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While at The Party Source this week for a cooking demo, Doug and I were treated to much more than a tasty meal. Mark Williams, Executive Chef for the Brown-Forman Corporation (owners of many things, including Woodford Reserve) shared a number of foodie insights and stories with us.

mixed-vegetablesphoto credit: Tinker’s Gardens

Did you know that Michelle Obama has started a vegetable garden at the White House? I had not heard about it, so I’ve been doing some research and I wanted to share it with all of you. Maybe it’ll inspire you to get to work on your own garden like it did me!

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photo credit: Associated Press

At 1,100 square-feet, the First Lady obviously needed some help getting the ground ready, so in addition to Sasha and Malia, local students from Bancroft Elementary School joined forces on Spring’s Opening Day – Friday, March 20th – to get the grounds in order.whole-grains1Click here for a clearer look.

You can see from the layout above, a wide array of vegetables will be planted as well as a beehive. The garden will be set on the south lawn of the White House – a fine compliment to it’s thriving flower collections.

In addition to stocking the White House’s pantry with an abundance of fresh veggies, some of the food grown will be donated to Miriam’s Kitchen to help feed and nurture many homeless folks in the DC area.

What a wonderful way to set the national conversation towards healthy eating, as well as making growing and buying local a priority. A win-win for our bodies and our environment.

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photo credit: Slow Food UW

I hear this is the first vegetable garden to take shape at the White House since World War II when Eleanor Roosevelt did the same with her Victory Garden. Did you realize that at the end of WWII, over 40% of the United State’s produce was grown by home gardener’s? Sadly, we can no longer boast such stats.

“At a time of economic crisis, a garden can provide a surprisingly large amount of fresh, healthy produce. But just as important, it teaches important habits of mind — helping people to reconnect with their food, eat more healthily on a budget and recognize that we’re less dependent on the industrial food chain, and cheap fossil fuel, than we assume.” Michael Pollan

You can follow along as the garden takes shape here at the White House’s new website for this adventure – WHITE HOUSE FARMER. Planting will begin in a couple weeks, when the students return to help again.

Inspired, Doug and I are getting back into the farming business. We’re gonna plant our way out of this recession I’ll tell ya! We’ve had a garden in past years out at a friend’s farm in Indiana (Hey Bob & Peg!), but with work and P and life in general, we can’t get out there as often as we’d like. We’re gonna carve out a spot in the backyard and plant a few of our favorites. This will be an amazing experience for P to take part in.

I challenge you to do the same! Comment here and let me know any tips or tricks you have for me and tell me what your garden is gonna look like this year. I’ll be sure to share our progress as we go along!

Thanks to the Obamas for getting me excited about such a great and worthwhile venture! Now, if you could you send some of those kids my way to help get my yard squared away- hey,we’d only need a few! – that would be terrific!

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A couple weeks ago, my friends Tom and Carla gave me the scope on the upcoming Cincinnati Imports event. A born and bred Cincinnatian, I can not claim import-status, but the Imports tend to overlook my Skyline breath and generally welcome me with open arms.

gardens_exteriorI was intrigued to find out the event would be the Cincinnati Rollergirls’ home season opener at The Cincinnati Gardens. It had been decades since I’d last gone to the Gardens – maybe a circus in the 80’s, who knows? A walk down memory lane.

That walk got a little longer when I found out that in addition to knowing Rollergirl Jammer @missprint95, I had gone to high school with one of the team’s most powerful Pivots – Blu Bayou.

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MissPrint and Blu Bayou – photos from Cincinnati Rollergirls Site

Of course, not knowing much about the actual rollerderby, I did some surfing of the ol’interwebs to see what I was in store for:

Well, not exactly, thank goodness! More like this:

The night was pure adrenaline. It’s athletic and fun and exciting. I’ll admit I had no idea what was happening the first half hour or so. There was no ball to keep your eye on and though the commentary was quite colorful (holla Collier Mamma), the pace was fast and my head was spinning. But fellow fans (Doug, Tom & Carla, Sara, Barry and Kate) schooled me on some of the ins and outs and it all started to click. Venture here for a tutorial.

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It was so wonderful to see strong, talented and gorgeous women being celebrated. There was a pretty sizable crowd cheering them on and frankly that’s not something women have enough of in these parts. We’re surrounded by testosterone-heavy sports in this city and it was nice to root on the ladies for a change! Plus, unlike most games in the testosterone jungle, WE won!

The Rollergirls made quick work of their opponents, the Hard Knox Rollergirls from Tennessee. But even in the face of certain defeat, our southern sistas boogied and laughed and had a great time. I loved their spirit. I’m sick to death of seeing “adult” athletes lose their cool and act like asshats when things don’t go their way.

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I give the whole night two thumbs up. It’s affordable: $10 tickets in the stands, $15 if you want to upgrade to trackside (where the action is!), parking is free (unheard of in this city, eh?) and for the first hour or so you can indulge in $1 beers! I can’t wait to head back in April. Their next home match is scheduled for Saturday, April 11th when they’ll battle the Burning River Roller Girls. You can get your tickets from The Gardens, Ticketmaster or directly from your favorite Rollergirl. I’ll see you there!

I’m totally docking his pay…

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Real Oats 101 by Doug

To begin, go to any reputable food market that carries steel cut oats.  Look for them in the bulk food area.  Whole Foods has organic that are great.  Just bag and tag.  (Use two bags just to be safe…trust us!) 

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McCann’s is what we started out on

In a pot, put in 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt (Kosher is best).  Place lid and let it come to a boil.  Add your steel cut oats, turn off heat, and replace lid.  Now walk away, watch a movie, open a bottle of wine or go to bed.  I like to make them at night, let them set and in the morning they are ready to heat and eat

Add what you like: Raisins, Craisins, Brown Sugar…the list goes on and on and on.  You control your Oat Destiny!

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Amy likes her oats with craisins, brown suger and almond extract

Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for a couple days.  They get a little stale and slimy after more than three days or so.  

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img_2060Greater Cincinnati has a long history of celebration – not too much goes by on the calendar to which we don’t pay some form of homage. Any excuse will do for locals to get together and party with friends and family.  I mean we celebrate Goetta for heavens’ sake, ‘nough said.

But there is something extra special in southwest Ohio each year with the ides on the horizon and the faint smell of Spring in the air. Rain or shine, Gaelics and non gather together as equals, dress head to toe in green, sing along with songs no one really knows the words to and oh, drink like bead-cladden drunkards desperately crying out for an intervention the responsible and upstanding citizens we are.   And so it was this past weekend in the Queen City.

We took P down for her first St. Paddy‘s Day Parade. Parades are a crap-shoot for little ones. Half the problem is that unless you’re up at the crack o’dawn to scout out a front row seat (unlikely), there’s very little they can see from their vantage point. So you give them the option of sitting on your husband’s shoulders affording you the rare treat of having both parties complain incessantly – child due to loss of freedom and dad due to loss of blood flow to the brain. A treat for any and all in ear shot. 

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We made it through about half of the parade. The thing had well over 300 entries according to our parade mates Carla and Tom (Michelle and Kevin ventured down too).  And really, as a toddler, you see one blow up leprechaun, you’ve seen ‘em all. Our other parade mates, Mommybits and her crew had the same “been there, done that” vibe going on and so we retreated for some lunch at Rock Bottom Brewery.

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Mid-point in the Parade, boredom had set in

After lunch though, my little Irish lass was reborn. The Unlucky Charms were on the stage down at Fountain Square and P was instantly smitten. We spent another hour or two singing along (ok, murmuring and yelling OY when appropriate) and dancing, dancing, dancing. She had a fantastic time. Highly recommend the Charms if you come across them.  They’ll be at Molly Malones today at Noon (St. Patrick’s Day) – FREE WIFI!

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P made friends old and young, two-legged and four, she is definitely her father’s daughter in that she does not know a stranger. She even made a little love connection with a tiny little dancing Casanova. There were clearly serious sparks, but they’ve agreed to take things slow.

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All and all, a great day. P was exhausted and went down for a nap around 4:30 and didn’t wake up until 8:00 the following morn. A little St. Paddy’s Day present to Mom and Dad indeed.

So to all my Irish brethren and those who wish they were, even if only today: Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!

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As a treat the other day we made Sundaes here at the Chateau in Ohio.(As if living the life of a toddler – rent free, food handed to you along with clothing and recreational devices – were not enough.)

Sharing with Bella (Dog in OHio)? Yeah, not so much.

Thanks to all who entered!

random5I’ll be sending an email to Domestic Exordinaire, Jill and Psychmamma in a bit to get addresses so you can begin to sleep soundly again!

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Drool…everyon’s dirty little secret. But did you know that drool has a dirty little secret or two of it’s own?

 

According to the drool experts at Protect-A-Bed, you’ve got a lot more to worry about than looking less-than-sexy should you be unexpectedly awakened. 

Did you know that comfy pillow you long for all day is filled to the brim with what I lovingly refer to as GUNK: allergens, dust mites, and bacteria.  When you’re snoozing away, deep in REM or grabbing a quickie (nap, get your mind out of the gutter people) that drool acts as Miracle Grow to all the bacteria and allergens – creating a perfect pillowy point of putridness not fit for man nor beast.  And as you lay there, relaxing and rejuvenating, all those toxins are going nostril and who knows how that’s gonna end up for ya?  I’m getting the heebie-geebies just thinking about it.

new-image2Protect-A-Bed offers a line of pillow protectors to keep you bacteria and allergen free whilst you rest your weary head.  So do yourself a favor and check them out, then go and immediately soak your pillows in bleach or burn them.   

Want to win a set to try out?  Monday was National Napping Day, in its honor, leave a comment here telling me all about your favorite pj‘s.  Extra credit if you share a pic!  But don’t dally, you only have til Sunday  (3/15) at 11:59pm to enter.  Three winners will be chosen by Random.org at that time.  Good luck!  

61nbpbw2rjl_sl500_aa240_I’ve debated doing this post for a week now. It’s not an easy subject and certainly there is no humor to be found in it. But if my blog is to be my voice, a representation of the thoughts and feelings I’m having in the moment, then there is no way around it.

I know the following paragraphs risk alienating you. I’m well aware that many of my friends and readers have strong convictions on the subject matter and I want them to know that I respect their views immensely and hope they extend me the same. I’ll leave comments open, but please keep in mind that we are all adults here and respectful discourse is the only way we can effectively communicate.

A week or so ago, I heard bits and pieces about a little girl, only nine years old, in Brazil who was raped by her stepfather and subsequently had an abortion. The very thought of such a thing stops you in your tracks. Sure, I’m sadly aware that heinous things like this occur each and every day and we don’t need to look to Brazil to find endless evidence of evil in this world. The United States has plenty to go around. I could pontificate for hours on the need to protect our children but I know I would be preaching to the choir. Anyone reading this is already in agreement as they are most-likely a parent, loving mothers and fathers incapable of comprehending what would bring another human being, a parent no less, to the point that they would violate a child in this way – in any way.

But my writing today is not about the crime committed or the innocence lost. My anger today is focused at the Catholic Church – MY church – and it’s response to this matter. The Archbishop of Recife, Brazil excommunicated the girl’s mother as well as the doctors who performed the procedure. The Vatican this week sided with the Archbishop.

My liberal views are often at odds with the Catholic Church. My liberal views would probably be at odds with most faiths. But I’ve always felt there was a place for me in the Catholic Church despite our differences on: politics, homosexuality, the male-only priesthood, abortion. I’ve always thought that there was enough room in the pew for diverging opinions. For in my mind, it is my faith in God that brings me to my liberal beliefs in the first place.

I don’t champion abortion. I hate the very notion and need for abortion. Abortion is a terrible solution to a problem that I wish never existed. In the perfect world I envision, each and every baby conceived is welcomed with love and excitement and commitment. I look to the day when through better education, stronger family foundations and renewed responsibility to ourselves and others, no woman finds herself weighing the options between having a baby and having an abortion. But we are simply not there. And until we are, I can not stand and vote against a woman’s right to choose.

All that said, even if I found myself to the right of this argument, I can not imagine feeling differently about this particular matter. In Brazil, abortion is illegal unless the mother has been raped or could die as a result of the pregnancy. Both instances were present in this case. And I can’t imagine God’s law taking a different stance. This was a nine-year old girl, stripped of her innocence. Pregnant with twins, the stress and strain on her young body was life-threatening according to her treating physicians. The course taken by her mother and the doctor’s was the only option. The only chance this little girl had to heal…

I think the Catholic Church is out of step and unrealistic. This is clearly a case where compassion and love should have mattered more than rules and regulations. Abandoning this mother and this little girl at a time when their faith is weakest and their need greatest is appalling. God would never have turned his back on these souls and no church ever should.

I find myself being called to get back to basics in my relationship with God. All the dogma and doctrine I’ve been so concerned about all these years is getting me nowhere and seems to weaken my faith more than strengthen it. I can’t imagine not identifying as a Catholic, but I’m conflicted.

Perhaps the only answer here is turn to His words to see my way through this:

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing…

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 1-3; 13

My prayers go out to this family and I hope yours will too.

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Go ahead, GET LIPI!

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Digi-Scrapping Done Right

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LOSING IT IN CINCINNATI

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Why get so riled by the events of the world, you ask? Because…

"Becoming a mother makes you the mother of all children. From now on each wounded, abandoned, frightened child is yours. You live in the suffering mothers of every race and creed and weep with them. You long to comfort all who are desolate." Charlotte Gray
March 2009
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