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Archive for September, 2008

Phew I have so many little insignificant things to tell you that I don’t know where to start. The trouble with gorgeous weather of any kind is that it calls me outside and offline. And now that I’m online, I can’t think of how to get through all the past post ideas in my brain and proceed to the present.

So I’m going to take a cue from my friend, Lizz at And So Is My Heart and subject you to a brain dump.

This very same Lizz gave me my first bloggy award ever!

I blushed and grinned and felt all warm and happy in my heart. Her kind words were even greater than the award, especially since I am a big fan of her blog.

The best part of this award is that I get to pass it on. This is tough as I read a lot of great blogs. This one has to go to Mental Terresse, one of my favorite haunts. Her posts are like gems, rare and beautiful. Each facet is carefully crafted. When I see her in my Google Reader, I wait until I know that I won’t be interrupted so that I can savor her writing. I especially admire how she intertwines lessons from her life with beautiful works of art. And I would be completely remiss if I didn’t point all of you to this post. It’s one of my absolute favorites.

I’ve come back to this century! I have a cell phone and not just any cell phone, a wi-fi phone, which I think puts me smack dab in the middle of now.

The best part is that Shanel is talking to me again. It was a little touch and go there for awhile, but we are once again connected at the ear.

And after jiggling about some crumbling, antiquated wires in our basement, HungryMan fixed our landline too. However, he then decided that landlines are so last century, hence the paper wires, and that we didn’t really need three phones.

We said goodbye to Qwest and hello to wi-fi. And if you don’t count speaker wire, which I do, we have fully merged into the wireless generation. So don’t trying calling my home number, cause that number is now homeless.

Oh, so your menu planning tips were so helpful. Primarily for kicking me in the pants.

You will be happy to know or at least I think you will be, that thanks to all of you and your marvelous ideas I have meals planned and purchased through the middle of next week.

I especially like the idea of saving menu’s for future months and making many meals on the weekend and eating them throughout the week.

One of the best tips that I got was from my friend, Tiffany. She has made her own cookbook with binder and plastic sheet protectors. Instead of saving too many magazines with good recipes in them, she tears the recipes out and puts them in the binder. Brilliant. And instead of stashing online recipe print-outs who knows where, she puts those in the binder too. Again, brilliant.

So I went right home and tore up my beloved issues of Real Simple and Cottage Living. And I sorted through my stash of online print-outs. I now have a binder full of our family’s favorites. I couldn’t bring myself to tear up my Everyday Food collection. I was a pioneer member back in 2003 and have a whole color coordinated set. I have organized them by month, because I too love to make what’s in season. I have been indexing my favorite recipes to make finding them easier.

This post is just riveting, I know.

And while I’m at, I let you know that I’ve gone into organizing overdrive. This, in addition to my keen attention to the outdoor weather, has kept me far away from the keyboard.

The amount of upheaval in our home has caused Ava to suspect that leprechauns have reappeared. Of course the two-inch men are now being blamed for mischief caused by a forty-two-inch sprite. I’ve set out traps. It remains to be seen who will get caught, but I’m going to put money on the one with pigtails.

Early this summer, HungryMan rolled out some new grass on the base of our front lawn. It was green and lush and wonderful until the clouds rolled away. We had weeks of scorching sunshine. Which is great, if you love to go to the beach. But it’s not so great if you trying to transform your lawn from an eyesore to a lush meadow.

Where we once had grass, we now have shredded wheat.

Bring your shears and bit of brown sugar and you will nearly have the breakfast of champions.

On Saturday, HungryMan rolled up the scorched sod and sowed grass seed, while Ava performed search and rescue on the worm community. After establishing a relocation shelter for the displaced worm families, she gave me a tour of the facilities and introduced me to some of the residents.

“Mama, look. This is the daddy worm. He’s the biggest!”

“Worms are good for the earth, Mama. Did you know that? Did you know that? They’re good for the earth. It’s really true.”

Last week, Ava and I drove with our friends to see Sarah Palin and John McCain at a rally north of here. We the mamas thought it would a great opportunity for the girls to get a glimpse of the political process in our country and for them to see a potential president. As it turned out nearly every other person in the Twin Cities had the same Friday morning agenda.

Surprisingly from our stellar vantage point, we neither saw nor heard McCain or Palin. I was told by a very tall man with stilts for legs that the candidates were somewhere under the “N” in Palin. Ten point if you can find them.

Ava and her friend’s educational experience was reduced to a greater than/less than lesson conducted with diminishing pieces of a Cliff Bar.

While we weren’t able to hear the candidates’ speeches, we did get quite an earful from protesters.

Taking the above photograph proved to be the tactical error of the morning.

“Look! There goes a WAL-MART FAMILY,” a man yelled at me as soon as I snapped the photo. Others joined his taunt sending Ava and I marching to the beat of “Wal-Mart family! Wal-Mart family! Wal-Mart family!” Just as we were turning away from them, another one hollered, “Hey! Where’d ya get that backpack Wal-Mart family?!?”

Evidently they weren’t too familiar with my blog. Or maybe they were and knew that was an insult that would stick.

Last Wednesday morning, Ava and I were about to leave for preschool when she turned and dashed back to her room.

“Oh Mama, I forgot. I’m supposed to wear three necklaces today,” she said as I walked in on her throwing everything out of her accessory drawer.

“Why are you supposed to wear three necklaces?”

“Cause Sarah and I are going to wear three necklaces today.”

“Sarah and you are going to wear three necklaces today?”

“Yes, Mama. I already told you,” she said as she grabbed my hand to go out to the car.

On the way to preschool she gave me the long version of a short story. While riding home on the bus from the apple orchard, Ava and her friend had made a pact to wear three necklaces.

Of course, I wasn’t sure if this explanation was true or not as it came from the same child that had found a leprechaun in her bedroom that very morning. He was a very kind leprechaun, who liked to sit in Ava’s hand and tell her stories. She tried to put him in a jar, but somehow he ran away. “It’s really the truth. It wasn’t a dream at all!”

We walked into Ava’s classroom and Sarah came running up to us with three strands of beads bouncing about her neck.

Who knew coordinating outfits began at four?

Well my mind feels relieved; I hope yours has survived this too long post. Apparently Ava’s not the only one that prefers the long version. But you already knew that, didn’t you?

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So as I was saying, I’m falling for autumn or at least this autumn.

The past week and half the temperatures have hung lazily at 75 degrees.

Each day promises to be the last of sundress weather.

And I am powerless to the beckoning of sunshine. I can no more stay inside than I can go outside when the sun hibernates.

On Sunday we celebrated the last day of summer by not picking apples.

Unless you count the ones that were already on the ground (and the two or three that Ava prematurely pulled off the the tree).

Of course we and our friends drove out to the orchard with every intention of picking a bushel of apples, but apparently we weren’t the only that were enticed by late summer sunshine. All the ripe apples had been picked for the day. So we picked hand-fulls of clover instead.

While this compromise was appealing to little girls who found clover crowns

and clover chains to be a “cute” accessory,

clover brats and baked clover crisp are not very enticing. Unless you happen to be a goat.

Thankfully there was an apple concession stand to save Hungryman and his co-horts from starving.

Or eating clover.

We finished our outing by picking pre-picked apples out of giant bins and eating hot apple crisp.

Perhaps fall is a warm and scrumptious after all.

I think it’s time for me to let go of sweet summer and fall into the crimson hues of autumn.

As for our friends, they are following the sun west to L.A.

I’ll miss them and the sun.

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falling for autumn

Can it be? Can I actually be falling for the season that precedes winter?

Well, I’d love to tell you about it, however, WordPress is punishing me for not posting for nearly two weeks–the nerve! It is refusing to post the rest of these pictures and the story that goes with them. I will wrestle with WordPress again tonight. Stay tuned–I’ve missed you!

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when you are wearing a hoodie. It’s true.

Though if you would have told me that yesterday, I would have denied it.

And after one day of wear, your jeans relax and remind you why there are your favorite. Also a mug of hot tea warms cold fingers.

Yesterday I was too busy complaining to be bothered with such truths. And my fingers were too occupied with researching warm locations to relocate to to wrap themselves around a cup of tea.

I have to admit that a bowl of pumpkin soup sounds down right savory now.

Though yesterday I would have stuck out my tongue.

And while I loathed to let go of our weekly trips to the beach, dropping Ava off at preschool does have a few intrinsic rewards. Primarily two and half hours of uninterrupted quiet space.

There is nothing like raising an overly extroverted child to drive you to introversion. Or reclusion.

And while I’m still not excited about nine months of goosebumps, I am thankful for a closet for a coats that will keep me from hibernating or hiding. Even more so, I’m thankful for summer-soaked memories that will warm my heart long after the sun retreats.

So I’m going to wrap up in my khaki trench coat and redeem my thirteen days of summer here by recalling that moments that made this summer amazing.

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I’m a fan of William Carlos Williams. His Willow Poem is not only one of my favorites, it’s the sum and total of my thoughts regarding the current shifting of seasons.

It is a willow when summer is over,

a willow by the river from which no leaf has fallen nor

bitten by the sun

turned orange or crimson.

The leaves cling and grow paler,

swing and grow paler,

they are so cool, so drunk with

the swirl of the wind and of the river–

oblivious to winter,

the last to let go and fall

into the water and on the ground.

Oh, summer I don’t want to let go.

The air has grown teeth, and I have traded summer skirts for restrictive pants. Ava’s preschool opened its doors and she rushed right in.

The apples are ripe for picking and this seasons pumpkins have made their debut at the farmer’s market.

Yet, I want to hold out my hand and stop the fall. I want to pull my down comforter over my head and pretend its the summer air beckoning me out for another walk around the lake. I want to soak in a few more skeins of sun to knit myself a sweater before the cold winds blow.

The calendar promises fourteen more days of summer.  Does anyone know where I can go to redeem those?

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i do, again

and always.

You are still my favorite.

Happy 9th Anniversary, HungryMan!

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Today is Works-For-Me-Wednesday in reverse, which translates into Works-For-YOU-Wednesday.

Menu planning. How do you do it? Seriously, I want to know.

This is a project that I have been wanting to tackle for weeks, but I’m not sure which way to go about it. I have seasons of menu planning, but I’ve never found a method that I can stick to.

I love cooking. I even enjoy grocery shopping. Remember I have one child, and she also enjoys grocery shopping. However, I do not like planning out what we are going to eat days in advance. I have enough trouble coming up with a plan for that evening.

Far to often 4:00 rolls around and I realize that in one hour HungryMan is going to walk through the front door and I haven’t a clue as to what I’m going to feed him before he faints from hunger. At 4:15, I’ve settled on a meal, but realize that I’m missing two or three ingredients. I scoop up Ava and her three purses and dash out the door. We race in and out of the grocery store, and arrive panting at my front door thirty minutes later. I carry up the groceries praying with each step that HungryMan will be delayed in traffic so that I can finish this meal before he arrives. And somehow more nights than not, dinner is ten minutes away from the table when his car pulls up.

While my frenzied method succeeds in feeding my family. Daily grocery shopping and hectic cooking doesn’t appear to be the most effective or efficient way to go about things. That’s where you come in.

How do you do it?

When do you plan your meals? How far out to do you plan them? Do you have a rotating menu or do you come up with new menus each week? Do you shop by sales and seasons? Do you keep a pantry stocked with standard fare and come up the meals on the fly?

Please share you secrets! I have three hours before HungryMan arrives famished and dizzy. And no one wants HungryMan to faint. Believe me, he has a long way to fall.

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