Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Slower than molasses in January or full speed ahead?

I've been reading about the 'slow food' movement. No, it doesn't mean your veggies are having trouble getting around or your fruits are being lazy. It means taking the time necessary to ensure that the food your eating isn't processed and full of additives. It means having this:

instead of this:

It means preserving the methods of food preparation that our grandparents utilized back before canned and boxed goods became the norm; before there was a McDonald's or a Burger King at every intersection;

before Chef Boy Ardee and Campbell's took up residence on the shelves of your pantry.

It's a great theory. Going back to the basics, cooking meals from scratch, simmering your own stew, making your own broth, baking your own bread, rendering your own lard, milling your own flour...



Some days I don't even have time to stop and pee

let alone mill my own flour!

I'm afraid that more often than not I'm a full speed ahead kind of girl.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE cooking and baking! There are days when I could spend hours in the kitchen and my family loves it when I do. I love experimenting (yes, I'm one of those annoying people who has a terrible time following a recipe too closely), the chopping, the mixing, the feeling of accomplishment when your family appreciates all the time and work you put into making something to please them. It's a great feeling!

You can just call me

Or not.

I try, but I definitely fall short.

If there were no Burger Kings or Taco Bells, no Ore Idas or Oscar Mayers....well let's just say we'd probably all starve. Spring has sprung, meaning softball/baseball and track seasons are in full swing and I'm officially licensed to operate Mom's Taxi Service. I'm on a first name basis with drive-thru personnel at all the major fast food joints in town.

I admire anyone who can do it all, I really do. I just decided a long while back that not doing it all is well worth the reduction in stress levels. My kids enjoy their sports and I enjoy watching them enjoying their sports. I still make homecooked meals on days that aren't overbooked. I even bake my own bread from time to time, but good ol' Pillsbury Better for Bread works just fine for me.

Someday, when the kids are grown and I have too much time on my hands, I know I'll do a lot less fast food and a lot more cooking from scratch. But for now I'll just keep doing the best I can with the time I have. I'll feed them as healthily as possible and appreciate the time we have together, even if it is moving by at warp speed.

So tell me, at what speed are you moving?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lighten Up!

Today begins a warm weather trend for our area. While today we will reach the upper 50s and maybe, just maybe, 60, the rest of the week is going to be downright warm.

There is a whole to-do list that appears in my head the moment I see the first forecast predicting a string of lovely days.

It's time to lighten up!

Move the heavy winter clothes to the back of the closet and the springy stuff to the front.

(Yes, that's my closet. The one in my DREAMS!)

Clean those windows

and let that sunshine in!

Put away the heavy winter decor and replace it with bright, springy things!

And best of all....(drumroll, please!).....

Re-hang the front porch swings!

There is nowhere I'd rather spend time relaxing than on one of my front porch swings! Our porch is a wraparound, so I have one swing where I can sit on cool, comfy mornings and enjoy the warmth of the rising sun, and one where I can sit in the shade when the stifling heat of August is too much even in the early morning hours. We're thinking of relocating the shaded swing, but it will still be in a shaded area. Just need to live on the wild side and shake things up a little, ya know what I mean?

I won't be getting all this done today and certainly not all by myself. The Hubster will have to help with the swings for sure, since they are hanging from the garage ceiling high above my head. The biggest thing I'm lightening up today is my mood. I'm heading outside to hang some towels on the clotheslines for the first time this year. Now that's a sure way to put a spring in my step and lighten me up a little!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Dragons, Chocolates and Inlaws

Peculiar combination, don't you think?

But that pretty much sums up my weekend.

Perri had a sleepover at a friend's house on Friday night, leaving Tucker Man stranded here at home alone with the Hubster and me. The Hubs said maybe we would take him to a movie if something suitable was playing at the local theater and while Tucker had been hoping for Alice in Wonderland (which I wasn't particularly wild about seeing...that Queen just freaks me out!) it's run had ended on Thursday night and it was replaced by this:

I was only semi-excited. It looked okay...not terrific. But hey, it was family time. A chance to do something cool with the little guy; something he would really enjoy. So I feigned excitement.

Okay, not THAT excited.

A little more subdued. Like...

However, when we left the theater, I was feeling more like that first lady. What a GREAT MOVIE!!! Terrific storyline, likable characters, lovable dragons...yes, I said LOVABLE DRAGONS!

This is Toothless:

Really. How could you not love that face?

Then on Saturday I went to the Third Annual West Virginia Chocolate Festival. YUMMY! My friend Connie is the owner and operator of Nana's Kitchen. She basically bakes everything she can get her hands on and then travels to arts and crafts shows, fairs and festivals all over the place selling her wares. On Saturday I bought a mini-loaf of her Turtle Bread. As of last night that Turtle Bread looked a lot like this:


And I was the only one eating it.

Stop looking at me that way! You'd have done the same thing!

Sunday was spent at the inlaws'. I'm ashamed to say that until yesterday, we hadn't been up there this year.

Between bad weather and busy schedules, it just gets harder and harder to find the time.

Anyway, we had a nice visit including a tasty dinner that included:

(These are ham balls. Not the ones she made because I didn't think to take a pic yesterday. Her's have a crushed pineapple glaze on them, too. Yummy!)

I had never heard of ham balls until I married into this family, and now I love them!

So there. That's my weekend...

in a nutshell.

How was yours?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Four (more) Fabulous Facts on Friday

Since I rather enjoyed my Four Fabulous Facts on Friday last week, I thought I'd just do it again this week! After all, who doesn't enjoy a little fabulosity every now and then?

Fabulous Fact #1:

Only NINE DAYS until the Yankees' Season Opener!!!

Man oh man, I SO love that game! The Hubster is sweet enough to subscribe to the MLB Season Ticket on our DirecTV so that I don't have to miss a game!

Fabulous Fact #2:

I made a dozen pints of strawberry freezer jam yesterday and the day before!

(This isn't mine...just a pic I found online. But I did use the same kind of containers!)

I still have lots of strawberries left so I'll be making more jam, a pie and probably some strawberry shortcake, too.

Fabulous Fact #3:
I don't think I've already blogged about this, but if I have, please bear with me. I'm a proud Momma, ya know?

Perri modeled some hats for a local photography studio, A+ Photography. Tabi and Angela, the ladies who own and operate this place, do some FABULOUS work!

Well, we got some of Perri's pics and they are just incredible!

And here is ZBELLE HATS where these cute little creations are being sold.

The best part? She had a BLAST!

Fabulous Fact #4:
Tomorrow is Ripley's Third Annual Chocolate Festival!
For those of you who are not aware, this:

and this:

make me do this:

I LOVE me some chocolate!

And as you can tell in this pic, so does Tucker:

HERE is a link to more info on the festival. Pretty cool for such a small town.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

And the winner is.....

I know some blogging folks have HUGE giveaways and lots of entrants and they use some fancy-schmancy web tool or something to select a winner. This is my fancy-schmancy selector:

I think he's just the schmanciest! :)

And this is how we did it:

And the winner is.........*drumroll*

Can you read that???


I can't HEAR you!!!

THAT'S better!

I'll get the package in the mail as soon as I get her address, but I don't think I'll post the pics until she has received it because I don't want to spoil the surprise. :)

But I will say this much:

It is a BRIGHT and SPRINGY package, just like I promised! Hope it makes you smile, Holly! :)

Many thanks to: all of you who participated in my giveaway; those of you who regularly read my daily ramblings; those of you who so kindly offer your support in my down times as well as the happy ones; those of you who have followed me from the beginning and those of you who have signed on along the way; and any who happen to fall into more than one of these categories! You're the best bloggy buddies a girl could ask for!

GROUP HUG!!! (or 'doop hud', as Tucker used to call it!)

Reasons to Celebrate

Let's celebrate!

Today marks the 56th anniversary of the manufacture of the first color television. It was made by RCA.

Today marks the 14th anniversary of the newly designed $100 bill going into circulation.

In Sweden today, people will celebrate Waffle Day.

The feast of the Annunciation, or Our Lady's Day, has come to be known as Waffle Day and traditionally falls on March 25, nine months to the day before Christmas. (Just want to emphasize that part...I know some of you will enjoy that little reminder!)

And today's celebrity birthdays worth celebrating include:
* Anita Bryant, 1940
* Aretha Franklin, 1942
* Elton John, 1947
* Sarah Jessica Parker, 1965
* Gloria Steinem, 1934

But let's face it. None of these things are what I'm REALLY celebrating.

This post...this very post...this happy little grouping of post number

The mayor called and offered to do this:

But I graciously declined.

Ticker tape clogs the storm sewers, ya know.

Instead I'll just quietly do the surprise package giveaway I originally announced here and let it go at that.

I know it was supposed to take place this morning, but I let time slip away from me.

Tucker wants to draw the winner and I just couldn't get it together in time for him to do it before he left for school, so it will happen when he gets home. The winner's name will be announced here tonight.