Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Opportunities in Each New Day

Well the day is still young, but I just have to say that today is a GREAT day. Starting out early I didn't think it would be. I had my ringer on on my phone so that I would hear it if I got a call from the school district to take a substituting job. I did, at a little after 5 this morning. It was for a half day of filling in for a kindergarten teacher. I declined the job, I really could not get up the courage to deal with kindergartners, even for a few hours. I got one more call about an hour and a half later, but by that time I didn't have my phone with me, so I missed it. I wound up a bit bummed that I didn't get a job for the day, and went into my, "how am I ever going to get money" panic mode. That lasted a bit, but I tried not to let it stay too long.

After making my little sister's lunch and sending her out the door, I headed on a walk with Glock, planning on starting a new batch of bananas for the dehydrator when I got back. After the walk I checked my blog statistics, and found that someone from South Africa had read my post about the First Afrikaner Feminist. Since I am easily excited when it comes to my blog and people actually READING it, the idea of someone from South Africa reading my post about a woman from South Africa totally made my day. I hope they enjoyed it, whoever they are.

Then, while I was working on the bananas one of my friends texted me and asked me if I would be willing to do her daughter's graduation pictures!! This is something I have actually been thinking about for a week or more, wondering if and where she was going to have them done. So, double whammy day already, and it isn't even ten o'clock yet.

I am trying every day to make opportunities for myself, see them around me, and take them when they come. I feel like both of these things are steps in the right direction of wherever it is that I am going on this crazy thing called life!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Apple Cinnamon Granola

So last week one of the things I whipped up was a batch of Apple Cinnamon Granola. I used this recipe from two peas and their pod. The recipe looked yummy, and I liked the idea of idea of not using a lot of sugar. It was my first batch of granola, and it smelled heavenly while I cooked in the oven. I did make a couple of small alterations, so the finally recipe looked like this:

3 1/2 cups certified GF oats (not quick oats)
1 cup various nuts: sunflower seeds, pepitas, and pecans
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 single serving container of apple sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
chopped dehydrated apples

Besides the few things I changed in the ingredients list I followed the recipe as stated on the blog. When it was done I pulled it out, excited to try my first ever batch of homemade granola. I tasted a bite and was a bit....underwhelmed. It wasn't as flavorful as I had hoped, and smelled better than it tasted. Now, it isn't gross, or unappetizing, just not as delicious as it smelled. That being said, I do enjoy it in a bowl with a bit of coconut milk, the sweetness of that is a great complement to the less sweeter granola. This is not a recipe I would follow again, but I do like the idea of it, so I will try and make an apple cinnamon granola sometime in the future.

The recipe as I made it was "safe" for the allergies in our house, gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, cranberry free, and almond free.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The End of the Trip

Even now, almost seven years later, I still feel a bit of a twinge thinking of a wonderful two weeks in England coming to an end. The first few nights being back home I would waking up wondering where I was. I still get this almost homesick feeling for England sometimes. I was definitely born in the wrong country. I should have been born somewhere in the United Kingdom.

Oddly our last dinner in England was at Burger King.

Now I'm not sure which way to go if I want Pizza Hut!!

Waiting for the tube to take us to the bus stop to take the bus back to our hotel.

Our stop.

So, no successful trip would be complete without some sort of disaster story, right? Wait, you say, you already had yours, your luggage got left in Chicago and you had to wait several hours at the London airport, exhausted and hungry, for it to get to you. True, but that was not the end of it. To get home we were taking a flight from the Heathrow Airport to the Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C., from there we were to take a flight back to Phoenix. Easy enough, right? Well it should have been. Except.... our flight from London to D.C. left a tiny bit late, which wouldn't have been a big deal, except there was some sort of storm in D.C. which caused us to circle above the airport for awhile, causing us to run low on fuel. Due to low fuel we had to land to the Baltimore airport in order to refuel. We sat on the plane at the Baltimore airport for about two hours for refueling and to wait for the storm to pass, that somehow didn't hit Baltimore, before we were able to take off and land in D.C. By the time we made it through customs and had our bags checked, since we stayed on a sheep farm they had to take extra measures, our flight to Phoenix had already left. We went to the desk to figure out what flight we could take to get home. They told us there was a flight first thing in the morning to Chicago, and then a flight shortly thereafter from Chicago to Phoenix. We decided that was our plan, they offered us a free hotel night, but since we would only get about four hours of sleep and have to worry about getting back to the airport in time, we decided to just try and get some sleep there. 

One of my favorite pictures of the trip. Tyler and Karen sleeping, or trying to sleep on their luggage, and my luggage in the middle.
Turns out Dulles International is a bit notorious for having people stuck there. We were far from the only people stuck at the airport for the night. Some people had been stuck there for a week+ as there were so few flights going to their remote country. There were several dozen people there trying to sleep, I doubt anyone was terribly successful at this.

The next morning we head up to departures, ready for the next flight. We checked our bags, and headed to the gate, only to discover that the flight to Chicago was delayed, meaning that we would miss our flight to Phoenix, again. Our next option was a flight that left later that day, arriving in Phoenix that evening. By this point we had already been up pretty much for more than twenty four hours straight. We didn't have much choice, so we agreed. We were a bit bummed that we wouldn't be on the flight to Chicago as two of our tickets for the flight to Chicago had been upgraded to first class. 

We settled in for a day at the airport. By this time we were really too tired to try and see any of D.C. in the time we had before or flight left. We settled into seats across the hall from California Tortilla where we had breakfast from, and tried to sleep some more, and just spend the day. I bought a copy of Gone With the Wind from the Border's bookstore down the hall in the mall, and Karen actually wound up reading it. We got lunch from California Tortilla, it was REALLY yummy, and the guy working there jokingly asked us if we were moving in. He would occasionally wave at us from across the hall. 

I remember at one point during the day having to go to the bathroom, I had to keep my hand on the wall to keep from falling over I was so tired. I felt like the floor was moving under me, like a boat hitting the waves.

Finally it was time for our flight, we gathered our carry on belongings, waved to the guy who had fed us all day and went to board our flight. I was in a middle seat and couldn't lean against the window like I usually do. I watched the movies playing for awhile, but towards the end of the flight needed to lay my head down. I felt bad leaning back, so I pulled down the tray in front of me and rested my head on that. 

When we finally landed in Phoenix we had been awake for 48 hours, with a few little bursts of catnaps, and we were exhausted. We had to track down our luggage, since it was on the flight to Chicago, and then got to Phoenix somehow. It managed to actually reach there before us, so we aren't quite sure how that worked out. In the end, although we were tired and ready to sleep for hours, it was a great experience. I think everyone should be stuck overnight in an airport at least once in their lives. Karen and Tyler both felt like they never wanted to fly, ever again, for quite awhile after that. I, on the other hand, was ready to get back on a plane and go within a few days. 

London River Tour

In addition to the Bus Tour we also purchased tickets for a River Cruise. It was fun to see things from that perspective as well. It wasn't terribly long, but it was enjoyable to just sit and watch the sights go by without having to think about whether or not you should get off and see things.

Westminster Abbey

One of the places that was on our must stop at and explore list for London was Westminster Abbey. You aren't allowed to pictures inside, but we took plenty from the outside.

One of the many things I loved about London was the mix of old and new. The gothic, beautiful architecture of Westminster Abbey, and then new skyscrapers on the other side of the River. 

We live in Arizona, it made us smile.

Honestly, everything is better in England. Fast food tastes better, and really, do you see McDonalds in buildings like this in the states??

Cheers!! Great T.V. show.