Thursday, January 31, 2013

Whatever: The long road to not being boring

Yep, I blog is boring. 

I can't help it. My life is somewhat in a rut right now. 
I am working on it.

Here are some photos of the in progress boring to cool room.
We are currently looking for curtains, a lampshade and sheets.
We are going for a more grown up look, but her style is really colorful and very arty.

She will eventually fill up the remaining walls with her art.

I still have to paint the trim, but I worked a bunch this week.

Maybe I should hire my Ellie to jazz up my blog.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dirt: Gotta brag

My daughter's swim banquet was last night. A tear was brought to my eye when it dawned on me that this was her last season as a middle school swimmer. Her lovely coach had kind words to say about her, including that she could be a real asset to the varsity team next year if she chooses to swim. 
That was a button poppin' moment. She rocked the championship and scored a fair amount of points for her team, taking almost a full minute off her 500, which is a lot in swimming.

8th graders

22 girls tried to sit around this table...that's team work

She was part of a super badass team that truly brought it. 22 girls who swam their finest all season and improved up until the very last race, outscoring their rival by over 200 points and the combined boys and girls team by over 100.  Last night we celebrated all those sweet girls aged 11-14.
 It was fun and very sweet and a little eye opening.

My husband and I sat with four other girl's parents and listened as they all complained about their daughters not talking to them anymore about anything. I was really surprised. There was a lot of " my kid never tells me anything" and "sometimes she forgets who we are and slips up and talks to us". I did not join in. My kids are pretty chatty with me. One is a little less, but if I pay attention, I know what is going on with her and most of her friends. In addition, these were "cool" parents who I know are understanding with their daughters.

The struggle within me it to stop trying to solve their problems as I did when they were little. My experience has led me to realize that if I keep my mouth shut and don't judge, I hear a lot more.  As someone who in her late teens realized her parents were there to help, I resolved to be like them. My step mom was the best at listening and keeping a straight face. I try to do the same. 

I have already had some pretty frank conversations with both daughters. No topic is off limits, even if it makes me uncomfortable.  The reality is that girls need adult female  supervision and examples, especially as they are becoming adults themselves. Leonard Sax talks about this in his book Girls On the Edge.  Dr. Sax suggests that teenage girls need a few close girlfriends, their mother and one or two adult women to guide them to adulthood. I am fortunate that my daughters are close to my sisters in addition to a few of the mothers of their peers.  We have limited the media in their lives, even recently cutting back on their iPad and laptop time. The reason being kids and especially girls want "the answers" and going to the internet is like going to someone's older sister who is very worldly and has no filter.

As a mom, I try to engage my girls in conversation and share my own life with them. They know my daily  struggles including trying to find my place in service to God, what I am feeling insecure about,  if I have cramps, which relationship is causing me strife, how I am struggling to workout, etc. I want them to see that the things they deal with right now are always going to be in their lives.

Coach LaRochelle

I hope the other parents were exaggerating  and were doing the things parents do in order to not seem like they are bragging about their kids. These are the best and brightest girls I know and it would be such a misfortune if their parents are missing that aspect of their lives.  Vice versa, the girls truly will be missing out if they don't allow their amazing parents to share their daily ups and downs.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Gratituesday: Following shoes

I love shoes. 
My parents called me Imelda in high school. I not only worked in the shoe department of a local department store, but I also spent a lot of my hard earned money on buying more shoes. At one point, I had over 100 pairs. 

I am not quite so gluttonous now. I have about 15 pairs of shoes, but wear only a few regularly. Running shoes, my beloved cowboy boots, a pair of Converse  my nephew bought me for Christmas, and my Rainbow flip flops which also double as my slippers are heavy in the rotation. I have a pair of black flats that I have literally almost worn out and am on the search for a pair as comfy to replace them. The rest are random shoes I wear often enough to warrant keeping, but not often enough to make the pile at the bottom of my closet.

For Christmas, I received two pairs of super cool Toms. One is more of a winter Tom and the other all season. I have worn them both once and foresee once shorts season is here, the all season  with be in high rotation with  my Rainbows.  I feel pretty cool thinking that somewhere, two people have a pair of shoes thanks to my Christmas wish and of course, Tom's famous one-for-one philosophy.

Yesterday, when I was putting my shoes away, I got to thinking about my own philosophy about giving.  Do I have one? I don't have a lot of money, so I am not ever going to be known as a great philanthropist in that sense. However, I have a lot of other things going for me. I have time, I have cool shoes and I can talk to kids.

My prayer for this year is for God to show me how I can serve Him better. This has led me to some deep reflection. Never an easy task, since I have to shut my own voice up to hear His, and I am a talker. A fill-in-the-silence nervous talker.  I, literally  have had to shut up. 

I have felt the hand of God sending me in a direction. Of course, I had to over analyze it and then get a reality check. My pride led me to think I needed to start at the top, when I really believe He wants me to start at the bottom. Giving, of my time and my self. 

So, while I wish I was as cool and visible as Blake Mycoski and could found a business as far reaching and hip as Toms, I realize I am to be a servant. God's servant and my fellow man's servant.
I am grateful to have been led, now I just need the courage to follow.

Hopefully, my shoes will take me there.

Check back and I will share once I get the courage to take the leap. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cooking: What normal looks like

Busy week. Seems to be the theme of my (and everyone's ) lives.
I read somewhere that you should never make excuses for not getting things done because you are "too busy". Great advice. Everyone is busy.  Moms, dads, singles, married couples, kids...we all have a lot on our plates and with the exception of kids and school, we choose what goes on there. 

So, essentially,  I am busy this week doing things I want/have to do. My sisters and parents are coming into town for Delaney's Rite of Confirmation and I want to clean and have a few more projects done before they come. Delaney has swim practice, dance practice, a swim banquet, and both girls have school and homework galore. There is the Wednesday night run, a Thursday night swim parent meeting, work, workouts and  basically, our normal.

As I drove home this morning from dropping the girls off, I did my mental list of everything that I want to get done and how I am going to do it all. 
Probably won't get it all done, but like everyone who has kids and a job, I will prioritize and do what I can. The one that never changes is my routine. As I have said in the past, routine allows me to get the important things done and fit in all the other things and even some fun.

Life is Busy @ Casa Swann Menu
    • Chicken/ black bean chalupas
    • Swim banquet
    • Old school lasagna and Greek salad
    • Kitchen sink salad/ chicken soup
Last week, I had room for The Moth Ball with two of my very closest girlfriends. 
We donned old formal dresses and off we went. I initially wanted to wear my wedding dress, but after my oldest tried it on, I decided that it needed to stay home, safe in it's Fort Knox of boxes. 
Instead I wore and old costume and my denim jacket from high school (which my daughter now wears). Lovely? Probably not. Fun? Yes! 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Whatever: Musical wish list

Sometimes, I am a teenager. At least in my mind. The mirror tells me otherwise (wrinkles, grays, pounds) but my mind and my ears tell me I am still 18. Take for instance, my year's wish list of music to see. My musical taste runs the gamut from bluegrass to full on rock n roll.
I want to see several big acts (Bieber is not one) and I am willing to go without to see them. I don't have posters on my wall of my favorite lead singers, but I do have a pin board, which is way cooler.

I have been pretty lucky that I have seen a lot of music in my day. My girlfriends Stacey and Nikki are probably the only other girls that I am friends with  that have seen as much cool music as I have. Last night at dinner, for instance, Stacey dropped Aerosmith in their heyday like she was saying she saw the latest episode of Downton Abbey. I love Aerosmith, so I am "totes jealous" as my teenage daughter would say.  Totes. Nikki, well she is another story that is too long to tell.

Nikki saw the Dead with me

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Reading: A list!

Last year I made a list (shocker!) of all the books I wanted to read in 2012. 
As a refresher, here is it is...along with what I read.

The List of Books, 2012 edition
  1. Unbroken
  2. The Hours
  3. All the Devils are Here
  4. Boomerang
  5. Sarah's Key
  6. The Sound and the Fury
  7. Ulysses
  8. The Omnivore's Dilemma
  9. Middlesex
  10. Bossypants
  11. The Grapes of Wrath
  12. In Defense of Food
  13. The Poisonwood Bible
  14. The Paris Wife
  15. The Pillars of the Earth
  16. Kisses From Katie
  17. What the Dog Saw
  18. Wuthering Heights
  19. Steve Jobs
  20. Atlas Shrugged
  21. True Prep
  22. A Simple Path
  23. In the Garden Of Beasts
  24. The Complete Idiots Guide to Understanding Islam
  25. Jane Eyre
  26. Stern Men
  27. Van Gogh: The Life
  28. Wolf: The Lives of Jack London
  29. Salvage the Bones
  30. Delta Wedding

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gratituesday: Two for one

I am a day late (always a dollar short). 
But, I was super busy yesterday with work and mom stuff, so today's post is two-fer!

I am painting Ellie's room. She is long over due some fun in her room and so Sunday I started in on it. Turns out, it needs a lot of work. Baseboards, chair rail and the walls all need attention as well as the doors. For now, I am painting walls three different colors, including chalkboard!
Photos later this week.

Inspiration photo

I have to squeeze the painting in around laundry, groceries, cooking and work. 
Work is the thing that I am most grateful for, and as an offshoot of that, prayers answered. 
I asked God to bless me with 10 courier deliveries a week. 
Last week. 10
This week already? 4, with three scheduled tomorrow and one on Thursday. 
I am not sure if I actually said the number 10 in my prayers, but I did pray asking for enough to make a difference. 10 makes a difference and 10 was what I had in my head as the number I needed to do.

Life is crazy, we have doubts about God and whether He is listening. 
I pray daily at least "Thanks". I am terrible at communicating with my friends. I am a mostly introverted person and putting myself outside of my head is hard. Talking to God is the same.
But, I know that I am better off when I do. And I know nothing is too small, ever. 

So my gratefulness and full heart are prayers answered.

I am cooking like crazy still. We are eating hot foods and enjoying the cool sunshine.

Menu for the Sunshine Week @  Casa Swann

  • Manhattan Chowder with shrimp and cod
  • Soup from the freezer ( chicken and southwest veggie)
  • BBQ chicken, spinach salad with pears and parm, baked sweet potatoes
  • DALS Pork (mama's going to the Moth Ball!)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Whatever: The good old days

Your kids don't change in front of your eyes. 
No, they are sneaky. They do it while you are sleeping, buying groceries, driving them to school or the million other places you go with them.

Then, one day while you are looking for a picture of something completely unrelated...
The fact that they are so different and will continue to morph into something completely different later this year, next week, tomorrow slaps you upside  your heart. 
These little girls are not so little anymore.

Four short summers later...


I miss those little girl days of pink and stuffed animals. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Whatever: Example #263

She's my mini me.
She hates it now, but in time will love the things we share.
Including this.

These make my heart hurt, thinking someday she will leave and go far, far away. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cooking: Chili two in one

I just finished reading a book about an American who meets a Frenchman, moves to Paris to be with him, and ends up living there. The book details their adventures in buying an apartment and her efforts at embracing the cultural mindset of the French in work and everyday life. Oh, and there are recipes.If you are looking for an interesting, fluff book (non-fiction) I am happy to loan it/recommend it to you.  I dream of taking my family and going to live in a foreign country, so this fueled my desire to do so. AND it also brought to the forefront my Americanness. I am not ashamed to be an American, in fact, I am quite proud to be one. However, when I hear about 4,000 calorie meals and listen to my husband complain about our $1,400 a month insurance bill, I do sometimes wish I lived somewhere else, even for a short time. 

The main character in  Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard (Elizabeth) freely admits to being more comfortable in Victorian England than her native New York City, so when she moves to London to get her master's degree, she does not feel out of place. After meeting her future husband at a conference in Paris, and eventually moving to Paris, she still feels very much at home shopping daily at the local market and eating as the French do, long and late. However, when her very American mother visits, she is annoyed by her American ways of wanting to have leftovers and seconds.  Bounty and the celebration of it is indeed a very American thing. We are a nation built on hard work and determination. We are also very much of the mindset that we deserve the bounty that should come with hard work. 

I have become very conscientious in the last year of the amount of food my family wastes. As someone who really hates leftovers, I have slowly trained myself to eat more of them. (Luckily my husband loves them and falls on that grenade a fair amount). I have started trying to extend my cooking into two meals, for example, turning leftover pork ragu into pork soup with tomatoes and white beans.  I like to think my American love for something to be "two in one".
This week I created my own recipe for a two in one. 
My family love Mex, Tex-Mex, Cali-Mex, really any form of Mexican inspired food. As I mentioned, this week is a hectic week of swim meets (2), volley ball tryouts, talent show auditions, swimming/diving practices, homework and school. That is my kids alone. 
We get home at 6 pm and I like to have dinner on the table before 7 if possible. So, my friend Crock Pot was put to work this week. I read enough recipes to realize that the frozen chicken thighs could be put in the crockpot at 9 am and at 6 pm would be ready rock. 
Boom! My theory was proven right. I put 2  pounds of chicken thighs, a 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes, 1 package of  taco seasoning, and 1 table spoon dried onions in the crock pot, salted it and peppered it, closed the lid, turned her up to high and went and worked out.  I checked it a few times and made sure the chicken was thawing, but I could have left well enough alone.  I also made a batch of Dinner A Love Story's Mexican slaw.

Most of my cookbooks

At 5, I turned it to low and went and picked up the girls from school. When I got home, I sauteed some onions, mushrooms and bell peppers with a little cumin, garlic, salt and pepper for myself. While that was sauteing, I sliced and avocado, warmed up the shells and shredded about half the chicken.  Viola! Chicken tacos with slaw. 
We sat down by 6:30! Everyone loved it.  I was so thrilled with myself!
The girls ate more of the chicken out of the crockpot, but I still had about 5 thighs left and all the juice. I just shoved it in the fridge and called it a night, sharing my plan with my husband for the next night's dinner. ( I may have gloated a bit).

My collection of recipes that work

Steve questioned my plan, wondering if that was gonna be enough.  I assured him I was a master, but decided to stop after drop off the next morning and buy a pound of some sort of beef. 

I won't bore you with the blow by blow of  how the chili came about, just suffice it to say my family was almost giddy and my husband told me several times just how much he really, really  loves me.

I think I hit a carni home run.

Here is the recipe for the two in one. I upped the chicken to 2 1/2 pounds for my future reference as my kids eat like teenage boys. If you are not as inclined to eat what amounted to 9 large tacos,  feel free to just do the 2. Also, I originally was going to get beef stew meat, but the store was out. So fiddle as you like.

Tanya's Two Night Two in One Tex-Mex Coup D'etat 
Tanya's Taco/ Chili Two in One
(After making tacos using 2 1/2 lbs chicken thighs, one can diced tomatoes, taco seasoning, dried onions and salt/pepper, start the below recipe with remaining 1 lb chicken)
  • 1 lb. Chicken thighs
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 sm. can tomato paste
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained
  • 1 can black beans drained
  • 1 tbl. diced onion
  • 1 tbl. chili powder
  • 1 tbl. cumin
  • 1 tbl paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
Fire up the leftover chicken in the crock pot on low. (It will look greasy. Ignore it.) In a skillet, brown beef  with a little salt and pepper. Drain and add to crock pot along with all ingredients EXCEPT beans.  Cook over low for 8ish hours. Add beans one  hour before serving. Serve with cheese, sour cream, left over slaw, etc. 
*If you will not be home for an hour, you could always add the beans in the beginning. I think they might be mushy, but maybe not.         

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gratituesday: The beginning is here

So...I started something, actually two things this year.
The first is my Power of a Positive Mom weekly Bible studies. They are on Monday and I started keeping a log of all the things I pray for, am struggling with, want to remember, etc. 
So far, two weeks down and it is amazing how on point they are with my life.
The Power of a Positive Mom and the Power of a Positive Woman
The other thing I started today. I decided that 2013 is a year of breaking old habits and starting new. So,  old habit #1 potty mouth is going out the door. New habit #1 is reading my Bible.  I decided to read the entire Bible  this year. I did it before in my teens and so, I thought it was high time to do it again. I am following this and today, read the first assignment.
 I have a Catholic study Bible which goes on to explain the verses and that is going to be very helpful, I think.

What I find to be amazing is that the Bible study this week is about gossiping and the reading in Ephesians mentions not using "coarse language". Yes, Lord, I am listening.


I think it is so overwhelming when you put something out there, even if you don't pray about it, that God knows and hears. I have found so many instances in my life when God answers my prayers or nudges me to let me know He is aware of what is going on with me.

As someone who is raising daughters, I feel it is extra important that they have an internal dialouge that is the voice or at least the words of God. So, as I read my Bible, I am noting verses that I want to post around our house, on their bathroom mirrors, etc. The memorizing of God's words and the teaching we follow as Christians is like taking your vitamins or working out. The act of it  creates reserves when you really need them.

I am not special at all by doing this. Millions over the millennium have done so as well.
My memory has gotten rusty over the years and the words don't come as easily as they once did. So, I am taking my vitamins, working my memory muscles and asking God to speak to me via my daily readings.

Gratitude and a hopefully open heart.

"Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."-Ephesians 4:32

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cooking: I covet, therefore I am

I admit it.
I am a coveter. 
I covet like it is my job.
Gollum...I am.

Only, I don't necessarily covet a precious gold ring (more like a gold horseshoe necklace ala Carrie Bradshaw). I covet random things. I covet dishes and boots, milk glass and beads from the 1950's, art and  good blue jeans. I wish for weird things like garden gnome cookie jars and vintage lamps.

I am a sentimental fool, and I have lots of random things to prove it.
My mother-in-law has given me various things of my husband's and their family's over the years and I have kept most of them (his baby moccasins, the pewter sugar and creamer, and of course, her turquoise necklace that pinches like the devil when I wear it to  name just a few) because they are part of his life story. I have cookbooks and recipes from three grandmothers and I have my grandfather's dog tags.

All of these things are historical to me and will be passed down to my daughters as they get older. But the things that are not my own personal story are the things I truly  covet. I am always looking for for shell backed chairs, milk glass, vintage boots (Frye Campus size 7 if you come across a pair), and old levi 501s. Large paintings that grace walls at my favorite art gallery in town are always sighed over when I visit them. Weird owl mugs and Mexican pottery are things I notice when I am out and about. Why? I have no clue. Maybe I just like random things. Or,  more likely, they trigger a nostalgic memory for me. Either way, I like being a little bit off odd.

I have fairly good self control. My house could be shrine to my weird covetousness. However, I live fully in the realization that I would never be satisfied if I indulged my every whim. So, I convince myself that I am waiting for that "perfect" fill in the blank item that will be the thing that makes me truly  happy. And for the most part, I am already happy with the things I do have in addition to the things that actually do make me happy.

Cookies and a goofy kid, what could be better?

In the meantime, I am reading my cookbooks and getting ready for the Mardi Gras season which starts this weekend. I am hoping I can talk my husband into making his famous jambalaya to kick it off right.  We will be dragging out our tacky decorations and beads and readying ourselves for our favorite season.

Almost Mardi Gras menu

  • Chicken tacos/veggie tacos with Mexican slaw
  • chili (using chicken from Monday's tacos...recipe to follow)
  • baked chicken, baked squash, baked sweet potatoes
  • Pork Ragu, spaghetti squash with mushrooms, sauteed greens
  •  Jambalaya (?)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dirt: Again with the routine?

As I have progressed through the stages of motherhood, I have realized two things. 
#1 A routine will save your life.
#2 Routines do not mean you are boring (at least that is what I tell myself.)

routine does not = these

My first daughter was an easy baby, except she never slept through the night. She nursed through the night. I was exhausted, but happy because she really didn't need a routine. I could go all day long and she would nap here and there and we were cool. We traveled across the country when she was 5 months old, first by plane, then by car. I never wanted to commit to a routine because I felt that as a new person in town and a new mom, I really needed flexibility to just live my life. And, if I am honest, I equated a routine as such a "mom thing" and while I had a child, I did not want to be labeled a mom. By 13 months I was pregnant again and we moved into "Mommy needs a routine...because Mommy  needs a nap" mode.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Exercising: What is that?

I have taken a more *AHEM* lenient attitude towards exercising.
I have been hoping this would happen so I have an excuse
I am uninspired in my path to fitness.
I am over running all the time. I do not love my gym. 
As I drove around in my car today, making deliveries, taking my kids to school and the orthodontist, I starting thinking about my exercise habits in the past.
What am I missing?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dirt: Reminder to get to work

So, one of the items on my list is finish house project list.

That is such a daunting task, as the list never is really fully checked off.
old houses...settle

We redid our guest room last year, refinished the stairs, painted the walls in our kitchen, den, dining, living room, guest bedroom and both halls, redid our kitchen counter tops, tiled the back splash , installed a new sink and fixed a lot of the dry wall in our bedroom. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Gratituesday: Say it with salad

I am truly thankful these days, and every post holiday season, for salad.

I ate the tastiest salad tonight for dinner and it is my saving grace. 
When my pants gets too tight, when I am feeling like I had too much of the weekend, or too much of anything, salad sets me straight.

I am so grateful that I had the forethought to keep salad ingredients in my fridge. 
Tonight it was spinach with walnuts, goat cheese and pears.
Tomorrow, who knows.

All I know is that when there is nothing else to eat in the house, or I don't want the carni food, there is always my good friend, Salad. This Gratituesday, I raise a glass to the rabbit food that helps me get back on the straight and hopefully narrow.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Cookng: Back at it

Monday! Monday! Monday!
 Life in the Swann house has gotten back to our regularly scheduled program of school and work. We have three swim meets in the next 13 days, including the middle school championships. I had jury duty this morning, but ended up just being an alternate. I was actually relieved, but a little bit disappointed to not get called to serve my community. 
Oh, time.
We are eating on the run this week as we cram in last practices, this movie, and lots of back to school homework. I made pork ragu this weekend for the carni folk and they have it two thumbs up. As I wasn't sure what my situation was going to be today, I am making a soup out of the rest of  it.

My gorgeous crock pot will be making an appearance and we will be having breakfast for dinner one night as well. I am loving squash right now, so my family will be super pleased to know that squash is on the menu (they cringe when I tell them).  And as I am still feeling under the weather, I will be eating as much garlicky broth as possible.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Cooking: I got a new book (or two)

I am obsessed with cooking right now.

We had our usual, calorie laden deliciousness over the holidays. 
I made cookies, Delaney made cookies, I made cake, Delaney made fudge.
We cooked lots of hearty dishes as well. Chicken chili, tortilla soup, Delaney made from scratch chicken noodle soup, etc.
 We ate a lot at home and out as well.
Basically, we ate the holidays.

We had a really wonderful Christmas,which went on for days, just like I like it. The theme of it was family and moderation, which is how Steve likes it. I haven't seen him this happy at Christmas in years. Our gifts were very heart felt and perfect. 
I asked for the Dinner, A Love Story book/cookbook and received it AND this one as well. I was so giddy when I opened them. It was like getting diamonds AND sapphires.

I have mentioned before I love cookbooks and I have over 70 of them. Some I cook out of regularly, some I read for ideas, some are heirlooms and others I just have because they represent an era in my life that I don't want to forget. 

Cooking With the Dead: Recipes and Stories from Fans on the Road [Over 65 fabulous kynd and caring vegetarian recipes prepared with love]
Ah, yes...parking lot burritos courtesy of this book.

My two newest I have read cover to cover, like a greedy addict (which I am). 
I have been a reader of the blog Dinner, A Love Story since my friend Meg, told me about it. I think her husband, John is the one that found it. I believe (but don't quote me on it) that Jenny Rosenstratch and her blog helped fuel  what was already her weekly menu planning. I have been planning a menu for a few years as part of my family's goal of not being wasteful and my plan to lose weight a few years ago . I lost 25 pounds that I gained training for a marathon and have kept it off except for my yearly holiday 5. Writing down what we were going to eat made it easier to stay on task at the grocery store and in my mouth.
I have saved years of planners with our dinners in them, sometime remembering to put where the recipe was located, mostly not. Reading Jenny's book has inspired me to take better notes when I plan my meals.  I have done that in my cookbooks, noting things such as "great for a taking a meal to someone who had a baby" and "Ellie actually ate this" and " Substituted...".  But unless I open said cookbook, I have a hard time remembering those recipes were important or good. 

So,  notes are being added to my planner. Thanks, Jenny!

As I read her cookbook, I felt like I was talking to a friend. One with whom I have a lot in common. She has two girls very close in age. I have two girls very close in age. She had a daughter who is a
 " demanding eater", Ellie was an easy baby, but would eat nothing green, spicy, or at dinner. 
We both care about food and believe eating good and real food is important. We both move the "healthy" food to the front when guests come over.Needless to say, I loved her book and now could be a stalker of her family, if they lived anywhere near me in the south. "We NEED to be real world friends..." Joking, Jenny, just joking.

Does this look like the face of a picky eater?

If you have not read her blog, do it. She and her husband write it together and I have to say their writing styles are so similar, I often wonder if she is writing as him. They are smart, funny and really into food and books, with which I can personally identify. (The books and food...well, I hope I am smart and funny, too.)

The cookbook is an extension of the blog. Reading it felt like a conversation. The recipes are easy to follow and don't require much outside of what most experienced cooks would have in their kitchen. 
My family is going to love the book, as a lot of meat recipes are contained within, meaning I might actually cook more than my fall back chicken. In fact, tonight we are having pork ragu. 

In Season is a lovely cookbook as well, but with recipes for things such as emu eggs and eel, neither of which are available in Chattanooga, even at The Wholefoods, makes it more of a read for inspiration cookbook. Summer will be the season I cook from the most. 

Here is the link for the meal we are eating for dinner. The crew is camping in the yard, so we will be eating it outside in 40 degree weather. I will be eating defrosted Tortilla soup. There will be s'mores. 

Come on over!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dirt: I need a list...

Holla, holla, holla, life goes on
Long after the days of living are gone
-G. Love

Well, the days of living are still here, but life goes on and in January, it seems to pick up speed after the relatively lazy days of Christmas break.
Back to school went the girls today and so I am taking down decorations, grocery shopping and scavenging all the candy wrappers from the couch cushions.

The next few weeks are busy for us. Three swim meets, orthodontist appointments, jury duty, work, the last few weeks of confirmation classes, and who knows what else.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Whatever: Happy 2013

Happy New Year!

Whew Doggie...this one is gonna be a great one if my New Year's Eve is any indication!

Not really a new year's eve kinda girl...but we had tickets to see Old Crow Medicine Show at the Ryman this year. The evening was one of those that either was going to make or break us.

We had the following go wrong or at least not according to plan:
#1 We left Chattanooga late
#2 The restaurant we planned on eating that DOES NOT take reservations, took them on New Year's Eve ONLY. (They were full, of course).
#3 I bought the wrong tights.
#4 The restaurant we decided last minute to go to was in East Nashville (East Nasty for those of you who are Nashvillians) and there was NO GETTING a cab to leave.
#5 Ticket Master would not sell us two tickets together. We had seats in different sections 6 rows apart.
#6 It rained. Hard.
#7 There were NO CABS.

Steve, Roy, Minni and me