Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer Snapshots: Series I

Photo taken by my MIL The Husbands band at Westcott Theater

Evan at Upstate Boogie Photo via Barefoot Goddess  - he loved watching this!

 Photo via Barefoot Goddess

 Photo via Barefoot Goddess

 Photo via Barefoot Goddess

 End of the season! As much as I love watching the boys play, 3 nights a week of double games was a bit much! Photo taken by my MIL




 At Dickie Betts and the Great Southern- free show!

 Lets not talk about how stuck we were and how we had to get our neighbor to come tow us off the hill.

As you can tell by all the photo credits, I've been pretty neglectful with taking my camera or making sure there were fresh batteries. Trying the best I can to savor summer. I'll be posting more regularly again soon, thanks for bearing with me while I take some time away. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

quote for the week(s)

Sometimes you need to step outside, get some air, and remind yourself of who you are and where you want to be.

I've been spending some time doing just that. Solitary hikes tucked into our busy days of work and lacrosse and everyday living.

My summer is winding down (well, getting busier, but coming to an end) these next few weeks my posts will most likely be peppered with more snapshots and fewer words as I spend some time working on the above quote and enjoying my last few weeks of summer.

See you soon.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Gratitude.

This week I'm grateful for the heat. Or the sun at least. Really. I'm getting the vitamin D I miss all winter long, the garden is flourishing. Our summers are always too short and often cold and rainy. We've been blessed with some very summery weather this year, I'll be remembering these days fondly in the middle of winter. It gives me an excuse to eat ice cream everyday.

Edit! - 10am this morning, a thunderstorm rolled through, leaving us with a cool breeze and temperatures somewhere in the low 70's - oh sweet, sweet relief!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

hot, hot, hot!

I really hate to complain about the heat. We really usually don't get nearly enough of it here. And I spend many winter days daydreaming about the summer heat. But, this is getting hard to handle! It's hot. It's sticky. It's exhausting. I haven't spent nearly enough time having fun with summer recipes. I've spent a lot of time eating sandwiches and ice cream for dinner and too much money finding relief in air conditioned restaurants for dinner. I know these days will be over way too soon, and so I'm trying to enjoy them the best I can.

This summer seems to be flying by. It doesn't help that my summer ends a little sooner than everyone elses with the return to my academic year job and overtime for opening. I have about 4 weeks left of summer and they are jam packed. It sort of feels like every year the summer goes by just a little bit faster. I try to take it all and have equal amounts of busy summer fun and lazy summer fun but I swear the older I get the less hours there are in a day!

And, since I'm whining anyway, I sort of love my summer hours. I want to love my summer hours. Especially since I always complain about my academic year hours but my goodness it now feels like I have two full time jobs! I love having dinner (or ice cream -ha!) with the family every night but when I get home at 9:30pm like I do during the school year I can come in and unwind for a bit and go to bed, all my chores get done in the AM. Now, I'm at work early and home at 3:30 and I get home and it's like the day just started. There's cooking and cleaning and lacrosse games and practice and on and on . . . wah, wah, wah.

Once upon a time I was an optimist. I don't know how the heck I became such a complainer. I'd say it was the heat, but I'm pretty sure it's just me. You know, I should probably start up my gratitude Fridays again, it's been a while since I've done that and it does help me sort of put things in perspective.

I haven't taken any pictures lately. I've totally neglected my 365 blog since April, and you know, that helped too with slowing down, paying attention to the small things. I think it's time to get back into that habit too. It's too easy to get out of sorts and overwhelmed by everyday life sometimes.

In other news, I'm getting a pressure canner and I'm super psyched about it! I was going to splurge on one as an early birthday present for myself, but my mother in law offered to buy me one as an early birthday present. Yay! Really, it's fantastic cause I've got all sorts of beans growing and I think it will be a lot of fun to try canning chili's and things. Have any of you ever used a pressure canner? Have any go-to recipes?

Alright. This is my last whiny post for a while. Next week - more pictures, less whining, more gratitude!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

the countdown begins!

It's officially less than one month before I hit the big three-oh. I'm coming to terms with it. Sort of.

Remember that list I made? 30 before I'm 30

Well, I'm pretty sure I won't hit them all. But I'm making progress! Lets see how many more I can cross off in the next month!

Updated 30 things to do before I turn 30

1. Have another baby (haha) ok, how about get pregnant? I doubt my husband reads this, but if he does he's probably rolling on the floor laughing right now. I don't care, it's still on my list. :) update 7/13: this ones still not even close! It's staying on the list though! ha!

2. Make progress with knitting. I finally (after YEARS!) learned to knit. But just knit. Next step purl! And by the time I turn 30 - how about a hat? (We'll save socks for 31) 7/13 - haven't touched anything to do with knitting in months. I still have a month though . . .

3. Go skiing. I've never been, and now we live about 2.5 seconds from a skiing hill and the kids get reduced passes for Friday nights through school. Time to learn. 7/13 - we didn't do downhill, but we did cross country in February. It counts!

4. Sew a quilt. A real one, with quilting and everything. I've done the tied quilts, but I want to actually hand stitch the quilting on one. It may take a while, I should start that right about now. 7/13 - the sewing stuff is in the process of being brought up to my room for a permanent space. Hope to start this in the next week.

5. Fill my freezer with home-made convenience foods. I always start, but never follow through. I may have a lasagna floating around, or some cookies - but I want a nice supply of ready and homemade things to pull out in a hurry. 7/13 - not there yet, but have made some progress. I'm actually looking at a pressure canner to help with the homemade convenience foods, I think I'll make a nice dent on this in the next month.

6. Decide what I want to do with my life. I mean, what I really want is to just stay home and have babies and cook and sew. Really. But, I don't think that's in the cards. I don't love what I do now, and I want to. By the time I'm 30 I want at least a plan on how I want to spend the rest of my life earning a living. I don't need to worry about the practicalities now, but I want to get the gears going. Update: 4/6 - I've been looking into holistic nutrition degrees, we'll see where that leads me. 7/13 - Think I'm going to start at SU for a registered dietician degree. I hope to be taking classes within the next year.

7. Stop my tooth/dental obsession. It's stupid and I'm not going to go into a ton of detail here, but it's really awful and affecting my daily life. I need to find a way to end this. Update: 4/6 - not completely gone, but probably 50% better. I got a night bite guard which has been helping tremendously with pain.

8. Lose more of the "baby" weight (unless of course, goal #1 happens!) It's been six years - six years - since my youngest was born. I gained 80 lbs with him and have only lost half. For most of my 20's I have been overweight, out of shape, and unhappy about it. I accept I will never be a size 0 again. I don't want to be a size 0 again, I just want to love, or at least be happy with, what I see in the mirror. I can love my stretchmarks. I can love that little bulge below my belly where the skin stretched and will probably never be flat again. I can not keep accepting and will not love a body that I'm not proud of. I need to get moving and stay with it. I need to stop making excuses. I need to make some changes and get back to loving this body of mine.7/13 - Making progress. I'm down about 15 lbs, I have around 15 more to go.

9. Stay smoke free. It's been a year, but I've had a couple here and there and sadly, it's still an ongoing battle to stay cigarette free. This needs to be a yearly (daily?!) goal for me still. Update 4/6 - having a very occasional cigarette, when around people who smoke and I'm having a few drinks. Tried to have one the other night at a bar - and tossed it a couple drags in. Gross! 7/13 Um. I'm still smoking when I have a few drinks. It's summer. It's hard. I still have no desire to really smoke again though

10. Take more risks. I'm going generic on this one. I don't have anything specific in mind. Maybe it'll be my hair again. Maybe I'll skydive. Maybe I'll simply say yes when I want to say no. I just want to stop playing it so safe all the time (within reason of course ;D).7/13 - ok. kinda. Nothing drastic. No skydiving. But, I think I've been a little more 'go with it' lately.

11. Take a class. I don't know what kind yet, and I don't care. I've been out of school for too long, and working at a mundane job. I need to get out and learn again. Maybe I'll continue my accounting classes, maybe I'll take a nutrition class, maybe I'll take a knitting class. I don't know yet, but I'm going to do something.

12.Get a massage. The Husband and I promised ourselves when we quit smoking, we would treat ourselves to a massage every 2-3 months. It's been a year and we haven't had one. What am I waiting for?

13. Get a manicure and pedicure. My first one ever was before my wedding 2 years ago. I haven't had one since. Why not? Sometimes it's ok to splurge a little and get pampered. I'm not a very girly girl - but I walked out of there feeling like a million bucks. Why wait for another special occasion. It being a Thursday is just as good a reason as anything else.  Treated to one by my MIL over Christmas!

14. Wear a bathing suit, in public. Even when I was a size 0 I would wear a t-shirt and shorts over my suit. Why? Why? I had no idea how fleeting that body and that youth was. I haven't worn a suit (shorts or not) since my youngest was born. I don't want to be sitting here in another 10 years wishing I had only loved my body then. I mean, who cares? I haven't gone swimming in years - and why? ugh. 7/13 - did it last week on vacation. I wore shorts with my suit  but it's a start! I even went swimming and on water slides. Haven't done that in 10 or 15 years!

15. Don't use the computer or TV for a week. I'd have to use it for typing orders at work, but I don't need to go on myspace, facebook, tumblr, blogger. I don't need to look up recipes, check the news online (or on TV). It's too easy to get sucked in. No excuses. Aside from typing orders - no computer and no TV for at least one week. Radio is ok. Update: I have done a computer free 2 weeks, over Christmas, with limited TV but haven't yet completed a week without using either!

16. Go see a play, even just at Syracuse Stage. Every year we give tickets as gifts, and yet we never go.

17. Watch football just once with The Husband. And I mean really watch it. Don't read or knit or sew. He likes it, and it wouldn't kill me to show a real interest in it just once in my life. Update: Oops. Football season is over!

18. Visit my nanny and poppy and grandma. I haven't seen any of them in two years.

19. Make another wine.      Mixed berry wine currently fermenting!

20. Find a new favorite restaurant locally. We moved away from our tried and true favorite place. We need to find a new one here.

21. Go bowling. I haven't in ages, and I really like it.

22. Read a book a month. I used to read several books a week, and the older I get - the less I read.   Update 4/6 -I've been reading a book a week at least, with no signs of slowing down.7/13 - Joining my MIL to see if we can read the TIME top 100 novels of all time

23. Pay off my credit card  ---  Update 4/6 - Paid off 2/3's of the balance - almost there!!

24. Paint the wall length bookshelf in the living room

25. Replace kitchen lights

26. Wine Tour. We've talked about doing this for a few years, a girls weekend wine tour. And we haven't. And won't. I want to plan this one for my birthday weekend.

27. Get up at 6 instead of 6:30, so we have more than an hour to get ready in the morning, so I can actually make a real breakfast for the kids instead of having them grab cereal (again). 7/13 -  I don't know how much it counts, because I have work at 7am now, but I've been getting up at 5-5:30, now I just have to keep that going once I switch back to nights!

28. Join a CSA    7/13 - Not going to do this. My garden is producing nicely, and I like the rhythm of a weekly trip to the farmers market.

29. Order a half a cow for the freezer

30. Go hiking at at least 3 new places.

And because I thought of one more

31. Increase my running time.

So there it is. Remember my quote from this week? Yeah, I procrastinate! One month left . . .

Monday, July 12, 2010

Seasonal Eating: Sour Cherries

For a very long time, as far back as I can remember, I thought I didn't like cherries. My aunt and uncle lived and worked on an orchard. And every year they would send us home with bags and bags full of cherries. My mom loved them. Not me.

Last year, in my quest to eat locally and in season - I gave cherries another try. Sweet cherries are in season first, and well, sweet cherries just sound good don't they? I really wanted to like them. They're so pretty and the idea of them is so lovely. But I always felt they were just bleh. Then, you may remember, late last season I discovered sour cherries. Oh my. Now those are good. I guess a lot of people don't like them for eating plain, I love them that way. The tartness is divine.

The closest place I found by me that has u-pick sour cherries was about 40 minutes away. My camera died, so you get no pictures. Boooo.  I wish the sweet and sour cherries overlapped, but sweet picking ended last week and sour started this week. I would have liked to supplement with some sweet cherries in the recipes. Also, there are not nearly as many sour cherry recipes as sweet.

I made another batch of Sour Cherry Vodka
I froze about 2 cookie sheet fulls of cherries and made some Cherry Raspberry Jam using Pomonas

I discovered Pomonas at the beginning of the season, and I love it. I've had nothing but excellent results with it and it allows me to use minimal sugar.

Low Sugar Pectin, 1 oz. Box

I also made some Sour Cherry Jam using the Pomona Pectin. There really is no recipe to follow. The basic idea is 4 cups of fruit, 2tsp calcium water, 2tsp pectin powder and lemon or lime juice if needed. You can use white sugar, sugar substitute or honey. I've only done white sugar so far, between 1-2 cups depending on the fruit (and I get 4-6 jars per recipe) I'm reluctant to try honey after the overpowering honey flavor in the strawberry jam last year.

I wanted to can some cherry pie filling too, but all the recipes I found called for Clear Jel, which I didn't have and was too lazy to go get. Maybe I can do it with the frozen berries later.

Do you love cherries? Hate them? Sweet or sour? Share your recipes!

Guess what I didn't have? Yeah, a cherry pitter. Pitted by hand baby.

quote for the week.

"Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday."
                                                                                                  Napoleon Hill
Happy Monday!

Friday, July 9, 2010

well, hi.

I planned on writing, really I did. I even brought my laptop with me. But we were just so busy. And when we weren't, I sort of liked being unplugged!

We spent the last week staying at a friends (gorgeous!) cabin in Old Forge. We surprised the kids. Just packed up their stuff, told them we were running errands and ended up in Old Forge.

We hiked

 and kayaked

 and went to the beach

 and finally ended up in Enchanted Forest for the last two days

We've been planning this trip for months, and the weather ended up being perfect - or rather we ended up being in the perfect place for the weather! It was so hot, so being by a beach and a water park was so, so good.

There are many more pictures I'd love to share, it really was an amazing week. But I'm exhausted now, and there's still a very busy weekend ahead.

Hoping everyone else stayed cool this week!