Hard Hits

It’s been a while since my last post. A lot has happened these past 4 months that finally it feels like the sun is coming out after a long storm. This year started off with a caffeine headache (which was what my last post was about), took a family trip with my husband and two boys to Denver, CO in late January (which I’ll post about that soon) and upon our return back home the following day I had my first job interview in the morning and hours later my husband received a devastating phone call from my mother-in-law that my husband’s brother, Brandon, had unexpectedly passed away.

Brandon passed away on Thursday, January 27th and left two surviving sons ages 7 years old and 6 months old. The next couple of days we packed and headed our 3.5 hour road trip to Madison, WI to be with my husband’s family. Planning of the funeral was a blur. Lots of driving around shopping for funeral clothes as stores were limited in stock because of Covid. Making decisions regarding the funeral home, casket, cemetery, burial site, photos, music. Everything came to a halt when we buried Brandon on Tuesday, February 8th.

Not too long afterwords in late March, my husband’s 92 year old grandfather, Zane, was in hospice care about three weeks and passed away on my husband’s birthday, April 8th. His casket and burial site was already selected prior to his departure. Having to deal with Brandon’s passing prepared us for Grandpa Zane’s funeral. There was no running around. Many of us wore the same funeral clothes from Brandon’s funeral. What was hard was preparing the kids for yet another loss in the family in such a short amount of time.

In the midst of all of these events, I was getting callbacks for 2nd and 3rd job interviews and started on the job the same week Grandpa Zane had passed. The emotional control I had to contain while being interviewed was the only thing that I could control.

So to say that a lot has happened in the last 4 months is an understatement. Life throws you curveballs and it’s either you brace yourself for what’s yet to come or you’re taken by surprise and it’s a hard hit. So this time it hit us hard.

Caffeine: The New Hangover

I’m 34 and I woke up this morning having a hungover. And I didn’t even have a drink. That’s just what happens when you’re over thirty, married with kids, and the whole previous day overdosed on caffeine. I wanted caffeine. I NEEDED caffeine to get through my busy day of being a work-from-home-sugar-mama. It’s a thing, at least it is for me. I was tossing and turning all night, couldn’t get a good night’s rest. I just want to fall asleep like my oldest son for when we say it’s time for bed he’s out like a light. So since I don’t like feeling like crap and I’m longing for those quality deep sleep, I did some research.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Caffeine and Sleep

photograph of a person with her hand on her head
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, “heavier caffeine consumption, compared with light or no caffeine consumption will be associated with higher insomnia symptoms and daytime sleepiness.” There are several symptoms on how caffeine has an impact on your health and according to a Healthline article, the following are just a couple that I found relatable to me with regards to the effects of caffeine on top of feeling insomnia.

Rapid Heartbeat

Caffeine can cause a rapid heartbeat. This may be a concern if you have a preexisting heart issue. You may notice arrhythmias whenever you have caffeine. This was one of the symptoms I had while I was trying to sleep last night because I definitely was not having any bad dreams. Couldn’t even sleep to have a dreams.

Jitters

If you’re not used to it, caffeine can give you the jitters. If you have an anxiety disorder or sleep disorder, caffeine may make it worse.

Remedies

Alright, now that I’m more informed, what are remedies that I can incorporate to not feel crappy anymore? According to an article by Very Well Health, there are 13 remedies against insomnia because that’s how I’m feeling right now, but I’ll go my top favorite 3 that I’ve incorporated or will soon. 

Light Exposure

light dawn man people
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Light exposure plays a key role in telling the body when to go to sleep and to wake up, according to the article. The article suggests having more light exposure in the morning or a walk outdoors in the sun can help wake up. Now that I remember, some time ago I came across a wake-up alarm clock as I wanted to get it for myself at the time because I was getting up at 5 am for work. Now I’m trying, emphasis on trying, to wake up at 5 am again to incorporate my workout routines to be in the mornings as part of my new year’s resolution. And to be honest, it’s probably the best time for me because I don’t have any time in the evenings after work since my time is split with household chores and spending time with my kids. Anyway, I think I might consider taking a look into getting that wake-up alarm clock for me. 

Meditation and Relaxation

gold pen on journal book
Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels.com

The article states that some types meditation include guided meditation, vipassana meditation, yoga nidra, or body scan and listed other practices:

  • Visualization: actively imagining a relaxing scene.
  • Relaxation response: this is a mind/body response that occurs after following specific instructions patterned closely after Transcendental Meditation.
  • Mindfulness: involves focusing on your mind on the present

On a personal note, my way of meditation and relaxation is more mindfulness as I picked up bullet journaling again to help my mind be present. Here’s a link to my Pinterest board of bullet journal inspirations. Often times, I’m so busy planning the next big thing that I forget to focus on how I’m feeling and my sense of gratitude. When I initially wanted to learn in depth was bullet journaling was, I read the Bullet Journal Method book by Ryder Carroll.

Food and Diet

Limit intake of caffeine, alcohol and nicotine

The article states that caffeine and nicotine have pronounced effect on sleep, causing insomnia and restlessness. There’s also hidden sources of caffeine found in chocolate, cough and cold medicine, and over the counter medicine

Eat foods that help you sleep

banana on wooden table in bright sunshine
Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata on Pexels.com

The article states to include foods rich in vitamin B6 (found in wheat germ, sunflower seeds, and bananas) which enhances the body’s conversion of tryptophan, a naturally-occurring amino acid that is converted to melatonin. Eat magnesium-rich foods (found in legumes and seeds, dark leafy green vegetable, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, and whole grains).

green leaves with red stem
Photo by Eva Elijas on Pexels.com

Conclusion

The moral of the story today is no more drinking coffee for at least today and ear more foods rich in vitamin B6 and magnesium. I think I really over did it this time with coffee in the morning and a chai tea latte later in the afternoon. I’m more curious as to how I would feel if I go without coffee for about a week and see how my sleep cycle turns out. We’ll see, I’ll keep you posted.

Happy New Year (2022)

Happy New Year! May your new year start fresh and for you to press restart, at least that’s what I’ll be doing. Hoping to accomplish more in 2022 from what was simmering for us in 2021. There are a few big projects that we’ll be planning for this year, hence all the planning I’m doing to help us be more successful. First things first, time is important, and I’ve got to prioritize my time, be diligent on executing tasks, and allow more time for my health. 

Time Management

I love binge-watching shows and diving into what grabs my attention on social medio. Find I find myself wasting hours away without accomplishing anything that I was supposed to do. Then anxiety kicks in and my lists of tasks feel like I’m hoarding on words of empty promises. As a way in decluttering my thoughts, to practice being still and present, I’ll be picking up daily journaling, hence what you’re reading. I used to journal as a little girl writing about a boy who didn’t love me but that’s beside the point. In a grown as women now and I’ve got some serious adulting to do. But on a serious wrote, binge-watching shows and rising social media was an escape for me to run away from what was getting me closer to my goals. As a new year’s resolution, I’m going to set time as any priority. 

Executing Tasks 

Okay. I’m guilty for not completing tasks that I set for myself. But at least I make tasks knowing that it’s out there for me to do. I’ve done 50% of the work. I think where I lack in completing these goals is that I’m not diligently reviewing and strategizing these tasks daily. I think that by incorporating this bit of effort could be my way of pushing things through. 

Health 

Yes, I know that health is on the fore front of everyone’s new year’s resolution but I’m more focused on a lifestyle and the benefits will follow. I’ve never really had a major issue with my weight, more so of how I should better take care of my body of what to consume and how to be stronger. Which is the reason why I’m looking more into a vegan / plant-based way of eating for my main meals. I wouldn’t call myself a vegan but more of an explorer of the different types of vegan recipes I can make and go about my day without stressing about meal preps. Other than eating healthy, I’d like to be stronger. To be capable of picking up my four-year-old and be a better partner in helping any husband on building projects as we have lots of those for 2022. To incorporate an exercise routine, I’m going to attempt for myself to go to bed at 9 pm and wake up at 5 am to workout. I’m going to set 15 minutes for yoga warmups, 30 minutes on strength training, 30 on cardio, and 15 on cool down. So that’ll total to a total of an hour and a half. 

Conclusion

The trick to all of this is balance and for me to not have a burn out. But I think if I can manage my time wisely, I’ll be able to do it. Most importantly, it’s about documenting my life’s journey on how I went about in building this beautiful life of mine and taking you on this journey with me.

Lalor Christmas 2021

There’s something about kids that just makes the holidays more enjoyable. Nothing moves you more as a parent than knowing exactly what to get them. Family members would ask me all the time what my kids would want for Christmas and selfishly I wouldn’t tell them THE items that they would really want because I’d want to get it for them myself. Mommy wins best present award… always. 

Growing up, my brothers and I would wake up at the crack of dawn on Christmas Day, run into our parent’s bedroom and wake them up to obviously state the fact that it was Christmas Day and how could they could possibly sleep in on such an eventful day. Not my kids. They don’t know what waking up at the crack of dawn means. That morning, my husband and I woke up, went into our boy’s bedrooms to wake them up. Zane, my four-year-old, was content in staying asleep, so I picked him up into my arms, his head on my shoulder as we walk down the downstairs. My 15 year-old-son, Micah, lagged behind as usual. I placed Zane on the couch and gave him wake-up kisses. I stepped away to make coffee while I waited for Micah to come downstairs. Zane didn’t wake up until I said in his ears if he wanted to wake up to open his gifts and play with toys. “Toys” was the key word. So Zane instantly woke up and my husband and I gave the boys their stockings.  

As the boys opened their presents, I wondered if this would be the Christmas that Zane would remember because I could’ve sorn those gifts would’ve been the first thing for him to rip into. And for Micah, I’m glad he doesn’t feel the need to desire anything for Christmas. In his words, he has everything so there’s nothing he can think of that he wanted. 

Christmas Day was simple, I was able to enjoy the day with my husband and kids, relaxed, and watched my kids play their gifts all day. 

Review on the Screening of “Untitled” Dave Chapelle Documentary

Last night, my husband and I attended the screening of Dave Chapelle’s documentary “Untitled” at Target Center in Minneapolis, MN. I’m a fan of Dave Chapelle’s late work and practically caught up on all his specials on Netflix thinking this event would be similar to what I’ve seen. Spoiler alert, the event was not at all what I expected and you should probably stop reading this as I’m about unveil some details of the event.

2020 was a rough year for many of us due to the obvious current events that took place. But nothing shaped us more as people and as the Twin Cities more than the unfortunate incident that succumbed to George Floyd. This was the first time in a long time my emotions about George Floyd resurfaced since the long weeks of protests of our hurting city. I surprised myself crying thinking these emotions were numb after so many weeks of protests, night curfews, fires, and gunshots in the neighborhood.

This literally hit home and it was personal. I had no idea of what to expect from this show and thoroughly felt this was a tribute to George Floyd, the fallen ones, their families, and to the people of the Twin Cities. The families of George Floyd and the fallen ones were flown in and were present in the audience.

There were surprise performances from Justin Bieber and Usher. It was a night of surprises, tears, joy, and laughter. A whole series of emotions that quite frankly made me feel human. Dave Chapelle really honed in on wanting us to know how the world views Minneapolis from the outside. In paraphrasing his words, “Minneapolis changed the world.” And as a fellow Minnesotan, born and raised in the Twin Cities, I’m humbled.

What an experience this show was. The element of surprise, laughter, and love was surely there and I was so moved. Thank you Dave Chapelle for being who you are and using your platform to make this world a better place.

Vegan Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Fall is here and so are soups and grilled cheese sandwiches. But have you ever had vegan tomato soup with vegan grilled cheese sandwich? I’m taking my usual soul food and switching it vegan style and here’s my take on it. Of course, if you’re up for the non-vegan version, feel free to check out my previous Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Sandwich recipe.

I’m a fan of homemade tomato soups and grilled cheese sandwiches, and never have I ever had it better than at home. As part of my journey to a more plant-based diet I’ve decided to take a twist to this classic dish. 

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Kitchen Essentials:

Vegan Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwich

By: Kay Lalor November 05, 2021
A vegan take on the comfort food of roasted tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich.
Prep: 5m Cook: 75m Total: 80m
Rating
0 from 0 votes
Meal Type: Lunch
Cousines: American
Cooking Technique: Cooking
Diets: Vegan
Complexity: Simple
Servings: 3

Ingredients

7-8 Tomato
On the vine
1 Bulb Garlic
With top ends chopped
½ Onion
Salt
To taste
1 tsp Basil
Dried
1 tsp Thyme
Dried
1 tsp Dill
Dried
Dash Almond milk
Unsweetened
1 tsp Vegetarian powder
6 Slices Bread
3 Slices Vegan cheese
Vegan Mayo
Servings

Instructions

Vegan Tomato Soup Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place tomatoes, onion, and garlic on a baking dish.
Bake
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until tomatoes start to roast.
Blend
Once completed roasting, place the contents in the Blendtech blender and blend until well combine.
Pour
Pour blended contents into a glass mixing bowl.
Mix
Mix in the dry ingredients of basil, thyme, dill, vegetarian powder, along with the unsweetened almond milk.

Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich Directions:

Stovetop
Turn stove top to medium heat with the iron skillet.
Spread
Spread vegan mayo on one side of each of the slice of bread. 
Grill
Place vegan cheese on top of the bread already on the skillet. Place the other slice of bread with the vegan mayo spread facing up. Once the bottom of the sandwich is grilled to your liking, flip to grill the other side of the sandwich.

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Ingredients

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Heat a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan. Wait until the pan is hot and the butter has fully melted.

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