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Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day is a great idea in theory because it is a day designated to celebrate moms. Growing up in Sierra Leone I don’t remember celebrating Mother’s Day. My family is about 90% Jehovah Witnesses and maybe 10% Muslims. All I can remember is that I had a great “mom”, I am using quotation marks because the lady I called “mom” for the first part of my childhood was in fact my grandmother but I didn’t learn the truth until I started attending school. My grandmother decided to raise my brother, sister, and I. She offered to help our mom while she figured her life out. Everyone knew this fact except for me. I wasn’t shocked or hurt when I learned the truth. I loved her regardless of her title, she loved me regardless and that is all that matters.

My grandmother passed away over 24 years ago and a day doesn’t go by when I don’t think about how great she was. My grandmother in my heart will always be mom. My mother and I reunited a few years after grandma passed away. I don’t call my biological mother “mom” because she doesn’t like the title so I call her Miss and I am okay with that. My mother and I aren’t very close but I still love her and always will. I am here because of her but I am the woman I am today because of the great lessons I learned from my grandmother.

A Mom is not always the person who births you and I have been more than fortunate to be blessed with many moms over the years. The first person I encountered in the States that treated me like her daughter was my next door neighbor. Ms. Leigh…I call her my Cuban mom. She makes yummy rum cakes and I loved hanging out with her and her beautiful families. I learned a lot about her culture and she was there for me through some very difficult times. I love her and admire her 🙂

I met my other mom in college, she was the Founding Director of the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership Corps of Cadets at Mary Baldwin College. Her name is Dr. Brenda Lou Bryant, Dr. Bryant passed away almost two years ago after a long and fiercely fought battle with breast cancer. Meeting her changed my life for the better, Dr. Bryant helped me stay in college after my mother kicked me out of her home. I loved talking to Dr.B…that’s what most people close to her called her. Dr. B and I had tons of conversations about almost everything but I will never the conversation about why I had gotten accepted in the VWIL Corps of Cadets. It started out like many of our previous conversations but it ended with me in tears…these were tears of joy. Dr. B told me that she saw herself in my essay and that she had no choice but to accept me into the program so that I can grow and become that great person that she saw in my words. I cried like a baby because only one other person had ever made me feel that special.
That other person was my grandmother and I couldn’t help but feel like Dr.B and I were meant to meet because God knew I needed someone like her in my life. I cried for days after Dr. B died because I feel like I failed her and I still cry when I think about her and all she did for me.

All the women I have encountered over the years have helped me to become the mom that I am today. As a mom I try my best to be a warm, loving and supportive someone that my children can go to for anything. I know that I make mistakes as a parent but I have to come to terms with the fact that motherhood is not an exact science and I just need to do the best that I can and I know God will help with the rest.

Wishing all mothers, step-mothers, grandmothers, single fathers and all those who take on the role of mom to a child who is in need a wonderful day filled with love and thank you. Now I am going to eat dinner with my sweet and loving bunch 🙂

Gluten free pizza is what’s for dinner tonight

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I’m not a fan of taking medications so I have decided to make some dietary adjustments to help alleviate some of the symptoms I have been experiencing. A friend suggested that I try eating gluten-free foods to see that will make a difference. So I am in the process of switching over and it is going to take some time because my family is not all that convinced about the changes I want to make.
So far everyone is on board but I know it is going to be a challenge but I think they will come around eventually. Below is a recipe I found http://www.glutenfreeliving.com.

Ingredients
•1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
•1 ½ teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
•¼ teaspoon garlic powder or 1 garlic clove, minced
•1 teaspoon sugar
•¼ teaspoon salt
•1 tablespoon active dry yeast
•1 teaspoon sugar
•¾ cup warm (110 degrees F) milk of choice
•2/3 cup brown rice flour, plus more for sprinkling
•¼ cup soy flour
•¼ cup tapioca flour
•1 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum
•1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
•½ teaspoon salt
•2 teaspoons olive oil
•2 teaspoons cider vinegar
•1 tablespoon olive oil
•1 ½ cups (6 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese or cheese alternative

Directions

1. Make the pizza sauce (1 cup): In a small heavy saucepan, combine tomato sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, fennel seeds, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Set aside.

2. Make the crust: Arrange oven racks in the bottom and middle positions of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Grease (use shortening or butter, not oil or cooking spray) a 12-inch nonstick (gray, not black) pizza pan. Dissolve the yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar in the warm milk for 5 minutes.

3.In a food processor, blend milk, rice flour, soy flour, tapioca flour, xanthan gum, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons olive oil, cider vinegar and the yeast mixture, until the dough forms a ball. The dough will be very, very soft. (Or, blend in a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on low-speed, until well blended.) Put the dough in the center of the pizza pan. Liberally sprinkle rice flour onto the dough; then press the dough into the pan with your hands, continuing to dust the dough with flour to prevent it from sticking to your hands. At first, it will seem as though there is not enough dough to cover the pan, but don’t worry―it is just the right amount. Make the edges thicker to contain the toppings, taking care to make the dough as smooth as possible. The smoother you can shape the dough, especially around the edges, the prettier the crust will be. Bake the pizza crust for 10 minutes on the bottom rack.

4. Remove the pizza crust from the oven and brush the top with the pizza sauce. Sprinkle with the cheese and arrange the vegetables on top. Return the pizza to the oven and bake on the middle rack until nicely browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. You may brush the crust edges with a little olive oil, if you like. Cut it into 6 slices and serve warm.

Raw dough

Raw dough

with Gluten free pizza sauce

with Gluten free pizza sauce

cheese blend

cheese blend

onions, I didn't want to over do it...my family can be very picky.

onions, I didn’t want to over do it…my family can be very picky.

Final product

Final product

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