Friday, July 8, 2011


I have a new blog.  You all should go there now, and follow me for the rest of your life.  Ok, that sounds like a cult but seriously, I'd love you forever if you'd follow me over there and support my new blog and my new ventures. is where its at.

Monday, May 16, 2011


I was in a car accident last Friday.  I'm fine.  My car is not.  I'm ok if it gets fixed or if it gets totaled and I have to car shop again.  I wasn't that attached as the last one.  More to come later.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

In Honor Of Mother's Day

I know the title of this post is a little late in coming but for some reason or another, I had no words to say this Mother's Day.  I wasn't sad, I wasn't mad, I wasn't jealous,  I wasn't thankful, I wasn't much of anything.  I kind of felt a bit numb to all things Mother's Day.  I'm usually the sappy one who makes tear-filled remarks about the loss of my mom or thanks those who helped me grow up after my mom died.  I was a bit apathetic to it all.  BUT that has since ceased, and here are my 10 things that I've learned from my mom, my aunt, my former co-workers, my friends, etc.  All whom are mothers, past, present, and future.

1. If you've got a freak flag, let it fly.  There's probably a really good reason why you don't fit in, its because you weren't meant to.  You may not figure it out for a while but when you do, you'll know.
2. Love what you do and do what you love, don't spend your life doing anything else.
3. My mom taught me to cook, my aunt taught me to love it and everyone else makes me keep loving it by loving what I cook and encouraging me to do more.
4. It's OK to cry, but sometimes you just need to pull up your big-girl pants and move on.
5. Strength can be obtained, found, borrow, felt and/or shared.
6. Laugh.  A.  Lot.  Like an obscene amount.  Even if you're laughing at yourself.  Laughing is awesome.
7. Love a lot, and fiercely too.
8. My mom taught me that a good song cranked up too loud with your windows down driving too fast, can cure any bad day or bad mood.
9. Honestly and humility are two invaluable traits to have.
10. Don't regret anything.  Don't regret those nights you got too drunk, that failing grade you got, that boy you did or didn't kiss, the things you did or didn't say, the people you didn't get to know, the money you wasted, the people you lost touch with, being angry, or that horrendous outfit you wore.   If you learn something from every experience, then there's no reason to regret it, embrace it and move forward.  

Happy Belated Mother's Day to all of the mothers I know, have known or will know.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Home. A simple but complicated word, to me. For 23 years of my life I called Hedrick, Iowa home. Now I call West Des Moines, Iowa home. I call Hampton, Iowa my dad's home. Like I said, a bit complicated. A couple weeks ago, I went home home, as in Hedrick or more specifically Pekin, Iowa where I spent 13 years in school and worked for 4 of those years. Work was what took me back to Pekin, after a three year hiatus. My dad sold our house in Hedrick roughly three years ago and moved to northern Iowa. For multiple reasons, I didn't feel the need to visit, I felt the need to just move on. My dreams of bringing my husband and kids(both hypothetical) back to "grandpa and grandma's house" were dashed, getting to sleep in my old "Barney-blew-up purple room", and visiting people I'd known my entire life over holidays spent at my parents house were all things I had to move past. Life happens, things change, I moved to Des Moines, my dad sold the house and I made a clean break from southern Iowa. BUT the one thing that kept drawing me back was my love for my old job. Not just my old job but the people there. More specifically, the people who helped save my life. At times I can be dramatic, this is definitely not one of them. If you want to meet the most selfless, wonderful, caring, loving, feisty, hilarious people.......... spend a day at the Pekin Childcare Center(with a lunch trip to Miss Kitty's Barber Shop in Ollie, IA). You'll have to try hard for that place NOT to change your life. Read part VIII about 2/3 of the way down the page.  (4th paragraph to be exact.)  My old boss, Deb, had been telling me that I needed to come visit for a while.  I kept thinking that, before I went home and faced everyone[that I hadn't seen in three plus years], I needed to make something of myself first or be somebody cool that everyone would love and lavish with exciting questions about my oh-so-fantastic life that everyone wanted but only I had!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sigh.  I settled for having a job I didn't hate and being really happy with where God had put me in life at that moment.  I think it was an attitude thing. I was nervous of being treated like the girl whose mom died(aka sad and depressed and congrats that you haven't killed yourself out of grief yet and OH MY GOODNESS its so great that you live somewhere, not in the trenches of your guilt and sorrow.) Yes, somewhat dramatic, but some people have a hard time seeing Me as a thriving [happy] adult instead of the 16-year old sad girl who just lost her mom.  Believe me, there's nothing that shoves you off the cliff of depression quicker than someone making you feel like you should be depressed.  Well, armed with a lot of prayers and a good attitude and a crap ton of optimism, I took Thursday off for my visit(the day that Quinn and Ellie are at the daycare) and I took Friday off for good measure AND to have a long weekend.

My Thursday started around 3:43am, when my blasted alarm went off.  Deb(my old boss) had told me to try and be at the daycare around 7:45am when she walked the school kids over to the main building and retrieved the pre-school kids from the buses.  SO I would get to see the twins as they got off the bus, SUPER  amazing prospects of my day to come!  Well I was up, showered, ready(with really good hair might I add for that early), and I had planned to get some Starbucks(two actually, it was going to be a long day without it) for the road.  I left a bit before 6am to get gas and head to SBUX, which was open before 6am and I was ETERNALLY grateful.  I swiped up a grande triple skinny caramel macchiato and a triple skinny cinnamon dulce latte.  One stayed nice an warm in my insulated cup holder(ah, the little things in life that come with a new car) and one got sucked down as I headed out of Des Moines in the dark.  I actually truly and whole heartedly LOVE mornings.  It was a crisp, still morning which is just the type that gets my undying love and affection.  I had previously made some mixed CDs(wow, that's something that I haven't said in a while but I needed to test out the CD changer in my new car, another perk to the new version!)  so I popped those in as I reminisced over each song.  It stayed dark for the bulk of my drive, but just as I hit the east side of Pella the sun was starting to come up and I instantly almost started to cry. Because the image of what I was looking at was identical to the painting that I donated to charity almost two years ago. I'm still baffled that I did this.

Not wanting to ruin my fresh make-up(thus ruining the entire "look" I was going for that started with my stellar hair) I wiped the tears and just continued to enjoy the view.  Watching the sun come up and the world wake-up is  so refreshing to me. The closer and closer I got to "home" the more and more reminiscent I got, about everything.  I guess that happens when you're not around much anymore.  I think my mind has changed and I now regard "home" as a happy place, and I see all of the good memories about it.  I see the idealized version of it that my head and my heart want to remember, not the bad memories that have since been overshadowed.
 I got slowed down going through Osky where I had to transition into a two lane highway, those I am definitely not used to OR their turtle-like speed limits.  For the last half hour of my trip, I was driving completely into the sun and its lucky that no one got hurt because I couldn't see a thing but it was pretty!!!  I got to the Daycare with just a few minutes to spare before we walked the kids over.  I had made a killer apple pearberry crisp for everyone to share, so I dropped that off and my stuff and we headed back across the driveway to the main building.

Deb said Ellie was usually the last one off of the bus, so we should have caught them before they went in to school.  They've known I was coming for over a month(apparently) and had been bugging everyone at the daycare about it.  My heart smiled when I heard that, because I  even think its a little odd to love two kids, that aren't even related to me, so much.  I'm actually surprised that they remembered me but I was also deeply moved that they still did and were so excited.  Well, I got a bit side-tracked.  Deb had to pick something up in the office and I(hesitantly, because students were never allowed in there and I still considered all of the teachers, well, my teachers) went in with her and immediately bumping into a couple people from my old church and/or parents of some friends.  I saw A's dad(both of her parents were my teachers at one point in my scholastic career and I still call them Mr. and Mrs.) and talked to too many people before Deb had to pull me away.  Needless to say, we missed them getting off of the bus.  SO I had to wait the entire day before I got to see them, totally worth it but still.

So, we boarded the bus(so long since I've been on a bus) and rode back to the daycare for the day.  By the time I got back, it was story/learning time, then some outside time, then back inside for snacks, then back outside and then inside for lunch, wash dishes, watch a movie and get ready for naps!  I took a break during nap-time to go visit the best Barber in Iowa.  Don't take my word for it, she's got the award to PROVE it!!!!!   ALSO she's Deb's best friend and a dear friend to me and someone who means more to me than I think I can ever express.  After turning down the only road getting to Ollie(that had apparently been fixed, no more needing to wear a sport's bra to drive on it) I walked into the bright yellow door of her barber shop and got a nice warm welcome like no time had passed since my last visit! So we chatted while people came in and out to get their hair done and after what seemed like minutes, two and a half hours had passed and I had to get back to the daycare to see the twins!

I hightailed it back to the Daycare just in time to say good-bye to Deb(we both dislike good-byes so it was casual, "see you next time" kinda thing) and some other people that I used to work with and was left with all of the newbies that i didnt' know.  So I was the creepy girl waiting for the twins.  They walked in and HOLY COW, they were not six years old anymore.  Which I knew but seriously Ell was almost as tall as I am and Quinn looked just the same, but taller.  They're not kids anymore, they're like actual people!!!!!!!!  Well I was hesitant to hug them because I didn't know if they were too cool for that kind of thing but I think there was a mutual excitement between all of us.  Quinn showed off his stripper moves(I can say that because his mom said that he never like being dressed as a child and she always worried he'd become an exotic dancer) and some awesome kid-jokes.  We talked about how Justin Beiber was SO out and the girls that are obsessed with him(you should stay away from, that was my tidbit).  We talked about their cousins, their step siblings(one of whom was drunk one morning, thank you Ell for pointing that out and for also saying that it was gross.  That's my girl!!!) and everything in between.  We reminisced about when Deb put Quinn's hair in pigtails and Ell's clothes and tried to play a joke on me.  i have photo proof of that one.  Apparently that wasn't the only time but Quinn used to have longer hair and they decided to put pigtails in it and subsequently start calling him Quinderella, AWESOME!!!!!!!!  I'm still laughing about that one.  OH and Deb told me about a conversation that she had with Quinn.

Quinn: So, is Meredith married yet?
Deb: No. Don't you know she's waiting on you!
Quinn: Oh, isn't everyone!!!!!!!!!

REALLY?????!?!?!?!?!  AND that's why they are two of the awesomest kids EVER.  I could have just stared at them and watched them be kids because I simply love them so much and they have no clue how much they have done for me and mean to me.  Long about 5pm their mom came to get them and we chatted about life and all the happenings and about her having almost 10 year olds!!!!!!!!  Their mom is wonderful as well!!!!  Well, I needed to be heading back so I walked out with the twins and their mom and headed back to West Des Moines.  I had had exactly TWO triple grande lattes and TWO Larabars. And. That.Was. It!!!!!!! So in a starving-hate-to-stop-while-on-a-roadtrip mood, I called Meg and asked if she'd have something waiting for me to eat when I got home.  I didn't care, anything edible and mildly healthy.  As I sang to my mixed CD's and made my way back to the city, I did a lot of reminiscing and finally came to the conclusion that home, no matter how many bad things have happened and terrible memories lye there, is home and it will always hold a small piece of my heart.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Vegan top 10

I would say I've been 50%(or more) vegan for the last nine months.Read Here for the full story of why.  This month is dedicated to completely purging myself and my house of dairy riddled things and forming new habits where old animal-product-filled ones were.  SO here are my [some] recent and not-so-recent vegan loves:

1.Larabar has the BEST snack bars EVER!!!!!!!  I believe I heard about them on Kath's blog and decided to try them on my trip to SLC last fall.  I started with the chocolate ones but I actually prefer their fruity ones.  Key Lime Pie, Blueberry Muffin(have yet to try, I'm restraining myself because I just OD'd on their CARROT CAKE) I've been waiting to find a place to get carrot cake flavored and I broke and just ended up ordering a variety pack online which had all the flavors I loved and all of the flavors I wanted to try, minus Cinnamon Bun.  LOOOOOOOOOOOVEE them all.  Seriously, and so good for you.

2.Silk Milk  I've actually drank Silk Light Soymilk in Vanilla since I was in college but these days I'm delving into their Unsweetened Almondmilk(for cooking, I had to use vanilla one time in a savory lasagna. Not great.) and their new Coconut Milk which I adore.  I adore anything coconut really but this tastes like liquid icecream, in a really good way!  Have I mentioned that during the holidays they have fun flavors like chocolate mint and PUMPKIN SPICE.  I buy in bulk and freeze them.

3.The best Protein Powder I've had to date - I've mentioned this before.  On my first trip to a Whole Foods, I bought a sample packet of two other protein powders that are EXPENSIVE but I wanted to try them.  I used one this morning and I choked it down because I knew it was good for me and because I paid $3 for that one packet.  I love LOVE the homemade version so much better.  Even without any flavoring or spice, its 10 times better than the two sample flavors I purchased.  I definitely want to try some other flavors mixes with the homemade version(I've used Trader Joe's Hemp protein in vanilla and chocolate and made my own chai spice mix to use in place of the cinnomon, recipe found HERE)

4.Alternative Baking Company has THE BEST Pumpkin Spice vegan cookies I've ever had. EVER.  I've been eating this brand since college.  All of their flavors are PHENOMENAL but of course the pumpkin is divine.  You can get them at HyVee but I pay the extra ten cents and get them at Gateway Market, they're not stale and hard there.

5. VEGAN BLOGS, so I was reading an article posted byLove Veggies and Yoga about the Power of Blogs and its totally true.  I would rather have a regular person review a product or buy a product that a regular person uses rather than a celebrity.  I don't know if I've ever purchased something simply because a celebrity has/uses it.  I have been opened up to a whole new world of cooking and products and ways of eating and simply being healthy.  All of this has helped me come to the decision of being vegan and how to not feel alone because my roommate or my friends are not vegan.  Some blogs I love are Kath Eats Real Food and Daily Garnish and Oh She Glows and The Edible Perspective and Choosing Raw and Veganasaurus and many more.

AND there are many more but for some reason I can't think of what else.  Have fun with all of those links because they're all amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!(or else I wouldn't have put them in here)

Thursday, March 31, 2011


SO, I've mentioned this in a previous post that I was thinking of going Vegan.  For no other reason but to try it and for the health benefits and the expansion to my ever growing culinary mind.  Many of you know that I get/constantly have headaches or migraines and they've gotten significantly worse after doctor's visits and a couple different meds and such and nothing is helping.  I would take 3 excedrine every four hours, and I'm guessing my liver and kidneys cried every time I did that.  WELL I, not realizing what I was doing, was cutting back on my dairy intake and trying to continue on my path of eating healthy and I (while talking with a friend one day) realized that it was dairy that was causing my headaches and the cut back on dairy was coinciding with my lack of headaches.  SOOOOOOO....................(long drawn out pause to keep your interests peaked).............. I'm going vegan.  As of May 1, 2011 I want to be completely vegan.  I have done my research, and cutting out dairy is going to be the hardest part but I'd rather be headache free than eat my beloved block of cheese.  I already verge on vegan and the one thing that was holding me back was cheese, I love cheese.  I'm not saying I might slip, because that would be a lie but I'm more interested in being healthy, headache free and a happier Meredith than some silly label.  I'm also interested in the ethical aspect of being vegan, I'm not going to pour red paint on people who wear fur but I love animals so it all kinda fits together!  AND I don't discredit or think less of anyone who eats/doesn't eat meat, coming from someone who has been all of the labels(vegetarian, meat eater, etc.) its a personal preference and this is mine.  Questions/comments/concerns, throw them my way!