Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dirt: Trying something new

 Happy Sunday. 
Peace be with you.
And Also With Y'all bumper sticker
Delaney and I are off to try a new church this morning. 
More to come

Friday, June 28, 2013

Instafriday: Finally!

Linking up with Jeanette...

life rearranged

Finally downloaded all the photos off my cameras! 

Here are two of my favorites from The Avett Brothers when we took these cute girls with us.

We were that close...and he was that cute.

Two weeks ago, we went to this

We all had so much fun, but when we saw this, the Mecca for my Ellie, the Mac the Cheese Truck, we were very excited.

She was smitten.
We have all been singing all the songs from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros after their fabulous show. Here is one of my favorite photos of Alex Ebert, lead singer.

Summer has been fun and we are taking advantage of all the local fun to be had. 
Sunday, our girls competed in a pie eating contest at The Chattanooga Market. Delaney was a return participant, determined to win.

 She did! 

We stopped mid week to celebrate Steve's birthday.

American Gothic has nothing on Silly Swanns.
 Chattanooga is a summer swim city and we take full advantage. Ellie has fun with her buddies and Delaney does it to stay in shape for fall and winter swimming.
Lots of swim practice and meets the first month of summer for all of us. 
The heat and time is worth it though.
We are undefeated! 

A little more local flavor. 
Happy First Official Week of Summer!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Whatever: Happy Birthday

Today is the birthday of my husband. 
We have celebrated birthdays together since 1995, when he turned the ripe old age of 26.
I bought him a pizza stone, a pizza paddle and a cookbook about, you guessed it, pizza.
This based on the fact that when I visited him at school in St. Louis, we ate pizza or Italian almost every single day. I figured I had a fair shot at a home run. 

Over the years, I have figured out  lots of things about Steve. 
Mostly that his family did not make huge deals out of most things. 
My family, by contrast, throws a party if you get up to go to the bathroom.
"Surprise! We are still here! "
Somewhere in the middle is how we celebrate his birthday.

I try to come up with something fun. 
He tries to make it hard as hell to buy him anything.
We have cake.

This year is very low key. Swim meet, then drinks with friends.
I made dinner last night and a cake, his mom and my parents came over. 
There were gifts.

Next week, however, we will combine the tournament in his honor "Swannie Cup" with my favorite holiday. I can sneak in my need to celebrate with his need to not. 


Happy Birthday to truly my favorite person.
You make me laugh, make me think, and impress me with your feats of strength.
I am so glad you were born.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gratituesday: Swimming

This summer, I have watched both my girls swim. 

I love to watch them swim in meets. Not because they win (which they both do sometimes) but because they are doing something, well. Something that I am not good at in the least. 

My girls are my heroes.
One goes to practice when she can, making the most of practices and often demanding that her coach make them harder.The other has been going twice a day, at first by my choice, but now by her own.

I am so grateful for swimming. The skill to swim along with the skill  to push oneself through the next level of ability are priceless lessons. 
PS These are photos of past years...this year I have taken exactly NO photos of my swimmers, with the exception of a quick instagram photo here and there...because I am too involved in actually watching them. It's been great.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Cooking: A new way to balance your diet

Well Kids, I missed a whole week of blogging. 
Yep, I basically had writers block. 
I hardly read any either. Instead, I drove over 400 miles taking my children to practice, conditioning, camp, swim meets (two) and several social events. Oh, and I worked every day this past week, putting me up to 5 whole hours of catering. Very busy week. 

This past week was a game changer for me. First, it was my favorite week of the year. The kick off for summer and I was outside as much as possible. I ran or walked every day, worked in my yard and spread two truck loads of mulch. I felt great.
Second, I ate mostly fruit all week. Cantaloupe, grapes, and watermelon were what I craved and I ate them with a slice of cheese and on Tuesday, a piece of sour dough toast. I felt great all week, and lost 5 pounds. Yesterday I read an article about eating that turned on a light bulb for me. The article, in Vogue magazine of all places, was about a spa that people attend which  basically resets the body. Detox and rewiring what one eats is involved. Now, I am not interested in that, but the article explained that most people eat too much acid and their body uses their own minerals to survive. Hence we are always tired, run down, etc.  LIGHT BULB! The doctor also said our metabolism slows down as the day goes on and we should not eat anything raw after 4pm. LIGHT BULB! 

I got up this morning and researched acid vs.alkaline and found a lot of  science behind the doctor in the article's recommendations. The main offenders of a high acid diet are meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs, grains, and legumes. A balance is 60/40 = alkaline/ acid. The imbalance can lead to fatigue, gas, weight gain, osteoporosis, cancer and general poor health.
As a vegetarian, I struggle to eat sometimes. My family eats mostly paleo, but vegetarians don't really do paleo well. So, I eat a lot of salads. I also have a lot of stomach issues. Hence the light bulb.  Lucky for me,there are not a lot of changes I need to make to my own diet. My family's diet could be another story. I am happy to discover that because I buy hormone free meat, we are getting the least alkaline of the most alkaline food we eat.  Combining meat with vegetable in a 1:3 ratio (Meat: veggie) is the best way to consume meat.  Family, get ready to eat more veggies.

The biggest change for my family will be crackers and snacks. My family loves crackers. Saltines to be exact. I had already made a pact with my husband that the two main offenders in our kids' diets would not enter our house this summer. Crackers and ice cream. He was happy to keep the crackers out as he eats them himself and  we agreed to only eat ice cream out. 

Armed with my new found info, here is the menu of the week. 

Casa Swann 60/40 Menu
  • Grilled cider vinegar marinated chicken/ grilled zucchini/ steamed green beans with garlic/sauteed kale
  • Chicken Stew/ Tuscan tomato kale soup
  • Kale frittata/ grilled sweet potatoes/roasted turnips
  • chicken tacos/ veggie tacos/ watermelon salsa 
  • Bunless burgers/ roasted potatoes/ sauteed spinach
Here is how my family and I started our summer kick off a week ago at Midsummer Music and Food festival in the ATL. The Soul Rebels  is a band from New Orleans and Steve and I saw them at Track29 here in Chattanooga in the Spring. Needless to say, they were AWESOME!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dirt: When your kids are cool(er)

Since Steve and I are so into all kinds of music, we always have something playing. 
Whether it is the car, outside or even the earworm going on in our brains, there is always something playing or being sung at Casa Swann.

So, it is no wonder both of our kids are into music. 
Ellie is less of a concert goer, but she is more into music. Delaney lives to see live music. She has been begging me to take her to Bonnaroo for the past two years.
Next year might be our year (once I figure out a leash system for her). But in the meantime...

Being underage and into cool music that most of their friends have never heard of is really kind of hard. The all ages shows usually do not appeal to them. And while they get that when they are 18 there will be even better bands that they love, it still is hard. 

Next week, one of their favorite bands is coming to Chattanooga. But of course, it is 18 and older. 
So, I got online to see what I could find. 
Free music fest in Atlanta (two hours away). All ages, all good music and of course, outside.
Fun! Fun! Fun!

So, today, we are packing up the truck and heading down to hear music and eat street food.
Perfect Saturday with the family unit if you ask me.

InstaFriday: Cool as we wanna be

life rearranged

 Instagram makes my life look so much cooler than it is! 
Have been hanging out with my mom doing what she loves to do, scour estate sales.
I scored these fancy glasses. Passed up the 8 track tapes, but dang it was tempting.

My newest obsession

 Summer means two things, swim team and good eating.
Salads get a lot more exciting at Casa Swann in the summer.
Swim meets twice a week go so much faster if you have a job to do. 
I like to be a judge. Love getting front row of all the swimmers, from hilarious 8 and unders "diving" off the blocks to the seriously fast seniors flying across the pool. 
My girls are middle of the pack summer swimmers, but love it.

salmon cakes and kitchen sink salad

 Did a crazy thing this week and convinced my reluctant hair dresser to darken my hair.
Right now, it is temporarily darker than it will end up. Which is kind of fun. It's shocking when people see me and I love seeing them try to figure it out.

 My husband is an 80's old wave guy and we went to hear the Psychedelic Furs at our local music festival. They were great, but about 102 years old which was really weird. Pretty in Pink? You bet.

 My girls are finally easing into summer. We have been up every morning and out the door by 7:45, but they come back and relax and goof off. Friends are over watching movies, I have been the chauffeur to the pool and library, and today we are heading off to hear music in Atlanta. 
Perfect, fly by the seat of your pants summer. 
Maybe we are cool.

Check out the really cool Jeannette.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Gratituesday: A girl's best

*This is a late post as I was crazy running around all day yesterday.

In a girl's life, there are several constants that know  her secrets.
Her sisters, if she has them.

 Her  best friends. 

Her  hair dresser.

My hairdresser has been my constant for at least 8 years. (Neither of us can remember when I started coming to her). I have followed her to three salons and trust her completely.

When I started seeing her, I had been in the process of growing my hair out...for 5 years!
I would get frustrated when it got to that awkward phase and have whomever was cutting my hair chop it off. Over and over again.

I sat in Monica's chair and told her I wanted to grow it out. She looked me in they eye and said "If you are serious, and only if you are serious, I will help you grow your hair out." So, I told her I was serious and two years later, I had truly long hair.

I love her almost as much as my husband. Literally. 

She is a great hairdresser. She listens and remembers about my hair, my kids, my husband. 
She always makes sure I really want whatever it is I have asked for, sometimes refusing to do whatever it is (bangs took two years before she would do them and I am growing them out.)

Yesterday, she went against her better judgement for the first time I can remember (I am sure there were other times and she just kept it quiet) and dyed my hair dark. I know she is expecting me to be unhappy about it, but I actually like the change.

Monica took my request and made it pretty.

I am not necessarily a vane person. I don't spend money on clothes, barely wear makeup, hardly keep up with trends, never get my nails done, and I barely brush my hair. But, I believe that good color and a good hair cut can make being lazy about the other stuff alright.
I am so lucky to have such a great hairdresser in my life.  One who makes me feel special and pretty, who listens and and administers tough love, and who really cares about her craft. 
Today, on Gratituesday, I am grateful for Monica Sax, hairdresser extraordinaire.