Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Gratituesday: A weekend of fun and family

Such a fun weekend.
My brother, Eddie, who lives in the  Dallas area  (Allen to be exact) came to visit my parents at their farm. He and his wife and two sons drove a million hours (or 13) and then drove a million more while they were here (Atlanta, Nashville and Chattanooga were all on their hit list). 
We hung out with them earlier in the week  and caught a Lookouts game with them Friday.
The weather was perfect!

We normally only see them every two years and so it was a treat to see them.

Saturday, my sister Jennifer came into town with her husband and kids.

We got tickets to a event at the local zoo. We had a blast. The carni folk tasted barbecuefrom 8 or so vendors, the adults had a beverage, a wonderful local bluegrass band played and we had free reign of the zoo and all the exhibits. I was extremely impressed with all the improvements at the zoo. We really enjoyed ourselves.

Sunday we got up and went for a hike with our families. The weather could not have been better. We have had so much rain this summer that I forgot what low humidity felt like. Chattanooga is gorgeous and our hike was really rewarding. We really enjoyed ourselves.

After our hike, we hit the Chattanooga Market for lunch and music. Then headed home to build a fire. Yep, a fire. Steve and my brother-in-law burned a huge stump. For about 6 hours.

We grilled out and made a delicious dinner including fresh peach upside down cake. The dinner we cooked was the perfect ending to a very busy and very fun weekend.

Hope yours was just as lovely.

I cannot think of anything more gratifying than being outside and entertained, except being so with the family that you miss most of the year.

I am so grateful to have an extended family and for the time I get to spend with them. They are such a gift to me.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Whatever: Checking things off the list

As summer rolls on, I am trying to finish several projects that get pushed to the wayside.

One is hanging my extensive collection of art. I have had pieces stashed since we painted last summer and it is finally time to get them all hung.

I am a huge fan of the gallery wall and have several in my house. 
I like that they show off my (very) eclectic tastes and also visually,  to me at least, they are stimulating.


Another project I am trying to finish is framing my collection (2) of concert posters that I started, oh...this year. I bought my husband the poster from our new year's eve date and he bought me one at a show we went to this summer. I hope to add to my collection to make it a real one.

Maybe I'll add one of these VIA

As concert tshirts don't last forever, I wanted something that we both could appreciate. 

 I found a slew of photos I want to frame to make a gallery wall of shame (as my sister refers to the hallway of family photos every Catholic family seems to have). I love quirky photos of my kids. I think I need to find some of Steve and I to hang.

I love checking items of my mental list of things that need to be done.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dirt: Friday, Summer and Gratitude

How did another week go by? 
Is it really less than 30 days (25) until the girls go back to school?

I had lunch today with three of my best girls and we talked about how with swimming, summer begins the day after City Meet. Meaning, for us, summer started July 15th.

This sight is the signal for "Summer's here"!

But, I fully intend to maximize the rest of my summer.
I plan on taking my girls to the pool, going to a drive-in movie, eating tomatoes (hopefully they are in) and living a little less harried.

I have slipped on my blogging and especially my Gratituesday posts. The thoughts are always going through my mind, just not making it onto paper (so to speak).
I am eternally grateful for several things that are really  not things.
God's love, which He reminds me in interesting ways is always there (Hello, Aunt Margaret), Summer and the health and physical ability of my children and husband. 

We run because we can. We swim because we can.

Summer is the time to revel in being strong and healthy.
As I start the weekend full of fun and catching up (chores) on the home front, I can't help but lift up a prayer of thanksgiving for these things.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cooking: Recovering from my weekend!

Exhausted...but in a good way.
That is me.

We had a jam packed weekend full of fun.

Two days of swim meet, several PRs for my girls were the highlight. Of course, I took exactly NO pictures while I was there cheering for hours.  I timed for a portion of the meet Friday (I loved it!) and then I watched the meet. Simple as that.

City Meet is a huge deal. The teams all compete against each other and ours is a very small team. We were undefeated in our bracket, and will move up a bracket next year. BUT we have less than 60 kids on our team and the winning team had 160. Their leaders swam better, but we lost a lot of points because we had fewer swimmers. No biggie, it's all about the experience, right?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Dirt: My job

It is pretty amazing being a mom.
My life is so different than I thought it would be. If I had actually given it any thought, or had someone giving me direction, I would have been a writer or gone into marketing. 
Instead, I studied anthropology, became a restaurant employee, a very mediocre auditor for a retail company, and then a mom.
I am struggling with what my next step is. My kids are at that crucial moment when they need advice and guidance and independence. The hand holding is mostly over. They can cross streets, cook food, dress themselves, and both are learning to drive cars.  
I have been a good mom. There is no doubt about that.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Dirt: Live by example

A lesson in humility as posted by the nicest family I have ever known.
The Delvins attended church with us all through  my highschool years and while the parents are truly amazing, hardworking people, they have truly exceptional children. Their family, I believe, is one of the first certified organic farms in Tennessee. Leading by quiet example seems to be their family's motto.

Their farm's Facebook page posted this as their post this morning. 

My goal in life is to be a good person and to raise good people.
I am printing this out and putting it in several places around our house for us all to read.

Thanks, Delvin family for leading us all these years by example.

Thought for the day by one of our lifetime's best example of living God's word. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cooking: Why eat out?

I always have a million blog posts running through my mind. 
Things I want to preach about...(people taking responsibility for how their kids behave, what they eat, how they shop, Monsanto), things I want to learn about...(how to have a better attitude, how to pray better, how to raise successful teenagers) and things that I do and find surprisingly good.

This past week, I made two really great meals. Well, three if you count what I ate and not the boring tacos I made for my family. Steve and I have gotten to the point that we rarely eat out. When we do it is often anticlimactic, as we find that most of the foods we love to eat, which are higher end at restaurants, I make at home. 

We eat better than a lot of our peers, mostly because we are cheap and we love food.

I lucked into two great deals on seafood these past 10 days and we have had Red Royal Shrimp (a treat if you ever can get them) and wild Alaskan salmon. Both were half price at Earthfare, which has wonderful meat and seafood. (I am not being paid to say that, I wish I was..ahem, Earthfare, ahem). 

This week we had tacos, shrimp and salmon.
I made my own shrimp boil and it was absolutely delicious. I usually use Zataran's shrimp boil, but as I am sure it has MSG in it, have ceased buying it.  I tweaked a recipe I found online and even Mr. Hard-to-Impress was indeed, impressed.

For the salmon, I threw three ingredients together and marinated the fish for about 45 minutes.  We love horseradish, so I mixed equal parts mustard, horseradish and Stubb's BBQ sauce (no cornsyrup) together. A little salt and pepper, and the salmon grilled up nicely. Delaney oohed and aahed over it, as well. Succeess.

Cooking is not hard, it just takes a little forethought. As a country with so many health problems caused from affluence, we could all use a little more home cooked, not out of a box meals.

Here is the recipe for the shrimp boil  I made. Try it once and you won't go back.

Happy Eating.

Shrimp Boil for 2 pounds of shrimp

  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbl. peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 tsp. mustard seed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. celery seed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 cup kosher salt
  • 4-6 bay leaves
To boil shrimp, bring 8 cups of water to boil, add spices. Add shrimp and cook til done. If cooking Royal Reds reduce cook time to half.
Rinse shrimp under cool water to cease cooking.
Serve with sauce of choice. We recommend Louisiana Hot Sauce brand cocktail sauce

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Dirt: 7-7-77's day is here

Off in the rain to my parent's new farm to celebrate my sister, Jennifer's birthday. 
She was born with the luckiest of birthday's and as the baby of our family is the golden child.
Kindhearted, generous, stubborn and a diva in the best possible way. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Whatever: Americans don't give up

We won't let no stinkin' rain ruin our Independence day!


Happy Birthday to the land that I love.
We celebrated with hot dogs, hamburgers, cupcakes and kick ball. 

What could have been a sad holiday (my very favorite one) turned out to be one of the best days this year. Friends and family turned out to play and laugh. Best thing about being American? 


Happy July 4th!