Sea to Shining Sea

While putting the final touches on our handmade/local Christmas gifts for the fam, Chris and I started talking geography. Specifically the states here in the US of A . Now, I am about as well-versed in geography as I am in history – which world war are we on? – so you can imagine the shock when I bet Chris that I couldn’t correctly label more than 75% of the states.

You could hear a little part of him die inside.

So we did what any red-blooded Americans would do – we had a competition to see how well each of us would do. If I did better than 75% there would be a prize, though it was tough to decide who would be the real winner of the prize if I was smarter than I thought I was? If I was dumber then I would win? (Wait, what?)

So we got a blank map…

…and we went to work.

A few things that transpired during our friendly game:

  • I sang the song I learned in 5th grade when I couldn’t think of one of those pesky midwest states (50 Nifty United States, oh I love my country the United States. There’s Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas…)
  • I referred to “the man on the map” to help jog my memory of where Iowa is found. (Start with Louisiana as the feet and go up…)
  • Only because we just traveled through Indiana & Ohio (for the first and hopefully last time) did I know where to find those.
  • I knew Michigan was two separate parts – thanks to our vacation- so I was able to to avoid having a state left over.

Chris finished a few minutes before me, of course, but I just took my time on New England. Those states are tricky. And small. I double-checked my answers, just like in Mrs. Thompson’s 5th grade class, and turned my paper in to be graded.

I’ve never been a good test taker – I was sweating bullets.

And the results… A-!

I only missed three! I mixed up Connecticut, New Jersey, and Massachusetts – all of which I’ve never been to – and don’t you think they are kinda small?

I was impressed with myself – and I think by the rules, Chris won because I am smarter than I gave myself credit – which is winning enough for me.

You try it. No cheating. Can you get 100%?


Weightloss Tips (and other small town advice)

This mama decided cooking was not on the agenda last night so we ventured into town for a bite to eat. The “big city” of Kingston has slim pickin’s when it comes to gourmet – Italian-ish at Gondolier, American at Red Bones, Mexican at Don Eduardo’s, BBQ at Buddy’s, Greasy Spoon at Handee (only until 4pm) – where’s the fresh and local? You would think in a rural and agriculturally rich area they would be a dime a dozen – not so much. I digress…

So we were waiting in line at the Gondo – this place is packed on a Friday night – enjoying the characters we shared the waiting area with. The sweet hostess calls the next family to be seated – a middle-aged man wearing overalls and his two kids. A little strange for a grown man to be sporting his Sunday best on a Friday outing, but need I remind you our zip code? When the hostess returns an older fella who is sitting next to her stand leans over to her and says, “Let me give you a little advice. Don’t ever own a pair of overalls. They make you fat.”

The blushing hostess, looking beyond confused and at a loss for the appropriate thing to say to the customer that is clearly always right, mutters, “My granddaddy bought me my first pair”.

The wise man says to that, “Well, tell him not to buy you no more. You’ll get fat. Have you ever seen a skinny person in overalls?”

It took all I had to not bust out laughing. I couldn’t wait to sit down and share my new found health secret with Chris… except Mr. Anti-Overalls sat smack dab at the next table. He was dining alone. Shocking.

And he wasn’t done with his advice giving either.

He made funny faces and talked to Noah periodically through the meal, asked us if we would make a trade so that he could take Noah home with him, told the waitress he “runned off” his Mrs – you know, run of the mill dining experience. As he was getting ready to leave he offered a trade one more time then said something that went a little like this, “You know, raising kids is like being in the Army. (What?) You wouldn’t take a million dollars not to have done it, but you wouldn’t take a million dollars to do it again.”

Lessons to take away – overalls lead to obesity and raising kids brings the same joys and triumphs as boot camp and the trenches.


…because I would hate for a potato to have been unnaturally cut.

What does that even mean – Inhumanely? In awkward shapes? Backwards? With a butter knife?

image from wendy’s website.


And from whole Russet potatoes? Golly, mister, I thought you might only use half…

Oh, Dave Thomas, you are so sneaky. And smart. But mostly sneaky.

If you remember back to the post about the Made in China Challenge (by the way, have you been shocked by the items in your house that traveled round the world?) I mentioned looking out for certain verbiage that is supposed to knock you off your feet and turn your heart on to this “new” product. This is one of those times. I will say that I have eaten my fair share of french fries from Wendy’s (not my proudest accomplishment) before the “Natural-Cut” came onto the scene, and remarkably I find it hard to tell a difference.

I can say with 98% certainty that there is not an employee at each and every Wendy’s cutting potatoes by the bushels for the thousands upon thousands of fries each store sells each day – that poor soul would surely hate potatoes by the end of the day. More than likely those whole potatoes are going down a conveyor belt somewhere, being chopped by a large machine, and packed into boxes to be frozen until served.

At least we know the fries are from real potatoes, not some crazy starchy substitute – and they are cut fair and square. And I will likely continue to consume them from time to time… but only because I like them.

You don’t fool me, Dave…

Out of this World

A few things:

  1. We don’t have cable or anything that resembles it. I am satisfied with this.
  2. Because of #1 we rely on our trusty digital antenna.
  3. Because of #2 we can always get, without fail, the CW – yes, all the Gossip Girl and 90210 a sixteen year old drama queen could dream of.
  4. We are very thankful when PBS has something intriguing on or the off-chance that NBC,CBS, or ABC are blipping through.

…which all bring me to this story:

Last night I was getting supper ready, Chris was tending to the toddler, Brian Williams was bringing us the NBC Nightly News. They cut to another journalist who starts rambling about the state of the economy worldwide and how people all over the world are starving (not a new problem, pal) and that’s part of what lead to all of the hullabaloo in Egypt…and so on and so forth. He goes on to say that a major reason why more people are hungry than ever before is due to various natural disasters and poor crop growth in the past few years, leading to the increase of food prices by almost 30% worldwide – we’ve felt it, I’m sure most corners of the map have.

Then he proceeds with the way that America eats is in abundance and is comparably wasteful to all other countries – no kidding, our obesity rate speaks for itself.

The next bit went a little something like, “If we continue to eat in this way it will take two earths to keep up with our consumption…”

To which the reporter replies, “And where will we find the money for that?”

I stopped dead in my tracks on the way to the table, looked puzzlingly at Chris, busted out laughing and said, “Did he really just ask how we are going to afford another planet?”

Look out universe, Earth is looking for an investment property.


When the Cat’s Away…

The dogs will come and stay?

I don’t think that’s the way it goes – but that’s the way it’s happened.

Meet Shrimp (clever, I know…):

He showed up at our front door this evening. I thought he was a fox at first glance and was kind of excited at the imagery of raising a wild fox. (I don’t get out much…)

I combed the “neighborhood” looking for someone looking for him.  Nada. The few folks I spoke with told me that he was likely “dumped off” by someone who didn’t want him anymore for some reason or another. One kindly soul, who happened to be walking a dachshund that she’s temporarily fostering for a rescue group, told me that she gets at least four or five cats, two or three dogs, and a handful of other critters dumped at her place every year. She believes the “dumpers” should be locked up – maybe they should make them stay in the pound for a while. I wonder if anyone would claim them?

Poor fella – I couldn’t stand the thought of him sleeping in the cold tonight, shivering his little paws off. So he’s bunking with us. And by bunking I mean he is currently curled up on the chair behind me. Snoring. Snoring and dreaming.

I can’t take him anywhere until at least Tuesday and I am not sure I am real fond of my first option anyway. He’s very sweet, lap-doggish but not yippy, seemingly potty-trained (potty-trained? That’s a child, not a dog. Poor Noah, I will likely tell people he’s housebroken…), very good with big dogs (because Grits is very vicious – ha!), and likes little people. He would make an excellent little companion…

I think I just convinced myself to keep him. Theoretically.

If anyone is interested or knows of someone who might be, please let me know. I would love to give him to someone who will love him and take care of him. He’s a charming little fella…

Grits, you are a dog. Not a cougar. Relax.


Remember the revelation of this little gem:

Look into my crystal ball...

Well, she’s still going strong after almost a year of fighting off armpit funk and odiferous aromas. I’ve been loyal and true to my crystal ball through weddings, camp days, skiing, holidays, the hot Florida sun, FSU football (that always makes me sweat), and even Dollywood – that is until yesterday.

Enter Arrid Dry.

I was desperate. Chris had already diligently packed the car to resemble that of a Jenga Game Gone Wild and I wasn’t about to ask him to go digging for my little gem. So, I did what anyone fearful of odorously offending anyone in a five foot radius and slathered on some of the perfumey goop – it felt so wrong in so many ways.

So wrong I haven’t even showered today – but that could have more to do with the pilot light going out on our hot water heater.

And rather than having a little bit of “ode de natural” I have day old flowery stink.


Day One

We are in the middle of house “rejuvenation” here at the Ford Casa but I wanted to take a minute and relieve a couple of folks who are pining away for a glimpse at Noah’s birthday celebration. We had friends, family, food (I’ll post more about that later), gifts, cold weather, laughs, tears, warmth, and thanksgiving for our little guy on Sunday here at our home. I am very grateful for the folks who came to celebrate Noah and for the many more who love our kid who couldn’t be here.

Anyway, here are a few photos, courtesy of Marc Penrod of Lenns Focus and his son Lucas (you MUST check him out at his blog – his passion for capturing beauty in it’s simplicity and natural setting is very evident – thanks, fellas!):

Look familiar?His shirt says “ONE” on it – his mama made it for him.
More party photos to come.
For now, enjoy these and this random thought I had while driving home from Nashville yesterday:
I wonder if truck drivers spend the same amount of time and money sprucing up the cabs of their trucks like executives and administrators with their own offices? Does the size of the window or view matter as much? Do they have desktop do-dads that they paid way too much for? Is there steering wheel and chair ergonomical?

Something to ponder.


“Hey Jimbo! Good to hear ya.
I am a little concerned about the prancey-dance Hopkins has.
How ’bout you talk to the Coach Gran about that.
Looked good Saturday – too bad we made that Wake Forest QB cry.
Maybe we can do it again this weekend in Virginia.

Good talk, coach. See ya on the field.”

What Came First?

Forget the egg or the chicken, the pox came first at our house.
There are many things I like and desire about chickens, but this my friends, is not one of them.

I think he is handling it way better than either one of his parents. We just want to take the pain away, the confusion away, the multiplying red bumps. We have never felt so helpless… this is definitely the first real trial as parents, to be patient and know that God will heal his little body in due time. Say a little prayer for our little guy – and maybe one for his mama and pops, too.

Noah shows us how he really feels about those pesky bumps –
or he’s trying to lick the oatmeal bath off his chin.
Daddy always makes everything in my world much better.Can’t nobody hold me down, oh no…

The crazy thing, or at least what I find wild, about Chicken Pox is that there is a vaccine for the infection but there are no antibiotics or salves that will speed the healing process, only things to make the child less itchy. I know it’s a viral deal, but still, one would think that with the sickness that effects millions of kids and adults each year, there would be some glimmer of goopy hope.

And what better than to have Noah’s very own, very special, personalized cape (handmade by the wonderful Liz) arrive during his first oatmeal bath of the day!

Yes, that’s right – the wonders of this cape will bring super speedy healing powers and will have Noah bouncing off the walls again in no time! And he will be very cute doing it… But for real, go check Liz out and buy one of these for the little dude in your life – Etsy, everyone else is doing it.

We are on the outs right now, chickens and me, but I still think I want them in my backyard (I don’t really have a “yard” per-say, but I like to think of it that way…). I will have to sleep on it. The thought, not the chicken.

Fashion Police

We all know (and love) that I am not the person to consult when it comes to anything fashion related…for myself, my child, my husband, my dog, my home. The Good Lord just did not bless me with that sixth sense.
And to be honest I am quite alright with that, and so are Chris and his wallet.
To prove it, this is what you can find me in most days, in some color variation:On some days you may find me with a little more pizazz:Oh wait, not that. Here it is:
And on really extra special, eat-your-heart-out boys, occasions:With all the being said and shown, lack of fashion sense and all, I do know when something is bad.
Bad and tacky.
Bad, tacky, and overpriced.
I give you the latest in the Gucci line of handbags:

The Granny Panty Extraordinaire

#1. Grandma called, she says she wants her bloomers back.
#2. Mr. Gucci and designers, you are all fired.
#3. If I wanted to sport my undies as an accessory, I’ve got plenty to choose from in my maternity stash.
And lastly, I think I’ll save my bajillion dollars and buy something a little less “fashionable”.