Saturday, September 8, 2012


Catchy title huh? 

This is not a post about my need to join a gym.  
Let me explain...

Last week my daughter and I went on her school's 5th grade leadership retreat.  There we participated in activities with names like blob tag, leap of faith, bucket of awesome and gut check.  It was a blast!

Here's how gut check works.

You send your precious daughter up a 3 story tower to be strapped into a harness by a burly, tattooed man... 
...who will then push your daughter off a  platform...
...and she will fly through the air, spinning and twisting perilously...
...and she will LOVE it!

It is such a great feeling to love your kid's school and to know they are in the right place.  
We had 2 days of love, leadership preparation and laughs.  Silly songs, games, bad jokes, and smores.
Praise, pajama parties, and an amazing Colorado mountain sunrise.  

 Here's Ellie thinking, "Help me!  There's a dad on my lap!"
There were some really challenging moments like the high ropes course.
This one was tough and it was so sweet to see all these kids coaching and cheering each other on.

She was really happy to have that one over with!
I was happy to have much needed time with my growing girl.  Thanks Ellie!

Monday, September 3, 2012


I love a good dinner party!  

Saturday night we hosted a Southern Food Cook-Off and invited 2 other foodie families.
It was serious competition.  The only rules were to make 1 dessert and 1 side dish in the Southern category.  The stakes were high because the Golden Fork Trophy was up for grabs (wait till you see this thing!).  We are serious about our food and our trophies around these parts.  We lost a Bocce Ball trophy, at an Italian Night we hosted, to our neighbors and haven't been able to win it back try as we might.  It sits on their mantle taunting us.  So when it came to the Golden Fork the competition was intense.  

1 hour before the competition I called my neighbor,

"Hey, do you have any oil I can use?"

She had called me just 30 minutes before asking to borrow a cooling rack and some wax paper.
She met me in the alley with 2 inches of canola oil in the bottle.

"Darn I don't think that's enough.  I'm frying something."

"We're frying something too.  What are you frying?" she asked.

With narrowed eyes I replied "I don't know, what are YOU frying?"

Neither of us shared.

From my kitchen:
  Buckets of iced tea, hushpuppies, and blackened catfish with sunshot salsa.
My son made peach cobbler.

 At 5:30 the competition started rolling in.
First to arrive - fried okra.  I knew I was in trouble then because I LOVE fried okra.  

...then, shrimp and grits, cornbread salad, red velvet whoopie pies, and chocolate creme brûlée topped with candied peaches and pecans.  

We ate, laughed and ate some more.  Then between dinner and dessert we made a go at that Bocce trophy, even though this broke the whole Southern theme we had going. 

We lost again.

The official cook-off ballot had 3 categories: best taste, best presentation, and best Southern accent (that was the entertainment for the evening).  And the winner is...

Yes, I was beaten by a child.
But this kid rocks in the kitchen and watches way too much Food Network, as you can see by the autographed photo of Bobby Flay in the background.  His parents are so proud that he is taking home the coveted Golden Fork (which is actually an old eel spear my husband found at the flea market and painted gold!)  I think this may end up being part of a Halloween costume next month.  

He made the heavenly chocolate creme brûlée and practiced his accent by watching Paula Deen.

We had a blast! And I'm already thinking we need to do a Indian food night so I can wear the sari my husband brought me from India.