Friday I’m In Love (with these things)

Friday I’m In Love (with these things)

If you’re too young to remember The Cure’s Friday I’m In Love, then you’re too young to be reading this site. 😉 Sorry!

Kidding.

There are some things this week that I’ve really loved and I’m going to share them right here and now.

** My friend wrote about Taking Back Christianity. I’m not sure I’ve read anything I’ve agreed with so much in my entire life. Or at least this month. She hit the nail right on the head.

** The Bloggess is coming to Atlanta next week. I KNOW! I’m definitely going and it sounds like I’ll have a few other girls going with me.

** Angie, my Phickles Pickles friend, has taken #FineChinaFriday and the #TeacupRevolution to a new level. Her new addition, Hottie, was born with a china teacup in its paw.

** Speaking of #FineChinaFriday… play along! Pull out that dusty china, silver or crystal and enjoy whatever you’re having for dinner on it. (Guys, you can put Mom’s breakfast on it on Sunday morning, too — hint hint!)

** My baby is about to finish his first grade year. WHEN DID HE GROW UP? He had a crossover ceremony for Scouts on Tuesday and it was all kinds of adorable.

** It was a week ago now, but if you missed the May The Fourth Be With You party, well, you missed out completely. I promise there’s another post coming about the food and all that. But for now, you just get pictures of the fun! (ps: I assume they give out Mother of the Year awards on Mother’s Day?)

** I get to see my best friend this weekend. We’re going to the lake/pond and she’s going to be doing our photo shoot for the Band Back Together 2013 calendar. Yep. Jason AND I are going to be in a calendar. How awesome is that? I mean, it’s because we have a kid that died so I’d rather NOT have to be in a calendar, but yeah. Never been in one so this is kinda fun!

That’s all I know right now.

Wishing you all a beautiful weekend and peaceful Mother’s Day.

ps: Men, don’t forget to help the littles get a gift for mom.

pps: If you know someone who has lost a baby and has empty arms, make sure you acknowledge that she, in fact, is a mother. There’s nothing in the world more painful than a Mother’s Day with no baby in your arms.

 

#FineChinaFriday

#FineChinaFriday

I grew up around fine things. China, crystal, sterling flatware and holloware. My grandparents (and then parents) owned a jewelry store that also sold giftware and dinnerware.

In the later years, the bridal registries slowed down with the advent of department store and online registries and OMG TARGET! But over the 65 years our store was open, thousands of couples registered at our store for fine and casual china, crystal and flatware.

A lot of girls had sterling flatware or fine china handed down from a grandparent or parent, but most people wanted to register for their own. Great thought went into the decision. My grandmother would set their choices up as if they were being used on the big mahogany table we had in the china section. She would let them look at everything together, with different flatware, different crystal, different color tablecloths, everything.

Brides would spend sometimes hours in our store choosing just the right items.

I don’t have to tell you what happened to the complete 12 place settings they all ended up with (at an average in today’s prices of probably $175 per place setting) do I? It was placed nicely in a china cabinet for all to see, but never to touch.

If the china and crystal was ever used, it was at Christmas, Thanksgiving and maybe Easter. A romantic evening may call for it, but probably not.

The silver was meticulously placed in a tarnish-preventive box and taken out only to polish and for those holidays.

When I was about 8,  Mimi (my grandmother) took me to the silverware wall and asked me to choose a sterling pattern. Yes, I was only about 6 months older than Henry is now when I chose the flatware I wanted for the rest of my life. Even when I was 8, I appreciated simple with deep engraving.

Old Maryland Engraved by Kirk.

My sister chose her pattern 4 years later when she was 8. Hers was more elaborate and ornate. She and I are so different. I would’ve never in a million years chosen what she did, but she still loves hers now.

Every year for Easter, our Easter basket contained a piece of our sterling flatware. Plastic grass, Peeps, some other crappy candy and a sterling fork. Or knife, spoon, tomato server, serving fork, ladle, etc. You get it. We cherished the candy more, though. I mean, what 10 year old wouldn’t?

Jason and I got engaged and I didn’t have to think long about choosing a china and crystal pattern. I’d picked it out a thousand times over… every time I was at the store working. It was always on the top shelf and nearly always in the center. Nobody ever picked the china on the top shelf. It was expensive. But in my opinion, it was the only one to get.

Pickard is a china that is made in the USA and in 1977 it was chosen to manufacture the official china used in embassies and other locations around the world by the Department of State. It’s been the china of choice for Presidents, Queens, Kings, hotels and the US Air Force. Obviously it’s good stuff.

I chose a pattern with a beautiful cobalt and platinum band on an ivory bone china.

Lincoln by Pickard. 

I did give Jason the choice between two different Waterford patterns for our crystal. He chose the one I really wanted, mainly because it had the best highball glasses.

Kildare by Waterford. 

So before I tell you about my big plan that a few other bloggers are going to be helping me spread the word about, I want to tell you a secret.

I use my sterling flatware every single day.

Yup. And there’s more.

I put it in the dishwasher and have every day since 1998.

I’ve polished it one time since then.

It actually looks better now than it did when I got it!

Catch your breath. One more.

I don’t even own a set of stainless.

Ok. So, what’s this plan I have?

We’re going to have #FineChinaFriday.

I hope you read that like I say it. You have to read it in the most Southern accent you can muster. Some of you won’t have to try too hard, I’m afraid!

What’s #FineChinaFriday, you ask? Great question!

On Fridays, I challenge you to take out your china and eat supper on it.

You have questions and I have answers.

“But Jana, I’m having spaghetti (insert pizza, beans and rice, takeout Chinese, etc) for supper.”

But SuzieQ, spaghetti tastes so much better on china and with a sterling spoon. And we ALL know wine tastes better in real crystal. I’m very serious. Your bland spaghetti will taste so much better with your fancy stuff. I promise.

“Don’t I have to hand wash all this?”

You can. Manufacturers say so. I don’t. My grandmother never did. My fine china with a platinum band goes in the dishwasher when it’s used.

The trick is (pay attention) to leave it in the dishwasher until it’s completely cooled down… like a few hours or overnight. The gold/platinum bands actually get hot enough to get soft so you want to make sure it cools down all the way to harden back up. This is very important. Your crystal and silver will be fine. I’ve tested mine for 13 years. However, I can’t be held responsible for any broken pieces. Do what you want with the information given!

“My husband thinks it’s dumb.”

Ask him right now if he thinks that it’s dumb that you likely have $2000 worth of china, $2000 worth of crystal and (if you have sterling) (holy crap this number is high) $5000-7500 worth of sterling in your cabinets that aren’t being used? Does he think THAT is dumb? I’m sure he does.

“It seems silly to take it out of the cabinet just to use one time.”

It’s possibly one more than it’s been taken out before. Just sayin’.

“Do we have to eat at the dining room table, too?”

If you want. Or at TV trays. Or just on your lap at the sofa. I recommend the dining room table because why not?

“What if the kids break one?”

Then buy a new one. No. I don’t mean buy a new kid. Buy a new plate. Or glass. Or don’t. If you don’t use it and only look at it, what does it matter? It’s just a thing. I promise. It’s JUST. A. THING.

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Consider this your invitation, engraved on linen paper, to join us as we start spreading the word about #FineChinaFriday. Maybe we can make it a trend that others pick up on. Maybe it will take over the world and instead of Friday nights being boring for us old married folks with kids, we can put the fun back in it by being fancy!

So pull out a few pieces of china and crystal to clean it up. Polish some of your silver and get ready for Friday.

Don’t have fine china? Do you use paper plates? Use real plates instead. Do something fancier than normal. Enjoy it!

If you have a blog? Blog about it. (Grab the button up there)

Put pictures on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Google +. Pin them to Pinterest or post them wherever. (use the hashtag whenever possible – #FineChinaFriday)

Don’t want to do any of that? That’s fine. Just get your fine stuff out and enjoy using it.

Remember that a lot of people spent a lot of time choosing it and buying it for you. It’s a shame to let it sit and collect dust.

What are you waiting on? A special day? Well, make Friday your special day.

Friday Fun: Brussels Sprouts

Friday Fun: Brussels Sprouts

Nope, you’re not getting a recipe! This is even more awesome than a recipe for roasted almond crusted brussels sprouts!

Did you know that they are my favorite vegetable in the world? Yes, I’m one of the few who love them more than her shoes. Seriously. It’s nothing for us to eat them 4 or 5 times a week.

Today, we hit up Trader Joe’s for some GINORMOUS OLIVES for Jason’s dirty vodka martinis and lo and freaking behold, these were in the produce section.

 

Have you ever seen such gorgeous Brussels Sprouts? And for sale on the stem? Oh, it was all I could do not to buy the dozen or so stems they had out all at once. Alas, I bought one.

 

I love how they grow around the stem in a spiral. They certainly are gorgeous.

So we rode in the car and Henry told me all the things he thought they looked like. We decided we’d do a photo shoot when we got home with his new prop!

They can be a shotgun!

 

They can be a piano.

They can be the Statue of Liberty’s torch!

Obviously they can be a guitar!

Rock it, Henry, on your Brussels sprouts guitar! 

See? This is what childhood’s all about. He enjoyed playing with the sprouts, but I promise he won’t eat one. That’s fine. MORE FOR ME!!


The World’s Most Discombobulated Blog Post Ever

The World’s Most Discombobulated Blog Post Ever

Well, when I wrote yesterday about hating the heat and staying inside all summer, I apparently jinxed us. Our AC went out yesterday. Of course after the property management office closed. The beauty of renting is that somebody else will come fix our stuff, but the bad part is that you have to wait on them to get back to the office. If it was my house, I would have called an emergency AC repair place because boy howdy it  got toasty in here last night.

The boys slept upstairs in our room with the box fan (swag from Becky at Type A – she can’t sleep without one so we went to Target and bought one and I got to take it home), and I slept downstairs where it was a lot cooler even without a fan. But it wasn’t cool for long.

So now we’re sitting in the dark so we don’t heat up the house with lights, waiting for people to get to work and hear our voice mails and see our email about needing AC OMG RIGHT NOW.

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We’re leaving this afternoon to go down to Fort Valley for the weekend. Jason’s great-uncle died yesterday at the grand old age of 92. He was in fabulous health until just a few months ago when they found a brain tumor. He and Gordon (who we visited in NYC) were the last two siblings of TEN living. My heart hurts for Gordon, having outlived all of his nine brothers and sisters. I can’t imagine being without my ONE sibling, let alone NINE of them.

Side note: There were 10 children: 7 boys and 3 girls. All 7 boys served in World War 2. And ALL came home. Can you imagine the fear their mother felt while they were all gone?

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I posted the recipe for the peach sangria I made the other day. I now have two more variations. Exchange the peach puree for watermelon or cantaloupe puree. You’ll be glad you did.

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Oh Oh Oh! We have new shirts available for Band Back Together! You should definitely check them out and buy one or five. The proceeds are going to help us work through our non-profit filings.

Don’t you want THIS?

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I’m pondering writing a book. I know, right? PONDERING it. It’s not set in stone.

It’s not one that would be funny or anything (unless y’all have ideas for that). It will be a take-off on a post I wrote not too long ago. It’s been sitting on my heart and in my mind since then and I can’t shake it. So I think I’m gonna just go for it. Any thoughts and pointers are welcome!

(I’m also available for paid writing or blogging gigs if anybody knows anything that might be available.)

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How’s that for discombobulated? It’s how I’m feeling today. Pray that our air is fixed soon or else I’ll be hitting the sangria hard before lunchtime. We’ll be in the land of little-to-no internet this weekend so I’ll see you good people on Sunday!

High Five Friday

I’m having serious writer’s block. Actually, no. I’m not. I want desperately to write a long, hilarious post but I’m overthinking it. This week, for some reason, I’ve been very introspective and have posted several of my favorite posts I’ve ever written. A Wave, The Hand I Was Dealt and A Heart of Gold. Y’alls comments have just blown me away. I sat there and cried when I realized how much good there is in the world and how blessed I am to have people who are so wonderful around me. I’ve felt so validated in what I think, feel and do and what I write about both here and at Band Back Together.

So the funny just isn’t coming for some reason. Oh well.

But here are five great and funny-ish things that happened this week for you.

1. Soccer Practice: Oh my gosh. All those little 6-7-8 year old boys running around trying to kick a ball is freaking hilarious! It’s painful to watch though, knowing that with my luck, mine will be the one who ends up with a broken leg or arm or face. But he’s having fun so whatever!

2. Being Blindsided by a Scope: I had an appointment with a new ENT yesterday to try to figure out what to do about my chronic INABILITY TO BREATHE! He was a quick worker. Poking things in my ears, throat, checking my nose. Then he sprayed some high powered (and TOTALLY awesome) Afrin stuff in my nose. It was so awesome I tried to see where he put it but I couldn’t because his hand was in my face. I was sho’nuff gonna snag it for my own use. Then he says, as he’s spraying something else, that he’s spraying some lidocaine in my nose to check things out closer. Then he sticks a FIVE FOOT LONG SCOPE IN MY NOSE! Oops, did I say “feet?” I meant “inch.” At any rate, it was too long.

Turns out I have a deviated/curved septum, chronically enlarged turbinates and an “old” sinus infection. The bottom line is that I will end up having surgery. And I’m strangely excited about that! Right now I have 3 weeks of antibiotics, a nasal steroid and a nasal antihisthamine. I’ll have a CT scan in 3 weeks and then see him back to see where we go from here.

I’ve not been able to breathe for years and it’s gotten worse and worse over the last few years. Now I have to tell people I’m not sick everywhere I go because I’m always sniffing trying to get air.

3. Donuts with Dad: Yesterday at school was Donuts with Dad day. Jason took Henry and the school provides donuts and coffee/juice/milk and it’s a special little day. Jason was so impressed that Henry saw his friend Ben and his dad and went up and introduced Jason like this: “Ben, this is my Dad, Jason. Dad, this is my friend, Ben.” What a grown up little guy. MAKE HIM STOP GROWING!

4. We’re running a road race: Tomorrow. I know. I’ll give you a minute to laugh your (probabaly hungover) ass off.

…….

……

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Ok, you done? Let me rephrase. We’re walking a one mile “fun run” tomorrow at Henry’s school. It’s a PTA fundraiser and they do a 5K and a fun run. Clearly we’re in it for fun (and walking). If I don’t reappear on the blog or The Facebook or The Twitter by tomorrow at lunch, call 911.

5. New York: This isn’t really about THIS week, but it’s about NEXT week. Next week, Jason, Henry and Jason’s mom and I are heading to New York City for the weekend. Jason’s great uncle lives there and his mom has never been to visit him in the 50 or so years he’s lived there. We’ve got lots of great stuff planned and I can’t wait to start packing and getting organized. Me and my new camera will have lots of great photos for you when we’re back!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. It’s going to be gorgeous in the ATL this weekend and we hope to get some park (and camera) time in and hope it’s a work-free weekend for Jason.

Cheers!

 

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