6/16 Grandma Francis

My grandma Francis was an amazing person, no joke. This weekend is her birthday and we continue to celebrate it even now that she's gone by having a family reunion. I put this picture together and wrote the little poem in remembrance:) The house in the pictures is in shambles there, but those of us who spent years visiting her there remember it much differently. That's Grandma on the right playing her fiddle. She played wonderfully and taught her whole family that playing an instrument and/or singing brought joy to the world. At the bottom is a small picture of her and Grandpa when they got married. These two created a family tree that goes on and on including hundreds of us. What an honor to be in their tree.

I'm only one of hundreds you see
who make up your beautiful family tree
Missing you so and talking to you when I pray
I take comfort in your words of wisdom that help to guide my way
You taught me so much about the kind of person I want to be
and in my heart and with me always is where you'll forever be
Miss you, Grandma.
-Tamara Dawn


6/9 A Mangiare challenge!

See the look on my face here...that's the look of a girl who LOVES a challenge:) I have an impulse when somebody says "you can't do that"...to say "WATCH ME!"

Take, for instance, a week ago when my mother bought my niece a large saucer style chair for her bedroom and we were all outside the store trying to figure out how to get it in the car...we tried the back seat, front seat, the trunk....it just wouldn't fit!! Everyone was ready to give up and decided we needed to drive all the way back later with a truck to get it. Considering there were a trillion other errands to be run, I WAS NOT about to waste that kind of time! My sister said, jokingly, "Somebody should just get in the trunk with the chair and hold the trunk door down! Hahahaa"......
Well, before they all stopped laughing, I was under the chair in the trunk of my mom's Lincoln Towncar asking for somebody to hand me the trunk door and saying "Let's go!"
Now that you know this about me, you'll understand why I did what I did yesterday;)

My mom, in her desire to shed a few pounds, decided to purchase Nutrisystem. I have been preaching to my family for a long time now about the importance of eating well and especially the importance of health/fitness over diet/weight loss. As you can imagine, I was not thrilled about Nutrisystem at all. However, I really understood the predicament my mom was in. She and my dad (who could use a little health/fitness makeover himself, but don't tell him I said so) own and run a large, successful corporation. They work 6 days a week and their days are long and full of hard work, both physically and mentally draining. So, the last thing she feels like doing when she gets home is think of what to make, let alone to actually cook! At this point, she needs to be eating a nice meal (that she didn't have to make), taking a nice bath and relaxing! These are all things we agree on:)

Where we disagree is how/where those warm meals should come from! I suggested to her to take a day each week or two and prepare meals with good ingredients and actual nutrients to freeze. Then she could just take it out and heat it up! She was not as excited about this as I was, because the task of coming up with a menu and preparing the food still seemed daunting. See, Nutrisystem works because it has basically no nutrition, it's not really food! For her, it seemed appealing because it comes in a box and all she had to do was eat it. She said to me "You can't just prepare food for two weeks at a reasonable price...how could you do that?....just coming up with the menu would be hard!"
I said, "WATCH ME!" :)
I don't think she thought I could do it, which made it extra enticing to me. She was paying Nutrisystem $XXX for two weeks worth of lunches and dinners for just herself. I was able to prepare and package two weeks worth of lunches and dinners for her AND my dad for 2/3 the price she was wasting on 'non-food'.
Here's how I did it:
First, I came up with a menu. I perused the Nutrisystem menu and also added some of my own easy/freezable recipes and came up with the menu below(click to enlarge). She can figure out what things she liked and what things she didn't like and change that in later menus.
Then, I compiled a master grocery list. Being mindful of cost, but mostly concerned about being sure to use FRESH ingredients and ingredients with no chemicals.

Then, I power-cooked for about 6 hours and completed all the meals in time for my nephew to take them to her in Kansas yesterday evening since he was going anyway.
The meals came together perfectly, I didn't burn anything but my arm;)
It was actually pretty fun!! I like to cook and I loved the challenge! Also, I work best under pressure so since my nephew was leaving, the time constraint worked to my advantage;)

She had two weeks of lunches and dinners delivered right to her door last night, which is exactly what Nutrisystem offered. The cool part is that it's all REAL food, prepared in a clean kitchen with fresh ingredients....and it's all enough for two! So, now dad can get healthy too!! I even sent along fresh fruit, some bakery bread, yogurt, granola, etc....things she can't easily get where they live.
I was done and had a spotless kitchen before the sun set. I don't mind saying here...."dang, I'm good" Hope you enjoy it, Mom!
There are company's all over that cater to those of us who may not have the time to prepare quality food in their home. DON'T call Nutrisystem! Look up 'meals-to-go' companies that do exactly what I did for my mom. There are even places that have stations where you dish up the meals into containers yourself and then take them home and freeze! For the more frugal household...this only took me about 7 hours total, shopping included. I'm no master chef, so you can do it too I'm sure! You could take a Sunday afternoon and prepare your meals for the week or be extra adventurous and try two weeks! There are always possibilities and the point is IT CAN BE DONE!! You can find a way to be healthful that works for your home and schedule. All you have to do is try it!


6/8 Video...singing 'What a Day'

So, this is my number one choice thus far for my audition song! I love it and so do my closest advisers;) I started the video in the middle of the song so it wouldn't be too long and somehow need to take the best parts of the song and turn it into a 'perfect 30 sec performance' What I want to know though, is do YOU love it?? ...or is it all wrong?! Dates and cities are finally being released and no matter the outcome, I'm eagerly anticipating the entire adventure!!


6/4 World Bank is going broke?!?!...what a joke!

Ok, now I know there are many things beyond my realm of comprehension, BUT it seems to me that we might just be getting dumber as time creeps by! I sincerely believe there is life on many other planets in our universe....and I wouldn't bet against the idea that they all tune in to have a good laugh at the Silly Little Human's From Earth Show!! C'mon, civilizations/countries on our earth are crumbling and our currency is the issue?

WHO is supposed to fill the 'world bank'? I don't understand the concept we have of letting people live in poverty, in sickness, in turmoil and even letting many many people die because of money. I just don't. It's pitiful! We have this paper/coin/whatever that we trade in exchange for things we want and need. Those of us who have lots and lots of it can have everything they want and need and those who don't....well, who cares about them, right? WRONG!

Seriously, I might be an idealist of sorts because I think there IS a way for everyone to live peacefully. If we really wanted to, but I don't think we do. We'd rather have tiny, primitive little minds and fight wars over stupid things. Like children on the playground, we throw fits when people have what we don't have instead of offering to share what we have in exchange for some of theirs! We get hung up on currency, instead of working with each other towards balance.

I know this is radical and inconceivable, but is what we're doing really any better? Think about the national debts that would be out of the red if their countries didn't have war to pay for. Think of the economies that would be boosted if travel went up instead of down because we see each other as a threat instead of neighbors? 'Love thy neighbor as thyself' is a good line to live by no matter what your religion.
If I have something you need, ask me and I'll give it to you. Then hopefully, in the future if you have something I need you'll do the same....
I guess I was just raised that way. Even if we didn't have much, my dad gave it to somebody if they needed it. He always said "If you give, you'll always have enough"...and we always did. That note of wisdom sounds fantastic to me, because having 'enough' is ENOUGH for me. People don't want 'enough' though. They want more than enough and they want to watch people die of starvation while they feast.

I'm not sure if I see hope for people, for some change or enlightenment. I don't know if we're capable of change. In a way, I admire the slogan of Hope&Change that Obama driveled during his entire race to the presidency. It's an honorable dream shredded by a dishonorable society.

If we weren't fighting a war over oil in another country, would we be drilling for it too deep to repair in our own?
If we didn't have a 'we're better than you' attitude (and you know we do) would other countries hate us so much? I mean, nobody likes the conceded jerk at the party. If people practiced more empathy and compassion, would we find better solutions to our problems than war?...just asking!

Will I make many of you upset, annoyed or even angry with the things I've just said??....with a very fitting quote I'll answer, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!" ;)