Friday, July 31, 2009

Half Empty? Half Full?


Today is Positive Day in the Bloggosphere. Jen over at Dust Bunny Hostage and her Diva Daughter came up with this positively great idea. Can you ever have too much positiveness in your life?

It's not always easy to be positive. Sometimes I find it very, very hard. Being a positive-thinking person doesn't come naturally to me. But then again, thinking negatively doesn't either. I guess you could say I'm somewhere in the middle. Maybe right in the middle of the half full/half empty glass.

I'm always envious of the naturally positive thinkers, though. I know two that come immediately to mind. My Auntie Theresa and my Auntie Cindy a/k/a to me as Cynthia. I'm not quite sure how they do it, but you just about can't force them to be negative. Seriously. And that really and truly amazes me and makes me want to have what the positive spirit that they have.

And I know negative thinkers. Actually, quite a few. No matter what good thing life brings their way, they manage to find something negative in the good thing. I find that very discouraging.

Being a mom to my almost 21-year-old and my almost 17-year-old has without a doubt taught me the most about being a positive thinker. To me, being positive thinking person really means turning the other cheek. Or as I often say, making lemonade out of your lemons. No doubt, everyone gets lemons at some time or another.

Being negative is just no fun. It's just not. It robs you of the joy that God wants us to have every single day. Not that every single day is a big bowl of cherries or a perfectly rosy picture. But why not try to find the good in the negative things. Even if it's just ever so slight.

Thinking negatively also takes up a lot of energy. You can quickly try to think of some little something positive in a negative situation, but thinking negatively saps your energy the whole entire day. It's like a gigantic weight you carry on your shoulders.

So to celebrate Positive Day, here are some things that I'm feeling positive about.

1. It's raining in Georgia. My yard and my flowers and all the trees were very thirsty.
2. My migraine headache is subsiding. Now, I've had it most of the day, but it's getting better.
3. My house is clean.
4. My hair is growing out from the short cut I got last fall.
5. I cleaned out my purse, so now I can find everything. Except my cell phone.
6. My Southern Living magazines that I ordered and paid for in April have started arriving on time.
7. My family and their health and happiness. This is the one I struggle with a lot. I tend to worry about this one more than I should.

Now, if I made a list of the things I'm feeling negative about, it could be quite lengthy. Here's one for starters.

1. The proposed government healthcare.
2. Violence.
3. Traffic and rude drivers.
4. Car insurance.
5. The crumbs on the floor I stepped on to get to my computer.
6. Knowing my basement looks like a tornado blew through it. No, really.
7. That I'm not a better manager of my time.
(Y'all know that I put my lists in no particular order, nor do I set a limit on how many things I put on it. When it's time to stop, it's time to stop.)

Looking at my negative list, there are some things I can't do anything at all about. Some things I can change or fix or make better.
Don't you just love that Serenity Prayer? I think that sums it up for me. To me being positive is having the courage and smarts to change what you can, accept and pray about what you can't and the wisdom to know the difference.
Is your glass half empty or half full? What do you do to be a more positive thinker? How does it affect you when you're thinking negatively? Come on. Curious minds want to know.
Till tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of this Positive Day.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Just a Bunch of Stuff

We went on a little shopping spree last night. Our huge projection TV that came over on the Ark with Noah has about had it. As I've mentioned, Jeff and I rarely watch TV. But the other day I was freezing my tomatoes for my salsa and wanted to watch a movie. And what do you know. . . the stupid TV wouldn't come on. The one time in weeks that I've tried to watch TV, it wouldn't work. Figures. I pretty much decided then and there that we needed a new one.

Monday afternoon Jeff went down into the dungeon that is our basement and saw a puddle of water right in the middle of the floor. After investigating, he determined that our hot water heater had a crack in it. Now, we could still get hot water, but it's just leaking. So he decided that we needed a new one.

Hence the shopping spree last night. First we went to Best Buy. I thought they might sell hot water heaters in addition to TVs. Uh, no, they don't sell those. And in fact, have never even been asked if they sell them. But. . . they do sell these.

And ours is to be delivered on Saturday. Since our living room isn't really set up for the TV to be above the fireplace, we had to buy one of these.

We were going to have it delivered on Saturday, too, but then I got to thinking. If we don't get the stand until Saturday, and it has to be put together, when they hook the TV up, they won't have anywhere to put it. Duh. So we're going to go back to the store tonight and get the stand so we can put it together.

My dad, who can do almost everything around the house -- and if he can't, he knows someone who can -- knew a guy who installs hot water heaters. The hot water dude picked ours up today and is hooking it up right now.

It's a little bigger heater, so maybe I'll actually be able to fill up the tub without Jeff having to heat water on the stove. Hopefully. We've been here 15 years, so I guess the wear and tear is going to start to show on other things. Besides my carpet.

I made the best supper last night. It was a recipe I got from a blog on my sidebar, The Cookbook Junkie. It turned out really good, even though I messed up the recipe. Like always.

Jamie’s Mexican Chicken and Tortilla Casserole from Paula Deen’s The Deen Family Cookbook

One 16-ounce jar salsa (2 cups)
1 cup chicken broth
One 6-to-7-ounce bag tortilla chips
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 small onion, thinly sliced
3 cups (3/4 pound) grated Monterey Jack, or pepper jack.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the salsa and broth in a blender and process until smooth. In a large bowl, toss the tortilla chips with 2 ½ cups of the salsa mixture. In a separate bowl, toss the chicken with the remaining ½ cup salsa mixture.2. In a greased 13x9-inch baking dish, layer one third of the chips, followed by half of the chicken, half of the sliced onion, and one third of the cheese. Repeat. Top with the remaining chips and cheese. Cover with foil and bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes or until heated through and the cheese is melting. Serve hot.

I left out the onion because we're not crazy about onions. I think it could've used more salsa, but I think it was because I used more chicken than the recipe called for. Anyway, it was very good and Ross, Cam, Drew, Jeff and I ate almost the whole dish. Oink. Oink.

Today is Open House for Henry County schools. I have officially been to my last Open House. It was the year Cam started 9th grade. I don't go anymore. Cam goes on his own now and would be mortified if his dad and I went along. But oh, the memories of those long ago days. Trying to find a parking place. Standing in line to meet the teachers. Getting the supply lists that were so, so long. And then off to Wal-Mart to buy the things on the list. Along with every other mom in the county, as if he needed 10 spiral notebooks, 12 Number 2 pencils, 5 glue sticks, a box of markers and a box of colored pencils on the first day. Now he takes care of the supply list.

School shopping is another thing I've done for the official last time. That one I did last year before he started 10th grade. He and Drew and Joseph went last night and got their school clothes. I was not needed to make sure he got pants that fit or to make sure his toes had plenty of room to grow in the new school shoes he got. I didn't have to help him pick out a lunchbox or bookbag. No, all that was needed of me was my debit card.

Ironically, as it turned out, though, he could've used my help. Poor thing. He's got some things to learn about shopping for clothes. He came home with a shirt that was a size Small and some shorts that were XXXL. Now, he's not small and he's not XXXL either. He went by the sizes on the hangers rather than checking the tags.

Happily, I guess he does still need me. Sort of.

Till tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More Fun Than the Law Allows

I had all my aunts over yesterday for a swim lunch. It was a beautiful sunny day, but it was soooo hot and humid. Jeff was working from home, so I enlisted his help with the grill. I'm not a huge hot dog lover, but I must brag that those grilled hot dogs were the best ever. Auntie Brenda helped me grill them and they were cooked to perfection! Suz brought pasta salad, Maddie Lou brought his really good grape salad. Cindy brought PB&J sandwiches and I made baked beans and bought several kinds of chips. Barbo made a yummy cake and Theresa brought her world famous brownies. I couldn't have been more satisfied if I had eaten at the finest restaurant in town.

This is my great Aunt Maddie Lou. She's guarding the food from the unwelcome flies that heard there was a cookout with some great food. They came by the hundreds.

I just love to see my kids and their cousins and second cousins enjoy being together. I think my family is the best. I love the closeness we have; it stands the test of time and goes from generation to generation.

This is how the boy cousins spent their time. They were playing tackle football in the pool. We couldn't believe that no one actually got hurt because they were rough. When Justin -- the Marine -- joined in, Bradley informed him that the couldn't use any of that Marine Crap on them. Thankfully, he didn't. I imagine that would have taken the tackle football to an entirely new level.
And this is how the girl cousins spent their time. Playing with the little girls. What a difference between the boys and girls!
Here are three future Ms. Georgias. Jada, Alex and Avery.
Eli could stay in the pool for hours. In fact, yesterday he did just that. Other than getting out to eat his lunch, he was in the water from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. He loves it.
Justin was showing out on the diving board. Ethan was impressed!
I wish this picture was more clear. It shows what the grownups did most of the time. Although, it was so hot that a couple did get in. We joked that we needed to have Adult Swim like public pools do and make all the kids get out of the water. With all that wrestling and tackling going on, you were taking a chance getting in.It was a really fun time. Sort of a last hoorah before the kids go back to school on Monday. Suz's actually go back on the 10th.

When I'm with my cousins, it's like the old days, only better. I love my family so much and I don't know why God blessed me with such a good one. I know I don't deserve it.

According to my aunties, my ice cream was as good as MaMa Howell used to make. She was an ice cream connoisseur and made the best ever. I'm thankful that maybe I did inherit something from her. I also made some baked beans that I thought were so good. And they were so easy that even I couldn't screw them up. It's a recipe that I got off of Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen blog. Here's the recipe in case you need some good baked beans that are easy.

Candied Baked Beans
4 (16-oz.) cans Pork and Beans ( I used the big 56-oz can)
1/2 cup Regular molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
6-8 bacon strips

Heat oven to 300 degrees.
Pour beans into large bowl and add molasses and brown sugar. Mix well
Pour beans into a greased 13x9 baking dish. Lay raw bacon strips across top of beans to cover.
Bake for 2-3 hours, or until back is dark and beans are tender, rich and thick.
Note: Taste beans after 2 hours. Cooking too long will cause beans to become dry.

Yummy and it doesn't get much easier than that.

Guess I better get to work. We've got a busted water heater. Our TV is on its last leg and we need new tires for the G6. Ugh. I don't like to spend money on any of those things. That's not the retail therapy I like.

Till tomorrow! LLL.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Good Day. A Very Good Day.

Our church had a special service for Justin yesterday. So much good music and so many uplifted prayers. He'll be deploying overseas sometime this year. I don't think they really have any idea when, but when he goes, he's going to be surrounded by prayers from so many people who love him very much. And just a thought. If you see someone in the military, give them a big thank you. They and their families sacrifice so much.

After church, I just came home and had a tomato sandwich. Actually one-and-a-half tomato sandwiches. I just wish the garden would bear year-round. I'm gonna miss those darn tomatoes when they're gone. I got a little bit of work done while Jeff was having a coaches meeting out by the pool.

My ankle where I fell down the stairs is bothering me A LOT. I haven't exactly been the smartest person in the world, though, so it's really my fault. When I dress up for work or church, I always wear some sort of a heel. Being only 5'1, the only flats I wear are flip flops or tennis shoes. Those don't work too well when I have to work. Ugh. I wish. Well, anyway, I think that the heels have made my ankle worse. I'm giving it a couple more days, but then I may have to have it seen about. I know from the last time I fell down the stairs and hurt my ankle that it could take A LONG time to get better. I have to work this afternoon, so I'm going to be tearing out my closet trying to find some shoes that won't hurt.

We had supper at Mom & Pop's last night. She made Sloppy Joes. Now, why is it if I tried to make Sloppy Joes they would taste like dog food? When she makes them, they taste like Filet Mignon. There's no justice in the world. All the kids like grape Kool-Aid, so of course, Mimi always has grape Kool-Aid. Last night as she was making a pitcher, Eli wanted to stir it up. And what a great job he did. Look at that smile. Even if it is soooo fake.

I had cleaned out a couple of makeup bags and gotten some things for Alayna. She was so happy and just thanked me and hugged me. Sorry for the lackluster pictures. I left my camera at home and was using the camera on my Blackberry.
Mimi's kitchen was torn apart when Crystal's actual birthday was, so she made her a belated birthday cake last night. Crystal's favorite, red velvet. And it was the bomb! Just like it always is.
Having no small kids around anymore, Mama didn't have any birthday candles. So we sang to her and she pretended to blow out the candles. I hope her wish comes true anyway.
After we all ate and chatted for a little while, the kids were DYING to go swimming. Thankfully, I live only about five minutes from my parents. Everyone loaded up and headed over to my house for a swim.

Cam's friend, Drew, has this cool phone that can be submerged in the water. Wow. Now that's an idea way past due, huh? So he made this video of Reid swimming underwater. It's my first attempt at loading a video onto my blog, so hopefully, it'll work okay. Only I couldn't figure out how to fix it where you don't have to turn your head to view. Sorry.

video

So that was my Sunday. Not much variation from the norm. I've learned that normal is good. Very, very good.

Till tomorrow. Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The salsa turned out perfect! I was so amazed and happy! It really wasn't as big a job as I had thought it would be. Nan said the reason was because we went ahead and peeled our tomatoes earlier in the week and froze them. I took them out Friday night and put them in the fridge overnight to thaw. I think if you had to do the tomatoes and all the other stuff in one day, it would be a huge job. I'm hoping to get some more tomatoes and make another batch. This time I'm going to use a recipe that Suz is going to get from Jason's grandmother. It's a sweet salsa she said. Sounds really good.

Here's the exact recipe that I followed yesterday. Nan used quart jars and it made four quarts. I put mine in half-pint jars and a few pint-sized ones. I want to share some of mine, so I thought the smaller jars would work better.

CHILE V'S RED HOT CANNING SALSA
20 cups tomatoes (peeled and chopped)
10 cups onion ( I used Vidalia)
8 sweet banana peppers (chopped) (mine weren't sweet banana, but Anaheim. I think sweet banana would be better)
15 jalapenos (chopped)
5 cloves garlic (minced) (We used the already minced in the jar)
1 green bell pepper (chopped)
1 red bell pepper (chopped)
2 1/2 cups white vinegar
Juice of 2 limes
1 handful of cilantro (chopped)
4 tablespoons chile powder
5 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons cayenne pepper

First, we drained some of the liquid off of the tomatoes.

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepot. Bring mixture to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes or until mixture has thickened. (Ours cooked over an hour.)
Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a wooden spoon. Put lids on, then tighten bands. Process 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Before we could even begin to make the salsa, I had to go to the fruit stand to get the rest of my peppers. The jalapenos came out of Jeff's garden, as did the tomatoes, of course. But the onion and the other peppers I bought at this fruit stand not far from my mom and dad's house.
I wanted to decorate the tops of my jars with some cute fabric. But I didn't have any and everyone that I called didn't have any either. I had in mind something with peppers or tomatoes. So I quickly ran to Hobby Lobby and bought some fabric and pinking shears. I was sorry I didn't have more time to look around. They had so many pretty things. They've got the fall decorations and even Christmas stuff out. I wanted to look at the fall stuff. It's a bit too early for Christmas for me.
Here is what I chose. I got three different kinds.
Before we could get started, we had to have one of Nan's delicious pimento cheese sandwiches. She's one of the best cooks I know. I'm so blessed to have so many great cooks in my family. You would think I would take after at least one of them.
After the salsa had cooked for a little more than an hour, it was time for a taste test. We put salsa on a chip and didn't tell the taster which chip had whose salsa on it.
The tasters didn't choose a winner for "Best Salsa." They were equally good, Nan's turned out a teensy bit hotter than mine. Mine picked up more of the tomato flavor. I guess Jeff's peppers aren't as hot as Ronnie's.

I was so pleased with the way it turned out. Much better than I expected. Thanks to an awesome Cuisinart food processor, the chopping was a breeze.
Remember the 1200 pictures I told y'all I had ordered from Shutterfly. Well, they came last Monday.
That is a huge job! I started putting them in albums. I began with our vacation at Tybee. I made over 200 pictures of that trip. It took literally all night to put them in an album. Like I've mentioned, I'm a little over the top about pictures. I like them to be in chronological order. I mean, who wants to be looking at an album with pictures of eating the birthday cake before you've blown out the candles.

Jeff's been at his football tryouts every night. Tuesday night I went to Buford and Suz and I got ourselves some retail therapy. We went into one of our favorite stores, Sephora. I think we probably spent over an hour in there. All the makeup sure makes pretty pictures.
I've got a big bag of stuff to give Alayna. She's really into makeup. I cleaned out a couple of makeup bags and got all the things I don't use anymore to give her.
And I've decided to go to some of Jeff's practices. I actually enjoy them very much. I like to see what's going on and taking up so much of his time. And as the old saying goes, behind every good man is a WOMAN.

Here he is running sprints with the kids. They thought that was pretty cool and wanted him to run all five of them with them. He only ran one. He is 47 years old, you know.
Look at my pretty crepe myrtle tree. I love the hot pink blooms. They sure are a mess when the wind blows. Little pink flowers go everywhere.
That is one mess I don't mind.

Hope you all have a blessed Sunday and get to spend time resting and getting ready for a new week. Till tomorrow.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Salsa Saturday

Today's Salsa Saturday for A Girl Named Kelly Kelly. I'm heading over to Nan's around noon to get busy. Even though I'm not very good in the kitchen -- partially because I don't like making a mess -- this is the way I hope to be looking at noon.
I got my tomatoes ready the other night and froze them. I froze 20 cups of peeled and chopped tomatoes. You should've seen the huge mess in my kitchen. Tomato juice and tomato seeds everywhere. The juice came right up, the seeds not so much. They turn into cement when they dry out.

The recipe that we'll be going by calls for a TON of stuff. And it all has to be chopped up. Thank goodness she has a food processor. I really hate chopping. She's made some of her amazing pimento cheese for us to have for lunch, so I'm looking forward to that. That's my second favorite sandwich. After tomato, of course.

Most of the kids around here start back to school either on the 3rd of August or the 10th. I can't believe their summer vacation is almost over. It makes me kinda sad. I know as a mom I should be glad, but it makes me sad because it makes the kids unhappy. Cam will be a junior, so he's going to have to really buckle down this year. It's a very important one. Ugh.

Since he goes back on the 3rd, I've got to cram a lot into the next week. He actually said to me yesterday when could he go "school shopping". Now, if you know Cam, you know that he doesn't need one single thing to go back to school. It was just a short month ago that he needed to go "vacation shopping". What in the world is he going to want to buy? I guess we shall see, because if you know me at all, you know I'm not going to tell him no.

I also am having a Back-To-School Swim on Tuesday. Kinda like what my Auntie Theresa does. We'll swim, have lunch and maybe even some homemade ice cream like Cindy made yesterday. I hope Auntie Brenda is feeling better by then. She broke my heart yesterday feeling so bad. She didn't even get in the pool and she ALWAYS gets in. She's a sun lover like me.
Cam got his paycheck yesterday. He cracked his dad and me up when he was looking over his pay stub. He said they took out the federal taxes and Social Security like they always had. Because he had quite a few more hours on this check than the previous ones, they took out Georgia state taxes too. It was like a dollar and seventy-four cents. We had to explain to him the sickening fact that the more he makes, the more they take. He wanted to know if he'd get it back at tax time. That dollar and seventy-four cents is important to him and he wants it back. He's got a lot to learn about taxes, doesn't he?

I best get going. I've got to get some onions and peppers for the salsa. We'll be tweaking the recipe I'm sure, so I'll post it for y'all tomorrow. It's to die for. If you like salsa.

Till tomorrow. Have a great Saturday!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

And Down She Went

Is this not the ugliest thing you've ever seen?

It's my right leg. After I fell down my brick front porch steps last night. I was taking the dog out and I was being very careful, walking down the steps sideways taking one at a time. Clumsily, I missed the last step and. . .
DOWN
I
WENT!

I twisted my ankle, hurt my wrist and elbow and scraped my leg. The scrapings hurt the most. My leg feels like it's been burned. I can't put all my weight on my ankle, but it's not nearly as bad as it was when I fell down the same steps about three years ago. Ugh. I hate being clumsy.
Although this fall I blame on the bugs.

I had turned the porch light on before I went out and IMMEDIATELY every bug in metro Atlanta flocked to my porch light. I didn't want them trying to fly inside when I opened the door again, so I quick reached in and turned the light off. Hence, the reason for missing the bottom step. Or two. So forget me hating to be clumsy. I hate bugs more. So if everyone agrees, we'll just blame this fall on the bugs. Okay, good. Thanks.

Till tomorrow. LLL.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

In the Blink of an Eye

My heart is heavy at this minute over the passing away of a complete, but beautiful, stranger. I was going through my daily reads this morning while sipping my coffee. I visited Picket, who has an amazing blog, and the title of her post was pray, people, pray.

She had gotten a comment from another blogger asking for prayers for the family of this young mother of four who had unexpectedly passed away from a stroke. The mother's site was The Thrifty Chick. I went to Thrifty Chick's blog and read a touching memorial posted by Thrifty Chick's little sister. My heart just went to the floor. She was mother to four children, the youngest only a few weeks old. The grief that family is bearing is unimaginable for me.

I like reading other blogs to keep up with the every day lives of my family and blog friends, to get ideas, recipes and, oftentimes, just a good laugh. But as it turned out today, I got a reminder. A reminder that we're not promised anything. Not another year, week, day, minute or second. I take each and every one of those for granted, just assuming that they'll roll around for me just as they've always done. How do you not do that?

The young mother over at Thrifty Chick was beautiful and obviously, by the content of her posts, very, very talented, both in craftiness and managing her time. Not to mention being a very devoted mom. If tragedy could befall upon her, who am I to assume that I'm immune from it?

I complain about work. I complain about traffic. I complain about things being messy. I complain about bugs. I complain about having too much to do and not enough time. I complain about getting a speeding ticket because of I'm daydreaming. And the list goes on and on. Complaining and taking for granted the very day that I'm complaining in.

I'm so thankful that God doesn't expect perfection from me and doesn't want it from me. Nor does He want me to expect or want it from others. I do believe, though, that He doesn't want me to take his daily blessings for granted as something that I'll be given just because I always have.

So today I'm thankful. Thankful to wake up. Thankful to be able to sip my coffee. Thankful for two sons to make messes. Thankful for a husband to make the coffee. Thankful to have too much to do and thankful to have the strength to do it.

I know that those that come to my blog are praying people. We're of different faiths and religions, but we love the same God. I ask that today, in memory of Thrifty Chick, we be thankful. And even more importantly, to lift up her, no doubt, brokenhearted husband and family.

As her beautiful blog spells out in black and white, life can change in the blink of an eye.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Got Tomatoes

I'm participating in a MckLinky Blog Hop this week where you can share a favorite recipe. I thought it'd be a great time to share a favorite recipe using some of the yummy fresh tomatoes that are so abundant this summer.

Fresh tomatoes are one of my very favorite things about summertime. Jeff only plants about six tomato plants, but we get more tomatoes from them than we can possibly eat. This weekend I'm making homemade salsa with Nan to use up some of them.

Last Sunday night for the Sunday Night Supper at my mom and pop's house, I made a couple of Fresh Tomato Pizzas with Pesto. Everyone loved them. Even if you're not a pizza lover, try this recipe. The pesto as the sauce makes a world of difference. It's really, really good. Even cold leftovers the next day.

I doubled my recipe because I was making it as sort of an appetizer for a big crowd. This is all you need:

2 cups shredded Monterey Jack or mozzarella cheese ( I used a cup of each)
3 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 (2 1/4-ounce) can sliced, pitted ripe olives, drained
1/2 cup purchased pesto or Homemade Pesto (if you're really good)
Freshly ground pepper
1 16-ounce prebaked pizza shell

Spread pesto evenly over pizza shell. Place on large pizza pan or cookie sheet. Arrange tomato slices on top. Season with pepper. Sprinkle with olives and cheese. Bake in 425 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese melts and the tomatoes are warm.
So easy and incredibly tasty!
Till tomorrow, Bon Appetit!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Monday, July 20, 2009

We Interrupt This Marriage

Starting today, and until at least Thanksgiving, my marriage has been temporarily interrupted due to the 2009 football season.

Tonight begins the process of choosing the team. The tryouts last all week, then the team is chosen. After that, the practicing begins hard and heavy. My hubby coaches 10-year-old boys on a competitive traveling football team. He's been planning and getting ready for tonight for months. To believe the time spent in the whole process, you'd just have to live it.

Some men enjoy golfing on their free Saturdays. Jeff's brothers do. Even his dad, whose legs won't hold up for him to golf anymore, enjoys riding in the cart with them and watching them play. Jeff would rather coach other people's sons in the sport that he loves. Football.

It all started when Cam was five. He's coached every single season since then. He even coaches in the spring league. Now that Cam doesn't play rec ball anymore, he just coaches other kids and he loves it almost as much as he loves me. Not really, but at times it can seem that way.

When Cam played for him, I hardly missed a practice. I never missed a game. I was always the team mom and their biggest fan! We had so much fun during those rec ball seasons. I miss it, truly. Cam played for the JV team at his school last year. After playing for 11 seasons, he gave it up this year. He wants to spend more time studying (yeah, right) and devoting himself to his FFA officer position. Sounds responsible and good, right? Makes me sad. I cried when he told me he didn't want to play anymore. It was the end of an era.

So until Thanksgiving or after, I will be sharing my hubby with 20 10-year-old boys. I hope they love him as much as I do.

Till tomorrow, Go Tigers!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sentimental Shoes

Ross turns 21 two weeks from tomorrow. I can't believe that my firstborn son is going to be a bona-fide adult in 15 days. Where have the years gone?

He's still in school and works a full-time job. He takes care of most of his personal expenses, i.e., clothes, shoes and stuff like that. But truly, his dad and I let him use his money for pleasure expenses, i.e., fishing stuff, hunting stuff, stuff for his truck, etcetera. He doesn't have any "real" financial obligations other than a truck payment.

If you know Ross at all, you know that being fashionable has never concerned him. He's like my dad that way. He likes what he likes and that usually means a comfy, light and breezy camo shirt and favorite jeans or shorts. For shoes, he's wearing the same pair of tennis shoes I bought him when he was a senior in high school. He probably cost us less in clothes and shoes than any other kid in the world. He made up for it in other ways I assure you. It's not like he gave us a break or anything.

Since this came into his life a few weeks ago, his fashion needs have changed.
Ever since he was was old enough to walk, he's loved to fish. Even before he could say the word fish, which he called ishhhh, he's been a fisherman. This boat that Jeff's brother, P-Nut, bought and lets Ross use anytime has given the word "fishing" a whole new meaning. P-Nut also has another boat that Ross and his friends use for tubing. This one is the fishing boat and he takes it out at least twice a week.
So with boating comes the need for boating apparel. Slick bottom tennis shoes just don't cut it. The popular Sperry boat shoes that Cam wears have always been a source of teasing from Ross. He was always saying I'd never wear those sissy shoes, blah, blah, blah.

Well . . . Friday afternoon Ross asks me if I'd buy him a new pair of shoes. I'm thinking that he's probably going to want some tennis shoes or boots or something like that. I told him sure, I'd foot the bill. I told him, too, that this would be the official last pair of shoes I'd buy him in his childhood. Yes, I can make everything sentimental, even new shoes. Truly, it was a touching moment. I nearly teared up at the thought.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think he'd want these.
Lo and behold, the very shoes that he's made fun of Cam for wearing were the very ones he set out to buy. He wore them to the lake yesterday and he looked like a regular yacht captain. They're well ventilated, don't slip on the deck of the boat. They are, after all, boating shoes. So after years of buying tennis shoes of strange color and style, cow boots (as he called them when he was a little boy), chore boots (the black rubber kind, even though he never did chores), and the occasional wedding/funeral shoes, my baby boy is stepping out in style in his official last childhood shoes. And I couldn't be sadder.

Would it be strange of me to bronze them? Or hang them from my rearview mirror when he's done wearing them? I still have his first baby shoes, so why not his last childhood shoes? Makes perfect sense to me. This passage from childhood into adulthood isn't going to come easy.

Till tomorrow, LLL, and have a great Sunday!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I take a lot of pictures. No, really, I take A. LOT. OF. PICTURES. Some of them are good, some of them aren't. Unless they're just black and you can't see anything, I always order them. There's just something about deleting someone's face that bothers me. I feel like it means I don't like them or something. So unless the picture is useless, I buy it.

I print all of my pictures. I have a really good Canon printer and it prints amazingly good pictures. Sometimes it's just easier to pay someone and let them do it. In the past I've used Snapfish. Lately, I haven't been pleased at all with their work.

So I made the switch to Shutterfly.
Do any of you use Shutterfly? I've seen some of their prints and they seem to be better than Snapfish does. I shall see. Because this is what I did yesterday.

1007 4x6 Print (glossy)
25 4x6 Print (glossy)
213 4x6 Print (glossy)

And yes, you did read that correctly. I uploaded ALL of my 2009 pictures to Shutterfly and then ordered them. It was 1,245 pictures. It literally took 10 hours to get them all uploaded.

Normally, being OCD in most things, and being extremely OCD about my pictures, I upload them to where I'm ordering them from and go ahead and order them the next day after I've made the picture. This is what I SAY DO. What I DID DO was not order them until I had 1,245 pictures. Bad, bad girl.

Do you always print your pictures? I'm a hands-on kinda gal. I like holding a photo album (or as is my case, a box of pictures) and actually looking at the picture. And what's going to happen generations from now when all your pictures are on your computer? Whose gonna know if you're not around to tell them. I'm just a print-your-picture advocate I guess. Besides, there are some really great photo albums out there. It's going to be fun picking out albums for all 1,245 of my pictures. When in the world am I going to have time to put them in it? I don't know either, but I'm going to. DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO.

Till tomorrow.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Should Have Stuck With the Meatloaf

Have any of you ever grilled wild salmon on a cedar plank?
In organizing my recipe book, I found this really great recipe for grilling salmon. You coat the fish with brown sugar, dot with butter and grill on the cedar plank that has been soaked in water. I bought a huge salmon filet yesterday at the store. My plan was to grill the salmon tonight and have meatloaf last night with a big pot of pinto beans that I cooked yesterday.

I got home from the store with the salmon and Jeff unloaded the groceries. He commented on how awful the salmon smelled. And it did. It smelled horrible. We put it in the fridge thinking we'd actually be cooking it tonight. I opened the fridge to get out the meat for my meatloaf. I was nearly knocked down by the odor from the salmon. It was then that we decided that the salmon must be cooked immediately so as to get that smell OUT of the house.

We soaked two cedar planks in water for an hour or more, just as the directions said to do. I held my nose and coated the salmon with the brown sugar and dotted it with real butter. It sounded so good. The salmon itself didn't smell that bad. It seemed to be the wrapper that it was in that was awful. In any event, after the fish was out on the grill, I completely Cloroxed my kitchen counter. The smell just would not go away. I felt like I was wearing stinky salmon perfume.

If you've ever cooked salmon or any other fish, you know it really doesn't take long at all for it to cook. The grill was super hot and we grilled that salmon for over an hour. It just never would get done. Finally, we took it off the plank and got it finished.
When we took the cedar planks off of the grill, it was obvious that the grill was indeed hot enough to cook salmon.
We brought the cooked fish inside. The only other thing we had with it was a baked potato. That was the single nastiest thing I've ever eaten in my life. Each time I took a bite, I wanted to hold my nose. I only ate a few bites. It tasted and smelled like a combination of the worst things imaginable and it was a whole heck of a lot of trouble. We threw it out. And as you well know, I have a garbage can fetish. I didn't even want that stinky wrapper or the stinky fish in my garbage can. Thank heaven the trash picked up today.

Yes, indeed I should have stuck with the meatloaf. No more wild salmon grilled on a cedar plank for us! Next time, we'll go to Outback for our salmon.

I bought these at the grocery store, too. They're Rainier cherries and so sweet and good. They're only out in the produce section for a short while, so get some while you can. They're a bit pricey, but worth it. Be careful of the huge pit or you will be in the dentist chair. Are your annuals looking a bit tired? My impatiens hanging baskets were looking leggy and weepy. I cut them way back a couple of weeks ago and gave them a good dose of Miracle Grow. They now look as good as the day I brought them home from the nursery. I've read that now is the time to cut back your annuals so they'll stay pretty all summer. If yours are looking bad, just cut them till you think you've cut them too much, Miracle Grow them and you'll be amazed how much better they'll look. Till tomorrow! Hope you have a good Thursday.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Just Wednesday

Missed my post yesterday. I worked in Decatur, but it was a short and sweet (like me) depo. Then the girl who helped get me into court reporting came over to help me with a new computer program that I've been dying to get working. We started working on it at 12:30 and she went home at 6 o'clock. We couldn't get it working just right, but she was so determined and I'm so thankful she was. She finally got it to do what it was supposed to do. Today I'm a happy girl.

Even though we were working (well, technically I was just observing), I did manage to make supper last night. That's right. You did read that correctly. I cooked supper last night. And I must say, it was the easiest meal I've ever made. It was called Burgundy Beef Tips and it was all cooked in the crockpot. Wanna know how I made it? Okay. Here you go. It's a recipe I cut out of the paper several years ago. I organized my recipe book Sunday, so now I can find things. I've got some awesome recipes. Maybe I'll cook more often. . . Maybe not.

BURGUNDY BEEF TIPS

2 pounds beef tenderloin, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 (8 ounce) package sliced Portobello mushrooms
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Stir all ingredients together in a lightly greased slow cooker. Cook on high for four hours. Stir occasionally if you can.

Next time, I might add a little more mushroom soup. I wanted more gravy, so I added a little water. Then the gravy seemed a little thin, so I had to add the water/flour thickening. I'd also probably add more mushrooms. We ate it over rice. This recipe is a keeper.

Suz and her family are at the beach, you know. She sent me this picture last night on my cell phone.
It's Eli with a hat-wig on. I thought it was so funny and wanted to share it with y'all. They're having a grand ol' time jumping waves and playing in the pool. As you can see from the picture, it looks like the T-shirt shops still have the same cheesy airbrush designs they've had since 1980. Oh, well, they're fun to get. Suz saves all of her kids' airbrush shirts. I think she should make a quilt top from them when they get older. That'd be great except that she doesn't sew.

Till tomorrow.