Friday, July 30, 2010

Fearless Friday

"To me, Fearless is not the absence of fear. It's not being completely unafraid. To me, Fearless is having fears. Fearless is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, Fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death."
— Taylor Swift

My six year old daughter conquered a fear and jumped off the high dive. She was so exhilarated and proud. I was too. I love that feeling. I love pushing myself through fear and fulfilling a challenge. That does not happen as often as I'd like. That's why I decided today was Fearless Friday.

Run or walk a little farther, call a friend for lunch or a movie, make that interesting recipe, sign up for a new class, paint that picture. I promise you will not regret it. Be fearless today.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Listening to the Whispers

Whispers. We all have them. They're the little voices in our conscious minds that tug at our hearts and want our attention. These whispers, these seeds of dreams, encourage us, even when we're not entirely willing to listen, to simply begin.
Kelly Rae Roberts, Taking Flight

On April 7th, my 40th birthday, I spontaneously bought a set of oil paints, a little easel, and some canvas. The bag of supplies were not opened until yesterday. Yesterday I cleared out a space under a window in our messy and chaotic "no-no room", unfolded a long card table and took out the art supplies. Of course my kids wanted to join in on the fun so we had a little art party.

I picked a fragrant marigold from my garden and started to paint. This is what I ended up with. Mystic Marigold.

Listen to your whispers.....

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Potatoes O'Brien Casserole

My friend Dana asked me for a good side dish recipe for her family gathering. I feel so bad because I remembered just one hour before her party. I will share this with her and you for future gatherings. It is always popular at my parties.

Potatoes O'Brien Casserole
1 bag frozen hash browns O'Brien
1 stick butter (cut into small pieces)
2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 c. sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup

Thaw potatoes. Mix all ingredients together except 1 cup cheese in a large bowl. Pour into a lightly greased 13x9 baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, covered.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Walking with Butterflies

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.
~Irish Blessing

This morning I took a very long walk alone. I needed to release some negative thoughts that were churning in my gut. This was the cure. My energy increased with each step as I walked farther down the road, over the bridge, and up the hill. The hot morning sun beat down and the release of sweat and emotions began to pour out.

I realized I was not alone. Butterflies were everywhere. My whole focus switched as I watched those sweet butterflies swirling happily alongside of the quiet road except for the sound of birdsong and crickets. I felt peace within myself and comfortably content surrounded by nature's divine gifts.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Nerf Guns & Mystics

Every year about this time I get this neurotic creative energy that makes me want to do about a million things at once. This time of summer is one of my high energy times where I want to stay up late and dance under the moon. Of course it makes me crazy because my mind is racing with so much creative energy and I still have to feed and care for my children around the clock which I love too, however, not much time for lengthy creative time. That is why I love this blog. It's my little corner of the world to jot my thoughts.

This link of Elizabeth Gilbert speaking about life really spoke to me this morning. First, she is wearing the same vampy nail polish I have on that is typically unlike my usual neutral colors, but probably a wild streak that wants to be expressed. She also speaks about buying Nerf Guns which are a big part of my life having three boys. I just rewarded my 9 year old yesterday with a Nerf "pistol" of his choosing. Finally, she ends the 21 minute talk about author Martha Beck's categories of women.
1. Women who chose career over family and are conflicted.
2. Women who chose family over career and are conflicted.
3. Women who are blending family and career and are conflicted.
4. THE MYSTIC. ~ A small sect of women from any of the above who have found a deeply resonant inner voice that they listen to. They negate everything else and they follow that path wherever it takes them.

Give yourself a little time to WATCH THIS VIDEO!!!!!! Fellow Mystics, you’ll be inspired.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Turning Over a New Lettuce Leaf

Be still my beating heart...I found a fresh produce stand just down the road from my house and it's a wonderful thing! I stopped by the new little tent in front of a big farm house with only five bucks in my pocket. The friendly farmer walked up taking a bite out of a gorgeous green pepper. He enthusiastically told me all that he had to offer. I picked three green peppers for a dollar, three cucumbers for another dollar, a zucchini, and gave him my order for lettuce. He went out to his wife who was working in the giant garden and had her cut me some wilted and leaf lettuce. I paid him the five bucks and he threw in extra cucumbers and a giant zucchini that he said is good for frying.

I raced home and washed all the veggies. I threw some bacon on my little griddle since my gas top stove is out due to some home construction we are having done. As the bacon fried I sliced up some tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers, and zucchini. I toasted some bread and spread it with a little cream cheese. Added the bacon, fresh picked lettuce, tomato, avocado, and salt and pepper, and ended up with some scrumptious California BLT's which are my absolute favorite sandwich in the whole world!

While eating the sandwich I threw some thick slices of zucchini on the hot griddle with bacon grease. I let these fry up for a few minutes on each side until golden brown, added a little salt, and put them on a paper towel to cool. Delicious!

I decided to dedicate the next few weeks to seeing what I can create with the bountiful produce from my nearby veggie stand and my little kitchen island griddle. Let the chopping and cooking begin!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Night Fishing in Florida

I am a rise and shine early morning person. My husband is a night owl. That has its pros and cons for sure. A big benefit for the boys on our Florida vacation was that they stayed up late with their dad to "night fish". Our pier even had a spotlight to attract fish and other creatures in the bay.
Each day they got their shrimp and squid at the local bait shop. After the two youngest and I turned in, their fishing adventures began. They were quite successful in catching flounder, pin fish, crabs, catfish, and more. I would hear all about their catches when they lazily awoke the morning after.
One night after midnight, my son Indy ran in to wake me up. He excitedly reported he had caught "the big one" and asked me to get my camera. I really was excited for him and happy he wanted to share this with me. His big catch was a Black Drum fish. We think is was 8-10 pounds. He was so thrilled! I was so impressed at their system. He reeled it in and the "net man" would help get it in.
One last vacation memory I will mention is beach volleyball. The kids found a volleyball in the container by the pool. We took it to the beach in the evenings and taught the kids the basics of beach volleyball. The six of us could play a mean 3 on 3 game, get totally sandy, and jump in the ocean to rinse off. The thrill of being together as a family, watching the kids grow and learn in a new environment, and just having fun at the beach was priceless. That's a good vacation! ~kathy

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hunting for Shark Teeth at Venice Beach

Fifteen years ago, my husband and I took a carefree vacation to Florida in our buff bodies and a rented red convertible Chrysler Le Baron listening to Collective Soul and Tom Petty. We spent a day on Venice Beach with nifty little metal shovel sifters hunting for shark teeth. Venice Beach is known as "Shark Teeth Capitol of the World". Our bodies glistened in the sun with Coppertone Oil and we found bags of shark teeth. When we came home to the Midwest, I stored them away in a newly started memory box.
Fast Forward 15 Years to 2010..... We are on vacation in Florida with our four children ages 9-3 in a rented "Twilight Silver" minivan listening to Radio Disney and wearing Coppertone 50 Sport for Kids sunscreen and clothes a few sizes larger.
We realized we were only an hour drive from Venice Beach and thought the kids would really love finding shark teeth. We became quirkier parents than the Griswold's in Family Vacation. On the journey down the coast, we encountered vicious thunderstorms thanks to Hurricane Alex. We cheerfully told the kids the storm would pass and we'd be in action soon. We got to Venice Beach in the pouring rain and found a restaurant called Sharkey's to hang out and eat waiting for clear skies. Little Scout developed a new found passion for Jimmy Buffet's Cheeseburger in Paradise tune.
The skies cleared a little and we lugged our umbrella, buckets, cooler, and towels out to the empty beach. The power was out at the shop on the Pier that rents the sifter shovels essential in digging for the ancient teeth. We still pressed on optimistically thinking we could scoop and sift in the cold crashing surf. We were wrong. We decided to get back in the van in our wet and sandy suits to try and find a nearby store that sold the special shovels. Thankfully, a few miles up the coast we found an overpriced shack that sold them. My husband bought three. We also decided to relocate our beach camp and try a fresher location. The kids were wet, shivering, and not excited.
Our perseverance and optimism paid off. Minutes into digging with the magic shovel-sifter, we struck shark teeth. The kids squealed in delight and my husband and I felt triumphant! Rainy hours passed and the kids had sifted through piles of shells to find 53 shark teeth. We were still the only family on the beach. We succeeded in our mission and we now have more baggies of teeth in a much bigger memory box. The van got us back home with sleeping kids and we shared a bottle of our favorite Cupcake Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc. An unforgettable family adventure. ~kathy

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Pink Palace

We took the kids to have a late lunch at The Don Cesar Resort. They affectionately named it "The Pink Palace". It truly is bright pink and massive with two pools on the beach. We munched on grouper sandwiches at the poolside grill. After, the kids jumped in the pool as BK & I sipped our icy piƱa coladas with dark rum floaters. We then ended up out on the beach for more body surfing, watching the kids bury themselves in the sand, and enjoying the sunset.

Like most evenings this week, a dark thunderstorm rolled in. Of course my kids were the last ones out of the pool and we scurried around collecting our things. Phoebe was distraught because she couldn't find her special gold rhinestone flip flops. We quickly searched together with no luck. We even thought she buried them in the sand and BK started digging around where our beach spot was. No luck.

The Pink Palace had an ice cream shop so we escaped the storm and ended the evening there as Scout wanted the "green ice cream" aka mint chip. They were all smiles but Phoebe glumly had no shoes on.

The next morning I woke up early and went to the beach alone for a run. Off in the distance down the beach was "The Pink Palace". I decided to run that way to search once more for the shoes, and now I knew where the restrooms were there.

I reached my pink destination sweaty and winded and looked around unsuccessfully. At the towel counter I asked the man if any rhinestone flip flops were found. He cheerfully asked me if they were tan. Gold and tan are close so I nodded. He led me over to a table near the beach and there they were gleaming in the morning sun. I gratefully thanked him and began my journey back down the beach. Phoebe was in disbelief when I handed her the sparkling shoes. It was a happy ending and the start of another day of adventure. Shark teeth hunting....

One on One Vacation Memories

Oh have we had fun in Pass a Grille Beach, Florida! We have had hot sun, clouds, and a few big storms. The best thing has been being together a whole week as a family.

I try to take the kids out for one on one excursions. The others stay with BK.One morning I took Phoebe into the little historic town of Pass a Grille for some art gallery and boutique shopping. I surprised her with her favorite mint chip ice cream for breakfast at the local ice cream shop. On vacation, these are the things I like to say "yes" to.

Indy and I took a hot and sweaty two mile walk through our neighborhood. We crossed a big bridge over the bay, got a Coke at Circle K, and then hung out together at the beach sipping the cold drink. He loves to talk and I just love the conversations we have together.

The biggest excursion was with my son Blaze. He is passionate about soccer and has been watching the World Cup games. He spotted an ad in a tourist flyer about a place called United World Soccer. We hopped in the van and drove up Gulf Drive in search of the store. We got familiar with many of the nearby beach towns: Treasure Island, Madeira Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, and Clearwater Beach. My quiet and serious son helped navigate us up the coast and we finally arrived at the giant soccer store. He was like a kid in a candy store as he looked at each official World Cup jersey from all the countries. Since they were a little pricey and the tourist flyer had a good coupon, I told him to pick out his favorite one for an early birthday present. He immediately chose the bright red Spain jersey. He put it on, we drove home a quicker way, and the Spain vs. Portugal game came on that afternoon. Spain won!

My little Scout has not required an outing. He has been happy with me helping him chase lizards out on the patio. I feel like a kid as I run around and hunt for those fast and funny chameleons. His squeals of delight are priceless.

So far these are the one on one things I have enjoyed with the kids. On vacation, I feel like I can tune into them without all the duties and distractions of home. That's what I love the most.