Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dirt: A big, big day

So... yesterday was a big day at my house.
Understatement, of course. 
Yesterday as a huge day.

My partner and I finally sold our business. Relief and twinges of sadness. I explained like the first time you leave your toddler at mother's day out. With strangers. 
We sold it to a pair of fabulous women who will love it and move it to a whole new level of wonderfulness. I felt pretty special and smart all day yesterday because I was part of creating a business that always was in the black, started with NOTHING and ended up being valuable to someone else. 

The other big was this girl's birthday. 

She gets her own post...
So, suffice it to say, yesterday? Big day.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cooking: Hurdles of childrearing

We ate fancy yesterday. 
Smoked pork shoulder and chicken, homemade jalapeno slaw, spinach salad with strawberries and walnuts, red potatoes with mustard vinaigrette and for dessert, grilled pound cake with strawberries and whipped topping. When I was telling my girls what we were going to eat for dinner as we headed out to watch the US Cycling Championship Race, my oldest remarked, " We eat so well in the summer. "  I was in heaven! With the exception of the potatoes (of which we barely ate any) that was a meal at which most kids would balk. We seemed to have jumped a hurdle in child rearing.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day: What is means to me

*This is a post I wrote last year for Memorial and never published. Very personal  for me and for my family. I have not edited it, realizing that it still conveys my thoughts about those that serve in the military to protect our country, especially those that give the ultimate sacrifice while doing so.

Memorial Day.
The official kick off to summer.
Like the rest of our American holidays, it has become a day for sales, parties and hanging out.
But, it actually has a meaning, that if we stop and think for just about, should give us pause.
Memorial Day is the national day of recognizing those that have died in service to our country.
Those that never came home. Those that fought and died for the greater good.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Cooking: I love tacos

A quick little recipe I created last night inspired by the Jenny and her pickled onions. 
Have a super Memorial Day Weekend! 

I have to say I have been in a food funk and this is now my favorite dish. 
The non-spicy green hating girl actually ate it with lots of cheese. That made my night, because  I know if I love it, it's doomed.
My family will hate it soon. 
Too bad.
Not sure why this is so funny to me...but it is. Via

Zucchini and Black Bean Tacos

  • 1 small onion (half sliced thinly, half diced)- I used yellow, but red would be prettier
  • 3 tbl. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbl sugar
  • 2 med-large zucchini grated
  • 2 cans black beans, drained 
  • 8-10 slices pickled jalepenos
  • 1 tbl cumin
  • 1 tbl oregano 
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 avocados, sliced
  • spinach or other greens of choice
  • grated cheese
  • tortillas of your choice
Combine 2 cups of water with vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil. Add sliced onions and cook 3-5 minutes. Remove from liquid and cool. (Jenny is right, this makes the tacos special).
In large skillet,  over med high heat 2 tbl olive oil until hot, add onions and jalapenos. Cook until onions begin to soften. Add garlic and spices and cook a few minutes more.  Lower heat to med. and add zucchini stirring to combine. Cook 5-7 minutes until liquid is mostly gone. Add beans and adjust salt and pepper. Cover and reduce heat to med-low for 10 minutes. Remove lid and simmer for a few more minutes. Serve with warm tortillas, avocados and greens and salsa of your choice. (Add cheese if interested.)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Exercising: Bikini or not

I am 41 years old. 
My baby sister is 36. 
We are both working out doing the same program. 
She is built like a personal trainer/cross fitter.
I am built like a 41 year old. Mom.
2 years ago...celebrating almost 40

I am loathe to blame age on our differences. Especially since I was a slug from November til March. However, it is is discouraging when I eat right and exercise. And those darn 6 pounds are still lazing around, mocking me every morning on the scale. 
I have made peace with parts of the situation. First of all, I am 41 and I can get into my jeans from when I was 26 and a slender girl. I also am really strong, especially my legs. My goal of 50 pull ups is becoming a reality. I can do 30 with the assist band on one knee. A rounder face looks like less wrinkled


All in all, I am okay. I worked in the yard and moved over 80 bricks today. My back feels great despite that hard labor. I pulled weeds and lifted bucket after bucket of cement and didn't bat an eye or call my husband. 

Life is good. 
Will I wear a bikini? 
More than likely, yes. 
I will just cringe when I take my shirt and shorts off and pray
that everyone knows I can wear my pre-child jeans.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Gratituesday: Dresses are for girls

There is something so easy and relaxing when it is hot about putting on a dress.
I love dresses. 

 They are one of the perks of being a girl. 

 My husband sometimes tells me how it must be so great to wear a dress when it is hot. 

 My reply is always... "it is."

Today, when it was 80 at 9:45 and I was getting dressed to do my catering deliveries, I pulled one of my favorite dresses out and threw it on. Zipped it up, slipped into sandals and it was as simple as that.

Dresses are the very best. 
I am grateful I am a girl and that I get to wear them. And skirts, too.

That's all.

Cooking: Post Avett/ Pre Summer Menu

Hallelujah! What a weekend! 
Avett Brothers brought it  like it was their last concert. 
Truly, truly brought it.

My daughter had an amazing time and now says " Best concert" like a pro.
I could squeeze her, she is so darn adorable. I see a little bit of my love of  shows coming through with her. Also, I see being broke in her future. Concerts are not cheap by any means.
We are taking her to another concert next month to see another of her favorite bands. 
Next step after that is a festival. She is begging for Bonnaroo.

This is the next to the last week of school. 9 days til summer! 
Ortho appointments, volunteering at school and working are the week du jour. 
Also, I think my partner and I are finalizing the sale of our business. 

Summer is On the Horizon at Casa Swann Menu
  • Salmon burgers/ ginger slaw/spinach and strawberry salad
  • BBQ grilled chicken breasts/ kale salad with strawberries and avocado/ grilled sweet potatoes
  • Zucchini with corn and cilantro/ spinach and strawberry salad/ bacon
  • Black bean and zucchini quesadillas/ avocado salad

*I hit the market Sunday and bought 4 gallons of strawberries and we have eaten spinach and strawberry salad every single day this week. Nothing is better than Tennessee strawberries right out of the fridge.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Gratituesday: For my girls

I am so thankful that I had grandmothers. They are the reason I am me. The goofy me that embraces acting the fool. The friendly me that will talk to people and look on the bright side.  The me that encourages my own daughters to be goofy and tolerant, true to themselves and to have manners. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Instafriday: Mother's Day

Happy Mother's day to all the mothers in my life.
And to my children,

 who call me "Momma" and "Mommy" still, even though they are teen and almost teen girls... I love you more than there are words to express. You make my heart hurt, my hair gray and my life fuller then I could ever imagine.

I love you.

life rearranged
Check out all the other "cool moms" via Life Rearranged

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Exercising: Getting back on the horse or in a bikini

So after my delusional winter of  giving lip service to working out, I am back full force.
Seriously...I like wearing shorts and not having bat wings or a belly.
I have been at the gym or worked out at home at least 5 times a week for the past 6 weeks. 
The 6 lbs that have been lurking for months are still here, apparently it is never leaving.
I have made peace with that fact, but I am going to whip it into shape, non the less.
Aging is tricky. We make concessions for our aging bodies. Weakening knees can't run as often, backs can't lift as much. I personally find that is an excuse we use to let ourselves off the hook. 
If I can't run, I need to figure something else out. Being a weak old lady is not the fate I want to experience. I have seen too many "middle aged" people who are on the fast track to aging. I am going to fight it.
55 years old and my goal (via)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Gratituesday: Really, good food

 This week's Gratituesday is about food and food memories.
I was telling my husband today about one of my birthday meals as a kid.
I am a notoriously picky eater. Not in the sense of  "plain food" or  "no spice" but in the "it must be good" food. I am not a huge fan of fast food, I don't like chain restaurants, don't eat meat or sandwiches (wet bread) and truly love "fresh food". Basically, I like what most people would consider high end food, at least when it comes to eating in restaurants.
Needless to say, we don't eat out much. 

As a kid, I was less picky. Although I really have never liked meat (except BBQ, I am a Texan after all)  or fruit punch. I loved sugar cereal, but my favorite breakfast was boiled eggs and grapefruit. Apparently I have been an old lady my entire life. We rarely at out and I loved pretty much any meal my mom made with the exception of two dishes,  liver and chicken and dumplings (wet bread).

When my mom asked me in the of 4th grade what I wanted for my birthday dinner, I said...
Lima beans and corn bread. Yep. Large lima beans and Martha White corn muffin mix. 

How low maintenance is that? 
I also wanted a KISS album. 
Loved this album

I love eating really good food. As a vegetarian, it is harder and harder to find it cooked well. Most people want to add bacon as a substitution for good flavor. That is cheating and of course, not acceptable to me.  When I find truly flavorful, well cooked food, I am over the moon. Especially if it is something that I really love and rarely find. Like giant beans. I ate these last week from a food truck and I was instantly back to that birthday so long ago.

 As someone who likes to eat,what food tastes like and how it makes me feel is very important. I am so grateful that my favorite restaurant has decided to have a food truck at both the Friday night concerts we loyally attend as well as the Chattanooga Market which we rarely miss. Terra Nostra gets me. They really,really get me. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Cooking: Sunshine daydreams...wishful thinking

Stuck in my head all weekend!

Seriously, Sunshine, COME BACK!
We had about 1,000 inches of rain this weekend. So, joke, it rained so much that my driveway was a pond. And I live on the top of a hill. Foul, foul weather. 
Yesterday, the sun appeared for  14 seconds (while I was in church) and then back came the rain. 
Uhm...hello! It's MAY.

I am NOT complaining. We always need rain, my garden is going to go bonkers and I will be a happy camper tomorrow. Once the sun comes back.

This weekend we learned a valuable lesson in parenting...check the reason for the R rating of a movie before you spur of the moment decide to take your 12 and 13 year old daughters to it. On the up side, we confirmed we are a very open family.
 On the downside, Steve squirmed for two hours during The Big Wedding.

This week, we have a lull in the crazy. The calendar is empty until Friday. Of course homework will be ramped up as it is the end of the end. We can handle that. 

Casa Swann Breather Week Menu

*We have cut back greatly on the amount of grains we eat. I have personally not seen a huge difference in weight, but I have seen that when I do eat them, I am immediately tired. 
Now if I could only get rid of our sweet teeth!

Friday, May 3, 2013

InstaFriday: Warp Speed

life rearranged
Click for awesomeness by Jeannette

The last 10 days have really flown by! 
I always feel like the last few weeks of school are on fast forward. 
Between all the end of year events and finishing up the actual school year, our house is on warp speed all the time. 

A rare family photo

We had our daughters' school tradition of May Day last week, which is a festival and a show. With the exception of 6th and 10th grade which are mandatory dances, the girls in the other grades have the opportunity to dance for the seniors and the crowd.  Beautiful and old tradition (this was the 99th queen) and fun for everyone. I realized that my youngest will be in the 105th May Day. (If you are wondering, the school was founded in 1906.)

6th girl is in green

8th grade...mine is at the top right.
Last May Day as middle schoolers

May Poles

 Our weekend was fairly calm, with one kid at a sleep over, we enjoyed hanging out one on one with the other. We worked out, did homework and of course, prepped for the Main Event of April, my sister Karen's birthday! She,her husband and two of their kids came down for the day. We had a great visit complete with lunch and a cake. And candles. Apparently at this age, you need a lot of hands to light ALL the candles.

 We also went to the market, because after all, it was Sunday.

 The end of sports came on Monday, so we have been able to get home at a reasonable hour and get home work done in time to enjoy our beautiful spring.  (I loathe Spring, but I do enjoy my Azaleas).

 I bought a hammock and have enjoyed exactly 15 seconds in it as it is always occupied by someone else. Someone who loves to read as much as I do, apparently. At least that someone is cute.

As I said, the end of the school year brings lots of last minute projects and much studying. 
Very serious studying.

Three short weeks and it will all be over. Including middle school for one of my girls. I will cross that bridge when I get to it, but for now, I am looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend of live music and emptying a Uhaul for my parents. Like I said, warp speed.