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On this Inaugural day, I think it’s time I lay my cards out on the table. I have kept my thoughts and political and personal beliefs to myself in recent months, mainly due to an overwhelming amount of negativity I see. My hope in doing so, those who know me and happen to like me, can see that the world is much more than black and white, liberal and conservative, republican and democrat. That at the heart of it all we are all Americans trying to get our piece of the American dream. We (at least most of us) are just people trying to do the right thing for our little tribes and hopefully making the world as a whole a little better. Perhaps before being quick to label someone who may sit across the line from you with insulting and derogatory labels,  you will realize we have more common thread than you may believe. And this goes both ways. So here it goes… this is who I am.

I am a woman. A short, kind of round, pink haired wife, mother, sister, daughter, favorite auntie, and all around kick ass, take no prisoners, mama bear – woman. I take pride in being a woman. I am proud to be soft, squishy, pretty, feminine, sexy, sweet, smart, funny, sensitive, yet still strong and firm standing. I don’t think sending my Mister off with a hot breakfast and a lunch is demeaning. I take pride in trying (although I falter) a nice home, craft pretty things, I cook most of the meals, and I am a whip out your boob and breastfeed your baby kind of mom. I work full-time running my own consulting business and I am in the midst of launching a new business. I celebrate womanhood.

Politically speaking, I fall pretty squarely on the Conservative Republican team. I believe in family. I believe that the traditional “nuclear” family is an awesome thing. I believe many societal problems we have stem from a breakdown of the family and a lessening in the importance of respecting ones elders and authority. I was a single mother for a solid decade before I met the love of my life, so I know the struggles of having to be everything. I believe babies are tiny humans while still in the womb. I believe in helping others in a way that empowers them to rise up and become independent, contributing members of society. I am a proud first generation immigrant, I was born in the Philippines and became a proud citizen of this great land through my parents who applied to come here, worked hard, waited, proved their worthyness and struggled to become Americans and give their family a better life. I am proud they came over by working with the system not against it.

I am a fan of nature and the connection to the earth. I’ve been an advocate for local, fresh seasonal food for far longer than it has been “en vogue” – I raise my kids to know where their food comes from, where their family comes from, our connection to the earth and how to respect that connection.

My over arching belief is simple. More personal responsibility, Less government. Be awesome. Work hard, play hard, be proud of your successes, learn from your mistakes, help your fellow man and make the world a better place we you finally leave this earth. You do your thing and I will do mine, and as long as you don’t get in the way of my liberties – I won’t stand in the way of yours.

Today I watched the inauguration. I am fascinated and proud of the peaceful transfer of power that takes place. I love the ceremony and grandeur of it all. I am touched by watching women I admire like Ivanka Trump – with a baby on her hip dressed to the nines. I swoon over the clothes and hair and refinement of it all. And as with all major events in this nation – no matter what party is hosting – I love knowing I witnessed a slice of history.

I don’t profess to understand everyone or everything – but I know LOVE. And what gets me up in the morning is simple. The love I have for myself, my Mr, my children, my family, my friends and other loved ones. The deep love I have for them all is what truly brings me joy. I am happy to discuss anything in a positive manner. Have a question, ask. Have a comment – do so with an open heart and kindness and I will listen. If you have a question or want to know my stand on an issue, I am happy to share.

Jumping back in – 2017

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Its been many moons since I have felt the motivation to “blog”. But with the new year comes a renewed outlook and vigor. I have also rekindled that desire to share a little bit of myself. Since its been a while, I thought I would begin with a little reflection.

2016 was a pretty good year for our little family. After a few years of soul crushing challenges and set backs, it was nice to feel like our hard work and perseverance as a couple, a family, and even personally were beginning to pay off. The Mr. and I are in the best place we have ever been with our relationship. We still have that newlywed passion for one another but also a sense of comfort and trust that just comes with time. We have always been deeply in love, but now we are in the groove of our marriage. We worked out some kinks, earned trust, did our fair share of fighting and a lot of forgiving, worked long hard hours, and this year it paid off. The girls are all thriving, little Samara is just a joy in our life, and we got to proudly purchase our first house as a couple – which I lovingly and humbly call #MosesManor.

It never fails to bring a tear of joy to my eye when I think of how far we have come. The Mr. and I have been together now almost 4 years. Next month we celebrate our 3 year wedding anniversary. To think, in the past three years we got married, had our sweet baby, and bought our house. It is very much the realization of the American dream. None of this was handed to us. Like I mentioned before – there were many long hours of work put in, sacrifice, fights and growing pains and challenges. Our love for each other were the ties that bind. No matter how hard things get – we love each other.

Thinking about how I have grown in the past year, its easy to focus on the negative. I’ve gained weight from fertility meds, I didn’t quite hit all the goals I set for myself, my kitchen still needs painting and there is a hole in the wall I STILL need to tend to. I can however say that I am a better person than I was a year ago. And I hope, a more authentic version of “me”. Looking out on 2017, it is my hope that I can just continue to live a good life. I want to do good things, learn more, cook yummy food, learn a few new skills, perfect old ones, enjoy my family time more, and just generally be the most authentic me possible. More to come… Including my 2017 One Little Word.

Recipe: blackberry merlot jam

imageThis wonderful jam features plump blackberries with just a touch of Merlot to round out the flavor. Be sure to use a low sugar pectin for a perfectly set jam. As far as jam goes we are using a relatively low amount of sugar.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup merlot reduction*
  • 5  cups crushed blackberries
  • 1 box low sugar pectin mixed with 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 4 cups white sugar measured into a bowl

Combine merlot, berries and pectin mixture in a large heavy bottom pan. (You can also add an optional 1/2 teaspoon of butter to help
Reduce foaming) Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often. Once to a boil add remaining sugar and stir to combine. Bring to a full rolling boil for one minute.

Place into jars and process.

To make a merlot reduction gently boil 1 1/2 cups of wine until it reduced down to 1/2 cup.

Yields approximately 7 cups.

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