Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Last Day Of Swimming Lessons!

Today was the last day of swimming lessons for Jonathan this year. The mommy group I was in for several years led me to a wonderful instructor who does lessons in her backyard pool. She has been doing it since she was a teenager and is wonderful with kids...she is quite known in the "moms" circle. Anyway, I decided to put Jonathan in lessons last year at the age of 5 and he did really well. He can tend to be shy in crowds so I thought that the YMCA would be too intimidating for him. Here the class size is limited to six kids. I was a little surprised that kids as young as 3 were in his class though, I thought 5 was an appropriate age to start swimming lessons. That meant a few kids were younger than him, but he didn't seem to mind.

Last year, he was a little apprehensive to dive off the diving board, but this year, he jumped off with ease.

I am so glad that he is learning to swim! I have spent most of my life afraid of the water and didn't really learn to swim until I was in high school and really only picked up some basics, you know, the basics that Jonathan already knows! Since I don't enjoy swimming all that much, it is important to me to make sure my kids have respect for swimming pools and manage themselves in the water. Jonathan is doing such a good job that I have opted to only do one session of lessons this year. Now, it's time to enjoy a summer full of swimming!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Vinyl Lettering On Clearance!

I stopped into Jo Ann Fabrics this week to get a pattern and I stumbled across a great deal! These vinyl letter kits were on clearance!

Do you see that? $4.97....regularly $24.99.  I was so excited! Particularly because I found the phrase I had been wanting to find, but not wanting to pay a huge amount for! I love the quote: 

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. "

I am planning to make a mural in the hallway with this, surrounded by photos of my loved ones. I can't wait to tackle it this weekend!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Smurfs and Sherlock Holmes: An Interview with Jason Lethcoe

With summer break now in full swing, you can gurantee that we will be spending lazy days reading and hot days in the comfort of a cool air-conditioned movie theater! I recently talked with Jason Lethcoe, who is an animator and author. Jason has worked with Disney, Sony, Warner Brothers, and Dreamworks!  His work can be seen in films like The Tigger Movie, Pagemaster, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. His latest film, The Smurfs is being released on July 29th and stars Neil Patrick Harris.

Jason says that it was a nice throwback to work on the Smurf's movie, because he grew up with it on TV and now as a dad, will be able to share The Smurfs with his kids.  I know exactly what he means! I was addicted to that cartoon!

Jason has also penned several children's books and we talked about his latest project, "No Place Like Holmes." He says on a trip to London, he visited Sherlock Holmes' famous address, 221B Bakerstreet. It got him wondering where 221"A" was...so he created a character who he thought would live there and a story to go with it. It turns out that another detective lives there, but one who is not as good as Sherlock Holmes. He has a nephew that is a really good detective, however, who comes to live with him and the story picks up from there.

The book is geared toward 9 to 12-year-olds, but Lethcoe thinks the book could really be for anyone. At this point, I am still reading chapter books to Jonathan, because he is just learning to read, so I can appreciate books that I find engaging too. And I love it when they engage my little guy's mind! Jason thinks that mystery books are good for doing just that, because it gives kids something to focus on, sort of like a puzzle, but are also fun.

Lethcoe suggests that parents find a subject matter that kids are interested in to get them to pick up books this summer. He says he knows he "wouldn't have loved reading" if he was forced to "read things that I didn't like already, or subject matters that I wasn't interested in." Jason also points out that some boys get more into "science" books. He says his son likes to read thinks about the weather, so he tries to find as many weather books that he can for him to read. I know that I try really hard to instill a love of reading in my boys and I think Jonathan would really like Lethcoe's current series. You can find "No Place Like Holmes" on his website.

*I did NOT recieve a copy of the book in exchange for this post, nor any free movie tickets.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Strawberry Picking!

This Saturday we hit the strawberry patch! Not the same strawberry patch that we usually hit, however, because the place we normally go to decided not to do strawberries this year...bummer. But, I put up my antennae, and many of my moms in the know directed me to several other strawberry patches to try! I still haven't made it to any of those, because I got distracted by finding another one. I was on my way to do a live broadcast when I stumbled upon a strawberry farm. I called the family and told them to meet me there and get ready to pick! It was raining, so we only picked a little over six pounds. We did manage to have a good time, though and even ate a few!

I tried strawberry freezer jam for the first time last year, and it turned out so well, and became such a favorite in the household that I am sure I'll be making it every year now. I also want to try these strawberry muffins that a friend of mine directed me towards. They sound so yummy!

I also really want to try to make my own strawberry vinaigrette for salads. I love to throw some pecans on a spinach salad and a freshly made strawberry vinaigrette sounds to die for! So, I am going to be making some using this recipe from Allrecipes.com: 

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 pint fresh strawberries, halved
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon white sugar
Mix it all in a blender or food processor, until smooth and voila!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Free Fishing Weekend

This past weekend was a free fishing weekend! In order to encourage more people to fish, the state of Indiana decided to allow people to fish without a license for the weekend. Now, anyone under the age of 17 can fish without a license, but it is $10 for adults to obtain a state fishing license.

So, with no worries of not having the proper state papers, the hubby took Jonathan fishing.  I stayed home with the little one. I'm sure there are fishing days in Tyler's future, but for now, his over developed curiosity makes me a nervous wreck and I'm sure that taking him fishing would not be an enjoyable experience right now. Jonathan was so excited to be doing a "big boy" activity with Daddy anyway. He was about to burst with excitement.

Luckily, we had all the right gear, it just needed to be dusted off a bit...it has been a couple of years since we have gone fishing. In fact, I think it was the first time either one of us had fished since having Jonathan. He has gone with my father a couple of times, but never with one of us. I used to enjoy fishing with my dad too as a kid, but the luster has worn off a bit for me as an adult. Maybe the fact that I never ever caught an actual fish probably has something to do with it.

Not breaking tradition, the boys didn't catch one single fish in the three hours they were out casting their lines. To be honest, I am quite impressed that Jonathan lasted that long! When he gets determined enough, I guess his attention span improves. While no fish were dangling the line, Jonathan did manage to catch a baby snapping turtle. I guess that's better than the sock I once caught!

Many states across the nation are participating in the free fishing weekends, just check with your local Department of Natural Resources. It turned out to be an enjoyable time for both my husband and Jonathan, so I'm pretty sure we'll be purchasing fishing licenses. That of course, was the hope the state had by holding the free fishing weekend.

Trace Adkins has a new song called "Just Fishin." It is a great song about him taking his little girl fishing (he has 5 daughters) and how he feels like they are bonding, but she thinks they are just fishin'. It's a great song and a great theme song to this post.

I’m lost in her there holdin that pink rod and reel
She’s doin almost everything but sittin still
Talkin about her ballet shoes and training wheels
And her kittens,

And she thinks we’re just fishing

I say : Daddy loves you, baby one more time
She says I know. I think I got a bite
And all this laughin, cryin smilin dyin here inside’s
What I call livin

And she thinks we’re just fishin’ on the riverside
Throwin’ back what we could fry
Drownin’ worms and killin’ time
Nothin’ too ambitious
She ain’t even thinkin about
What’s really goin’ on right now
But I guarantee this memory’s a big in
And she thinks we’re just fishing

Verse II
She’s already pretty, like her mama is
Gonna drive the boys all crazy
Give her daddy fits
And I better do this every chance I get
Cause time is tickin yeah it is

And she thinks we’re just fishin on the riverside
Throwin back what we could fry
Drownin worms and killin time
Nothin too ambitious
She ain’t even thinkin about
What’s really goin’ on right now
But I guarantee this memory’s a big in
And she thinks we’re just fishin

She ain’t even thinkin about
What’s really goin on right now
But I guarantee this memory’s a big’in
And she thinks we’re just fishin
Ooh she thinks we’re just fishin
We ain’t only fishin

This ain’t about fishin

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Throwback Thursday: Bryan White

What ever happened to Bryan White? He was hotter than hot in the mid to late 90s and all of a sudden, he was gone. He was such a bright young star who sang such great material and could play the drums like no body's business!

Bryan is still touring, but unfortunately has become one of those artists that Country Radio likes to ignore. Heck, he was even cut out of "From This Moment On," his duet with Shania Twain. Bryan White was only 20 when he got his first record deal and admits that the music industry started to define who he was as a person, and when his 4th album didn't do well, he went through a terrible depression. Listen up, Taylor Swift! Just sayin'.

Since we are the same age, I really identified with his music, and still love to listen to it!
Bryan married actress Erika Page in 2000 and the couple has two sons. Huh, another identifier, I have two sons too!

Watch his video for "So Much For Pretending" here.

You can follow him on Twitter too!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Freezer Cooking: Ham and Cheese Penne

The last couple of weeks have been so hectic that I am glad I decided to do a little freezer cooking ahead of time in preparation for our busy evenings. One of our favorite freezer meals is Ham and Cheese Penne, so I thought I would share the recipe with you.

Ham and Cheese Penne
2 boxes of penne noodles
1 cup butter or margarine
4 cloves of minced garlic
2 tsp salt
8 cups milk (I use skim)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
8 cups of shredded Colby cheese (I buy it in a block, then shred it myself to save money)
16 oz of deli ham, cut into thin strips

This makes (2) 13 X 9 casseroles

In a really large pot, cook the pasta according to the box directions and drain it. Clean the pot so that you can use it again. In a large skillet, melt the butter and roast the garlic. Add the flour and salt, whisking continuously. Place the mixture back into the large pot. This is easier than trying to find a skillet deep enough to hold the milk.

Cook over medium heat until all the lumps are gone. Once the mixture begins to bubble, slowly add the milk--again, constantly whisking. Once it begins to boil, allow it boil for about a minute before adding the mustard and cheese.

Continue to stir until the cheese is melted. Add the ham. Then the pasta. Pour the pasta mixture into the casserole dishes. Either freeze or bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes at 350.

If freezing, allow the dish to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking.

Wordless Wednesday: Now That's a Hat!

One of the many fabulous hats I wear in Auntie Mame--it's the final week of performances!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Throwback Thursday--On Friday

Okay, so Blogger deleted my last entry and I didn't get a chance to write my Throwback Thursday entry before Blogger went on the fritz. Deciding to just forget about my last post, I decided to "throwback" on Friday.

Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton are getting married tomorrow, and Neal McCoy is their wedding singer! Believe it or not, a Neal McCoy concert was me and my husband's first official date. I say "official" because we hung out together for nearly three years before we decided to become a couple. It is a night I will never forget! I knew I was in love!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

Opening Night!

Last night, I officially returned to the theatre after a 16 year hiatus. It was opening night and it was a blast!

I studied theatre in college...in fact I majored in speech communication/theatre education, but the last time I acted on stage was my sophomore year. After that, I became enthralled with radio and didn't really have time to be in anything outside of the classroom. When I left college I also left the theatre. I haven't acted since. It's not as if it was a conscience decision and I cannot believe it has been that long since my "college days," but life has a funny way of happening.

I don't even know exactly what made me try out for my town's civic theatre interpretation of Auntie Mame. It was pretty much a whim. I saw that they were holding auditions only two days beforehand--which is not much time to prepare. I borrowed a copy of the script and read it quickly and decided that there were a number of characters that I would love to play. Needless to say, I didn't get any of those parts. I did, however, get cast as "angry customer." Not exactly what I expected, and to be honest, I was a little embarrassed. I do, in a sense, perform everyday and did major in theatre. I had to look on the bright side, however and remember that there are "no small parts, only small actors." It has been a long time since I have been on stage and it is my first production outside of a school setting, so I really am excited. And, once rehearsals started, I soon gained a couple of more characters. I play three roles in all and have such wonderful hats to wear!

This is the picture that appeared in the paper...a rehearsal night. I'm in the background as a partygoer.

Last night, I got the sweetest note from my director. This has been such a hectic week! Running back and forth to see my sister in the hospital (which is an hour and a half away), trying to make rehearsals, work, and be a mommy has been rough. Did I mention that my director is also a pastor? She knew exactly what to say to me in that note!

My husband and MIL have also been so wonderful this last week! My MIL has dropped everything to watch the kids so that I could head to the hospital. She even did some laundry, dishes, and vacuumed!  God love her! My husband has been making more dinners than I am sure he bargained for and also gave me the sweetest card last night, with the sweetest words from all my guys!  Jonathan even tried to sign his name in cursive! I hope they can continue to be so supportive...because Mommy has three weeks of performances to get through!

The coolest thing about this experience is the new people I have met. Our lead actresses are inspiring and I see myself doing exactly what they are doing in my retirement. And the young people that are in this production are just marvelous! I have really connected with my teenage dressing roommates...even though I'm pretty sure they think I am crazy! It's funny that I am roughly the same age as their mothers, but I couldn't imagine having a teenager yet!

To hear that crowd laughing and applauding and to feel that nervous excitement has me hooked! Here's to 11 more shows!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Throwback Thursday: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has broken a new record! Over two decades have past since the band released "Fishin in the Dark" and it is still making waves. The song has been certified gold for reaching over 500 thousand digital downloads. "Fishin in the Dark" reached #1 on the Billboard chart back in 1987 and the band itself had 16 Top Ten hits in the 80s.

This song continues to be really popular with my listeners. I can always count on someone calling in to request it whenever the phone lines are open!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Off To The Hospital

What a change in plans I had this weekend! I was getting ready to leave the house Saturday morning and was looking forward to "my last hurrah" with a friend who is moving out of town, when I got the phone call saying that my sister was leaking spinal fluid and was rushing to Ft. Wayne's Lutheran Hospital.

For those of you who don't remember...my sister, Gail, had a brain tumor removed on February 23rd.  I know the day well because it was Tyler's 1st birthday. The tumor was benign, but was the size of her fist and needed to be taken out. She recovered remarkably...or so we thought.

Gail with her sons and granddaughter one week before her surgery at our sister's wedding

Gail had emergency surgery on Sunday. When she reached the hospital, her temperature was 102 and her blood pressure was 190/117. Turns out she has an aggressive strep infection. What we thought was spinal fluid leaking from her incision and ear turned out to be the infection. They had to reopen her skull and go in to suction out what they could and replaced the metal plate that was inserted in the first surgery with bone from her hip.

She has been in horrific pain and is on a morphine drip along with strong doses of antibiotics. The doc said yesterday that she will likely be on antibiotics for 4-6 weeks! Her temp has gone down, however, and she is slowly improving. I'm hoping to find her in her own room today and out of ICU.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Throwback Thursday: The Judds

I have been obsessing about The Judds on Oprah Winfrey's new network, so naturally, I must feature them on this week's edition of Throwback Thursday. I am so glad that Naomi and Wynonna decided to do this reality show! It does get really deep and heavy at times and just when I think I can't take anymore "doom and gloom" I realize that the episode is over and can't believe how fast the hour went by.

I knew that The Judds had their issues, but I had no idea to what extent and it is truly engaging television. As a young girl, I really admired Wynonna growing up. She was young, pretty, and seemed so "normal." The song "Mama He's Crazy" is one of my favorites and this performance is phenomenal!

I can't wait to watch this week's episode of the show...I was crying like a baby when Sunday's episode ended! When Naomi was reading Ashley's biography and Wynonna was singing in the background it about knocked me to the ground!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Basket?

Okay, so I am a sucker for baskets...but I just can't see the Easter Bunny spending $10 on a basket for my kids to abuse, throw away, or collect dust in the basement. I realize that some stores have baskets for $1, but they are so flimsy that they break as soon as you pick them up, because the contents are too heavy. So, that is why the EB tends to think outside of the "basket" for our family.

For those of you wondering, the Easter Bunny and I are tight and we talk about this stuff way ahead of time...we also discuss what I think is appropriate to fill the "baskets" with too. Now that we cleared that up, here is what the EB will be bringing my little ones this year.

Jonathan's suitcase, which he got as a birthday present from my sister for his 2nd birthday, has slowly been falling apart. Not that we go on a lot of vacations, but it is perfect for spending the night at Grandma and Grandpa's house. So, this rocket suitcase will be filled with all kinds of goodies on Easter morning:

It hasn't looked too much like spring here in northern Indiana, but a few days ago, it was nice enough to venture into the backyard and rediscover the play set. That's when I was reminded that we don't have a baby swing for little Tyler. He was a little too small last year, but will have a ball with his Easter "basket" this year!

While I am not an "organic" or "all natural" freak, I do feel that excessive sugar definitely affects behavior, so the amount of candy has been limited too. My children will be delighted to find bubbles, books, games, and Legos left by the Easter Bunny. Of course, there will be some candy too, because after all, Mommy needs to be able to sneak a few pieces!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My First Blogging Award!

I am so excited to have been given this blog award from Lianne at Family Life!  Thank you, Lianne!

Now, as most of you know, this award comes with a few rules.  Here they are:

*Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.

*Tell us seven things about yourself.

*Award fifteen recently discovered new bloggers.

*Contact these bloggers and let them know they've received their award.

Okay, here are 7 things about me:

1. I love country music
2. I have two sons
3. I am a morning show radio host
4. My husband and I eloped to Vegas
5. I am the youngest of four daughters
6. I really hate doing dishes...yes, even with a dishwasher
7. I absolutely love taking naps

Now, on to the awarding!  These folks might not be new to you, but they are all blogs that I enjoy reading, so therefore,  I am awarding them!


Organized With a Side of Ciaos 
The Dad Blog
AD's Adventures
Homemade Serenity
Thoughts From a Blonde
Bramblewood Fashion
Domestic Executive Online
Casual Dish
Blue Jeans and Cotton Tees
Learning Laughter Love
A Mommy's Adventures
Life in a Pumpkin Shell
Surviving on a Teacher's Salary
A Little Stone House
Not So Ordinary Girls

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bookcase Project

Okay, so I told you about the bookcase that was unearthed in the garage after a little spring cleaning was done last weekend. It looked a little something like this:

My hubby had already stripped the old paint off of it and it was just sitting there screaming to be painted. We got this bookcase from his great grandmother, so I am glad that we pulled up our sleeves and did a little painting...even our little sleeves were pulled up!

We went with a nice light khaki color...which is the same color we used in Jonathan's room.  He was so excited to help!  His room, however is still a work in progress, so that will have to be another post on another day!  BUT...here is how the bookcase turned out.  I love the detail on the top!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Springtime Purge

I am embarrassed to say this, but we had a garage sale in the fall and when the sale was over, I shut the garage door and never touched anything until this past weekend. I was depressed that not much sold and I just didn't have the energy and the time to pack everything up and either put it away for next year's sale or to box it up for charity. Then it simply got too cold for me to think about spending hours in the cold garage cleaning. Life got rolling along and before I knew it, the garage sale was still there...lifelessly frozen in time.

The weather this weekend was so gorgeous that we couldn't stand not being outside. I had no more excuses and needed to do something about it...so off it went to Goodwill. A whole car load!

We drove to the donation center as a familiy and the kids had fun watching us. When my husband threw an old plate rack into the donation pile, my heart skipped a beat and I said, "Oh, I didn't know you put that plate rack in there. Maybe I should keep that!" His reply?  "You haven't hung it in 12 years, what makes you think you will now?" Husband 1, Wife 0. Maybe I need to purge a little more often...

Once all of the "junk" was out of our way, I was able to rediscover some things I had purposely placed in the garage with the idea of doing something with it or reusing it.  Case in point, this little gem--

Stay tuned to see what happened to this bookcase that was given to us by my husband's great-grandmother! You might even be amazed by my little helper!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Throwback Thursday: George Jones

After hearing that George Jones has his Nashville area home up for sale, I knew that I had to feature him on this week's Throwback Thursday. Jones' 9, 704-square-foot mansion is on the market for a cool $15 million. It sits on 78 acres and has two lakes! Naturally, it has a pool, but also boasts a 9-car garage, horse barn, and fully functioning hair salon. Here is the official listing.

This is a great medley from Jones when he appeared on the Johnny Cash show...I love this clip!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Springing A Leak!

It's spring break! At least it is for the husband and Jonathan. Since I have to work, we decided to live it up on the weekends. It also helped that my MIL's birthday was last week and she likes to spend it with her grand kids at a waterpark, so off we went!

For the last couple of years (with the exception of last year--Tyler was a newbie, so we didn't go) we have gone to an indoor waterpark to kick off spring break with my in-laws. We have enjoyed going to Splash Universe in Shipshewana, but decided to venture out and try something a little bigger. We decided on Key Lime Cove in Gurnee.

The kids had a blast! The park is over 65,000 square feet of water play. They played so hard that both of our boys fell asleep at 7pm and didn't wake up until 7am the next morning!

They also had a great art area, which Jonathan really enjoyed. He did some sand art, colored some pictures, and even sat to watch a little bit of Aladdin while we waited for our dinner pizza.

The arcade had something for everyone and I was able to slip away and get a relaxing, and much needed, massage in the resort spa. All in all, it was a nice getaway and I know Jonathan had a wonderful time with his cousin. You can't pay for memories like that!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tat The Dog?

Our dog, Bear, has had the strangest thing happening to his nose.  The whole winter it has looked as though he has rubbed it raw, complete with sores that scab over.  I have felt horrible about it and feel like a bad "puppy mommy" every time someone says, "oh, his nose looks awful!" 

When Bear was a puppy, he used to dig like crazy and root his nose around the yard like he was was on a mission for the military.  While the digging has ceased, the excessive sniffing has continued.  I was assuming that the colder weather, snow, and his compulsive sniffing was the cause of his nose issue.  I have been putting Aquaphor for on it and even Neosporin in an attempt to heal it.  While the Aquaphor helps it, the condition has not gone away.

Bear on Memorial Day--Before the Breakout

It was time for his annual shots, so yesterday Bear went to the vet and I was hoping we would get some super duper meds for his poor little nose.  What the vet had to say was a little shocking to me. 

It turns out he has an autoimmune disease.  For some reason, sunlight makes the condition worse.  So, the vet's advice?  She suggested tattooing the dog's nose black.  What happened to the super cream I was looking for?  I'm not so sure I am willing to tatoo the dog--I mean, what's next a biker jacket and a Harley?

I think for now, we'll keep applying the Aquaphor and making sure he wears some of the baby's sunscreen when he goes outside.  And I hope this crazy disease does not spread to the rest of his skin!  I'm not sure I could handle that one!

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Glue Gun Is Hot Again!

Having this blog has inspired me to get those ole creative juices flowing again! Believe it or not, before I had my kids, I was really into crafting. Now, I am not nearly as talented as some of the wonderful women I have discovered in the blososphere--there are so many wonderful crafting blogs and so many talented women out there! Crafting was something, however, that I really enjoyed and I enjoyed the time I set aside for myself to have a little fun.

When I saw this egg wreath from Keeping It Simple last week, I just had to dust off my craft supplies.  I love that she used plastic eggs!  I would have never thought to do this, even though I have a ton in storage!  I also love that she used cardboard as the base for the wreath, making this project very inexpensive.  I have plenty of diaper boxes around, and it was just the right strength to handle this project!   

Once I discovered that one of my glue guns no longer worked and that I needed to purchase new glue sticks, I was on my way to whipping up this gem.  It has really brightening up my front door and I am proud of myself for actually accomplishing my first craft project in I don't know how long!  When all was said and done, it only cost me $3.44 and gave me the much needed boost back into crafting!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Throwback Thursday: The Gentle Giant

Don Williams is known as the "Gentle Giant." With a smooth baritone voice, Williams draws the listener into his songs and captivates them. The tall, somewhat gangly, crooner sings so tenderly and is truly a country music legend.

I remember sometime in the early 90s I attended one of his shows, but at the time, was more excited to see his opening act, Lorrie Morgan. But, by the end of the concert, I was hooked on Don Williams. Now, don't get me wrong, I was familiar with his music and even liked it, but seeing him perform live was absolutely an event.  It doesn't matter how flashy you are if you can't really sing, so with pipes like these, I an see why he sits back and let's it flow!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Crocus Are In Bloom Again!

Jonathan has been keeping an eye on all of the spring flowers that have been poking out of the ground the last couple of weeks and yesterday he discovered that the crocus are in bloom again!  He was so excited to make the discovery that he had to drag me over to them to take a look. 

I really do love crocus.  They are the first things to bloom in the spring at our house and it means that warmer weather is on the way.  I don't have nearly enough, however.  I would love to cover my whole yard in the bright yellow and purple show stoppers, but haven't quite gotten around to it yet. 

When my husband and I moved into the first house we purchased together, we covered the hill in our front yard with crocus.  We even had strangers stop to tell us how pretty it was!  They are so maintenance free and when they are done blooming, it is usually time to mow the lawn for the first time, so I love putting them in the yard! 

Maybe I'll tackle that project in the fall, right now I must start laying out the plans for the vegetable garden, and I need to enjoy the crocus that is here now!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Throwback Thursday!

I had almost forgotten about Rosanne Cash.  Until this song came on the radio and I remembered what a great song it was!  There are a lot of videos on YouTube of Rosanne's "Seven Year Ache," but they just didn't sound as good as this studio version. 

The song came out on Rosanne's second album in 1981 and was produced by her husband--who happened to be Rodney Crowell at the time.  It went to #1 on the Billboard country chart.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I thought I would repost the recipe for Tori's Cabbage Rolls in honor of St. Patrick's Day.  Enjoy!

1 head of cabbage
2 packages of Kielbasa sausage  (I used smoked sausage because I know the clan with eat that).
2 cans of sauerkraut
1 large can of V8 or vegetable juice
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup of rice
1 egg

Fill a pot with water to boil.  Peel the cabbage leaves from the head of cabbage and rinse them well.  Once the pot of water is boiling, add the cabbage leaves 2 at a time and let them boil for 5 minutes each.  Remove them and allow them to dry on paper towels. 

While the cabbage leaves are drying, mix the raw hamburger with the rice and egg.  Next, place one package of the sausage on the bottom of a 9X12 baking dish.  Once the cabbage leaves have dried, place a large spoonful of the meat mixture in the center of a cabbage leaf and tuck in the ends of the leaf, then roll it.  Repeat with the other cabbage leaves.
Once all of the leaves are rolled, start placing them on top of the sausage laid out in the pan.  Cover the cabbage rolls with sauerkraut.  Then, do another layer of sausage, rolls, and sauerkraut.  Next, pour the V8 juice over the whole dish.  Bake, covered, at 325 for about 3-4 hours. 

Wordless Wednesday: Sharing

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The House That Built Amy

I live in the same house in my dreams.  It doesn't matter if I am dreaming about something from my childhood, something that happened that day, or some crazy make believe scenario my brain has conjured up.  It isn't some mansion on the hill that my mind will not let go of, it is a 70s tri-level home in rural northern Indiana that seems to have defined my life. 

Miranda Lambert is on the cover of Redbook magazine this month and she recently won a Grammy award for Best Female Country Performance for her song "The House That Built Me." It became Lambert's first number one single on the Billboard chart.  The song was written by Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin and I can't help but cry every time I hear it.  That's what I love about country music.  I can make such a connection to a song that it brings me to tears. 

I was brought home from the hospital in that brown and yellow tri-level that my parents had just bought brand new.  It had 4 bedrooms and 1 3/4 baths.  It was an  upgrade from the 2 bedroom house my parents moved from, seeing as how I was their 4th child! 

So many memories were made in that house.  And I have so many memories of it.  I can tour that house in my mind in full detail.  I remember the foyer as you first walked in with a closet to the right and a black railing to the left.  If you stepped up, the staircase leading to the upper and lower levels was on the right and the living room was to the left.  The kitchen was straight ahead.  We had a brown refrigerator and range for the longest time and I can remember the DIY project my mom did on the kitchen back splash.  She mortared fake bricks under the cabinets and onto the bar area leading into the dinning room.  You know, those same fake bricks we all now cringe over?

This is the only picture I could find of the House That Built Amy. 
It was from a newspaper dated
 May 27, 1991--the first day our house was officially for sale. 

The living room had orange and red shag carpet and a matching sofa and love seat that we were never allowed to sit on.  The carpet was eventually replaced with a neutral gray color, but the rust colored furniture stayed put.  The downstairs was painted gold and I remember fake brick laminate flooring in the laundry room/extra bath.  We used to come in from the garden and take showers in that bathroom because we could come in easily from the garage and not track dirt all over.  We used to have massive gardens and my mom would can everything.  And I mean everything!  The downstairs 4th bedroom was turned into a pantry and my parents used to pickle cucumbers, make sauerkraut, and crank out homemade sausage.  That homemade sausage was made from the pigs we used to keep in the backyard next the the massive garden. 

Upstairs is were we all claimed our own space.  I shared a bedroom with one of my sisters for quite awhile.  We had a pink room, including pink carpeting, and matching white twin beds.  I remember that she once put duck tape on the floor and told me that I couldn't cross the line because "this was her side of the room."  It was also the side with the door, so it was her way of trying to keep me out.  She was six years older than me, so I guess I can't blame her for wanting some space. 

When our older sister left for college, I moved into her room.  It was smaller, but a beautiful purple color, including dark purple carpeting.  Everything showed up on that carpet and it seems like we were always vacuuming it.  I would soon plaster the closet doors with posters as well as the entrance to the attic.  That is also the room where I spent hours singing to country songs at the top of my lungs and recording myself talking into a tape recorder for hours.

In the song, Miranda visits the "house" in an attempt to find herself again.  I often wish I had the courage to walk up to my old home and ask the current owners if I could take a look around.  Part of the fear comes out of asking such a thing, but mostly I fear what I would find.  I don't think I want a different image in my mind, I mean after all, it is MY house, I don't think I would take it well to see it changed and modernized. 

I hope that the home I now live in will hold such wonderful memories for my children.  While it isn't my dream home, it is the home where I dream--I only hope my kids will dream of it one day.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Intimate Wine Tasting Party

The weekend before my sister got married, I wanted to make sure I set some time aside for me and my sisters to bond a little.  Since hitting adulthood, we rarely have time to spend together.  Sure, we see each other all the time, but our husbands and kids are always around and we don't often get the time to just be giggly, goofy girls.  Since this is my sister's second marriage, it felt weird to have a bachelorette party, so I invited them all over for an intimate wine tasting party.

I sent the husband and children packing--to grandmas for the weekend-- and my sisters enlisted their husbands for a weekend of single parenting.  We were ready to have a good time!

I had just watched a week of Oprah in Australia, so I was feeling a little "down under" when I went shopping for wine.  None of us are big wine drinkers, so I figured it didn't really matter what type and brand I bought, because the likely hood of any of us having tried them already were pretty slim.  And I thought it was a fun idea to feature wines from the same country.  I chose a Chardonnay by Black Swan, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Jacob's Creek, and a Riesling from Yellow Trail. 

I did some research on what cheeses went well with those wines and paired them together for my guests to sample.  I typed up some note cards to instruct them on what cheese and wine went together for the best flavor match. 

I paired the Riesling with Camembert, the Cabernet Sauvignon with sharp cheddar, and the Chardonnay with mozzarella.  I set out some picks for them to stab the cheese with and then set out an orange for them to "discard" them by poking them into the orange.  That way we knew when a pick at been used. 

I also had some different types of chocolate that I had melted fondue style and had some strawberries, pound cake, and bananas ready for dipping. 

We put on dance music and danced around my living room and acted like we were teenagers again as we laughed like crazy.  We ended the evening curled up on my couches with throws and watching movies until the wee hours of the morning.  Since we had no kiddos to worry about the next day, we all slept in too! 

What a great sisters retreat this turned out to be!  We had a great time shopping the next day and most of all, just spending time together and enjoying each other's company.