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Back When I Knew How to Chill

When I didn’t have kids. Or a mortgage. Or car payments. Or broken appliances. Or stretch marks (I guess that goes back to the first thing).

When there was no schedule. No to-do list.

When I had no clue what a calorie was.

Then I could just kick back on my tricycle and gobble up a chocolate ice cream cone.

red white blue and chocolate

And if I got a little chocolate on my face (ok, a lot) so what? I’m busy chillin’.

Have a Happy Holiday Weekend y’all. Remember it’s summer. Have some fun. Put the “grown-up” stuff on hold and chill a little.

I bet you remember when you knew how too.

Revving Up My E-Book Engine

Oh…I’m so excited…and I just can’t hide it. Cuz I know, I know, I know, I want to…

Read some e-books! I have been flirting with the idea of e-books for some time now, but have stayed away from engaging in any activity…until now. I was chosen as 1 of 30 lucky bitches (I say that with love) to “test-drive” a Sony e-book reader for the summer. I just need to take good care of the thing and write a review on what I thought of it. I also get $25 to spend on Harlequin e-books, provided I write 2 book reviews for the SB’s (which is actually pretty sweet in itself).

Just 2 weeks ago, I was reviewing submission requirements to many e-pubs…and thinking how that may be the route my writing takes on the road to “publishing.”  Getting this chance to take a closer look at e-book readers and e-books themselves will really help me make a choice. It’s like an answer from the Romance Gods sent down by Fabio dressed as Arch-Angel something or other.

Summer reading just got a whole lot more exciting…I’ll just have to be careful not to spill booze all over the thing.

Missed a Monday Muse…and some miscellany

So 3 weeks in and I already missed a Monday! Not totally my fault, I was babysitting a friend’s offspring yesterday. Well, a day late but good timing – this week’s Monday Muse is Karen Marie Moning: one of my favorite authors.  I am not much for re-reading novels, but with her stuff I make an exception…especially if I have been feeling especially crabby…an evening in with one of her Highlanders is sure to put me in a better mood (even better if some form of alcoholic beverage accompanies my reading time). I say good timing, because she just announced an incredible contest (see sidebar) today.

What I love about KMM is the connections she strives to make with her readers – and how open she is about her writing. The fact that she made the leap and took a chance on herself and her writing so inspires me…way to go Karen, keep up the incredible work!

And now for the miscellany (isn’t that such a great word? I love it).

Sometimes I impress myself – like today -by 10:30 a.m. I had:

Run 2 miles and did 15 minutes of abs

Made the bed and vacuumed the 2nd floor

Washed, folded, and put away 3 baskets of laundry (and started2 more loads)

Cleaned, dressed, and fed Lil G and Miss A (and got myself ready too somehow…that usually tends to be a blur…)

Took Miss A to her swim class (yikes was it cold for that today!)

Gave the freezing Miss A a hot bath after swimming

Changed the now-soaked-because-she-had-to-try-and-get-in-the-tub-too -Lil G

Kept Lil G occupied while Miss A did her summer home school stuff (we are keeping it light and easy, but still trying to do a little something each day, the focus is phonics).

Phew! Somedays at 10:30 a.m. we are all still in our p.j.’s and I’m hard pressed to make it to Lil G’s gymnastics class at 11 on time! But other days I really have my S together and knock off all sorts of stuff.  Laundry and a made bed may not seem like much to you – but in my world it is an accomplishment, even if more of the same are always waiting…

And more miscellany:

As mentioned earlier we picked us some berries last week. Not let’s make jars and jars of jam amounts, but 2 healthy baskets.  I made a very yummy strawberry sauce with some of the berries. Usually I make a sauce that requires corn starch and lemon juice…but I didn’t have any lemon juice, and was in the mood to try something different…so I googled strawberry sauce recipes and then after skimming a few, got a little wacky and made my own. I really didn’t measure anything, it’s more fun that way. I washed and sliced about 1 1/2 lbs of berries – put a pound in a sauce pot and saved the rest. I added about 3/4 cup of sugar and a healthy splash of vanilla to the pot and heated it up til it was simmering away. I whisked the mixture while it bubbled to mash the berries up a bit. Then I turned off the heat and mixed the remaining 1/2 lb or so of berries in to the pot. Results: wow! The vanilla really makes a difference.

Continuing with my zany chef-self, I took a quick mix banana bread that had been minding its own business in the back of my pantry and mixed it up (it’s one of those lovely shortcut deals that just needs water). Now, let me defend myself by saying that I can  bake an awesome BB (banana bread) from scratch, and have no problem doing so…but today was just not going to be that kind of day. So I mixed up the  mix and layered the strawberry sauce in the middle. I used a little less water than the box called for since I knew the sauce would add its own juiciness.

Let me say…this bread was delightful. Oh so yummy. Strawberry and banana are like Lil’ G’s fav combo, so I’ll be picking up extra bread mix and cranking out a few more of these. I’ll wrap up a few loaves and hand them out to friends…and I bet you anything they will surely think it was made from scratch BB. If you won’t tell ’em I won’t either.

Strawberry Fields Forever…or at least 45 minutes

I’m sure Mama blogs across the net have entries concerning a trip to the strawberry farm. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who immediately thinks of that really not so great (gasp! I said it!) Beatles tune.  So whatever, here’s my contribution.

Fact: Miss A hates strawberries.

Fact: It was over 90 degrees before 9 am and the air was so heavy it (insert metaphor I just can’t seem to come up with).

So add fact 1 to fact 2 and you figure it was a pretty miserable day, huh? Actually, no. We got up to the farm by 9:30am (I was hoping for an hour earlier but Lil G felt like sleeping in).  So while yes, it was hot-tah, it wasn’t totally unbearable.  And while Miss A doesn’t like to eat strawberries  (except for a few months when she was 2) she does seem to really enjoy picking them.

sun and berries

Yes, I bathed all us fair skinned red heads in plenty-o-sunscreen.

sun smiles and strawberries

It doesn’t stop the freckles though…or the heat-flushed cheeks.

serious pickin

Miss A took her job quite seriously, and filled that basket with very little help from me.

in the field

Of course, she insisted the very best berries would be the farthest in the field. (I really love this picture, btw. Something about it just makes me happy).

in the basket

My strawberry blonde girl was proud of herself…

basket half full

picky picker

…but it didn’t take long for the novelty to wear off.

pink picker

So together we finished filling the basket so she could get home and eat ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream.

I now have 2 giant baskets of strawberries in the fridge. Some of my friends make jam…but I dunno…maybe a tart or two, some strawberry sauce,  and a few other desserts I can come up with…got any ideas?

Is it Monday again already?

Man…I really need to get posting on here!  I have all these good intentions, and then end up with a romance novel and glass of wine.

I did run 2 miles by 6:30 am this morning…that counts for something, right? Now if I can do that every day this week…

Anyways, trying to stick to something I start…here is someone to inspire you…another Mama, who took something she enjoyed (and was pretty darn good at) and made quite the career out of it…props to pro-photographer Rebekah…this week’s Monday Muse.

All new! Monday Muse

Yeah…I still have a ba-ga-zillion posts about Disney I plan to torture y’all with…

Yeah…I should be putting together some of those helpful homeschooling posts from Miss A’s 1st completed year (yeah!) of “real” homeschool…

Yeah…I should be posting more pics of Lil G’s adorableness and gushing about said adorableness…

But it’s Monday.

And I just drank a margarita as big as my head (well, not quite, but I’ve never been one who can hold my liquor).

So I’ve decided to initiate a new tradition: Monday Muse. There is so much I want to do, create, explore. So much. But usually all I do is dishes and laundry. All I create are marginally nutritious meals for my family, and all I explore is the next poopy diaper.

Does it sound like I’m in a rut?

I am.

SO to inspire me…and maybe you..I have decided (just like 5 minutes ago) to begin Monday Muse. There are a lot of talented people out there on the www….some, perhaps more than some, are crazy as well, but talented – yes.

I want their talent, and the time they manage to find to devote to their talent, to stir up the creative instincts in my soul (or at least kick my competitive backside into gear…after all, if so and so can find the time to indulge their inner artist/writer/poet/scrapbooker/photographer/painter/chef/dancer/fancy drink maker…then why the hell can’t I?)

Plus, I need a no-brainer idea to get me going and posting on here at the start of each week…so Monday Muse it is!

Today, our featured muse is a Mama and and artist…who did some inspirational postings for the month of May about working your craft “Everyday in May.” Scroll through her May posts….her paintings are INCREDIBLE. And the fact she does all this while trying to take care of a house and its inhabitants…well, that’s what’s inspiring about it, no?

Check out the very first Monday Muse: French Toast Girl