Saturday, April 30, 2011

Life in a Small Town

Today is one of those days when I realize that life in a small town is wonderful. First, I slept in while my husband got up (not too early, but earlier than me) and headed to our local park (6 blocks away) to lead a meeting for the summer umpires for our local recreational baseball/softball program. Bruce officiates high school softball and baseball games and therefore, is very educated on rules, etc. He is the perfect person to be in charge of arranging umpires for the summer rec games. He not only serves on the baseball/softball board but also on our local park board and is sort the liaison between the two. He enjoys doing what he did with the young people this morning and that makes me happy.

Our daughters informed me that after they ate breakfast, they too were headed to the park (pretty much just to hang out and see what's going on there today). This is not a problem for me whatsoever since we live in a small town. The park is close, B1 has a cell phone, the girls have been lectured about safety and talking to strangers, etc. and they can just ride their bikes and be there in a few minutes.

After I ate breakfast, I received a phone call from Bruce asking me to run B1's softball bag to the park because her rec team (which she will play with when she isn't playing on her other team) was practicing and we didn't know about that. No problem.....not a big deal for me to run it out there since we are so close! I quickly brushed my teeth and got dressed and headed to the park. On the way, I drove past the home of a family I have known my whole life. The father was just standing outside by his garage, doing nothing much. He waved of course. We wave to everyone around here, whether we really "know" them or not. Then after I took the bag to B1, I drove back through town where I had some mail to drop in the mailbox outside the post office. Who was inside the post office but my father, who came out to say hello, dressed in his finest gardening clothes and lovely shoes! Ha! I went on down the street and passed a couple (parents of one of my very best friends) who walks together just about every morning. I waved at them. Then I went to the bank drive-thru where I was greeted with a "Hi Beth!" from someone I have probably known most of my life. I then headed back to the park to walk (we have a nice walking trail) and while doing so, was able to watch B2 play on the playground with a little boy who's father and Bruce have been friends since birth. This kind of stuff doesn't happen just anywhere!

Later when it was time to leave, it was really windy and B2 didn't want to ride her bike back home so we loaded it into the back end of my SUV, kept the hatchback up, and she held onto it from the back seat while I drove slowly to our house. No, not the safest thing to do, but a small town, just something that we DO do.

I haven't put a bit of make-up on yet today and we are soon headed to the neighboring town to purchase flowers to plant outside. I'm sure we will run into someone we know there as well!

Love, Love, Love life in my small town!

"Well I was born in a small town
And I live in a small town
Prob'ly die in a small town
Oh, those small communities

All my friends are so small town
My parents live in the same small town
My job is so small town
Provides little opportunity

Educated in a small town
Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town
Used to daydream in that small town
Another boring romantic that's me

But I've seen it all in a small town
Had myself a ball in a small town
Married an L.A. doll and brought her to this small town
Now she's small town just like me

No I cannot forget where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be

Got nothing against a big town
Still hayseed enough to say
Look who's in the big town
But my bed is in a small town
Oh, and that's good enough for me

Well I was born in a small town
And I can breath in a small town
Gonna die in this small town"

(Lyrics from the song "Small Town" by John Cougar fitting!)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pesto Meatballs

It's been awhile since I've done a post about food. I did a lot of cooking today so I thought it would be a good day for one of these types of posts. I had to prepare a salad to take to Easter dinner tomorrow. I made one called wonton salad, a recipe I got from a lady who was a student in a summer class I took a few years ago. It has only 4 ingredients: lettuce of your choice, chicken, red pepper, and crunched up baked wonton wrappers. The dressing is sweet and sour with sesame seeds in it. It's really a yummy salad and I am excited to eat it tomorrow as it has been awhile since I've had it. I didn't take any pictures of the salad.....maybe tomorrow.

I knew that I also wanted to make a new recipe I saw recently in a magazine. This one called for all ingredients which I had on hand except roasted red peppers and ricotta cheese. I checked online and found that I could substitute cottage cheese, cream cheese, or even sour cream for the ricotta. I had all 3 of those on hand so that was no big deal. I also had a jar of pimentoas on hand which would have worked in place of the red peppers. But.....I also had 2 red peppers in the fridge (because the salad above calls for 1-2 red peppers). I knew that I could try to make my own roasted red peppers with one of these, which is exactly what I did!

I went online and looked up how to roast a red pepper. I had read this in the past but never tried it so I forgot how to do it. They gave 3 options: on the grill (I wasn't planning to be outside in our awful rainy weather today), on a gas stove (which I don't have), or in the oven using the broiler. This was my method of choice. I basically had to keep an eye on the peppers and turn them every few minutes. When the skin turned black, I then pulled them out and put them in a bowl with an airtight lid for awhile to let the steam do its work. About 30 minutes later, I pulled that black skin off and then diced them. Voila! Roasted red peppers! How exciting! They tasted really good too!

Please excuse the crappy quality of the picture here. At this point, I didn't know I was going to blog about this and I took this picture with my phone simply to send to my foodie friend Katie! I knew she would be excited for me!

I've never made meatballs before! I know that sounds crazy but it's true. The thing that attracted me to these particular meatballs is that they are called "Pesto Meatballs." I love pesto!

Last summer, I had a basil plant on my front steps in a pot and it grew like crazy! I couldn't use all of the basil it was producing so every so often, I would pick a bunch of the leaves and make my own pesto. I froze it in an ice cube tray and now I have 2 bags of pesto cubes in my freezer (well, I only probably have 1 bag left by now). So when the recipe called for "prepared pesto," I have that on hand! Yay!

Look at all the yummy goodness that you can actually see in these meatballs.....the green specs are the pesto (basil), you can see onions, and of course my roasted red pepper!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pictures From The Weekend

On Friday, I traveled with B2 to Memphis where we met the rest of her softball team. They played in a tournament there (actually in northern Mississippi, just south of Memphis) but didn't do so well. It was good experience though. Here is B2 at the plate when she is beginning her run to 1st base.

Here she is pitching.

I left Memphis around 4:40pm yesterday (Saturday) in order to be home for B1's Presentation Sunday today. Here she is this morning. I have a picture of her taken in this exact same spot back in 1999 on her first day of Sunday School, which honestly seems like last week. Today is one of her last. Sniff sniff.

Here she is in church giving her speech.

We are very proud of both of our daughters this weekend and always. We love you B1 and B2!