Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Salad?, it's organic

I bet you didn't know that I have a restaurant on by back deck. It's open from about 4-6 p.m. on nice days. I know, I know, I have no zoning, no signage (but that's because of the no zoning thing) no industrial kitchen. The menu is completely driven by the seasons and everything is organic (and yet possibly slightly toxic).

The smell of mint and thyme are always in the air. The 'all girl staff' range in age from 6-10 and they are serious about quality, presentation and bug control.

While they are driven by the latest trends in food, they remain true to their own aesthetic. They work quietly and diligently as a team until the plates are just right. I have noticed that their customers have a slightly different quality, imaginary almost. I'm also pretty sure this whole operation is run on some sort of honor system because I've not seen any money being exchanged. It's a very nice place, and if you are planning a visit you better call ahead...

...seating is limited.

A Donut Cures Anything

In case you don't know, about 6 years ago, I cloned myself... not single-handedly, but my DNA officially won out. I never thought in a million years that this would happen. After having a beyond wonderful adoption experience with our first daughter, we were getting set for another adoption. God said, Let's try something new and different, let me create something pretty close to the original recipe, but we'll kick it up a notch, more, more, more is always better. At least I think that's what He said (because I don't think it was all those sour skittles I ate all throughout the pregnancy). So what we ended up with is a sweet and much spicier version of the original recipe. Let's just say raising yourself is quite an adventure, but it's the 'more' part that gives me the most trouble. I think I know what she's gonna do, but remember the 'kicked up' version of this recipe is spicier, saucier, you haven't had this one before. The flavors are familiar to you, comforting even, but the adaptation adds new layers. This recipe could knock it out of the park, or it could flame up on the grill. My days are an adventure, that's the only way to say it.

School has brought it's challenges for this one that likes her place on my hip, as it did for me way back when. The difference is, where I had trouble for three days at the beginning of the school years, the '4 G' version is still struggling. The separation anxiety is bringing us both down. Today, after a horrible morning yesterday, I fought it the only way I know how.... with donuts. Breakfast in bed may be the ticket. I'm not saying I'll feed the child donuts everyday, but maybe a nice wake-up will help until she's able to adapt. Raising this child has caused me to throw out the rule-book more than once. She's writing her own story, we all do, but the bottom line? A donut cures anything......I should know.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Two Donut Weekend

This weekend was a 48 hour whirlwind that involved a football game, a bridal shower and a 20th high school reunion. It was so fast and crazy that I'm not even sure if I did any of it, course that could be the late nights talking.

This is my niece-to-be, Miranda. And no, I don't stand next to her in any picture, in case you were wandering. She's not only beautiful, she's smart and loving and seems to be making my nephew a happy guy, so she's of course great in my book. I'm looking forward to their beautiful wedding in November.

And these lovely people are a few members of my graduating class. We look like a happy bunch in this picture, and of course we did a ton of laughing at and with each other last night. The turn out was slightly disappointing (I graduated with about 38) but we had a really good time anyway. The spouses were not pictured, so there were a few more people there. I also got to see a some classmates at the football game Friday night as well. When you come from a small town and a small school you bond a lot more with your classmates. We really do miss each other and it was great catching up. We even called a classmate of ours in Alaska and put him on speaker phone.
It was a great weekend, my head is spinning from lack of sleep and my house looks like a cyclone hit it, but there's nothing better in my book than spending time with people you love.

It could be even better than donuts.... there I said it, I love you more than donuts.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Share The Love Day Four

Occasionally I'll get some really great photos sent from friends. These are the best. They were taken by my good friend Tom T. I wrote about him here.

"Two Bottle Day"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Share the Love Day Three

Day three of my quest to get my blogging mojo back brings us to Polly and Yoga is Yummy. Lest you think I do Yoga, I should say that I don't... yet. This girl does a lot of yoga, she's an instructor and expertly trained. If you like yoga, this is the site for you. Let me tell you why I read it. The tall one in the middle is one of my very best friends from childhood. Polly is his wife. I've known her since probably '92 or so, but have had limited contact as they live 5 hrs away. A mutual friend told me that Polly had a blog. I looked it up immediately, and I was hooked. When I saw her green smoothies, almond butter, and coconut encrusted chicken, I knew we were soul sisters. She sings the donut praise, and sports the occasional donut t-shirt just like me. I think I've made all the recipes in her list at least twice. Most of all what I love about her and her blog is that I always come away inspired and smiling and hungry. She's a connection to my past and I've found that as life goes on that is a good thing. Her beautiful daughter is a miracle that lives and breaths and her smiling face makes me cry almost every time I see it, happy tears of course. Polly knows the blessings of a life spared, she reflects those blessings in her everyday life and continually passes them on to the people around her. She is a tried and true Two-Donut Girl.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Share the Love Day Two

If you read the post yesterday you know that I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around the fact that it is indeed late September, the cobwebs, the falling leaves, my dead flowers, and the fact that my kids have disappeared for the day should be my first clue. My mind is saying late July, never before have I experienced this kind of seasonal befuddlement. I pass pumpkins at the farm market and think, I can't buy those they'll be rotten in October, because it's only July. I could go on and on about the crazy tricks my mind is playing on me lately, but I won't...... because it is indeed the day the calendar professes it to be, September 21. This leads me to my next blogger friend. She is indeed wired by the calendar which you will find out here. I met Nikki 19 years ago when we were 18. We spent one fun filled college freshman year together at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. We lost touch over the years and much to my delight, she found me on facebook last year. I found her blog and spent 3 nights catching up on her life. I cried, and laughed and found that she was indeed the same Nikki that I laughed and cried with way back when. We have reconnected and even had a short but wonderful visit in Wisconsin this summer. I mentioned yesterday that I wanted to share people with you this week that help me out of the occasional slump, well this one is chief among them. She just happens to be running an Autumn Bliss series, and unbeknownst to her that is exactly what I need right now. I made an apple pie for my dinner guests Sunday just because I know you would have told me to, Nik. I really wanted to grill hot dogs and have potato salad. You can take her recipes to the bank, she's an amazing cook, and she has 3 boys and a husband that will attest to that fact. Enjoy her space. I do.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Share the Love Week

Happy Monday everybody. I guess I have a little case of blog block lately. Can't really explain it, my days are full, I have things to write about, I just have been majorly discombobulated of late. It may have something to do with the early mornings now that I have a middle schooler, or maybe I haven't completely embraced the arrival of fall yet. Whatever it is, hopefully it will get straightened out soon, so to help me out of my slump I'm going to turn to my friends. Each day I'll post a friends blog or a recipe or just a picture of something that a friend has sent me. This will accomplish two things, first it will introduce you to some of my lifesavers, and secondly it will hopefully inspire you in some way too. So enjoy 'share the love week', we'll start with this post from my very good friend Pamela Querin. She's incredibly creative, talented, gifted, kind....I could go on all day, just check out this transformation.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cupcakes or Donuts?

I can't believe almost a week has gone by since my last post. This picture pretty much sums up what I've been doing. Sitting around... eating donuts.... drinkin coffee.

Oh wait, I forgot about these,

These little cupcakes were really good, those are crispy little bananas on the top in case you couldn't tell. They came from here. The bakers of these cupcakes are local artists who have decided to increase the joy here in Youngstown. This city has taken some knocks, it has fallen down and it is having trouble getting up to say the least. But these people are trying to brighten a little corner of a very troubled and forgotten neighborhood. From what I can gather through the local media they have been successful in raising awareness and funding for their project. They will have a storefront soon in a little church that they are renovating. Dance classes, yoga and a cafe are soon to follow. You can bet I will frequent this space, their product is very good and their mission inspiring. I'm looking forward to meeting them soon, and I was thinking of pitching an idea to them, that might or might not have something to do with hmmmmm.....the awe inspiring donut maybe?

This brings me to a question. When I was in NYC, it was obvious, the cupcake was king. Clearly I don't have anything against the cupcake, but this site is rather devoted to the almighty donut. I would love to hear your take on it, and I promise not to hold it against you. So.... what do you prefer? I realize you probably like them both, but if there were two unbelievably cute shops right next door to each other, and your life depended on it, because you know it often does, which would it be?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mission Accomplished

You may remember a week ago or so I said that we were trying to make Taryn her own space in the rather tiny room that the girls share. Steve and I both had the same idea but could not think of how to make it work. We wanted to integrate a twin bed underneath the loft bed, while also creating the maximum amount to storage. We both really thought that we were going to need to bolt this contraption to the existing cross pieces of the loft. I should also mention we didn't want to "build in" anything permanent, like using wood framing or anything like that. Some of the things we came up with were crazy. While on a search mission to Home Depot, Myah drew Steve's attention to something.

Recognize these? Good old heavy duty plastic shelving for the garage. Brilliant.

And who knew that if you place three sections back to back you
have the perfect dimensions of a platform for a twin mattress. The other great thing? Six bins fit perfectly underneath. That is the most beautiful thing of all, especially if you have just spent the last 7 years crawling around in a dark, over the garage, really inconvenient attic, looking frantically for snow boots on a freakishly early snowy morning.... or something like that.

One more great thing, because of the extra storage I was able to remove an old armoire that held all of the dress up clothes and doll accessories. That will free up space just on the other side of the curtain panel for a desk! This is a feature that Myah really wanted from the beginning but I really thought wasn't going to be possible. Well there you have it, an easy, affordable solution to a space crunch. Taryns bed was finished just in time for school and she loves her cozy little space and most importantly she's sleeping in it on her own. Myah saved the day and will soon be rewarded with her desk. I should buy her an ice cream cone too, ooh or maybe a donut, it is after all..... Thursday.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A New Year

My little fashionista in vintage Gymboree.
My little beagle in a mesh tank from Target.

New bus, new school, no problem for this not so little anymore fifth grader.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Last Day Fair Part 3

This was part of our posse on Kids Day at the fair. And no, Deer Slayer never tires of children....

...or rides. He lives for this day, oh and maybe opening day of deer season.

The kids had so much fun, even though it was the hottest day of summer I think. I am so surprised nobody lost a corn-dog, with all that motion and heat.

The ride above just freaks me out, always has. I should mention I did terrible in physics class.

On to freaky, angry chicken....

This was one strange bird, he definitely didn't want me looking at him. He was giving us the stare down. I backed up more than once.

This picture is so funny to me, Taryn seems really unsure of what she's looking at, and Myah, she's like, 'bring it on, you're not that cool'.

This shot was a total accident, I didn't even crop it. Deer Slayer is unimpressed, but I really think it's sort of cool, a different angle for a chicken, yes, but interesting still I thought.

Somewhere in my rantings I promised bunnies, so here you go. The most perfect bunny. The fair ends tonight. The first day of school is tomorrow. How's that for a transition. Is it even light enough to take pictures at 6:50 in the morning? I'm not Pioneer Woman, really does school need to start that early?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fair Part 2

Every year I leave the kids with Deer Slayer riding rides and I steal away to walk/run through some of the buildings. I always wanted to be in 4 H as a kid, enter a sewing project or garden club project, walk around the ring with an animal of some kind, while wearing a wool outfit.
The giant pumpkins are one of my favorite things at the fair. They look like you feel after eating fair food all day. I forgot to tell you that my new favorite food there was pepper jack fried cheese on a stick, mmmmm. Oh, and pulled pork nacho's with sour cream and jalapenos. Thanks Kathy and Val for those hot tips... get it, pepper jack, jalapenos....ok, back to the giants.

I camped out by this one for a while and listened to everyone gasp, that was fun.

I'm not really sure what these are, or why they are strapped down, nothing else was strapped down, course whose going to walk out with a 1200 lb squash.

Display after display of beautiful vegetables.

These 'scare crows' were displayed in the midst of all the vegetables, Deer Slayer should watch out for this one.
These flowers were huge, softball, dessert plate, baby head huge.

And this one was my favorite.

Rides and animals still to come.....It's a really big fair.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Fair Part 1

In case you weren't sure what they sold in this particular booth.....

....this might help you out. I wish their signage was just a little more helpful.

Taryn's choice,

Myah's choice,

The Judges choice- 1st place cake.

more tomorrow.....

The Fair

We had a great day at the fair, even though it was h-o-t. I thought we were going to have to throw in the towel there for a minute, but we rallied. Admission was free, but we easily made up for that in water bottle purchases. I took quite a few photos, so I'm going to have to break it down a bit. Tomorrow big huge vegetables .... or maybe cute, cute bunnies .... first place cakes, I don't know, I'm not really a planner. Oh, I did manage to get a great shot of freaky chicken, and my family helped rescue a pair of cantankerous pygmy goats, feels good. check back....

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fair Day

Today is the highly anticipated, much talked about, topic of many excited discussions throughout the year, the one and only, Canfield Fair. Today there will be spinning, racing, eating, and general mayhem. It you remember from previous posts, I don't generally love general mayhem, but this year I figure that two and half weeks in NYC has prepared me better that anything else. I'm actually looking forward to taking some photos, I've never taken a camera before. Look out giant pumpkins, cute little lambs, and freaky cool chickens, I'm on my way. I wonder if there are donuts......