Monday, November 20, 2017

2017 Fitness Camp

Here's what I'm afraid of. I am afraid that, for me, Fat Camp is a lot like labor pains. You know how that works -- once the baby is born -- you forget how horrible the pain was.

I've had such a good result this last year -- I'm afraid I FORGOT HOW HARD AND PAINFUL THAT WEEK WAS.

Then, too, I didn't help myself by only posting the fabulous pictures that made it all look so wonderful....
Because -- TRUST ME -- it was more work than I've ever done. And it was hard. And mostly painful....and, as I'm writing this post (two days before I GO AGAIN)....IT'S ALL COMING BACK TO ME...
As I look back at these pictures from LAST year, I know it was all worth it. The money, the time, the work. I am living a different life because of the choice I made last year...and I'm happy to be able to do it again.

Labor pains never stopped anybody from having Baby #2, y'know??

And -- hey -- THEN, THERE'S THIS...

Honestly -- just Frankensewing the new wardrobe was worth the cost of admission!!


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Goodbye Nancy

I won't be posting a blog for a couple of days.

Nancy Zieman died...and I'm just too sad.

Anything I might blog about seems unimportant...and just too trivial.

Many other people are writing beautiful tributes...and if you want to read them, or add to them, please go to her blog...

Nancy Zieman Blog

Monday, November 13, 2017

Day One of Fat Camp

I am in Florida -- at the Weight Crafters Fitness Camp. With Rhonda Pierce and some other special friends (who may not want me blogging about them).

Last week, at TMBC, I did a Style Show of MY BRAND NEW FITNESS wardrobe. These two outfits are restyled from things I made last year. I am delighted to report that I got to remove 6" of fabric from each side of the first top...HOLY COW...what a difference a year makes, eh??

For the second top -- I mostly just saved the front of the shirt.  I love the sentiment...and I love the new look, too.

This is what the 2016 outfit looked like.
For 2017, I took the pants in by 3"...

Last year, this top had a big swing style back.
This year, it's a fitted  sleeveless top.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veteran's Day, Quilts of Valor

It was an honor for me to write a story about the Quilts of Valor Foundation for Inspired To Sew magazine.

Here is a link to that issue.

Quilts of Valor is a genuine grassroots organization, with thousands of volunteers all across the country.

Terry Austin, the local coordinator, invited us to attend their 2014 Veteran's Day event, when they awarded 25 quilts at a ceremony in Rock Island, Illinois. Here are some pictures of that day, and their beautiful quilts. It is a wonderful thing they're doing...
Terry Austin and John. She was a terrific emcee...
There was a large audience...
Veterans from Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan...
The Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines....
Each quilt was lovingly draped on the receiving veteran....
THEN, they had patriotic cupcake refreshments...
A large group picture. 
The only WW II veteran being honored on this day was Lillian -- who was a WAVE in the Navy.
While John was comparing good old Navy days with Lillian, I was visiting with her granddaughter. On her 90th birthday, Lillian went sky-diving....

Today is Veteran's Day.

Thank you for your service.

We are a grateful nation...

Friday, November 10, 2017

BASTA!! Sausage Stuffed Dates

Since I'm visiting IOWA CITY this week, I'm going to talk about my favorite restaurant in the State of Iowa.

2015, my cousin Kim and I had lunch Iowa City at a place called BASTA.

It's in the charming downtown -- just a few blocks away from the Old Capitol building.
I was so impressed, I wrote a Yelp review:

The Restaurant: A classic, sophisticated interior with an intricate black and white hexagon tile floor. A long elegant mahogany wood bar dominates one side of the restaurant. The wood fire pizza oven can be seen from every seat in the house. The booths and chairs are comfortable, with real linen napkins, heavy silverware, large coffee cups and a carafe of ice water on the table.
(P.S. Spotless, comfortable bathrooms).

The Food: Appetizer: Sausage stuffed Dates. Really? In Iowa City? Wowsa. The presentation was lovely -- served in a piping hot iron skillet. Four large dates, crispy on the outside, and sweet and chewy on the inside. The tomato sauce had a bite to it. Simply delicious...I will be trying to recreate this dish for the rest of my life.

And that is EXACTLY what's happened.

This is a picture of the REAL Basta appetizer...
At home, I started with an iron skillet, a pound of Medjool Dates, jar of Prego spaghetti sauce, and a package of sausage.
Of course, I'm just guessing about the actual Basta recipe. I put the uncooked sausage into the dates, set them in the sauce, put them in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes
When I took them out of the oven, I sprinkled feta cheese on top. To transport my Basta sausage stuffed dates, I put them in a different pan (with a lid).
I NAILED IT..!!  Next time, I will use spicy sausage.  They will be PERFECT.!!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Anne & Iowa City

We all know how much I enjoy a little day-trippin. But this Fall has been TOUGH. Ugh. I usually get together with my college chum, Becky...but we've had to cancel our plans three (or is it four?) times. She's babysitting for am I...WE'RE JUST TOO DAMN BUSY..!!

Then, I usually do a day trip with Deanna -- but I had to cancel twice (the engine in my car was recalled, I had no reliable wheels)...then, she had to cancel once...

Fingers crossed, we are still hoping to make it happen.

John and I always do a Wisconsin cheese tour for our anniversary -- and it's the perfect time to drive a few hours north to look at the Fall Foliage...but, for reasons I can no longer remember, THAT didn't happen either. (no, wait, it's coming to me...since Ross moved out, there's nobody to take care of Frank!)...

So, the ONLY REAL DAY TRIP I had this fall was to Iowa City to hook up with my young friend Anne.
This is an old picture of the two of us -- but you can see what sport we enjoy, right??
Iowa City is a quick one hour trip for me -- on Interstate #80.
There is one BEAUTIFUL Rest Area about halfway there.

During our Epic Road Trip several years ago, my Canadian friend, Marion, said "American Rest Areas are amazing...and you have so many of them! Tons of bathrooms that are clean as a whistle, beautiful picnic areas, free maps, water fountains. So well done!"
At this stage in my life, I usually stop at that Rest Area on my WAY into Iowa City -- and then, on my way HOME from Iowa City. It is perfectly positioned on I-80...

After we do a little treasure-hunting, Anne and I do lunch.   Because Iowa City is a college town, it is chock-full of interesting restaurant choices.
Anne is great with the Yelp search kind of things.  On this day -- we went to this little hole-in-the-wall place.
I had a wonderful sandwich/salad -- and Anne had toast.  At that point, she was fighting a sick headache.
But she soldiered on....AND I'M SO GLAD.
Anne and I often meet half-way for a visit ON THE SPUR OF THE MOMENT...and it is wonderful to have a friend who can be SPONTANEOUS.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Warren, Pre-K

Warren turned 4 in January. In Iowa, we have free pre-K in our public schools. So, Warren goes to school 4 days a week. AND HE LOVES IT. Although the school provides bus transportation in the morning, the parents have to pick the kids up at 11:00.

Friday is MY DAY to pick Warren up. And we got off to a rocky start...

The first time I went there...I was in the lobby, Warren walked out of the door, proudly wearing his Thomas Train backpack...and when he saw me, his face collapsed, and as he ran into my arms, he was crying real tears, saying these words,

"I didn't want you...I wanted my Mommy..."

Really. This was his actual face on Week #2. He was SO SAD that I was picking him up, NOT his Mom...

So, I did what any good Grandma would do -- I started to bribe him with food. I told him that IF HE COULD ACT HAPPY, I would stop and buy him a donut at Casey's. (don't judge me)

Week #3, Warren came out with a smile on his face, and said, "Grandma, can I get sprinkles on my donut?"
I was delighted with his new, happy attitude...and also impressed that he had remembered, for a whole week, the promise I'd made. I said, 'OF COURSE YOU CAN GET SPRINKLES, BUDDY...'
We had lunch on the porch...and he demolished the delicious donut.  When I teased him about sharing it with me...he gave me a bite...
Technically, I guess this IS sharing...
On this day, he found a giant bug in the yard.
A 6 inch praying mantis...
Fridays are my new favorite day of the week.
And I'm going to enjoy every minute...because I know this is a brief, brief moment in my life.