and I had no idea that my body could lead me there.

Last Sunday I wrote about how I’ve been struggling, then I ended the post with things that I was thankful for.  I felt a huge weight lift after that post.

My family went on to go to town, play at the park, and have lunch at an amazing restaurant.  It was good for our family to spend a day together.  It has been a long time.  So, that was #1 of what I needed.

We didn’t end up cleaning out the kids’ rooms that day because we ran out of time, so I decided to do it during the week.

Not only did I completely clean their rooms out (they were BAD y’all), I also made myself a new, quiet, relaxing, peaceful space.  The kids had a craft room that they didn’t use often and when they did, they left it a disaster!  It was also SO bad.  So, I turned it into my own room!

Our house just needed a lot of TLC.  I have let it go a lot over the past few years… trying to keep up but letting a lot of things slide.

For most people it wouldn’t be a big deal.  But for me it affects my mental health greatly.  Instead of getting up and moving, I would sleep all day because I couldn’t handle it.  I felt like it was impossible to do any cleaning because the back up mess was so bad (if that makes sense).  Then I would feel so guilty because I knew I shouldn’t be sleeping all day but I couldn’t stop.  I was physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually exhausted.

So, I made a point to purge, clean, and organize the whole house this past week.

Monday I cleaned out Karis’ room.  It took like 10 hours at least.  It was so bad.  Trash was everywhere.  I threw away 2 huge black trash bags and a kitchen bag away full of stuff.  I also put 2 tubs of things away in the attic and gave a lot of stuff away.  It is night and day different and she’s sleeping so much better.  She said that it’s so nice to not be tripping over stuff.  I also made her a checklist to help her keep up with it (she asked for one and I also made one for the boys).

Before:

After:

Tuesday I worked on my new office/hobby space/reading/workout (eventually) room.  I also worked on it a bit today (adding some things on the walls and bringing our chair in from the living room).  I am IN LOVE with my new space.  It is just what I’ve envisioned.

Before:

After:

Wednesday I worked on the boys’ room.  They had a black trash bag of trash and I put away a tub of stuffed animals, etc.  I organized their little trinkets and things and they are just in love with their room.

Before:

After:

Thursday I cleaned the house.  Our bedroom, bathrooms, dusting, floors, etc.

Friday I had jury duty and I was selected to be on the Grand Jury!  Luckily we only meet two more times because our county is sooooo small.  Lol!  When I got home I took a short nap, then I picked up the kids from the bus.  That evening I worked on our written routines, rules, consequences, rewards, and kids’ checklists.  The kids are thrilled for these.  They need this structure.

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Yesterday I worked on my office/work out/reading/hobby/etc room (I need a name for it).  I washed sheets and towels.  I did more cleaning.

Here’s a fresh update to our pantry foods:

So right now, my house is pretty spotless and organized.

The beautiful thing… I am starting to wake up early because I’m falling asleep by about 10:00!  And I sleep ALL night.  I don’t wake up at all.

Okay… now onto what I’ve been learning!

Wow.

  1. My relationship with Christ has grown by leaps and bounds this week.  I can’t explain it except that the Holy Spirit has drawn me in.  It wasn’t anything I did.  I have missed spending time with Him for a long time, and I have had a lot of bitterness and doubt.  I have struggled with trust and faith.  I have also allowed other peoples’ beliefs, bitterness, etc affect me.  I have decided to unfollow some people.
  2. I am capable of so much more than I have been telling myself I’m capable of.  So much can happen because of thoughts, in positive and negative ways.  My counselor in Frisco reminded me of that every time we met.  She had me do exercises at home that reinforced that.
    I worked for 8-10 hours most of the week.  My body was sore but my spirit was stronger for it.
  3. My house needs to be clean and organized for my mental health.  Not so that people will tell me how amazing I am.  I have learned that I just cannot function if my house is a disaster.  I also cannot function with clutter, period.  I am working, still, on decluttering.  My counselor reminded me the other day that “environment matters,” and I am a believer in this!
  4. I need to sit at my desk to blog.  It’s my “work space.”  I cannot think to blog at the kitchen table anymore.  I get so distracted by everything around me.  Also my mind is more clear because my house is more organized.  So crazy how physical clutter causes clutter in my mind.
  5. I need structure and routine, and so do my kids.  They asked for the checklists.  The boys’ behavior has improved dramatically.
  6. Ethan got in big trouble at school on Tuesday.  I didn’t freak out about it. I decided in that moment that I need to be more firm with him.  I have been wavering because I have worried about his mental health, but I have determined that wavering is not good for him.  He needs to know what’s expected and that there are consequences when he doesn’t follow those expectations.  He was grounded from all electronics and friends for a week and that truly affected him.  He knows that next time it will be longer and we can always add more consequences.  He is going to counseling today to work on his anger management.  That’s his biggest issue.

…Life is hard, but God is good!