Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We're All Athletes, Indeed

Ah, Bill flick.  Remember the last time I shared something from him?  He's once again stolen the words right out of my mouth! 

Finally, a 'sport' he can even handle - walking!

As part of that community-wide Bloomington-Normal Employee Wellness Challenge, I am tromping around these days with a little gadget attached to my belt that is counting the number of steps I take.
I average about 8,300 steps a day, according to the little gizmo.

Not to brag here but I walk pretty well.

Not to brag even more here but I have for quite a long time.

As a child, due to genetics and gross underdevelopment of my Michael Jordan Superstar Gland, I was never what you would call an athletic standout.

I was too short at basketball.

I was too small for football.

I wasn’t quick enough to get around on a fastball in baseball.

I didn’t have the endurance for long-distance running.

I didn’t play soccer because in the ‘60s, no one did, as America had yet to discover that special game that requires only a few basic skills, a ball, an open field and 12,000 parents with minivans.

That’s why this new-fangled walking thing, and things like these wellness challenges that feature walking, delight me.

Walking? Newsweek recently even called it a “sport” now and I am very proud.

Every morning — first thing out of bed, in fact — I often walk, usually straight into the bathroom.

Then throughout the day, I walk a lot, too, most of the time to get from one place to the other.

Therein, of course, is the real beauty to walking.

It is very easy to do, with simple-to-follow instructions.

(Step 1) Take one step.

(Step 2) Take second step.

(Step 3) Repeat, as necessary.

And that’s all there is to it.

Its elevation to “sport”? Is it not something that, given the times, we probably could have envisioned as well?

Have you noticed what has happened to water?

It used to just flow out of the tap of your home. When frozen, it was called ice. If you asked someone for a glass of water, they would usually give it to you.

But now?

Now people pay up to $2 for a bottle of water.

There’s coffee, too, of course.

It used to be just that — coffee.

But now it’s flavored, frothed, frapped and sold at slightly less than the cost of a second mortgage.

There’s worn-out blue jeans, too.

Used to be, when you would see someone with hole-pocked jeans, a tear might well in your eye out of deep sadness and despair for them

Now you ask where they got that $85 pair of great-looking, completely faded, hole-mired, completely frazzled jeans.

Yup, the same goes for walking.

What all of us learned to do back when we were about 13 months old now is a humongous “pastime.”

Now there are special shoes for walkers.

At the mall, they have a walking club.

Just the other day at Barnes & Noble, I spotted an entire book on walking and it had “valuable walking tips,” like on how to begin walking (”start slowly”) and how to warm up beforehand so that you don’t injure yourself (remember when walking WAS the warm-up to exercise?) and that during winter, a wise investment for us real good walkers is to invest in our own treadmills for only $1,000 so that we can successfully walk without having to go through the actual drudgery of going anywhere anymore.

Which reminds me …

Not to brag yet again, but I am very talented at going nowhere fast, too.

I wonder if I can get a special little gadget to measure that, too?

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Ups and Downs of Swinging

Monkey has a love/hate relationship with swinging.  Let's take a look.

We start with complete trepidation and fear... 

Move on to, "Well this isn't so bad, but I'm still not sure I enjoy it."

And finally, "Ooooh, this is fun!"

The cycle repeats itself and another good push sends her back into terror.

We're working on these things.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Betty Who?

Do you have a favorite cookbook?  This one here, well let's just say it's pretty great.  I, unfortunately, am not the owner of it and have to either call my mom to get recipes out of it, or photocopy them when I'm at her house. 

It's not written by a famous tv chef, restaurant owner, or even a stay-at-home ranch wife.  It's by a bunch of local women and was put together in 1980.  The very year I was born!  That's right, it's 30 years old and still one of my mom's favorite cookbooks.  

There are so many great recipes in it.  From the so-simple-a-child-could-do-it, to the fancy schmancy takes-all-day-to-prepare variety.  In fact, this is where the lime pickle recipe from earlier this week hails from. 

I'm a sucker for new recipes, as you may have noticed. But these old gems can rarely be beat.  So tell me, do you have a cookbook that you fall back on when in need of a good recipe?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Next weekend my sister-in-law, Mandy, will be getting married!  We are really looking forward to spending some time with the family and having a few (hopefully) relaxing days away from work. 

Here are two of my favorite pictures from their engagement session.  Jerry Dellinger did an amazing job. 

Look at how happy she is!

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Proud to be an Appleseeder

Well I did it.  I completed my very first Appleseed Shoot!  I'm a little bit sore from it, but I learned a great deal and had fun so it was well worth it. 

While I didn't shoot 'Rifleman' (maybe next time), there were five people that did.  Three of them being my brother, sister, and husband; hubby even did it both days.  My family rocked it!

In order to obtain a Rifleman status you have to shoot a minimum score of 210 (perfect being 250).  This score will place shooters in the top 5% in the country in terms of accuracy.  In true Appleseed fashion, if a shooter scores 210 on the dot, they are thrown into the nearest body of water.  The creek we were by wasn't very deep so instead they opted to douse them in water from water bottles.  I believe there were four people that shot 210.  It was a pretty hot day, kind of wish I was one of them!

People came from all over the state (and beyond) to join us and there was a great turnout.  Check out the firing line.

Brandy and I were harrassed by some of the instructors because we like to shoot barefoot.  They called it "brave" because hot brass hurts when it touches bare skin.  We called it "tough"... or maybe it was because we find sweaty feet to be distracting.  Whichever it was, it worked for us!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lime Pickles

Way back in January I made a promise.  I am a keeper of promises.

This one though, I kind of forgot about 'til recently.  I was over at my parents' helping snap green beans and canning pickles, when it struck me; I promised to share a lime pickle recipe with my lovely blog readers before the summer and I hadn't done it yet!  Never fear, it's not too late for you to enjoy some delectable lime pickles in your chili, on ham and cheese sandwiches, in chicken salad, or even all by themselves!  I will give you a forewarning that it does take a while to make them, but it is well worth the effort.  You won't be sorry!

What You'll Need:
  • 7 lbs. cucumbers (Sliced)
  • 1 cup MRS. WAGES Pickling Lime
  • 2 gallons water
  • 8 cups distilled white vinegar, 5% acidity
  • 8 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons MRS. WAGES Mixed Pickling Spices
What You Do:

Soak clean cucumbers in water and lime mixture in crockery for 2 hours or overnight. Do not use aluminum ware.

Remove sliced cucumbers from lime water. Discard lime water. Rinse 3 times in fresh cold water. Soak 3 hours in fresh cold water.

Combine vinegar, sugar, salt and mixed pickling spices in a large pot. Bring to a low boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove syrup from heat and add sliced cucumbers. Soak 5-6 hours or overnight.

Boil slices in the syrup 35 minutes. Fill sterilized jars with hot slices. Pour hot syrup over the slices, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Cap each jar when filled.

Process pints for 10 minutes, quarts for 15 minutes, in a boiling water bath canner.

Test jars for airtight seals according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Store jars in a cool, dry place. Refigerate after opening.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I Want to Bop With You Baby

Oh dear.  We may have a little rocker child on our hands. 

In 15 years, Monkey very well might be one of those teenageers you see driving down the road with the radio blaring and bouncing around in her seat like there are ants in her pants.

Help me Rhonda.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Appleseed Fun

Only two more day till Appleseed fun!  Since I've never participated in one before, I thought I'd take a look on the official Appleseed Project website and see if there are any last minute things I should be doing to get prepared.  I was pleasantly surprised to find this list of items. (I've crossed out everything I've already got).  Looks like I'm in good shape and looking forward to experiencing everything Appleseed. 

What to bring to an Appleseed Event

Not everything listed here is necessary. This list was compiled from the experience of those who have attended an Appleseed. It includes those things that did or would have made their experience more enjoyable. Remember that you need to bring whatever it takes to learn to shoot better.

Personal items

A teachable attitude (most important thing) **  
Ear protection Muffs and plugs **
Eye protection ** 
•Elbow pads or shooting Jacket  Hmm.. I don't have either of these, but I think I can probably do without.  Might have to consult my Papa on this one.
Ground cover (Rug remnant works well)
A hat
Little notebook (those little 2.5 X 3.5 work well)
Sun Screen
Lots of water (Must stay hydrated)
•Light Lunch  Will be provided.
Snacks Oh yes, definately.  This one should really be red starred as I can't make it through the day without snacks!
Folding Chair (not necessary but nice)
Wet wipes Thanks to Monkey we've got lots of these around the house, check!
Bug spray
Aspirin or Ibuprofen
Necessary clothing for any kind of weather
•Fred’s Guide to becoming a Rifleman (if you have it)  Don't have it.

** Very important things

Gun related stuff

Rifle preferably zeroed for 25 meters
400+ rounds of the same type and brand of ammo
Sight adjustment tools
GI style web Sling
•5 Mags unloaded if not more. 20rds works well if State law allows  Don't believe I have 5.  Maybe 2?
Gun cleaning supplies and lube
Instructions for your rifle (if you have them)
Know your rifle
•Something to cover your rifle to keep blowing sand or rain off it. The location will not be sandy.  Rain, I'm just hoping will stay away!
Staple gun (if you already have one)
Know the laws of the State you are going to and only bring that which is within the law Ugh, Illinois gun laws... let's not get into that today.
•Back-up rifle (if you have one)

And how fitting this article was featured on Fox News' website yesterday, as well as this video!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

The famous Butter Cow at the State Fair!

And I realize this isn't the best view of her, but look at the detail... so amazing!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Crayon Makin

My niece Peanut spent part of the weekend with us, and since it was too hot to be outside, we did a fun indoor activity.  She brought over all her old, broken crayons and we turned them into new ones!  It was fun and really easy.  Here's what you do:

1. Gather up all of your stubby or broken crayons, and break them into small pieces.

2. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.

3. Fill a muffin tin or other mold with an inch-thick layer of crayon pieces.  I didn't have a muffin tin devoted to this, so I lined with foil.  Would recommend using foil cups if you have them though as they will make the crayons prettier in the end.

4. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the wax is melted.

5. Allow the tin to cool; then pop out the crayons, and they're ready for use.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Float Trip!

For more Wordless Wednesdays, click here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

An Apple(seed) a Day...

I've got a lot of things going on right now that are keeping me busy, so I apologize for the lack of content on here lately.  I am pretty excited about one of the things that I'm gearing up for though; I'm attending my very first Appleseed Shoot next weekend!

If you're not familiar with what an Appleseed Shoot is you can click here for a more in-depth explanation, but basically it teaches the participants traditional American marksmanship skills as well the positive traits that are required to become a good shooter, such as patience, determination, focus, attention to detail, and persistance.  Who couldn't better themselves by learning and/or improving on all of these traits?  I know I can. 

If your are interested in attending an Appleseed yourself, click here and see if there are any coming up in your area.  And if you're in MY area give me a shout and I'll help you get registered for the same one I'm going to.  The more the merrier!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Italian Sausage Quesadillas

I've been thinking about making these for a while and finally got a chance to test them out earlier this week.  Verdict being, very good!  Next time I think I'll add some sliced fresh mushrooms as well. 

What You'll Need:
  • Tortillas
  • Extra-Virgin Olive OIl
  • 2/3 cup Mozzarella Cheese
  • Bunch Chopped Cilantro
  • 1 lb Italian Sausage
  • 2 Roasted Red Peppers, cut into strips
  • Red Onion, cut into strips
What You Do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place tortillas in a single layer on a well-oiled baking sheet.  Brush each round lightly with EVOO.  Bake for 8 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Squeeze italian sausages out of their casings and cook in pan over medium-high heat.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add red onion strips for the last 5 minutes. 

Place one tortilla on baking sheet, add cooked sausage and onions, red pepper and mozzarella cheese.  Top with another tortilla.  Bake for 10 minutes. 

Serve with marina sauce for dipping.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Monkey loves playing in the creek, so many rocks to examine and water to splash!

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Eye on Reality

I was recently pointed in the direction of a website called Eye on Wagner Farms, as well as a facebook page. Wagner Farms is used by the Glenview 4-H Clovers and the sole purpose of this website is to save the 4-H animals from slaughter.  It seems the people opposing Wagner Farms are worried about their young children that are involved in 4-H having to witness the death of these animals.   

As a farm kid, I grew up with a healthy respect for livestock and the life cycle.  I would fall head-over-heels, madly in love with newborn calves, bottle feed them, lovingly care for them and watch them grow.  All the way up to the day they were sold for beef.  Some of those calves even ended up on our own dinner table.

I think it's safe to say I grew up to be a fairly well adjusted person, even after witnessing the horrors of these "brutal deaths".  In fact, I not only turned out okay, I learned a great deal.  I was raised to nurture and care for these animals in the best way I could.  I was never in 4-H, but most of my friends were and I helped with their projects.  No one looked forward to the day your prized hog or steer would hit the auction at the end of the fair, but you knew that if you took care of that animal and raised it the best you could, your odds of getting a big fat check were a lot better.

Is 4-H or even farming in general all about the money?  Of course not.  But when it comes down to putting food on your own table and a roof over your own head, of course you care about the money in the end.  You not only care about the animals, but you want them to grow up to be as healthy as they can be so you can make a profit. 

I think this movement of "Let's disillusion our kids about the life cycle" is crazy.  What it boils down to is: do you want food on your table, or do you want your child to grow up hungry and uninformed about where food comes from?   

I'll take food - a big fat juicy steak - on my table and a lesson in life.

**For an interview with the founder of the Clover 4-H Chapter, Todd Price, click here.