Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Coffee, My Coffee - A Royal Confession

So this is the day I've been waiting for since I timidly asked her to guest post back earlier in the year expecting her to say no - and she said YES.  I think it must have had something to do with the day we met last year, I'm almost embarrassed to say wasn't sure exactly who she was until she handed me her card and I went OhEMGee I know you!  

Neither one of us had much knowledge of the other when we sat down at the table but we made a connection that day and admitted to each other that we felt familiar with one another like we had known each other already. Maybe if you've had the opportunity to meet her between BlogHer or a LTYM show among other major appearances with her other regular columns or in the school line showing off her poncho style, you know what I'm talking about. Maybe it's just a thing when bloggers meet and you know you instantly have something in common that makes it easier to feel at ease with someone you just met.  Either way, I'm very proud to have her here, you know her, you love her - she needs no introduction -  it's The Empress Alexandra from Good Day Regular Peopletalking the coffee talk and walking the coffee walk

Dear Coffee:

I love you.

I have always loved you. I never had to live the "don't know what ya got till it's gone" with you.

I know what I have. And I can't believe such a fine high is legal.

Coffee, my coffee, the perfect drink. Black gold. Brings you up, yet calms you down.

Like a good Colombian family, our day began with a pot of you always percolating on the stove. I received my very own first percolator at age three, which my Spanish grandmother would fill with coffee, and my brother and I would sit and sip in the warm, sweet smoothness of you. We were masters of slowly stirring in the cream till it was the perfect caramel brown, born knowing the mix of cream to caffeine, part of our Andean DNA.

I have never not known the power of caffeine, oh, no, not then, not now, not ever.

I understand all the coffee jokes, I get them -- I even poke fun at my own twitching eyes.

I confess that it was me that turned my innocent never exposed to this high octane lifestyle German husband down this indulgent espresso path. Poor soul, he never stood a chance. One morning, after a particularly focusing round of the bean, I had him convinced he could run for President and win. After one more cup, emitting a Howard Dean primal scream, he was submitting nomination papers.

You can have intelligent conversation when you hold a mug in your hand.
You are confident with a mug in your hand. You are clever. Witty. Sharp. Focused.
Ideas are firing off in your head like a little boy with a cap gun.You'd be left with such a good feeling, that at times I could scarcely believe this liquid was so cheap when I'd pay any price for it. Name it, SaveMart.

My days are built around coffee. Come downstairs, have that cup, instant vibrating good mood, and get it all done; the exercising, the smiling. The ideas for posts. Bing bing bing. 5,000 lined up and ready in draft and celebrate me! Woo hoo! Ima get stuff done today.

I'd finish one cup and start another. People would mention they were cutting down to two a day, and I'd quip, "yeah, me, too ... two POTS!"
Hilarious, coffee makes me hilarious.

On the days of that perfect, centering caffeine buzz, where the chemical balance of coffee ingested is just right that you love everybody and everything and Life is SO good! you look in the mirror and love that, too, with that adrenaline cherry flush in your cheeks and only the two second attention span to not stare much longer.

To those of you who know just what I'm talking about, your mouth  is already wetting and salivating as you read this. Your mind sees a  hot, fresh cup of coffee in your permanently coffee-mug clawed hand, fingers molded by the handle. You know you can smell it if you close your eyes. Ahhh ... nothing. like. it.

My three kids love me on the magic bean."You're so much fun, Mom, you chase us around!"

Yes, oh, yes, I do love my coffee.

But I get tired sometimes, of what feels like a secret that others make me feel I should be ashamed of.
I want to declare my love for coffee. I no longer want to live closeted about something that is so huge in my life. I want my lips loosed and I want to open the floodgates of truth. I can't hold in my secret two pot consuming lifestyle of choice any longer. 
I want to shout it Like this: COFFEE! I LOVE YOU!

I love you, coffee. I gaze at you in my steamy cup, I cradle you, both hands encircling my favorite mug this morning. I feel the warmth of you and the satisfying almost too hot sensation of you slipping down my throat. I gently blow across your smooth surface before I take that slow, measured sip; I close my eyes and softly inhale the steam rising from my cup. Oh, the magic of that vapor, the warm mist that opens up more than just your sinuses; the steam that gives way to confidences exchanged through softly intimate voices. I know these moments so very well.

I keep you around,  in small amounts, in a rolled up shiny off-white bag, hidden behind the vitamins, so that I can for a minutes here and there, open you and inhale you and linger on your seduction.
Dear wonderful coffee, how can you be so magically cheap? And so easy to get? I love you. Two pots a day and all.

You can understand why my love goes beyond deep for this Coffee Lovin' Empress (that has a nice ring to it) in more ways than just coffee talk, even though obviously we are kindred souls. This lady is going places - no joke, the biggest and the best is where she's at because as that saying goes, you get what you give. If you haven't read her personal blog, you've probably seen her somewhere out there.  If you really don't already know her, you must start now.  She is the epitome of what a true blogger is and is where she is today simply because of her authentic and humbly hilarious voice from the heart.  

I thank you SO much for being my featured guest this week - can't wait till we meet again, over coffee perhaps?  

She can be found on twitter @GDRPempress
and facebook at: Good Day, Regular People

So, I'm curious, do YOU have a Coffee Confession?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Disney Here We Come!

Oh yes, we are doing it...
Being that the kids are at the perfect age - 10 and 7, and they are old enough to remember this experience, I wanted to do this before it became uncool.  I knew walking around with strollers was not going to be my idea of fun and it was important to me that this be something that they will remember. Although my parents took me when I was 13, I still thought it was a good time even though we were too old to do the whole princess thing.  I do remember my dad being a bit ticked that we would rather stay at the hotel playing in the arcade.. (note to self: please remember this karma when they want to stay at the hotel and play on the water slides)

We will leave in the wee hours of the morning on Thursday, get on a 7am flight to Orlando - which will also be their first time on an airplane.  They have asked many questions about the airplane ride and they seem more excited than nervous.  If all goes as planned, we should be at our hotel early afternoon and settling in.  We have tickets for Sea World and Lego Land as well as two days at Disney.  My favorite part is that they think they have an idea about what is sure to completely blow their minds - and I will be a fly on the wall when it all goes down!

I'm trying my best not to plan everything and yet the mom in me is saying there has to be some sort of structure in all the chaos.  I think I have it down as to which days we will be where.  I also achieved "Best Mom Ever" status yesterday when I booked the appointment at the Bibbity Bobbity Boo Boutique which is the only thing we are really time restricted on so I think I'm doing okay.  

We've looked at maps of the parks and decided what the must do things are at each place.  I love the fact that both my kids want to visit the European countries at Epcot that we visited when we were in Europe.  My daughter especially can't wait to see a "real" Eiffel Tower. 

I plan to take a full memory card of photos and videos to bore you with when I come back. Please feel free to tweet me @coffeeluvinmom and remind me to take pictures because I always feel like I don't take enough.  Also, I always feel like I'm forgetting something even though right now I'm pretty well proudly packed, it's those last minute things that can't be forgotten that I usually leave out on the kitchen table, you know, so I don't forget them...

So tell me, have you been to Disney World?  How old were you (or your kids) and what's your favorite memory?  Do you have a good tip of advice for us before we go?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Town As Old As Dirt

The town we live in an hour an a half south of Chicago over here across the border is called Lowell, Indiana.  The third grade in the town takes a walking tour of it each year because of the history it represents.  Dating back to 1850, the town was once a hub for people on their way to Chicago.  My son's group had the last tour of it's kind which included the old middle school which has since been torn down.  Let's take a walk shall we?

From the back of my son's school, we went through a field and a parking lot to see the old Lowell School built in 1914.  It was last used as the middle school but was originally the high school graduating classes as early as 1919.

Built in 1914

Imagine how majestic this building must have looked back in the days when they were still riding horses to and from school..

From the school, we made our way on to the main road through town where we discovered what some of the buildings originally were including a salon that was a circa 1900 bank and rumored to be one of the last robberies of John Dillinger.

In between a couple of the buildings pictured above, you will find this sundries sign pointing you north to Chicago.  I hope they continue to refresh this sign as long as it needs it.

Original Fire House

A couple blocks north of our current 'main' street otherwise known as Route 2 is the old Main Street where you will find the original Lowell Public School built in 1896.  This building has been vacant for years and somehow continues to avoid being demolished.

Built in 1896

Our last stop was a couple blocks west on Main Street to visit the historic Halsted House built in 1850 which I could easily do an entire post on.  Mr. Halsted is responsible for the railroad coming through from Chicago which also helped in it being the booming city that it was.

Halsted House Built in 1850

Today, Lowell is a quiet little town with old buildings and shops with odd hours.  Many are family owned with a few unsupported shops have been closed altogether just in recent years.  I would love with my extra million dollars, to be able to open a coffee shop that would thrive - I just don't know where I would be able to put a drive-thru.

I love the small town feel and all the history that comes with it.

What is your favorite part of the town you live in?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hello Summer - Goodbye Swingset

Our summer officially started last weekend..
We are still unloading bags and loading up others.
This summer will be one to remember as it started out with a bang -
 we finally got rid of the beloved and much used swing set.

The swing set we bought at our last house the summer we moved in  there, when Rhiannon was a baby and David was two. We started with a baby swing in place of one of the swings and eventually added the teeter totter when they got big enough for it.  There were many happy swinging days spent, teetering, gliding and sliding.  They especially loved the summer we put a pool at the bottom of the slide.

After moving with us here to this house in 2008, it survived another couple years before losing the swings that are now attached to trees for higher, more stomach dropping swinging capacities. Soon the swing set was used more for hanging upside down than anything else. 

We made the decision at the end of last summer that it would be the last but of course we were talked into keeping it until this spring when the glider literally broke out from under feet that were clearly too heavy. It became more of a hazard than anything else at that point so we took it apart through pleads.  We brought it down to the end of the driveway, each carrying a couple pieces.  As dad brought the slide down, there were sad faces and a request to go down the slide that had been pretty much vacant for the last couple years "just one last time?".

As she sat at the top of the slide, she put her hands in the air like she was little again, like it was going to be the ride of her life.  At that moment I thought about all the happy years that swing set brought and I hoped she remembered some good times too. She gave out a good whee on the way down and that was it.  
The end of an era. 

Best $125 I have ever spent.  Lasted a memorable seven years with no major injuries. Haven't gotten that good a return on anything I've invested in yet.  Now we move on to bigger like a tree house and better like a zip line - the thrills just aren't what they used to be..

What's something you invested in for your kids that has had the best value and return?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Coffee Filters aren't just for Coffee anymore..

We have talked about the uses of your old coffee grounds - today we share a little known discovery many people don't think much about: coffee filters. If you are anything like me, you go about your routine, fighting with and then filling the filter appropriately, getting the coffee made post haste every morning on auto pilot.  Have you ever used a coffee filter for something other than coffee?  Here are some inventive uses for coffee filters in case you ever wanted to step outside that box..


1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.  

2. Clean windows, mirrors, and chrome...  Coffee filters are lint-free so they'll leave windows sparkling.

3.  Protect China by separating your good dishes with a coffee filter between each dish.

4.  Filter broken cork from wine.  If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.
5.  Protect a cast-iron skillet.  Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust. 

6.  Apply shoe polish.  Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.  

7.  Recycle frying oil.  After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee filter. 

8.  Weigh chopped foods.  Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale. 

9.  Hold tacos.  Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods. 

10.  Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot.  Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes. 

11.  Prevent a Popsicle from dripping.  Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter. 

12.  Do you think we used expensive strips to wax eyebrows?  Use strips of coffee filters.. 

13.  Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, chicken fingers, etc on them..  It soaks out all the grease.  

14.  Keep in the bathroom.  They make great "razor nick fixers." 

15.  As a sewing backing.  Use a filter as an easy-to-tear backing for embroidering or appliqueing soft fabrics. 

16.  Put baking soda into a coffee filter and insert into shoes or a closet to absorb or prevent odors. 

17.  Use them to strain soup stock and to tie fresh herbs in to put in soups and stews. 

18 .  Use a coffee filter to prevent spilling when you add fluids to your car. 

19.  Use them as a spoon rest while cooking and clean up small counter spills. 

20.  Can use to hold dry ingredients when baking or when cutting a piece of fruit or veggies.  Saves on having extra bowls to wash. 

21.  Use them to wrap Christmas ornaments for storage. 

22.  Use them to remove fingernail polish when out of cotton balls. 

23.  Use them to sprout seeds.  Simply dampen the coffee filter, place seeds inside, fold it and place it into a zip-lock plastic bag until they sprout. 

24. Use coffee filters as blotting paper for pressed flowers.  Place the flowers between two coffee filters and put the coffee filters in phone book.

25.  Use as a disposable "snack bowl" for popcorn, chips, etc.

I will be remembering this next time I'm out of cotton balls.  
So which ones did you already know about?  Which one do you think you would use? Do you know of another handy use that wasn't mentioned? Leave a comment and let us know.


Java Joe Mamas