Monday, July 30, 2012

It's fair week!

Oh, gosh is it a busy time around here!  It's fair week!  The past couple of weeks I have been working with other counties, judging their projects and modeling contests, but last week and this week is our kids' turn!  Such a fun time for everyone.  Seeing how well their projects stack up to others, working through the tears and frustration to turn out a project that they either love or never want to see again (we experienced both this year!), facing their fears in judging, and then celebrating the fruits of their labor at the fair -- seeing friends old and new, watching shows and contests, and maybe even sneaking in some fair food!

Sarah's too old to be in 4-H, so we are down to 5 4-H'ers in our household.  Still a lot of projects to complete.  I have to say that this has been one of my favorite years so far.  Everyone's old enough to do their own thing without a lot of pushing from me -- and this year, everyone seemed to be doing a project that they enjoyed so I didn't have to keep on them.

We were very successful!  My mantra is that the fair is not about winning, because it isn't.  It's about doing YOUR best.  In fact, the 4-H motto is "Making the best better."  Meaning push yourself to the limits.  But it's about YOU and pushing YOU.  Any place ribbons you win or outstanding of the day ribbons are just icing on the cake if you have done your best.

All of the kids received "A" ribbons.  First hurdle crossed!  :)  All had smiles on their faces during their judging times.  Second hurdle crossed!  :)

Harry showing everyone his video he made -- and was VERY proud of!

Abby decorated this "cake" all by herself!  (It was styrofoam underneath and is currently in the fair booth!)

Will getting judged.  He painted dog dishes for our dog, Oliver.  He was so cute!

Becca sitting with her judge for yeast breads.  She made pretzel rolls -- they were delicious!

Emily had a particularly good day yesterday.  She modeled her dress that she made, for which she received Outstanding of the Day and a State Fair nomination.  She is not able to participate at the State Fair due to other commitments, so she handed that honor off to someone else.  However, she was awarded the Clothing Achievement Award for outstanding achievement over the course of her 4-H career.  We were pretty proud of her for that.  She received a silver platter for her award.

Technically, we are done with the fair.  All of our judging is complete.  We may sneak over some evening, but for all intents and purposes we are done.  Emily is heavily involved with Junior Fair Board, so she will be at the fair all day every day.  I may go out some evening just to see her for a little bit!

I love fair -- still to this day I run into old friends I made at the fair....many times our kids are competing against each other, much as we did way back when :).  Good times and good friends.  Isn't that what life is all about?

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Are you watching the Olympics?  We have been.  We watched the opening ceremonies last night (my favorite part was watching the Queen Skydive!) and were mesmerized by the creativity of those who orchestrated it.

Tonight -- we watched.  We watched Michael Phelps not medal for the first time since we've known who he was.  We watched a young man named Ryan Lochte take the gold instead.  While we were so happy for him, a little part of us was sad inside for Michael Phelps -- wanting him to take it one more time!

Watching all these athletes have a dream to come true -- whether to simply compete in the Olympics, or medal, or to take it all with the gold -- is inspiring to me.

I couldn't help thinking, though, both nights, about one thing.  I wonder who is out there right now, ready for their chance in the games, who is not a household name right now -- but will be by the time this is over?  Who has such a back-story that we love them because of what they have overcome?  Who will run the race of their lives and beat all the predictions?  Will there be a Kerri Strug who finishes despite injuring themselves?

Obviously we do not know the answer to that right now, but I have to tell you, I cannot wait to watch this all play out!

USA!  USA!!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Far apart.....but not forgotten!!!!!

Have you ever met someone in your life that you just felt connected with instantly?  When I was a little girl, I met someone -- I don't really remember meeting her, although she tells me she moved to town when she was in the first grade.  We hit it off -- we were the best of friends.  We spent endless hours at her house or mine -- playing hide and seek in her huge home, or playing on her bumper pool table, or just laughing in her room.  Those memories to me are as vivid as if they happened yesterday.  She remembers playing on our farm (what town girl doesn't like to play on the farm?)....and fondly remembers my parents.  In the eighth grade, her family moved away.  I remember when I heard they were moving, I had never heard of a town called Asheville, North Carolina.  I just knew it sounded very far away.  I was sad, because I was pretty certain I would never see my friend again.

For a few years we exchanged letters and even pictures, told each other our secrets and crushes and all those girl things.....and, like most long distance things, we acquired new friends, started doing different things, and drifted apart.

However, I never forgot my friend, Cyndi.  I don't know why, of all the people who have crossed my path, she was one I never forgot.  When we first got the Internet, I searched her name to see if I could find her.  No luck.  Of course not.  I only knew her maiden name and certainly she was married by now.

Flash forward a few years....actually, many years.  There was this new invention called Facebook, where people could search for other could even put their maiden names in and they would come up!  Hurrah!!!

I can't remember for sure who found who -- although I think maybe I searched her and found her -- but almost instantly when that friend was confirmed -- phone numbers were exchanged and we were gabbing on the phone!  It was so wonderful!

We've spent the past couple of years catching up, as much as you can via photos and phones and instant messaging.  She's led a really interesting life -- and has a very beautiful family to show for it.  She's adopted children from Liberia, as well as from across the United States....she has such a beautiful heart.

She's been on a cross country tour this summer with her kids.  I knew that when she headed out, and suggested she make Ohio one of her stops.  This past weekend, I spotted a picture of her on Facebook -- and she was only a couple of hours from me.  Instantly, I requested that she swing by on her way through!  I think I may have even begged (sorry Cyndi!).  She agreed, but said she would only have limited time to meet for lunch.

We set the time, she texted me along the way to let me know where she was and when she would be arriving.  She must have a pretty heavy foot, because I left my office when she said she was leaving our hometown....I work across town, and she had a 20 minute drive.  I told her I would reserve a table for us.

Not necessary -- I saw her beautiful family in the parking lot as soon as I drove up.  I can only imagine what anyone walking or driving past thought when they saw these two women who hadn't seen each other in 30 some years embrace.  There were tears shed (not me, of course!) -- and after the introductions of her kids and myself, we started chatting.  And chatting.  And chatting.  As if we had just seen each other last week and needed to catch up.  This woman, whom I truly feel is somehow connected to me, and I spent almost 2 hours catching up.  Our poor waitress kept coming to take our order....and we kept forgetting to look at the menu!  LOL

It was such a special day.  I knew I had to get back to work -- and she needed to get back on the road -- but I didn't want her to go.  So, we began with a photo shoot.  Photo shoots are always good, right?

Here are two of her beautiful daughters -- Faith and Olivia.  Full of spunk, and, I think, a whole lot of fun.......

Linda (on the left) and Brendi, holding baby Jeremiah (I tried to hold him, but he really likes his mama!):

We got a little silly when we realized we had matching phones!

What a GREAT day.  What a gift she is to me.  Near or far, we are still close at heart.  Or, as Cyndi says, "Sisters from different mothers (and fathers!)!!!"

We made a pact to not wait another 30 years to reunite.  With any luck, we can make this a semi-regular occurrence.  I can't wait to see her again!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Yummy new recipe!

Yesterday, my neighbor gave me several zucchini.  We love zucchini at our house!  The kids love bread, muffins, you name it.  However, I had just seen a recipe my friend, Beth Gehret, had posted and decided to try it for dinner last night.  If you have zucchini, let me tell you this recipe is fantastic!  Super easy to put together and everyone at our house loved it!

 Zucchini Pizza
2 cups shredded zucchini
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1TBLS minced garlic (I used our onion/garlic mix)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Cooked those on griddle until done.  Top with spaghetti sauce and mozzarella cheese, cook until cheese was melted. 

Beth said the same thing when she made it -- even the kids loved it!  It resembles pizza, so they don't realize the yumminess of the crust.

I think this could be a stand alone dish.  I made it to accompany ham and it went well with that as well.

Thank me later!  Have you tried any new recipes lately?  I'm always on the lookout for new ones to try -- let me know if you find something yummy!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Man, is it hot!

We are in the middle of the worst heatwave we have experienced in a long time here -- I heard on the news last night that we are breaking records our state  has been holding since the 1930s.  And man, is it hot!  We've seen a string of 100+ degree days -- which means you can sweat just by sitting.

We don't have air conditioning in our home.  We have a couple of window units that don't do  a whole lot of good for our  house as a whole, but do a good job while cooling one or two rooms.

This air conditioning issue has made me think a whole lot about my mom the past couple of days.  I remember, when building their home in 1977, she didn't want an air conditioner in the house.  I grew up on a farm, where you go out to work no matter what the temperature is and she was very afraid that installing an air conditioner would make all of us "lazy"!!!  LOL

I've been thinking of her, mostly because by the time I come home from work and get dinner and dishes done, I have sweat pouring down me and I'm done!  I keep thinking if we had air conditioning, I could keep going!  I'm more lazy because frankly the heat wears me out!

What a change we've had in our thinking over the past several years!  I guess everything is relative.  There is no air conditioning where she is now, either.  :)

Stay cool and pray for a break in the heat -- soon!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Summer of 2012

Oh, my goodness....I didn't realize how long it had been since I posted!  My apologies!  Thanks to those of you who have asked if everything's ok!  It is.....just busy!  But GOOD busy!  :)

I will write this weekend.  I promise.  :)

Hope your summer is going fantastically well!

Until I's a piece of what's been going on this summer......

Jim got arrested by the NYPD

Emily found the BEST pizza place EVER!

We visited Ground Zero and spent some time reflecting......

We rode in Donald Trump's Golden elevator!

Saw Lady Liberty

Did a little geneology and found our ancestors (who, oddly enough look a LOT like us!)

Took some great photos with my very favorite guy

Saw this AWESOME sunset at the Scituate Lighthouse

God is SO good.  We were blessed beyond words to spend some quality time with Emily.  

More later!  Check in and let me know how you are!