Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday- Glass & Wine

A nice song and good motto to live by "Life is wonderful..." ~ Jason Mraz

Outdoor Wednesday is a fun day for us to celebrate what nature has to offer and anything outdoors;  hosted by Susan from A Southern Daydreamer.  Visit Susan to see what others have posted.

For my outdoor Wednesday I will be sharing with you my series of events which started with my husband leaving for Cuba and things suddenly breaking down around me.  What the heck?!? All is well while he was home for 30 days just puttering around and the minute he leaves stuff happens.  But it's OK. I'm doing my thing to manage the stress that comes with all that.

Here it goes...

He's already to leave but decides to got to the gym where someone hit his Harley, knocked it over and caused some damage.  Guess whose taking care of those little details...ME!

There goes the bike to the Harley-Davidson shop.

With the house on the market and time running out I realize I have to power wash the house, well, the association is running around doing assessments and left me a sweet note reminding me to power wash and replace my chimney cap.  I don't even know what that is but, guess whose taking care of that...ME!

Sitting in the kitchen taking care of all these little issues, you know, selling the house, keeping it clean, running with the kids, paying bills, dealing with the insurance company about the bike that I can't drive to the repair shop when suddenly I hear a pop and crash noise.  A-mazing!! My patio table has a glass top and it shattered for no reason, it just did.

Now, the glass I can replace.  I am told a local glass company will cut out a new one for me.  OK I can deal with that.  But now guess who has to clean up the mess.........ME!

Why I title this glass & wine? Because the broken glass was the straw that broke the camel's back.  Thankfully for my rigid fitness routine (in the gym everyday for cardio and resistance work) I have been able to keep the effects of stress at bay.  I feel pretty good by the end of the day and I get the extra energy I need to handle all these little issues that come up unexpectedly.

So here it is, my yummy red wine.  It's an Australian Merlot, 2006 Jacob's Creek.  Best part of this, it only cost me $7.00!  Ahhhhh! Now I'm really relaxed.  It was a very productive day.

By the way, I found out that Jacob's Creek was on the top 6 list of wines imported into the U.S. from Australia in 2004.  That's so cool!!

Speaking of wine, I will be posting some information about wine storage in the next couple of days.  Neil from On The Grapevine sent this really interesting article and let me tell you, I am guilty of storing wine for too long only to come up with some really sour vinegar later, ugh!  However, I am more likely to drink my wine shortly after I buy it so this probably doesn't apply to me :-) Come again soon to read about how to store your precious wine!

Enjoy your week and Thank You for stopping by!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The power of a positive attitude

Photo by SpinDiva "Sunset on the Sound, OBX 2009"

You ever find yourself surrounded by negative people?

At work.

At the grocery store.

At the gym.

Sometimes, even at home.

Yes.  We all face them and sometimes we just follow suit and fall into that negative rut that plagues so many.  

I'm a big believer in living as an optimist (with realism not to far behind).  I have asked the pessimists in my life why they always thing the worst of things or the worst  case scenario?  They respond with "this way I'm prepared for the worst and if something good happens then I'll be surprised." 

WOW.  That response has stuck with me because it is amazing that anyone can think like that.  I see their point though.  They are trying to avoid feeling disappointed.  But, what's wrong with a little disappointment?   Aren't those the hurdles we must strive to jump every once in a while?  

As an optimist I say everything will workout as it should or today is going to be a great day, regardless of how it started and it usually turns out that way.  I find myself smiling more, getting less stressed over traffic issues, silly people, etc.  However, when things don't workout, even after I've worked myself up to thinking they will, I use those moments as challenges to make things better.

There's a theory about stress first identified by Dr. Susan Kobasa (1979) called the Hardiness Theory of Stress. The theory has three basic principles: Commitment, Control and Challenge, also known as the three C's.  Possessing the three C's makes one hardy.

One who is hardy  will be committed to what they are doing, act as if they can control the outcome regardless of the changes, and use the change as a challenge to improve their life. Those people are considered hardy and have been known to #1 manage stress better then most, #2 avoid the health effects of stress, #3 live a happier life.

"When I go to bed at night I already know how my day is going to be the next day.  However, I have been known to oversleep, forget to turn on the alarm, the kids sleep right through their alarm, and I forgot to pack lunches the night before, etc.  OK so things have taken a turn and my plan to have a great day has been challenged.  Am I hardy enough to deal with this mess?

I'd like to think I am, most of the time.  I commit myself to what I know I can and must do NOW (get everyone up and ready to go).  I control the outcome of this event (everyone will get to school, eventually- it's not the end of the world). I use the challenges and be better prepared next time (pack lunches the night before, go to bed at a reasonable time).

No screaming, no anger, no fights.  Just taking the time to do what needs to be done because no matter what I do, I can't turn back time.  I can only work towards making this day a great day, regardless of the setbacks.

A few quotes to get you thinking:

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

~ Winston Churchill

“To love what you do and feel that it matters how could anything be more fun?”
~ Katherine Graham

“When you put faith, hope and love together, you can raise positive kids in a negative world.”

~ Zig Ziglar

My favorite is one I used to sing to the kids on the way to school -

So let the sunshine in
Face it with a grin
Smilers never loose
and frowners never win
So let the sunshine in
Face it with a grin
Open up your heart and let the sunshine in!

(cross posted at Family In shape)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Foodie Friday: Mac 'N Cheese with Pep!

This is a family favorite and to be honest, we all talked about our Josh, now in college, because he is so in love with food and this was one of his favorites.  Gosh, we really miss him.  I hope you all like this easy recipe.  Be sure to stop in over at Michael's at Designs By Gollum for links to more fabulous Foodie Friday recipes.

Mac 'N Cheese with Pep

Feel free to substitute the Pep with any meat such as sausage, chicken, prosciutto, bacon, it's limitless.  Also, the cheese can be any combination you like, from strong flavored to mild and light.  We love lots of cheese so we mix it up and go with a lot of cheese.  Here are the instructions and ingredients.  Enjoy.

1 cup elbow macaroni
1 cup milk
1 cup cheese (we used italian and sharp cheddar)
1/4 Italian flavored bread crumbs
2 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped pepperoni





Cook the macaroni according to directions on the box minus a few minutes.  You want these to be al dente because they will cook longer in the over and you don't want them to be soggy.

Set your oven to 350 degrees.

While you wait, whip the eggs a little bit, combine eggs and milk.

Add eggs and milk to drained macaroni.  Add the cheese and pepperoni.

Sprinkle a layer of bread crumbs over the pasta.

Sprinkle with cheese and then again a little more bread crumbs.  This will make the best crust ever!

Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes.  Don't let it dry up, you want to take it out of the over while you could still see milk bubbling.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving!


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Foodie Friday - S'Mores

Foodie Friday is all about sharing good food with great friends on the blog-o-sphere and just down the street.  Go visit Designs by Gollum for more goodies.
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Remember the good old campfire favorite.  Toast your marshmallow in the fire pit, place on a graham cracker layered with a chocolate square, then squished together with another graham cracker to make the most delicious treat ever.
Well, I don't.  Why?  Because this is not a favorite treat in the Dominican Republic.  When I finally did get the chance to try melting a marshamalow in the campfire I failed.  The thing just caught fire and became a black blog on my stick.  Someone eventually felt bad and handed me a perfectly tanned marshmallow but to be honest, I didn't get it.  It tasted like smoke, sort of bitter.  It just wasn't working for me.
That is, until.... I discovered that I could make them at home in the microwave.
Smile Big.  Here it is.  This is a great treat when my girls have sleepovers or when I want just one for dessert.   Try it, you'll like it.
Graham Crackers
Chocolate Candy Bar
Large Marshmallows
  • Break the graham cracker in half and place in on a plate or paper towel.
  • Place 2 squares of chocolate on the cracker.
  • Place one large marshmallow on the chocolate.
  • Cook in microwave on high for 10-12 seconds.
  • Top with the other half of the graham cracker.
Squish it and eat it!!
The chocolate will melt right out but it's OK if it gets a little messy, still yummy and fun for everyone.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday- Clouds

Susan is our host for Outdoor Wednesday.  Visit A Southern Day Dreamer to see many other outdoors around the world.
I am showing you today my clouds.  I am just amazed at the shapes, forms, shades and movements of the clouds.  Anyway, you just enjoy these neat pictures and please, leave a comment so I know you've been here.  Thank You.
The makings of a storm.  This was during Hurricane Bill which only brought us only rain, it looked much worse than it really was.
And then....clear skies.  Beautiful!
Have a great week!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I thrive under pressure

Oh my word, this is so me lately, except they should add a few more kids to the mix, definitely a few moody teenagers.

Why do I thrive on the edge of pressure?  It's almost like I seek out things to do to get me stressed.  Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy those times of nothing to do but it seems that I can't enjoy down time unless I've had a good dose of "give me pressured, stress me out" up time.  Crazy  huh?

You all know I'm moving, supposedly in four to six weeks.  So why am I not emptying these closets and drawers.  I have the time now?  I often open a closet I plan to go through because surely there's something in there I don't want them to pack nor do I want to keep but then I close that door and say, "maybe later, there's plenty of time" and that's the end of that.

It's nothing new, it's really comical now for me to wait until I feel that pressure, let my adrenalin kick in and get something done fast and efficiently all while trying to accomplish a million other last minute things too. I've become quite good at living under pressure.

I guess that is what motivates me, what gives me energy to move and get things done.  Some people prefer to have time to work slowly and others, like me, thrive under pressure.  That's never going to change.

Today, however, is a beautiful day which I have chosen to do a little of all the things I enjoy doing on a Sunday.  I will drink my tea, blog and read blogs, visit my only classroom (Oh yes, school is back in session for me too!), I will go to church today and then we have plans to celebrate Labor Day with friends.

I wish everyone a happy and safe Labor Day Weekend.  You deserve a break, so take it!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Blogging Issues- soon to be resolved

In an effort to make my blog user friendly and to help promote visitors I signed up with commentLuv and JSKITS to manage my messaging while having the ability to link back to my visitors with ease.  I see that when I sign in to someone's blog and they have this feature it picks up my latest blog for others to see and maybe click on it.  However, that's not working out for me on blogger so I decided to give that up.  It seems simpler is better.  I'm in the process of simplifying the comments section be because I don't want to miss anything out there because of technicalities.

Thank You all for letting me know there were issues.  I was feeling so unloved for a while until it was brought to my attention and I do appreciate it!! So here I go again, trying to make things simple, keeping my space looking nice and joining in all the fun of the blog world.

Have a super fantastic weekend to all...be safe!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Foodie Friday: Buttered Tilapia & Semillon Wine

Hosted by Gollum, foodie friday is a fun way to experience food from a different perspective. I love sharing my recipes and reading what others have posted as well. Stop by Designs by Gollum to see more.

My recipe for today is a favorite of ours. My son, now in college, made this one last time before we took him to school this week. Tilapia is a mild fish, not very fishy tasting but delicious. We first read about this recipe on AllRecipes.com. However, we've made just a few changes based on what we like to arrive at this Very Easy meal. Mostly, we love the way the butter makes the fish taste and feel so we increased the amount of butter. Tried making it with Olive Oil but it just wasn't the same.


1 lb Fresh Tilapia
1/2 lemon
1/2 cup butter (not margarine)
1/4 cup Parsley
1 large garlic clove
salt and pepper to taste

Start by rinsing your fresh Tilapia under cool water. Pat dry with a paper towel and place in a 9X13 pan.

Mash or mince your garlic and spread over the fish.

Drizzle with 1/2 lemon's juice & melted butter.

Sprinkle with parsley, salt and pepper.

Bake uncovered in middle rack, at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. Fish is done when it flakes separates easily with a fork.


We serve this dish with a Mushroom & Onion Risotto and our favorite garden salad which is topped with Havarti cheese, almonds, and craisins. A great wine with this meal is featured below. Although the kids don't get the wine, they get the apple juice or water, it was a great way to say farewell to our college bound son.


Now here's Neil from On The Grapevine to share some more interesting facts about wine. This particular one goes well with my Buttered Tilapia.

Semillon is my favourite white wine. The grape is used in France as a blending component to make the dry white wines of Bordeaux but more famously it is used in the production of the sweet dessert wines of Sauterne eg. Chateau d’Yquem.

In Australia it is also used to make both styles but predominantly as a single varietal wine although it is sometimes blended with Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. I have never found much Semillon in the USA, either locally made or imported, but in my opinion it is well worth seeking out.

The most famous Australian Semillon comes from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. Usually of low alcohol (10-11%) and unwooded, when young it is a crisp dry wine smelling of apples, grass/hay and tasting of citrus. However on aging, the same wine develops into a full flavoured toasty, honeyed wine that is now considered a classic Australian wine style.

In other areas of the country it is allowed to ripen more thus producing wines of higher alcohol, more body and with flavours more like tropical fruit, passion fruit and figs. These wines are also more conducive to the wine maker’s input so many are either barrel fermented, left for a time on the lees, allowed to go through malolactic fermentation or barrel aging (or a combination of all or some).

All these processes increase the complexity of the wine adding creamy, buttery and nutty tones to aroma and flavour.

A dry Semillon is great with any seafood, pasta dish or white meat but is just as acceptable to be drunk by itself outside, with feet up, on a warm summer’s day.