Showtunes

Yesterday and the day before that, I was all alone in my office at work. That’s a hard thing for an extrovert like myself. Very hard. I tried to compensate for the lack of the others in my entire department (almost everyone on the main floor) by singing loudly to the Showtunes station on my ipad.

I’m an excellent showtunes singer-alonger. I don’t know if I should admit that – but I just did. I sing with gusto. As if I could quite possibly win a Tony award in office-singing-showtune- accompaniment. It was awesome. You totally should have been there.

You see, almost everyone in the entire building was away at a staff retreat. I could not go. This is one of the hard things about living a million miles away from any family when you have children. You are stuck. No one says, “I need to see my grandsons/ nephew/cousins…send them over.”  And sometimes (like this past few days for me) a million miles away is a really hard place to be.

You know, not once when we were driving around, breathing the midwestern October air on our interview here, did I imagine I’d NOT be homeschooling the boys. And yet, here we are – boys in public school and me working. I love my job. I love the people I get to work with. This week I realized how much I counted on them to make my days brighter and so much more fun.

Which brings me back to showtunes. It’s true, you know. People who need people are the luckiest people in the world. We need others to make us stronger, braver, and more polished (even when the polishing process is a bit painful).  We need people to make us laugh, to comfort us when we cry and we need some special people who won’t judge when you scream and throw a pity party because everyone else got to go on a getaway and you didn’t. I know this to be true. I just lived it. Even if you are not an extrovert like this girl, you still need people.

And just for you, Melanie…I do have a great new recipe to share. It’s tasty. I made it two ways: regular and vegan.  Baking makes me happy. Make it soon. Share it with others. Thank me later.

Cinnamon Roll Cake (Regular version first, vegan substitutions in parenthesis)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cake Layer:

  • 3 c flour
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 &1/2 c milk (I used almond milk)
  • 4 t baking powder
  • 2 eggs (1/2 c unsweetened applesauce)
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1/2 c butter (1/2 c Spectrum Shortening or Earth Balance PLUS 1/4 t butter flavoring)

Swirl Layer:

  • 1 c butter (1/2 c Spectrum Shortening or Earth Balance PLUS 1/4 t butter flavoring)
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 2 Tbl flour
  • 1 Tbl cinnamon

Icing:

  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • 5 Tbl milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 t vanilla

Mix everything for the cake layer together first, adding melted butter last. Pour batter into a lightly greased 13×9 pan.

In another bowl, mix ingredients for swirl layer. Drop by large spoonfuls onto cake layer. Use a knife a swirl into the cake layer.

Put pan into oven and bake for 28-32 minutes.

While cake is baking, mix icing. Pour over cake after it has been out of the oven for 5-7 minutes, but still warm.

Enjoy! It’s great warm or cold.

~Janna

Back in Black

It’s been well over a year since I blogged last. March, 2012, to be exact.  I had nothing to say. Well, I always have something to say, but I was feeling too raw to say most of it.

Let’s get reacquainted, shall we?

In late December, 2012, I was finally diagnosed with what has been making me so sick. After seeing multiple specialists, I don’t know how many units of blood drawn, trips to the ER, and more…at last, I knew.

Food allergies. SEVERE food allergies. They tested me for 96 different foods, and at this time I am allergic to over 42 of them. Yes…42. It’s weird. I’ve always had some weird auto-immune issues – and had an allergy to chlorine since high school, but this is weird. I can no longer eat yeast, dairy, eggs, soy, legumes, sesame, celery, carrots, tomatoes (anything in the nightshade family, actually), all melons, all squash, fish, shellfish, nitrites, nitrates, safflower, garlic (the entire lily family, too), ginger,all nuts except for almonds, pineapple, coconut, and more. That’s all I can remember off of the top of my head for starters. Youngest son, who has struggled with asthma since he was itty bitty, has recently been diagnosed with a few food allergies as well. We are hoping that by managing his allergies, we can reduce his daily meds for asthma. Y’all there are so many awful things we are ingesting without thought. It’s gross.

It’s a pain in the rumpus. On one hand, it’s great to not be so mysteriously sick, on the other hand…the food is so terribly boring. Since my diagnosis, I’ve been in the ER for anaphylaxis 3 times – the last time, they almost had to put a tracheal tube in. Not cool.

Now, for what else has been going on. The boys did their first year in public school and it was awesome. They loved it.  This year, we have a sophomore, a freshman, and a 7th grader. The two older guys are both playing football and love it. We feel so blessed to have the great schools here. Going from homeschooling to public school has been a great thing for our family – but certainly was not done without much prayer first.

I started working at our church. When we made the decision that the boys were going to go to school, I told Mr Darcy that my extroverted self was not going to be okay every single day…alone. Within a week of telling him that, I was being asked if I was interested in working at our church. I love my job, I had my one-year anniversary at the end of May. It’s a great place to work and I really enjoy it.

We moved. This has been the most recent thing. I’ll blog more about it later. We had a great big house in a great neighborhood that Mr Darcy found for us to rent in about 3 days when we we moved here. We even thought we were going to buy it. But we didn’t. And oh, how glad we are that we didn’t. So glad. We purposefully DOWNSIZED (and are still in the process) the first of August.  We are in our new place for a year as we continue to reduce our load and are hopeful that we’ll find a wonderful old farmhouse at the end of it.

That’s all for now.  I’m looking forward to blogging again. I like to be able to get my thoughts out and have been cooking more as I attempt to revamp recipes so I can eat them.

Thanks for reading…

Janna