Archive for June, 2009

colored days

I love to read My Many Colored Days to my girls.  Dr. Suess can get anoying to read (over and over like kids love), but this one does not bother me.  I like Go, Dog, Go, but not again and again.  One Fish, Two Fish is fun, but not again and again.  My Many Colored Days, though, I can read that one every night and be just as happy as they are. 

And this is the type of post you get, dear readers, when my life is just so crazy that I have trouble putting it into words.  Yard sale was a bust, parents’ last days as owners of their business, feeling the need to deep clean the house, want to make bread, need to re-invent the budget, weeds are taking over, and oh the laundry and cleaning I should do…really, it just is muddled around up in my head as a bit of a fog.  I feel stuck in a sense so I leave you with this:

grey day, everything is grey…I watch and nothing moves today

back to regularly scheduled food, family, and fun soon


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crazy busy

I think every single post could be titled “crazy busy”.  How is that for creativity?

We’ve been: cooking, baking more bread, two family reunions, yard sale this weekend, spring cleaning (yeah, a season late on that one), theatre camp, helping my Mother-In-Law get her place ready to sell, and cleaning my parent’s business out.  I’ve also been running 4-5 times a week trying to get in shape for a July 10th 5K.  I feel tired looking at the list knowing there is still the daily to-do going on as well.  The big thing on my mind is my parent’s business.

This is the last week my parent’s own their restaurant.  It’s sold, signed, and July 1st is no longer theirs.  I can not tell you how awkward this is.  Most, if not all, of my 30 years have been spent in a restaurant…this one since 1985.  It was past time, though, and I am proud of my parents for knowing when to say they just can’t do it anymore.  The way you make money in a small business is by doing the work yourself.  When it gets to the point that you have to hire out more help, your profit margin falls and you have to stop and question if it is worth it anymore.  Combine in the stress and then you really have to ask yourself again.

The building is so old, on the town square, and full of stuff.  Familyphotos adorn the walls (yes you can go have lunch and see photos of me as a child as well as photos of my children…imagine that.)  There are family heirlooms on shelves, and thirty years of “stuff” stashed here and there.  Yes, it is like a second home to them, but where they work all the time.  Anyone remember the old Intellivision game systems with games like Asteroid and Burger Time…we found our old one in the back of a cupboard.  How about the engine and parts to an old VW Bug, it’s up in the top of the place, the body apparently wouldn’t fit through the door and is stored elsewhere. 

Business paperwork for 25-30 years worth of business, check. 

Furniture that used to be in their home, check.

One of my great-great-uncle’s dulcimer that he crafted when nearly blind, check.

Dad’s hole-in-one trophy, check.

Toys for my children, check.

Books from my childhood, check.

So this last week or two has been a bit like moving for them, again.  If you remember they moved last fall into a house half the size of what they had.  Hopefully they find room for the treasures and are able to let go of the rest. 

Plus do you know how odd it will be to not just stop in there on Sat. morning after the farmer’s market to visit with dad?  Or to time my errands so we can stop and visit with mom during the slow time from 2-4.  Not that they are going anywhere, I’ll still be able to stop at their HOME and visit them.  In many ways this feels stranger than them moving out of their house…they were only there ten years.  This place has been around since I was five.

I will be cooking at least one or two more meals a week.  At least once a week we were asked to stop up for a meal, and on occasion  we would stop up anyways.  Oh, and the leftovers we would take home.  It will be awhile until I miss the chicken, it has gotten kind of old, really.  I will miss the slaw, some of the sandwiches, and the fish.  I guess we can always go up there and have a meal though.

I will miss the place.  The new owners are great, though.  Very nice people, keeping it pretty much the same, especially to start out with.  I wish them well, and I know we will be in and out for a meal here and there.  Small towns hate change, I hope the community treats them as well or better than they have my parents.  It’s a labor of love running your own place and having a community that appreciates your services and what you bring to the table (ha, get it…bring to the table) helps immensely!

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This is destroying my diet.  All the running I am doing has been counteracted by crusty sourdough with homemade apple butter.  I’ve been working with cheap white flour until I get used to how it is supposed to work, then I will start grinding my own whole wheat and start all over experimenting again.  Why is it, again, that I feel the need to perfect a crusty sourdough boule?

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does it matter?

I find myself getting a bit ticked off this afternoon, combing mashed potatoes out of the dog’s hair.  I went to the bathroom during lunch, should have known better. 

“Why can’t food stay on the plate, or least the table?”  I asked my girls this over and over.  How is it that a mother can turn her back for a couple minutes and a mess like that break out.

But, really, does it matter. 

This morning I was on the way to the farm when we came upon someone struggling to climb out of their car.  I take back roads there, as in county and township roads where you do not pass anyone for miles.  It’s a beautiful and peaceful drive most mornings.  This morning, though, started out quite a bit differently.  We had headed out of town, around the curve, and over the bridge when I saw him.  My first thought was that he was having a seizure or something.  The car was upright on the proper side of the road, he was shaky and having a hard time, but trying very hard to stay upright.   I pulled over behind his car to warn oncoming traffic and told the kids not to move.  When I got out, I could see the skid marks and grass all over his car.  He had lost control and visited a couple fields…thankfully between poles and signs.

I ran back to the car to get the towels I had been pestering the girls to bring into the house for a couple days. I  threatened them to stay put while dialing 911.  Poor guy was going into a bit of shock, but no blood.  We talked a bit, got him warm under the bright hooded towels, and he had me call his girlfriend and grandfather.  Just graduated high school, positions he played on the football team, where he was going to college, what his major was.  It seemed like forever (5 minutes in all reality) until another car came up and drove right on by.  The next was the dog warden who stopped and put his lights on, soon after that the ambulance and fire department. 

Poor kid had no clue how it happened, he just lost control.  His arm and shoulder hurt pretty bad, though, and he was still very shaky and acting like he wanted to sleep.  Such a future, though, and how quickly things can change.  The road we were on has lots of ditches, curves, little bridges, and many signs and poles.   This poor guy managed to miss them all and will be okay.  I really hope his injuries aren’t so bad that he can’t play football anymore as I imagine he is on scholarship.

When I was in high school we lost a classmate in a similar manner.  It was prom night, he was my girlfriend’s date, I had taken lessons at the same time slot he had for years, we had worked all week hanging decorations for that night together.  He fell asleep at the wheel on the way home.  Great kid, no alcohol or drugs, had just dropped his date off and was heading home.  Our graduating class was just over 100, so we all knew each other pretty well.  A year later at graduation it still hurt.

So I as I finish picking the mashed potatoes out of the comb, I ask myself: why get so bent out of shape about mashed potatoes in the dog’s hair? 

Sometimes I really need to just chill-out on the little things.

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raindrops keep falling

at the zoo.  It seems that anytime I think I will bring the kids to the zoo, it rains.  Our zoo is over an hour away, thankfully there are other indoor things to do in the area. 

This last time, we waited it out and went in the afternoon after the rain blew through.   We had arrived in town early to see the baby elephant before the crowds, tell you more about that on down the post. So we hit a mall to let the girls get out some energy and do some Father’s Day shopping.  Then we went to see Up.  Loved that movie and can’t wait to see it again.  I missed the short at the beginning for a potty-run so I cannot comment on it.  The movie itself , however, made me cry in spots and laugh in others.  Such a sweet, human story told well to many levels.  The twins watched the whole movie and only talked to ask me why I was crying, quite loudly too.  The older two understood the sad parts for the most part, but absolutely love the movie regardless.  Having been a part of the adoption community they have been exposed to issues such as these a bit.  Did I mention I would really like to see it again?


Once we got to the zoo, it ended up being a nice trip.  There weren’t the usual crowds because of the weather.  The downfall was that the whole reason we have been trying to get there is to see the baby elephant…who is only on display certain hours that we missed.  They really should put those things up on their website. 

the twins wanted to wash their hands, stand on the rocks, but they did NOT want to touch

the twins wanted to wash their hands, stand on the rocks, but they did NOT want to touch

Regardless we had fun.  There is a wonderful aquarium there, lots of animals out sunning themselves after all the rain, a carousal that the twins loved, and a nice playground built for all ages.  We also managed to be there when zoo keepers were at different stations answering questions and telling stories about the animals they care for.  We were able to talk with them at the Elephants, Rhinoceros, Pheasants, and Sun Cat.  The older girls had very intelligent questions for the workers and were able to answer some of their questions quiet well considering we haven’t gotten much into animal science yet.

my big girls, disappointed about not seeing the baby elephant, but making the best of it

my big girls, disappointed about not seeing the baby elephant, but making the best of it

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In the summer, you will often find this on my kitchen table:

Growing roses is a family tradition on my side that my husband picked up as a hobby.  It makes me smile to see and smell them every day.  It makes him happy to be able to bring in beautiful bouquet for me.   The small pink roses in that bouquet are from a couple bushes called “Simplicity.”   They are transplants from my grandparent’s garden.

My dad’s parents were very good at raising roses.  Their last home had over 200 rose bushes.  In the summer, you could spend a couple hours browsing through them, noticing all the scents and colors.  It was a lovely place that I miss.  Why didn’t I take photos before Grandma moved?  Grandma moved in with my parents soon after Liz was born nearly 8 years ago.  They kept maybe a dozen roses at that location.  Their new house, though, doesn’t have any.   

“Touch of Class”  was one of my grandfather’s favorites.  We do not have the bush from their yard, but purchased one of our own after we put the addition onto our home.  It is a bit easier to care for and rewards you with beautiful, fragrant blooms like this:

My husband proposed to me, under grandma and grandpa’s climing rose arbor in the moonlight nearly 12 years ago.  Perhaps that is why he works so hard to keep the traditional alive.  It is a fair bit of work to keep roses disease and bug free.  I’m sure he questions if it is worth it or not.  Thank you dear for all the beautiful flowers you put in our home!

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real food

Jenny over at the Nourished Kitchen recently cited me as one of her top ten under-appreciated real food bloggers.  (blush)  Me?  I really just started with an adoption blog and fell in love with the flavors of real food along the way.  Then the real foods started making us feel better and healthier so I write about what I am learning…and I am learning.  She called my girls lovely and wiley while saying other nice things.  Considering how I really like her blog it feels a bit like an award or something.

Then I had a kid down here when they should be in bed complaining because her eye is swollen shut from a mosquito bite on her eyelid.  Then another one started fighting with another…the fourth girl managed to stay in her bed quiet.  Too late, though, I was distracted and the moment lost.   And what is it with mosquitoes targeting the twins.  We spray them, you can’t spray their eyes, for goodness sakes!  Those nasty little bugs love the twins, but the twins swell up and form welts and bruises from their bites.  My best friend mentioned that she looks as if she has been boxing…and she is right.   I would post a picture, but would feel cruel doing so.

There I go getting side-tracked.

The family and I were away for the weekend and are so glad to be home.  We went into Appalachia for a family re-union.  To break-up the long drive we stopped at Hocking Hill’s State Park to see Old Man’s Cave and Ash Cave.  Forest and I went camping here with my best friend and her husband last year and loved it.  We knew the girls would like it, but I was nervous about the four little girls, a big gorge, and warnings every so many feet about the cliffs.   They did great though and I only got a bit freaked out one time. 

I had to laugh at myself, though. The first things I did when I got home (after petting Ilean) were glance at the lettuce and herbs growing out the back door, check my kefir, and put my sourdough starter out to warm up a bit while wishing I hadn’t missed our local market this weekend. Real food has become so much a part of my days, that in less than 48 hours I find myself wondering how all of my cultures and seedlings are doing. It has become so common place to us that we don’t miss it until we are with family and somewhat out of control of our own meals. Then we all are anxious to get home for a garden fresh salad.

It’s just food, really, sustinence.  However, we are used to eating it in what the older two often say is it’s “real” form.  Examples:  “Mom, is this real corn or from a can?”  “Can we have some real cheese instead of the plastic kind?” (wrapped singles.)  “Is this fake wheat bread or real whole wheat bread?”

Treats for them are fresh, in season fruits, smoothies with fruits frozen from season’s past, and  homemade bread/cookies/whatever with a glass of raw milk from a farm we visit weekly.   They enjoy knowing where food comes from.  They understand now how “fake” food makes them feel “yuck” inside (their terms.)  Going to the market on Saturday morning is something they look forward to.  They find joy in growing herbs and pinching them to decide which ones to use on our fish or in our sausage.  Twinkies tastes awful to them.  In fact, Liz is so interested in food prep and sources that it wouldn’t surprise me if she is a chef one day.  She enjoys watching cooking programs on TV and is excited when they use lots of real foods.

And now that we are all home from a weekend away something so simple as oatmeal sounds good for breakfast.  We were without means to bring or keep real foods fresh aside from our dried fruits after the fresh fruits were eaten up.  We all are feeling kind of “blah” and I know I am looking forward to a big salad for lunch.  I think I will go out back and cut some Romain and Buttercrunch, pull a couple green onions, use the Oregano in the dressing with a farm fresh egg yolk, and add some crumbled cheese from a farm down south of us.  Then we’ll grill a couple steaks from our local beef in the freezer and serve them up with a bit of tasty herbed butter on top.  For dessert, it is strawberry season…need I say more?

What real foods are you eating?

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