Sunday, July 31, 2011

How to be Sexy

  You know that old phrase, "beauty is only skin deep"; well, I am beginning to think that it doesn't even run that deep.  Recently my daughter has been pushing me to try colored and patterned bras.  I've got to say that I was hesitant at first, but relented and tried. I'm hooked, literally.  Wearing sexy bras, makes me feel sexier. 

I'm not quite as adventurous as my daughter, who would wear a bra like this:

She thinks the more colors the better.  But I definitely have turned a corner.  My most recent purchase:

which I guess is pretty racy and certainly way beyond my traditional white or beige that I have worn for the first half of my life.

The best thing is that I swear when I put on these bras I feel prettier, sexier, more attractive.  The only one that sees them (except for an occasional bra strap - my bra straps are forever peaking out) are me and my husband, but I would bet that others see the different attitude that I have been exuding because of my new underclothes.

Ironically, I was talking to the minister's wife the other day and she admitted the same thing.  Her daughter had been encouraging her to get out of the grandma underwear.  She pulled her shoulder strap out and bared a purple strap.

In fact I heard on the radio this phenomenon is not just a local one: .  Daughters in general are affecting mom's dressing habits.  I don't think I'll ever be as cool as her, but she definitely has uplifted my spirits and my sex appeal.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Can you find a Tomatillo in your grocery store?

I had a revelation yesterday at the grocery store.  Some of you more exotic cooks may already know this, but those of you that are just beginning some experimentation may not.  Do you know that we are not all shopping in the same grocery store.  Ok, I know that what I find in my grocery store vs. what is found in Spain or some other foreign country is totally different.  I know that if I am making some rare Martha Stewart 20 ingredient masterpiece, I'll have to go to a chef store.  I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about regular recipes out of Cooking Light or Taste of Home.

I had to find Flank Steak for one recipe.  Ironically another woman was looking for the same thing.  We scoured the steaks to no avail.  We finally asked the butcher.  He said, "We don't get too much of a call for flank steak at this store.  We don't always have it."  Ok, I can understand that. 

Next,  I was searching for tomatilloes.  It didn't help that I didn't even know what I was looking for.  I could find them neither fresh, nor canned, so I asked my helpful fresh produce stock boy who promptly pulled out his vegetable book to show me what one was.  Apparently, it is in nightshade family.  But alas, there was none in this store.  He advised me that if I went to the Chicopee store (about 20 minutes away), they carry them.  What?  A store 20 minutes away from the same grocery chain has different food on a regular basis.  What am I missing?  I think I becoming adventurous, but I've only scratched the surface.  Alas,  there is even more on this planet to see and do than I already know.

What interesting food have you found in a recipe that you have never used before?

Challenge:  Go to a grocery store that you don't normally frequent and search out the differences.  Try something new.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Something from Nothing

Sometimes we wonder what we can give to others.  This cabinet reminds us that we can always give something, even when we have nothing.  This beautiful cabinet was created out of leftover pieces of a barn.  This cabinet was created by a man who lost his home in the tornadoes.  He was so thankful for all the church had done, he gifted us this beautiful cabinet.  I would have said that he lost everything in the storm, but obviously not everything.  He clearly maintains his talent and his heart.  So when you think that you have nothing to give, look again.  Look not outside yourself, but within, and remember this wonderfully giving inspiration. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Need a New Coffee Maker

A few weeks ago, our house either got hit by lightning or we got some kind of electrical feedback.  During that storm, we managed to lose some interesting but specific electrical items in the house.  The smoke detectors blew throughout the house.  Two GFI plugs shorted. The digital screen on one of the phones went.  Most upsetting, my coffee maker died.

I am not coffee crazy, but I do enjoy my coffee especially at night before bed.  I love coffee with a good book.  I was very sad to not be able to make my coffee. So  I thought about whether I should buy another maker or go back go Gevalia.  We had used Gevalia years ago, but had stopped it long before we even moved.  Their coffee is a little more expensive than the cheap store brands or some of the typical large manufacturer brands, but we have decided that their coffee is well worth the little extra that you spend.   So I decided to restart the service.  I was ecstatic when only a few days later my coffee maker came in the mail.  I think the post mistress was a little taken aback by my enthusiasm by the delivery.
  So thank you Gevalia for my new coffee pot.  I look forward to many years of my coffee deliveries again. I have decided after many years that sometimes it is worth a few extra pennies to get a little less of something truly exquisite.

A Fresh Basil Plant in the Kitchen

I broke down this week and purchased a basil plant for the kitchen. This was actually a big step because I hesitate to bring any live plants in the house because inevitably the cat will try eating it, knocking it over, or causing some other mischief.  So far though, he hasn't bothered it.  In the meantime, we've had basil in a pasta dinner and basil on our pizza.  The Basil is MMMMMMMM good.

I am actually most looking forward to fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, fresh tomato with a sprinkling of Italian dressing. 

If this basil plant continues to thrive, maybe I'll try some of the other fresh spices.

How do you keep your cats from getting in your plants?

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Challenge to Non-Believers

My brother and I often have conversations about God's existence.  He is definate a skeptic who believes that the rest of us have created a being to satisfy our need for answers.  Certainly, when someone has such an anti perspective there is no logical agrument that is going to change their mind.  So I have asked him to try an experiment (whether this will work or not I do not know, but I know that if we take one step toward God, He'll take at least two toward you - so I am hopeful):  I have asked him to talk to God everyday for 40 days.  He needs to tell him his concerns, his faults, his questions.  I believe as this conversations unfolds, he will see that it moves from a one sided to a two sided conversations. 

It will be interesting to see if the skeptic is willing to give it a try. I encourage you to pose the same challenge to other non-believers.  I would live it if they would comment and let us know how the experiment unfolds.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summer “Squash-amole” Recipe - Every Day with Rachael Ray

Summer “Squash-amole” Recipe - Every Day with Rachael Ray

This is the recipe that we made today at the tornado relief center. We are trying to get creative with the donations from people's gardens.

HINT: Toasted day old bagels are a great thing to dip with.

Life is Good celebrates volunteers

Life is Good.  Isn't this the truth?  I have now been working on and off at the tornado relief center since June 1st.  The experience has been devastating, uplifting, challenging, life changing, loving, and unforgettable.

Yesterday, the volunteers were gifted with t-shirts or hats from Life is Good.  Certainly none of us did this work for a reward, but the thank you was much appreciated.

It is still unbelievable how much work is left.  The clean up will not be marked in days or months, but years.  It will also be marked in the countless miracles we have all witnessed, and the friendships that have been formed.

Maybe a new design for Life is good is hands in hands.  When many hands make light work, Life is Good.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tornadoes in Massachusetts

There are many things that you think about when you choose where to live.  Certainly there are considerations about jobs, family, education, etc, but often there is part of you that is searching for safety.  When you live in the northeast, you figure that you are fairly safe: major hurricanes only come by every ten years or so, earthquakes are generally minor, forest fires are usually contained, and tornadoes are usually small and rarely affect the population.  We do have winter storms, but they eventually melt.  All and all comparatively, it seems to be a fairly safe place to be until June 1st of this year, when a tornado swept through Western Massachusetts extending from Westfield to Charlton (almost 50 miles).  It was like the tornadoes that you see on the news in the Midwest except the Midwest doesn't have trees like we do.  The devastation was extreme.

Fortunately, this is not my home.  We were very lucky, but the area near our church not so much.  The impact was unbelievable in width, length, and general impact.  Trees look like toothpicks sticking from the ground.  Areas that couldn't see the sky due to a canopy of trees are now bathed in sunlight and blanketed in the night sky.  Houses are covered in blue tarps, split in half, or town completely from their foundations. The cleanup will not be measured in days but more likely months and probably years.

The one amazing portion that I have been blessed to witness is the coming together of a community to help those in need.  I have worked all of last month at the tornado aide center.  The outpouring of support not just from locals but from those that came miles and miles just to help has been incredible.  One night, one of the people asked, "Do you make all this food?  It is delicious."  While I may have wanted to take credit, I was able to say that no, all the food was donated.  We had not had to make anything.

When people wonder if there are still good people on this earth, I know without a doubt that the answer to this question is a resounding, "Yes."  It is a shame sometimes that it takes devastating emergencies to bring us all together, but you can surely know that in a time of need, we can and will come together.  This is one of the great things about people in general and specifically about the USA.  As different as we all are, we truly are all United.

God Bless the USA!  Happy Independence Day!