Showing posts from October, 2010

No basements in Florida/The Seasonal Changeover

It was there, sitting among a sea of shoes and being rained upon by hundreds of mismatching gloves that I figured out why there are not basements in Florida. Of course I realize that the fact that the water table sits so close to the surface and the giant sinkholes have something to do with it, but really there must have been an underlying factor when that part of the world was cosmically being designed. Water table or not, they just don’t need basements down there because they don’t have to endure the endless and daunting task of The Seasonal Changeover. The Seasonal Changeover happens every spring and every fall and unless you’ve got a shoe closet that rivals the size of New Jersey and a clothes closet that could swallow Canada, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Out go the attire of the day, in goes the one for tomorrow. In this case, I spent hours packing up sandals and rain boots and hauled out the leather and snow boots which were still caked with last spring’s mud because

Pumpkin black bean soup - perfect for Halloween!

I was never quite sure why the colors of Halloween were orange and black. Is it the pumpkin that eventually rots on your front porch? Is it the orange teeth of the witch dressed in black? In any case, we're stuck with the color theme which is unfortunate for me because I just bought "rust" colored shoes with black soles that make me look extremely festive in October, but rather goofy the rest of the year. Oh well. If there's one good thing that comes out of this orange-and-black thing we've got going on, it's got to be this: my new favorite soup. Many thanks to my friend, Jennifer, for serving me her leftovers for lunch a few weeks ago. I am a changed woman! The results are in: Says my husband to the kids, "next time mommy gets grumpy, let's make her a pot of this soup because she can't stop smiling when she's eating it." I don't really care what the rest of the family thinks... Pumpkin Black Bean Soup (You can make this vegetarian if

What do you want to be when you grow up?

There was a time I would have given anything for a refrigerator box. They were worth their weight in gold, and whenever someone in the neighborhood got a new appliance they were quickly snatched up by imaginative children and moms desperate to contain those same kids. My containment unit was none other than a fully equipped boat with a high-powered motor, CB radio, ropes, maps, and a hook for my Smokey the Bear hat. It was my park ranger boat. And against the will of my parents, it lived for many months in the middle of our family room, where I sat daily and discovered unchartered wild waters and forests, and wrote tickets for people who cut down trees. Besides the boat-box, I also spent many hours toiling behind the secretary desk of my father’s work. I had an old broken (and gigantic) calculator that used to ring up prices and an inoperable rotary dial phone that rang constantly and at times I was scheduling appointments and adding numbers. Life was busy, but it was just so much fun

Raising a pack of dogs

If you’re out running errands or at the park or library, and you hear someone saying “coyote!” repeatedly in increasing volume and intensity, don’t panic. Chances are there is no coyote running wild among the aisles of the supermarket or stalking the teeter totter. It’s just me, telling my kids to be a coyote for once. Not that it’s a standard thing for a mother of three to do, but an introductory class to basic animal tracking has opened up my eyes to a new and exciting hobby. A single footprint in a muddy or snowy area is a natural mark of what was once there when I was not, something so simply poetic I can’t help but immediately squat down and stick my nose in this beautiful trace. From a set of tracks, one can not only determine the animal, but whether it was male or female, its mood, where it was going and why, and if you’re really, really good, even if it had a full belly. Mostly I’m happy knowing what kind of stuff ate my garbage and walked through my flowerbeds. One special thi

Easy (and easily eaten) roasted chicken and potatoes

I knew this recipe was definitely worth sharing when I found myself drooling all morning at the prospect of a leftover lunch. But if that doesn't convince you to try this one, let my kids tell you their reviews. "Wow, I'm super picky and actually like this!" (I'll take it!) "I can't speak-- I think I've died and gone to chicken heaven." (Literally, this is what he said. Goofball.) "Can I have some noodles?" (She's two and 80% of her diet consists of pasta.) Says husband, "it's a keeper!" And says I, "holy moly , if this was any easier someone would have had to drop it off at my doorstep." Without further adieu: Easy roasted chicken and potatoes 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1.5 pounds redskin potatoes, cut into medium chunks 1/3 cup mayo 3 Tablespoons dijon mustard 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 2-3 garlic cloves, minced (we looooove garlic. I load it up but not everyone likes it as mu

Sing, sing, sing

Many years ago while visiting church with a friend, she leaned over and told me to sing louder. “But I don’t have that great a church voice,” I reminded her. “Well then, give it back to God for not blessing you with that talent and belt it out!” she replied. From that moment on, I have made a conscience effort to thank God for the alto voice He has given me, even when straining up to those high notes. The truth is that I love to sing. Always have, always will. My parents have plenty of VHS tapes to prove it, including one especially embarrassing dance program where my feet didn’t move but my vocal chords got a real workout. I grew up with a singing family, and not so much a professional or choir-type family. More of a belt-it-out-in-the-car or around-a-campfire family. I don’t think we could have a car trip without the accompaniment of Merle Haggard or a fire without the accompaniment of my dad’s guitar. And it must be true, that what you are exposed to as a child makes you into y