Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Hint of Fall, Need Soup Recipes

It is not going to be 108 degrees today! When we woke up, it was only 70 degrees, a beautiful morning to sit on the deck and drink coffee. I did just that for about 2 minutes. Yes, anyone that has boys knows that they do not sit still long and there are chickens and dogs to be chased, goats to be petted and the sound of a tractor in the back pasture that has to be checked out. Of course, chaos ensued quickly, but that is alright it was not in the life-zapping heat, I was not sweating profusely nor did my hair frizz completely withing 3.6 seconds from horrific humidity.

So, I am in the Fall mood! I am thinking of pumpkins, hayrides, sweaters in the morning, leaves changing (if they are not all dead from the horrible heat this summer), crisp air, chili, cool breezes, the fair, and of course, FOOTBALL. The heat will probably be back tomorrow, but for now, a girl can dream.

A picture from my pumpkin harvest a few years ago. With our small dog Clyde who
unfortunately is no longer with us, I miss that big guy!
I always try to pick my most flattering pictures to post.

Fall is my favorite time of year. I tilled my garden yesterday, I do not recommend that when it has not rained in months, I felt like Pigpen from Charlie Brown by the time I got it done. But, Fall/Winter crops are going in this week. I am trying broccoli this year!

As you know, I am working hard to make our little town a better place to raise our kids. We have a fabulous little village with some wonderful people and the majority have hopped on board with all my ideas - a farmers' market, a community library and various community gatherings. So, my newest idea comes from my new friend Robin at Frustrated Farm Girl (I think she is my long-lost twin). I am going to establish a community soup night! I am very excited about this, I hope to create an environment that cultivates collective joy, bonding neighbors. So, all my wonderful bloggy world friends, I need soup recipes! My specialty, well the only one I ever really make, is potato soup. Help broaden my horizons friends.

I urge you to go outside and enjoy the beginning of Fall, then think about what you can do in your community to leave it a better place than you found it!

Going to put on a cardigan and homeschool the kids on the deck,
The Park Wife

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summer's End

Tomorrow is our annual first day of school at the lake! We will get up, pack a picnic, wave to the school buses and head to a state park lake about 45 minutes away. We will get a pontoon boat and enjoy our last day of summer before we start our homeschooling on Tuesday. An exciting addition this year is my sweet friend Jenn, her hubby (another state park superintendent), and their two precious boys who will be joining us as it is their oldest little guys first day of Kindergarten!

The past week has been non-stop. My mom tore herself away from the heat and humidity of Mississippi to come up and melt here with us for the week. I have an igloo on order, but with my luck it will get here during the middle of an ice storm in December.

The Buckaroo's had a blast with their Grandma. They think she built the world and love when she is here with us (which is not enough).

Baking, washing dishes, playing I Spy and 4, 614 games of Candyland, and oh, she cleaned my whole house. I used to worry about it when she would want to help clean my house like I was not doing a good enough job, now, I smile and say "go for it! don't forget to mop!"

We spent three days at our community library/fire station working on crafts to enter in the county fair. It was a great time, one day we had 17 kids there! I have some fantastic friends who are eventually going to learn to say no when I say "I have a great idea".

Our last summer evening of music in the park was Saturday night with an incredible brass band who was dressed in Civil War period attire, bless their hearts they looked hot and sweaty, but the music was fantastic.

And, the highlight of the week (no offense mom, thanks for driving 7 hours to see us), Littlest Buckaroo and I made The New York Times.

Looking forward to waking up tomorrow to a 2nd grader and Kindergartner,
The Park Wife

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Park Wife For Dummies

Confession: I used Cliff Notes in high school and own several books with the words "..for Dummies" in the title. With life going full blast most of the time, I understand the need for a little shortcut here and there (that is why I have been known to use a cake mix in recipes, don't tell Pioneer Woman).

So, welcome to The Park Wife for Dummies. Now, I am not calling any of my new readers that came over from THE NEW YORK TIMES a name, just an overview to catch you up on the past few years of the blog.

So, here are a few posts to get you acquainted with me and my life!
Follow along as we build a cabin in the mountains
We Are Not in Gotham City
And the Chicken Trophy Goes To...
Living With Less Is A Choice
Humbling Through Kid's Soccer
The Buckaroo's Big Adventure
Political Education By The Park Wife
Learning to Sparkle

Of course, grab a snack and read The Park Wife and The Ranger, The Love Story. I am working on the next installment, so it will leave you hanging. But, here is a spoiler.....we got married!

If you read the article in The New York Times, thank you. I feel the need to clarify one little thing. It said "she loves the Lord and hates hypocrites". Well, hate is a very strong word in my opinion. Now, thanks to my friends Maggie and Karla who when they saw I was a little bothered by that word, grabbed a Bible, opened it to Proverbs and showed me the list of things that God hates. That made me feel a little better, but not completely.

I ranted extensively to Kim Severson about people, who we call peddlers, that go to south Texas and buy fruits and vegetables on the cheap and show up at farmers' markets peddling them as locally grown. Peddlers are lying, saying they have gardens. That is irritating. They don't put any money into growing their product. As a supporter of local foods, YES, I find that hypocritical and I do not like it! But, hate is not a word that describes any of my being or my heart.

Thanks to all my blog world friends for your support and welcome to all my new readers!
The Park Wife

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New York Times Love

The Park Wife Made The New York Times!

I have had about 3, 500 people hop over to my blog to check it out since the article came out. If you came over from the NY Times, welcome new friend.

Please leave a comment and let me know if you have a blog and its address, I would love to go for a visit. If you don't, let me know about your world. Since you have read about where I live, I would love to hear about your life and where you live.

Grateful to my new friend Kim Severson and for juicy watermelons,
The Park Wife

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love

I live on a state park in a rural area. I have two rambunctious, adventurous little boys that I homeschool. I have a husband I am madly in love with and adore. And, I have 256,421 things that I do in addition to those things - gardening, farmers’ market, community library, hanging with New York Times reporters, county fair board and on and on. So, I just got around to reading Eat, Pray, Love. The title hooked me, those are three things that describe my existence. I know many of you read it years ago. I just checked it out at our library where my librarian friend and I had to go find it tucked away on some obscure shelf where they put books after everyone has read them but The Park Wife. The movie comes out August 13 and I am eager to see it, but I recommend you read the book first.

There are books that draw you in and don't let you go until you've finished them. Then there are books that grab you through the stomach like a hook and drag you places that you would prefer not to go. These books are rare - I hardly ever stumble upon one of these. They are books that make me examine myself, my life, my past and future. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert was both for me. I'm far from the first person to write about it (since I am a few years behind, what’s new?). I believe that books that are going to make me think make their way to me when I'm ready to listen to them. It was time for Eat, Pray, Love to come into my life.

The first thing that hit me was “man, I wish someone would give me a cash advance to go find myself.” Next, I thought our family should start learning Italian and eating more pasta.

Some critics may argue the book is a self-absorbed memoir. So what? It is her story she is telling, her memoir. People criticize bloggers all the time about what we write, but if I want to be true to my authentic self, then I write what is true about me, about my life. So, are all bloggers self-absorbed? Maybe so. But, I believe we all have a story to tell and if yours enriches mine, then I welcome your words with open arms. If not, I will close the book or click off a blog.

I have Christian friends that will surely hate the book, and others that will no-doubt be seduced by it. In my view, the book is well-written as well as lush and beautiful in parts. It is honest and authentic. And there were many things that hit me right in the gut and many right in my heart. Of course there were many parts I did not relate to or particularly like. But, overall, it made me think, to take pause to evaluate my own life. Shouldn’t we all take pause at times in our life and do that? It is a much better use of our time than constantly judging others.

In the end, what I took away was that it isn’t about how we find our balance or even if we achieve it perfectly — it is that we try.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book.
My absolute favorite: “It is better to live your own life imperfectly than to imitate someone else's perfectly.”

"You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions."

"God never slams a door in your face without opening a box of Girl Scout cookies..."

"Imagine that the universe is a great spinning engine. You want to stay near the core of the thing - right in the hub of the wheel - not out at the edges where all the wild whirling takes place, where you can get frayed and crazy. The hub of calmness - that's your heart. That's where God lives within you. So stop looking for answers in the world. Just keep coming back to that center and you'll always find peace."

"you have the opposite of poker face. You have like...... miniature golf face."

“In the end, what I have come to believe about God is simple. It’s like this – I used to have this really great dog. She came from the pound. She was a mixture of about ten different breeds, but she seemed to have inherited the finest features of them all. She was brown. When people asked me, “What kind of dog is that?” I would always give the same answer: “She’s a brown dog.” Similarly, when the question is raised, “What kind of God do you believe in?” my answer is easy: “I believe in a magnificent God.”

So do I.
The Park Wife