Friday, June 29, 2012

Hot Summer Day...

I think I'm going to put two posts into one post for the sake of you, my readers. Which, by the way, I'm loving the support I'm getting from all of you!! 

As I'm writing this, it is a comfortable 82 degrees in my apartment. I'm sure it would be much hotter, but I've got these older (but very practical) curtains on all 4 of my windows in my living room. Which, if you've never been in my apartment, is about 50% of the space in my apartment. The bedrooms put together are smaller than the living room, but that's okay with me. So, the reason these curtains are so great is they keep the sun out. They also do a fairly good job of regulating the temperature. I say 82 is comfortable today because it was about 95 all day, with heat indexes above 100... so the fact that I'm writing at 9 pm and it is 82 is good... I have a small fan blowing on me, so I might find it more uncomfortable if that wasn't the case. Wow, holy tangent! 

A few weeks ago, I applied for a job with a Christian organization. This organization works with families. The position that I applied for is working with youth. I don't want to give more information, but the job sounds like it would be rather challenging, but has the potential to be rewarding. I also found another job that is working with a nonprofit organization that aims to help teen girls. This one is something I would really enjoy. The drawback is that it isn't Christian in nature, but that doesn't mean that I wouldn't enjoy it. I have yet to apply for this position, but I intend to do that soon. The job search is hard. I found that even though I have a Bachelor's degree and 6 years of job experience, I'm unqualified for many jobs that are available. I am continuing to look for jobs, especially those that are working with youth, but I'm open to finding a job working in an office. 

Knitting... I have a project that I'm dying to tell someone about, but I can't. I know, that only peaks the curiosity of everyone reading... but I will share about it when I can... which will most likely be when the project is finished! I just have to remember to take "along the way" pictures. I should actually start a blog on that specific project... 
So, anyway, I do have a project that I can share!! I started last fall on a Christmas present for my brother... I thought, for sure, that I'd find time to finish it and he'd have a hat  to wear for winter. Well, Christmas came and went and the hat was not done. So, I tried to finish it many times after that. Finally, I finished the hat, but I had to stitch it together. I tried doing it by hand and that just wasn't happening. I ordered some yarn from Lion Brand and got some yarn needles, so I finally finished this gift on Wednesday. 

I gave my brother his hat and after he laughed, he said "This doesn't look feminine does it?" haha I love him!! 

This wasn't my first hat. I actually made a few last summer/fall. One is very feminine. The other was a typical red knit hat with a large pom on top! 

I used two yarns to create this scarf.

I have added a few pictures of some scarves that I knit last summer. Here is the pattern for the Zig Zag Scarf. Mine didn't turn out as long as the one in the pattern, partially because I used different yarn than what was called for. Also, because I didn't have enough yarn to make it longer. I would probably use a thicker yarn or larger needles to make it a bit wider and longer next time. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Banana Bread

I fell into a fortune of bananas that needed to be used at the beginning of the month. The bananas were in good shape when I received them, but I knew that if I let them sit for awhile, they'd become perfect for some delicious banana bread (one of my own guilty pleasures). So, I decided to go on a hunt for a banana bread recipe that my wonderful niece could enjoy. Having heard of Chocolate Covered Katie a few months ago, I knew that was the first place I should look. Katie, the blogger/creator of this website, eats completely vegan, which means everything she makes is dairy and egg free. Honestly, if you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions, but LOVE sweets (like I do), she has so many delicious and mostly healthy recipes. 

Here is Katie's recipe for Fat-Free Banana Bread. I didn't strictly use her recipe because I didn't have some of the ingredients. Instead, I used this recipe

So, some specifics about my delicious Banana Bread. In the recipe that I used, it called for milk alternative... I used canned coconut milk. The only vanilla I have is PURE vanilla from Mexico, so it is potent! I cut the vanilla in half. I added a small amount of agave just because I wasn't sure how an 8 year old would feel about the banana bread being unsweetened. 

Cooking the bread took a lot longer than I had expected. I cooked the loaf for about a half hour, then had to cook it another 15-20 minutes, at which point I put some foil over the pan. If you stick the knife in the bread to check it, don't be afraid if it is a bit gooey inside. It will still be okay to eat!! 

When we took the banana bread out, it was amazing! It had a great texture and density. My niece, who is almost 9, LOVED it! She was thrilled that it wouldn't hurt her tummy, but also loved the flavor. I followed the advice online and stored the bread in the fridge. Next time I will probably follow CCK's recipe, but add some Enjoy Life! brand chocolate chunks... 

If you look at this picture, you can kind-of see the inside of the loaf to see just how moist it is. I felt that the banana flavor blended well with the other flavors and wasn't overwhelming. If my niece liked nuts, I would add some chopped walnuts, but this was delicious, too. To add a little bit of sweetness, we also drizzled our pieces with honey!! Yummy!!!! 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My New Journey

So, this story goes all the way back to elementary school... 

As a young girl, I dreamed of being a teacher. I loved reading sooo much that when I got my own room in 4th grade, I had a book shelf and it was FULL of books. My bedroom became my classroom. My dolls, stuffed animals, and imaginary people were my students. I had a chalkboard (a large piece of poster board) which allowed "students" to check out books, detailed their behavior, and had the class rules. Anyway, I was convinced through middle school that I wanted to be a teacher. Then came the end of high school and I had thought of many things that I'd like to be, but I settled on teacher because it was what I "always" wanted. 

I went through college, enjoying my classes in education and especially enjoying psychology courses. I thought that teaching was going to be great and that it was what I was meant to do. After graduating college, I found finding a job was really hard. I eventually found a job that was only 4 days a week, but it was inner city and it was sort-of teaching. I worked there for 6 years, each year different than the one before. I eventually got moved to full-time as my position and responsibilities changed. 

Now we're here, 2012. We aren't quite to today... let's go back to April. I was debating whether or not teaching was for me. I had some issues with co-workers at that job and felt like I wasn't meant to be there. I wasn't sure what God wanted from me, so I kept moving forward, waiting to see what would happen. At the end of April, I was called into a meeting with one of my bosses and the Human Resources director... I thought for sure I had done something wrong. In that meeting, on a Friday afternoon, I was told that because of funding issues, my job was cut. I was heartbroken, not because I was out of a job, but because my beloved students were going to be the ones suffering. Let me explain this a bit... my job was one of importance to people who are in the school, those outside of the school wouldn't see it. My job consisted mostly of small reading groups, media studies classes, and some math assistance. While the school that I worked for might not notice the loss in some ways, the students will experience the loss when they fall further behind because they don't have that extra assistance. The library at the middle school where I was working was my baby... it is hard to think what might happen to it now. 

So, here comes my journey... I have decided that the loss of that job was God's plan for my life. He is calling me to something bigger and better in His eyes. The journey truly is for me to figure out through His leading. My heart is still in working with kids, especially those in upper middle school - early high school. I am trusting that God will provide me with opportunities where I can pursue my true passion. For security purposes, I will not disclose information about the jobs that I apply for, but in the interest of the blog, I will share if I find anything worth mentioning. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I've decided to start a blog...

I'm not sure if it is because it's the new trend or if I think people will become fascinated by what I have to say. My focus of the blog is the new journey I am starting. The main focus will be my hobbies, but I will also talk about my experiences as I journey through life. 

I learned how to knit about a year and a half ago. One of my good friends took the time to teach me, then I bought some yarn and a pair of needles and away I went. It became a passion and I've knit many things. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of all of my projects. I also started a knitting club at the middle school where I was working. I didn't realize what a big hit it would be, nor did I realize how many BOYS would get into it! In a highly Latino area, it is important to be "manly," so it was surprising that I got any boys to join a club doing something meant for "old ladies."

I also learned about 5 months ago that my favorite (okay, only) niece is lactose intolerant. I've also discovered that my tummy is sensitive to some foods, but since I can live with it (so far), I'm not doing much to take care of that, yet. One of my good friends has Celiac disease. She has started to teach me about "tummy friendly" eating. Through her and another friend, I found another blog that is completely dairy-free (as well as vegan and gluten free, if that's what you want). You'll hear more about that website later.

So, why am I calling this my new journey? Well, that's the first story I'll tell... read my next post to find out...