Zoë’s Music

Here are a couple of songs Zoë has published on her YouTube channel.  Yesterday, she recorded a cover.

And an original she recorded in late summer.


Procrastination, Last Semester Baking and Night Owls

I love to bake.  Not cakes and things that have to be decorated, but I love to bake bread: rolls, croissants, cinnamon rolls, scones, baguettes (which are a staple in the McBride house), matzah, tortillas, challah bread, etc.  I have tried bagels and donuts.

Tonight, img_2065-2instead of catching on up on my Aroma Chemistry and my final Aromatherapy class, I am making Pull Apart Bread, just because of some damn photo I saw somewhere on Instagram when I got up.  I found Ree Drummond’s description and decided to give it a chance using the cinnamon roll recipe from my old school Better Homes & Gardens book from 1989.  Obviously, a high school graduation gift.  And it fell apart years ago.  I don’t remember it ever really being bound since I started using it.

This semester is my last for my Diploma of Aromatherapy.  After the first couple of weeks, I got behind because of moving, then no Internet at the house, then travel, then just so much chaos of getting settled in.  I am going to have to file an extension because I am not giving up on these two classes.  I have come too far.
But for now… It’s baking time so that I don’t have to worry about much tomorrow morning besides throwing it in the oven! (Plans changed. It was cooked tonight.)

Here are their directions for Sweet Rolls, with a few edits from me because it didn’t list ingredients at the top of the recipe:

4 to 4 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 package yeast (I used 2 1/4t. out of a jar)

1 cup milk

1/3 cup butter (I will never suggest margarine)

1/2 t of salt

2 eggs


Combine 2 cups of the flour and the yeast.  Heat and stir 1 milk, sugar, butter and salt until warm (120º to 130º F) and butter almost melts.  Add to flour mixture with eggs.  Beat with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds, scraping bowl.  Beat on high for 3 minutes.  Using a spoon, stir in as much of the 2 to 2 1/3 cups of flour remaining as you can.

Turn out on a lightly floured surface.  Knead in enough of remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3-5 minutes).  Shape into a ball.  Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once.  Cover and let rise until double (about an hour).  NOTE: I don’t knead that much anymore because I let my KitchenAid Artisan Mixer* do all the work.  I mix it until it’s the same consistency and then let sit for an hour.  Although, if you bake breads a lot, I’d go with a KitchenAid Professional Mixer*.


From here, I go onto Ree’s directions**.  Here’s where I start, though:

1 stick Butter, Melted

1-1/2 cup Sugar

3 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon


3 cups Powdered Sugar

2 Tablespoons Butter, Melted

1 Tablespoon Maple Extract or Coffee or 1 t vanilla (I used Maple syrup and coffee)

1/3 cup Whole Milk

Dash Of Salt

“Roll out dough onto a floured surface. Drizzle on melted butter and smear so that it covers all the dough. Mix together the sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle it all over the surface of the dough. (Dough should look very covered.)

Cut the dough into 6 to 8 strips, then stack all the strips into one stack. Cut the stack of strips into 6 slices. Place the stacks sideways into a buttered bread pan. Do not cram the slices into the pan. (You may have a few leftover.) NOTE: I cut this in this recommended way the first time and ended up with smaller stacks.  On the second batch, I only cut into 4 strips initially and then cut the stack of strips into 6 stacks. You can see the difference in the two bread pans.


Cover with a dish towel and allow to rise for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, checking at 20 minutes to make sure it’s not getting too brown on top. It’s important to bake the bread long enough to ensure that the middle won’t be too doughy, because if it is it won’t pull apart easily. If the top looks like it’s getting too brown, cover it lightly with aluminum foil for the rest of the baking time. REPEAT: IT’S IMPORTANT TO BAKE THE BREAD LONG ENOUGH FOR THE CENTER TO NO LONGER BE DOUGHY.


Remove the pan from the oven when it’s done. Run a knife around the edges and take the bread out of the pan. Mix together the icing ingredients and drizzle over the top, allowing it to sink into the crevices. Serve warm or room temperature!” (Pull-apart bread, 2012)


I started to prep and cook tomorrow, but we are night owls, so I am cooking these at 11:30 pm.  If River eats them while we are sleeping…

The icing tastes delicious, by the way!  River told me I had reached perfection again.  The kids gobbled down and licked their plans part of the one with mini pull-part bread.  Hunter said it could be considered breakfast because it was after midnight.  Our kids.  Thank goodness for our years in virtual school.


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The Universe had other plans

I haven’t posted on my blog for a while. As I mentioned in one of my last posts, we were planning on leaving Florida to move to Georgia because we knew we couldn’t survive another year down there financially. We were already in a huge hole and the pressure was not letting up after the collapse of the record label. Geoff’s health was bad with bronchitis and his adrenals. Our health care plan was the best and his primary care doctor was not pushing to get him into specialists.  He waited for over 6 months to see a pulmonary specialist and an endocrinologist and never saw either one.

(Plus rent has gone up in that area so much that you cannot find a house under $2000.00 that’s remotely decent. Even 2 bedroom apartments are $1650 and then after a year lease, the rent goes to $2100.00. That’s not affordable for middle-class families, especially those who depend on tourism for their incomes.)

Let’s just say that the Universe had different plans for us. We left Florida on June 2nd and we spent a hellacious but quite the eye opening 24 days in Georgia. By the end of that time, we all experienced the undeniable fact that there will never be much relationship with my parents, if any. I have not existed to them for years and I accept my part in that, but I don’t see a reciprocal understanding that relationships are two-way streets. I have a post about the emotional aspects of being adopted that I have been working on and will post at a later date, if I am ever able to get the words out. My younger brother and his family… Let’s just say Karma takes care of it all.

Through a series of events, including that childhood friend seeing if we could stay at her husband’s family’s place in Murphy, NC and a random text from a dear woman about the bacteria levels in the Gulf, our lives changed path forever…


Being Adopted and Looking Back

NOTE: I started this draft over 2 months ago and I could never imagine where life would take me since writing this post. I am publishing this, but I will post on what has happened since.  Some of my statement on my next post will contradict my feelings here about my adopted family, but I do not want to change a thing.  I am setting the date back two months because I want to keep the flow of the time frame.

I watched a profound move last week on Amazon Prime.  It is called Adopted.  If you are adopted, have adopted or are thinking of adopting, please watch it.  It is profound, heartbreaking, yet hopeful.  In the mid -90’s, I got the book Being Adopted.  It was as profound as this movie was, but it did not give me another person’s words and emotions like the movie did. I have not read it since that time because it was too loaded with raw emotion for me.

Although, I did not deal with the cross-cultural issues that were discussed in the movie, I have deeply felt 95+% of what the adult adoptee went through for most of my life.  And I worry daily that my adoptive parents will pass away before anything can be healed and that they see and accept me fully for who I am and allow me to accept them for who they are.  Until Easter Sunday, I had held tightly (probably too tightly) onto the hope that one day, all could be healed.  After a very traumatizing conversation with my father, I realize that nothing has changed between us since I was a young person.  My wish for healing was crushed, but at the same time I feel released from a lot of guilt and stress about not measuring up to what he thinks I should be.

I know he loves me and I love him (and the same goes for my mother), but the trauma that is caused by the initial abandonment by a birth mother can never be swept under the rug.  Adopted kids carry that burden with them and they are expected to just be grateful for the fact that someone chose them to be their child.  What is unspoken is that for someone to choose them, someone first had to choose to give them up.  They are expected to fit in and no one mentions the void in their life from being abandoned.  Added to that is the difference of love between a biological child and an adopted child.  I have older and younger brothers, who are their biological children.  There is a difference in love.  It cannot be helped.

The easy answer for unwanted pregnancies has been adoption.  It makes everyone on the outside “feel better” about the situation.  “Well, So-and-So got pregnant, but she gave the baby up for adoption, so it all turned out well.”  No one looks at the trauma to the mother, the child and the adoptive families.  I have been front line in this argument a few times on social media because I don’t buy into the thought that unwanted pregnancies should just be dealt with by giving the baby up for adoption.  I was grateful that a woman dear to my heart echoed the same words from a different perspective.  She said that babies and people who have been given up (both orphans and those adopted) have a hole in their soul from the trauma of being unwanted as a baby.

Right after that (one of those Universe things), I friend sent me an article called The Primal Wound.”  It was the biggest eye-opener of all and completely put into words much of my experience as a child give up for adoption.  Please, please read that article.  There is also a book.  I have not read it yet, but I have ordered it and look forward to reading as soon as I have a moment.

In my very early 30’s, I got to meet my birth mother, her family and eventually my birth father’s family, including half brothers and a sister.  He had passed away in 1977, so I never met him.  My experience was pretty classic and similar to the author of “10 Things Adoptees Want You to Know” above.  She gave me up and never looked back until I showed up one day by phone calls.  I cannot say that it didn’t hurt when she wasn’t as excited to know about me as I was about her.  It did.  Finding your birth parents is Pandora’s Box because you really never know what you will be handed on the other side of that phone call, email or meeting.

Although I do not have a relationship with my birth mother, it has been healing overall because I see where I came from and why I am me.  Let’s just say genetics wins, hands down.  And I do have a good relationship with a number of aunts, uncles, cousins on my birth mother’s side, plus I have brothers and a sister on my birth father’s side and they are amazing.

There are a few articles on the profound connection between biological mother and child that I would love for you to check out if you are interested.

Scientists Discover Children’s Cells Living in Mothers’ Brains

The bond between mother and child

10 Things Adoptees Want You to Know

Adoption: Trauma that Last a Life Time

(For books linked in this article, please see this for an Amazon Affiliate disclaimer. For the articles listed, there are no affiliate relationships of any kind.)



Still want home-cooked meals

The dilemma I face when we have professional work to do is how to still feed the family real, home-cooked meals while having to meet a rigid schedule on some days.  There are days where we have no schedule besides school or working via home.  Then there are other days of performances, fittings, photo shoots, you name it.  We have to be there on time and ready to go.

We had one imageof those days a few months ago and the photo is what our stove-top looked like at 8:20am.  Not only were all 4 kids in the photo shoot but we also had Geoff coming in from a long trip from Virginia, so I had to make sure that everything was in order before we left.  I started this post that day, but life has been really hard to catch up with lately, so I am finally getting around to completing this post.

I didn’t want to catch lunch on the run.  That’s expensive for all of us and it’s unhealthy overall.  I had everything timed perfectly.  Then, when we had to be there at 1:30 and it was 12:50, Zuri decided she had to sit on the potty for 10 minutes trying to pee.  Thank goodness, I had everything cooked and Hunter had set the table, including all the pots, serving spoons, etc.  He even add the cloth napkins and only the ones that had been ironed!

When we got to the shoot, it was one of the coldest days we had this year in NWFL.  The kids were freezing and had to look like it was summer.  They had fun, but it was a slightly crazy day being outdoors in summer clothes in January.  You can tell by Zuri’s face that she’s freezing her tushie off, but she did amazing and the magazine layout was adorable.  image

For me, it’s difficult to try to plan meals because cooking from scratch does take a lot of time and there are days that are just simply insane with our schedule.  Part of what my goal is to show others that real food can happen with an unpredictable lifestyle.  Much of what I post from now on will be able this subject because it has become important to me to help other families see that real food can happen even on a crazy schedule.

You won’t find deliberate sugar-free, gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan ideas here, but you won’t find a lot of crap in the food and recipes that I suggest.  Been there, done that.  Simple, high quality, real food is what is important.  Local food that has been raised without pesticides is best, beyond that organic food from the chain grocery stores is recommended second.  I’ll have a post soon about what I really think about USDA Organics and what it did to a lot of small farmers who are more “organic” than many of those who sport the organic seal.

What I look forward to sharing are simple ways to create amazing food from simple ingredients.  This morning, we had cinnamon crepes with caramel sauce, not because we are “all that,” but because those were the ingredients that I had in my kitchen and it was that or another morning of muffins.  No one wants muffins every damn day.

I promise to post more. A lot has happened in the last few months and a lot is happening in the near future.  It is exciting yet calm at the same time.  Thanks, for “listening.”

The hardest thing I have ever done in my life

We had to go ahead and develop a GoFundMe account after all we have been through over the last 15 years.  We told a bit more of the story there about Geoff’s health but will continue to tell through this blog in the future.

He was in the hospital this morning (12/10) and was diagnosed with more bronchitis and possibly non-smoking related emphysema.  We are awaiting more details.

Update on 1/10/16: We achieved our goal, so I took the account down at the end of December.  We couldn’t have made it through without the help of our community, loved ones and strangers.  The outpouring of love was absolutely incredible.  We are so humbled and appreciate everyone’s help.

We are still waiting on figuring out how to get Geoff’s lungs better.  He can’t be on extra steroids because they stop working and they affect his Addison’s Disease.  He’s just muddling through right now.

The other factor is that health insurance in Florida is not the greatest.  Our plan caused the specialist not to take him before Christmas (although they didn’t tell us that until we called).  Then, instead of seeing him, they referred him back to his primary care doctor.  Honestly, we have been going to a family doctor who doesn’t take any insurance for the last few years.  He can’t refer him to the specialist.  Geoff’s been out of town this week, so we will start working again on that tomorrow.

I won’t get started on the crappy healthcare system.  I just wanted to update this post.  Happy Sunday!


My last post was about the effects of low income (in our case the roller coaster effect) on the education and health of families. For our family, it also puts our lives under the microscope for us to show us what is really important and what is just junk.

I can bemoan the last decade of living at the beach as pure hell, but it hasn’t been.  It’s given us moxie to know that we can push forwards through anything.  In the long run, the ups and downs have also taught us that we have each others’ back.  I realize that we have always had love but there is more to marriage than just love.  Anyone who has been married more than a month knows that, so I won’t tread down that path today. I can say we both had a lot to learn, as we married and had children very early in our relationship, so we had to discover about our strengths and weaknesses while getting to know each other and raise kids.  I am so grateful that we made it through the hills and valleys of the last 15 years.

Our family is truly the center of our lives.  Seeing them grow up into the people they are destined to be is amazing.  Listening to them breathe while they are sleeping is heaven. Even when we are arguing with them, there is love and dedication.  Feeding them good, wholesome food, while sitting around our table talking and laughing is the best feeling ever for me.  Geoff and I laugh that we have raised a bunch of nerds because of all the debates that go on at the table during our meals.  We love it.

imageThis time has also shown how we want to create our future and also progress in our careers.  In regards to Geoff’s music, it’s time to transform his sound.  Here, at the beach, the need has been for cover songs.  My dyslexic husband, who said he could never learn lyrics, has conquered his inability to remember lyrics.  He has a notebook that is 5+ inches thick of songs that he now performs.  That seems like nothing, but for those with dyslexia, learning that many songs is a gigantic accomplishment.  Without that, he would have never been able to even tryout for NBC’s The Voice.  Even then, he did not use his battle with Addison’s Disease, severe eczema or his dyslexia as “his story” that shows like The Voice build around their contestants.  He did not want to say a word about any of those challenges to bring focus to himself.  One day, he will publicly talk about it when it is the right time for him.

For me, this pressure that makes “diamonds out of coal,” is changing and returning me to my love of natural health and healing.  I am not going to be peddling anyone else’s wares from now on, unless it is a product that is complementary to what I am creating in my own work.  As I delve into my studies of Aromatherapy, I realize how much I already know from my past experience in working in the natural body care industry.  So, look out for new and exciting things coming from me regarding Aromatherapy and Herbalism!  And by the way, diamonds really are not made from coal.

All in all, new chapters are starting for our family.  Geoff is working on reinventing his sound. I am working on my love of natural health.  The kids are doing great in school.  The 9 chapters of “Life at the Beach” look to be coming to an end.  It is time.