Friday, January 29, 2010

Hot off the press!

Yours truly made the real paper today, so instead of a regular entry, I'll let a trained professional (journalist, that is) entertain and enlighten you. The story isn't about me; it's about one of the volunteers at the museum I run. He's a former Marine, a WWII fighter pilot and all-around incredible guy, so I thought he deserved a little recognition.

Follow the link to the story, with a quote from you-know-who in the middle of the story.

I'll be away from my blog for a few days, so keep reading the old stuff til I get back! (Just in case I decide to have a pop quiz....bwah hah hah....)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Snow Day!

Much to my surprise, we woke up to snow today. My son, who, being 5 is always on the lookout for these things, came running into my bedroom yelling "It's snowing, it's snowing!" So of course, we turn on the TV just to verify, that yes, it is actually snowing, and find out that our school district is 2hrs late.

We had less than one inch of snow and now, by early afternoon, it is almost all gone.

But nevertheless, we got all dressed up and went outside. My son loves to shovel snow, so we cleared the whole driveway. Our neighbors didn't touch theirs, and what do you know, it's all gone now anyway. Well, at least it beats going to the gym!

My daughter was convinced that there were fish in the puddles of melted snow near the road, and kept wanting to look for fishies. Problem is, we live on a state highway, so that was a constant battle trying to keep a toddler out of the path of speeding trucks.

But we had a good time, and came in for a lunch of Spaghetti-Os and hot dogs all happy and tired. And isn't that what a snow day is all about?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Eat Your Brussel Sprouts!

I love winter vegetables. Cabbage, kale, squash, beets- you name it, I'll make it. Problem is, I'm the only one in my family that will eat them. So I end up making a week's worth for myself. But that's OK- all the more for me!

One of my favorite vegetables is Brussel sprouts. I guess I was fortunate as a kid, because my mother didn't make them, so I never learned to hate them. I never had them until a few years ago when I came across a recipe in the paper for oven roasted Brussel sprouts with garlic. It's so easy and so yummy, I thought I'd share!

Buy at least a pound of baby Brussel sprouts- the smaller the better. Trim the ends off and remove the outer leaves (like you would with lettuce). Cut any large ones in half.

Toss with about 1/4 to 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with coarse salt and crushed red pepper. Mince 3-5 large cloves of garlic (I use a garlic press) and add to the sprouts. Here's a pic before they're cooked:

Roast in a 425 degree oven for about 30 mins, until they start to caramelize and look toasty. They taste very nutty- not unlike hazelnuts, with none of the "cabbagey" taste that boiled Brussel sprouts are notorious for. Don't they look yummy?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Download of the Week

Those of you who know me from some of the retro-themed bulletin boards (props to the new/old Retrospect Cafe) may remember that I occasionally posted a "download of the day". Well, I'll try to continue that here, on a more sporadic basis.

Only those songs or albums that are truly worthy will make the cut. I'm definitely not a bandwagon-jumper or a trendsetter; my taste is strictly old school. But I am a "classically-trained musician", for what that's worth (not a lot these days), and I like to think that what I like, most of you will like.

So that brings us to the selection at hand: The Great American Soulbook, by Tower of Power. (get it ) If you like classic soul, like Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Hall & Oates, or even the rockin' horn-driven sound of Chicago, you will love this album. Even if you're an Amy Winehouse fan, or better yet, a Sharon Jones fan, this is for you. It's the perfect album for cruising around with the windows down- cool, but with that retro vibe. And without the vulgar language that Amy Winehouse brings- meaning I can play it when my kids are in the car.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Dinner Bell

I have a dinner bell. It was an "inheritance" (she's still alive but gave a lot of stuff away) from my mother-in-law. Some of you may recognize the pattern- it's Candlewick- which I'm not that into, but you see it all the time in antique stores. I guess I'd rather have something more colorful or kitschy. Anyway, I've never used it, but I just read an article that got me thinking that I should. It does have a wonderful crystal ring.

The article appeared in the Food section of my newspaper today. I'm not sure who wrote it -there's no byline- but I sure wish I did. It was called The 1-2-3 of Family Dinners. I'm guessing it is meant to appeal to those who have made a resolution to eat dinner as a family more:

"So you're taking the plunge. You've decided that, darn it, you're reclaiming family dinner, making it your own, an oasis of contentment among the daily chaos. But now maybe you're scratching your head, wondering how the heck to to get to step 2 and beyond. Well, here's some smart thinking to get you to what you're dreaming of: Family Dinner, the Civilized Way."

OK, sounds fine, don't we all. But the part that got me going is this:

"...Aim for three. Start slowly. Do not set out to make dinners seven nights a week. Start with only one, if that's all you can handle. Build up to three. Extra credit for anything beyond."

Extra credit for anything more than three? Am I that out of touch with the modern family that this is shocking to me? Now I'm not saying that I'm Superwoman or anything, but I make dinners (and breakfasts and lunches) seven days a week for four of us. I feel a little guilty if we have pizza more than once a month. We go out to eat about three times a year.

I used to work full time and have a long commute each way. I know it's stressful to have to come home and think about dinner. But I did it then too. Maybe I relied a little more on my slow cooker, but I haven't really changed anything now that I'm home most days.

The only sacrifice we make now with my kids being so small (and really messy) is that we don't use cloth napkins anymore. But maybe I'll go back to that. And the dinner bell. Because I guess if I'm making dinner every night I should announce the occasion like the special event it must be- with a crystal bell ringing!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thank Heaven for Little Girls

Why don't people dress their little girls like little girls anymore? This is my daughter Kate, she's 21 months old. The picture is from Christmas Eve when she was dressed for Church. So many people commented on how cute she looked (even after she was crying and miserable and had to be carried out of church- it was past her bedtime); it made me wonder why we ever got away from this style of dressing.

Why do people dress their little girls as if they are 21, with booty shorts and UGG boots (don't get me started on those), and Tshirts with slogans. Why would you want to cover up that innocence, that childlike wonder and the simple delight in dressing up with ads and crass messages all over your children?

And don't even tell me about how much clothing costs these days. You're paying for the privilege of promoting a brand with your child!? This coat and hat set was $2 in a thrift store (as were the shoes) and they've already served at least one generation of children and now they're on mine. They're quality made of wool and leather and made in the USA.

I say let someone else buy that Old Navy junk, that was assembled in some Chinese sweatshop, shipped halfway around the world and plastered with labels. Until my kids are old enough to protest, they'll be wearing vintage -recycled- adorable outfits like these!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A new haircut

I like to wear my hair in a short 1930s-style cut. If I'm really ambitious I'll wave it a little, but usually I don't and it passes as a modern bob most of the time.

I know I'm supposed to get it trimmed every 6 weeks or so to keep it looking nice. With my life, that usually works out to about every 6 months. It was looking really ratty today when I finally got it cut, but it looks good now!

I go to my favorite stylist, Lauren, who's about my age. Of course she has great hair- it used to be long and layered. But today when I went in, she had cut her hair in the same style as mine. We got to talking about long vs. short hair - I have had long hair at various points in my life and don't really like it. She told me this story about her haircut that really made me think about how far we women have come in just one or two generations.

She said that when the stylist was cutting all her hair off, a little old lady sitting next to her asked her if she had got her husband's permission to get it cut. When Lauren replied that she hadn't (and it hadn't occurred to her) the lady said that she hoped he didn't leave her!

We kind of had a little laugh over that, but it struck me as to how serious that might have been for someone of the older lady's generation. To have to get your husband's permission to cut your hair and hope he doesn't leave you over it is one of those small victories women have won over the past.

For someone like me, who is firmly a woman in the modern sense, but likes to look back to the past for inspiration, that is one of the few times I am glad I don't live in the 1940s 0r 50s.

Of course, on my way home I went to three antique stores and an estate sale and bought some more mid-20th C. detritus. I guess I should be glad that I don't have to get my husband's approval for that, because I probably wouldn't!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What's for dinner, honey?

Yesterday I made the most delicious soup.

We had a wild turkey for dinner on New Year's. It was shot by my husband- for those of you that have never eaten game, I highly recommend it. Not only is it all those things that people pay all kinds of money for (all-natural, organic, free-range, hormone-free, etc.) but it also allows you to see and understand how an animal lived and died to feed your family. I think that so many people take this for granted anymore, that they don't think of meat (or vegetables for that matter) as something that is part of a larger ecosystem; it is just consumption. But when you hunt, fish and forage as we do, not only is the food better quality, but you know where you are as part of the food chain and you pay much closer attention to the process of dressing, preparing and cooking food.

And by the way, a wild turkey tastes just like domestic turkey but with more dark meat, since it actually ran, walked, and flew for miles, unlike so-called free-range birds.

So, since this turkey died to feed our family, I never waste a bit of it. I saved the bones and made a stock. I froze about half of the stock in 1 c. portions to use later and had about 8 cups left to make a Vietnamese-inspired noodle soup.

To the stock I added 1 stalk of lemongrass, about six slices of fresh ginger, about 2 T. of soy sauce, some sliced scallions (from my garden) and a bundle of cellophane noodles. I added some of the cooked turkey meat back in and then salt & pepper to taste. What a delicious and healthy meal that is, and (except for the noodles) I know where every bit of it originated. I know the ground that turkey walked, I grew the vegetables for the stock- try to beat that, Martha Stewart.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Here's a drink to your health!
I've been a tea drinker all my life. I drink a pot of green or black tea almost every day- today it's Constant Comment, a favorite since it was first introduced in 1945.
My tea pot is a vintage gold-colored anodized aluminum pot. I collect anodized aluminum and use some of it just about every day. You're probably most familiar with the colorful cups and pitchers of the 1950s, but it seems as though just about everything for the kitchen was made in the material. In addition to the teapot, I have cups, pitchers, cake carriers, cream & sugar sets, etc. It's a great, durable, kid-friendly material. It doesn't bother me if the cups get a dent or ding now and then- because it sure beats cleaning up cheap broken plastic stuff.
Hey there, fellow reader (by now there can't be more than one of you!) Time does fly, doesn't it?

So I knew when I started this blog it would be hard to keep up with it, and as usual, my suspicions were correct.

But I promise to update it a little more in 2010.

That's not exactly a resolution, but I do want to give myself a little more "me time" and I think this qualifies. I also want to lose 40 pounds and we all know how likely that is to happen....

But the point of all this is, I want to live a better life through vintage- whether it be spending more time as a mother and housewife with my family, making healthier meals from scratch or losing some weight to fit into all my fabulous vintage clothes that haven't seen the light of day in a couple of years. (The museum curator in me thinks, "Hey, isn't that better for their long-term preservation?" LOL)

I've accumluated a lot of paraphernaila (my husband might call it junk, I call it "artifacts" ;) ) to live a vintage lifestyle over the years and I use a lot of it on a daily basis. I will try to share some of my experiences with my re-cycled, re-purposed and re-used vintage items over the coming year.

And I promise to post at least twice during baseball season this year. (Trying not to set the bar too high...)