Saturday, July 23, 2011

Whatcha doin' weekend?

Don't you love the cookie cake?  We picked it up a few weeks ago for a cookout with friends - ADORABLE!    Anyway,  it is super hot here - the car read 102 on the way home today.  The highs this weekend are supposed to be 98+!    Our weekend goal to stay COOL!   We will probably stay in and read or watch TV most of the weekend.  Lazy - maybe! :)   I'm hoping to convince hubby for dinner out on Saturday evening - this place has the BEST spinach salads & hot bacon dressing - YUM!   I need to clean out and declutter my closet.  And, I need to study for an upcoming CLEP exam.  Sounds like I have enough ways to stay cool.

What are you doing this weekend?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer, Sweet, Summer

                             Beat the Heat 5K - July 16, 2011

I seem to be talking alot about summer lately!   Despite the heat here in the South,  I LOVE summer.  Life (while busier) seems so much more relaxed.   No rushing to get home, fix dinner, do homework, get showers and get in the bed -- just a much slower pace.   However as a sit here, I'm suddenly thinking of all the things I must do before summer is over -- organizing/decluttering closets &  reading "ahead" for fall semester floated to the top of the list.  Quite frankly, I'm not sure if either of those will get done.  I'm enjoying this period of rest.  If you've ever taken a Metabolic Effect classes, you know they emphasize - "I wanna see you rest".   I think a season of rest is good for all of us -- to reflect, to refocus, and renewal.

Are you stopping to smell the roses?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Garden Fresh & Farmer's Markets

One of my fondest summer memories as a child is the summer garden. When I was younger, we lived relatively close to my great-grandparents. There was a plot of land in between our home and their home that was used for gardening. I remember my Pawpaw tilling the land; carefully making rows; and using the Farmer's Alamanac as his guide to planting. He would let my brother and I drop seeds into the rows. Then, the nightly ritually became watering and weeding. Weeding was likely my least favorite, but it had to be done. I never thought it about alot as child, but watching those seeds turn into plants which then bears a harvest is a pretty incredible thing. The joy of Pawpaw digging & my brother and I finding the potatoes buried in the ground; pulling corn from the tall stalks; picking green beans; following the cucumber & squash vines throughout the plot as they spread --- just thinking of these memories makes me want to go back in time.
Of course, the work wasn't over when we harvested -- it was cleaning & snapping green beans; shucking corn on the front porch; cleaning cucumbers to make pickles and the list goes on and on and on. Sometimes, it seems like gardening & canning is a lost art today. I wish I had paid more attention to growing up & embraced the concept more and whined about the chore less. One day... maybe I'll have my own small plot of land back in the country again.... a girl can dream right?

Enough reminiscing :) Here are some great links to recipes for your harvest or your treasures from the local farmer's market --

Tomato Sandwich - It's a southern thing, but I could eat a tomato sandwich EVERY DAY when they are vine fresh! Two pieces of white bread - spread with Duke's mayonnaise - topped with sliced tomatos & a dash of salt and pepper ---- that folks is pure HEAVEN!
Cucumber Salad - Cool & light. It makes a great side dish.
Squash Dressing - You can lighten up this recipe.
Tomato Pie - Didn't think I'd like it, but I loved it.
Refrigerator Pickles - I like to add cloves of garlic to ours!

What's your favorite farm fresh recipe?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Busy, busy...

Wow, y'all we are nearly half-way through the month of July! It's seems like I was just discussing my summer bucket list which I am happy to report I've made progress on! While we've been very busy, I've enjoyed making wonderful memories. I do think this is the best summer we've had in a long while.

Fitness - I'm active! M-W-F walking approximately 3 miles at 5:30am. On Thursdays, I've been jogging 1 miles and doing sprints. Sprints are supposed to help with your endurance. It seems I've been stuck at a steady 15 min/mile forever & the truth is I need to push myself out of this comfort zone. I realize doesn't really matter as long as I'm getting cardio in, but it does to me. I still want to run an ENTIRE 5K (not just intervals). I'm considering changing things up as I feel like I really need to strengthen my core. I'm considering doing boot camp on M-W at 5:15am and then cardio on T-Th (perhaps try the Couch-to-5K program). I did complete the Beat the Heat 5K this past weekend (my time 46:23) & I'm planning to do the Mission 5K in August.

Food - Quite honestly, I haven't been in the kitchen alot. It seems to be a trend for me in the summer. We eat lot of sandwiches (nothing wrong with that either!). I have tried 5 Dinners in 1 Hour and I love having everything done prior to getting home, but some of the meals weren't as healthy as we need. I'm secretly hoping to win one of her giveaway contests for a free subscription! This concept works really well for us particularly during the school year. I've also discovered e-mealz & I'm giving it a try for 3 months. I figure the worst case scenario is I will have lots of new recipes & Dave Ramsey endorses them as well. :)

Fun - I've already mentioned a couple of short vacations we've taken. Right after school was out, we went to the beach with my mom for a few days. We did a day trip to Boone/Blowing Rock, NC. The end of this month, we are headed to the beach with friends for a few days. In August, our annual trip to Pigeon Forge :) I'm really excited!

As you can see, it's been busy but full of great memories! What have you done this summer?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Back to planning...

I hope everyone is enjoying summer as much as I am! The picture is from our spontaneous trip last Sunday to Tweetsie Railroad in the Boone/Blowing Rock area. I really don't think it's changed much in 25 years, but it evokes so many wonderful childhood memories for me. Super-son is about to "age-out" but we've been several times over the past few years & it has been worth every penny each visit.

I've been a little slack in the meal-planning department since school got out in mid-June. I'm trying to get back in the swing of it this week. I've mentioned 5 Dinners in One Hour on the blog before & I do think it's a great resource. Preparing all your meals on the weekend is a HUGE time saver for the week. However, this week I'm giving e-mealz a try. They offer several different menu options & they have some free sample menus. Even, if you are looking for some new recipe ideas - I'd recommend at least looking at the sample menus. I decided to try the 3 month subscription for $15.00 (if you use code, samicone, you'll get $1.50 discount). You're allowed to change menu options once during your three months. I selected the "portion control" for us, but after reviewing the sample menus today I think I'm going to switch to "low fat".

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hello July!

I'm not sure what it is about July, but it screams SUMMER to me! Maybe it's the July 4th celebrations, vacation, hot temperatures, cook-outs, a full month with no school for super-son, grilling out, and accessorizing as much as possible with flip-flops. July is summer period. :)

Yesterday, I took a short road trip with a friend to the Christmas in July festival. It was north of where we live, but do not be fooled - the mountains are not cooler in July. I love festivals - drooling over the arts & crafts - wishing I had an ounce of their wonderful talent. Fall festivals are my favorite, but I'd been disappointed with "made in China items" showing up at some of the local festivals. I want TRUE hand-made and heart-felt pieces. The festival yesterday did not disappoint, and an added bonus Santa himself was strolling around. We had a great time!

What screams summer to you?