Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Voice Across the Miles

I love where I live in New England - gorgeous small towns, rich in history. Since having Daniel I feel the miles between the East Coast and my parents in Wisconsin even more keenly, however. We work hard to stay in touch - weekly phone calls (OK, sometimes more!), and we invested in a webcam a year or so ago. We visit there, and they visit here as often as we can but 1,200 miles is no short hop for any of us.

In honor of Grandparents Day - September 13th will be the holiday's 30th anniversary - I'm showcasing the website While the wording across the site "speaks" to Grandparents, I think there are lots of helpful tidbits about families and keeping connected across the generations.

Daniel and I tested out a feature called YourVoice. Easy as anything you can dial the YourVoice phone number, record a message, and have it sent to the Grandparents (or, of course, Grandma and Grandpa back to the grandkids) over the computer where it can be played at any time. The steps were very easy - I think my main problem was Daniel is not a "phone talker kinda kid" at present.

Grandparents Day is coming up soon - whether you have a long distance to cover (one of Daniel's best buddies has a Grandma in Colombia), or your family is right next door - I highly recommend checking out this site. Everyone loves a special message just for them!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hello Summer!

Summer has landed here in New England. There was a haze to the air as I drove to the local farm stand to grab some sweet corn today. Online weather spots were making dire predictions about the heat index... it's mid-August, and I know it's supposed to be hot. We've just had a hugely mild (and overly rainy) Summer thus far. Wonder if we will have a warmer Fall to balance things out?

It was a magical birthday weekend, with a Princess party to attend on Saturday and Daniel's very own Knight party on Sunday. We are now getting back into the (hot, sticky) swing of things this week.

Congrats to Andrea, the winner of The Good Home Cookbook giveaway. I'm thinking we should all head over to her house for some homemade Pad Thai and pesto and cheese cannelloni!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Good Home Cookbook - Giveaway!

I think I've confessed this before, but I'll say it again: I'm a wannabe foodie. Love to eat and try new things. Some of my favorite blogs have a food component like Bakerella and The Pioneer Woman. I think I even indulged in a subscription to Cooking Light once upon a time. My actual skills in the kitchen - meh, not so much. I'm pretty sure I was engaged a very short time before someone started asking if H knew what he was in for when it came to my cooking.

Thank goodness for cookbooks. Follow a recipe, I can do. The Good Home Cookbook contains more than 1,000 classic American recipes and bills itself as the only cookbook entirely tested in home kitchens across America. This piqued my interest a bit, as Richard J. Perry states in his introduction: "What is a classic American recipe? ...a recipe that has been handed down from generation to generation in various forms, from cookbooks to menus - recipes that have withstood the test of time." Home cooking can mean so many things to so many people. Whether it's Grandma's pasta, or Dad's burgers on the grill.

I like the organization of this book. Chapters group the recipes by Breakfast, Lunch, Salads, Meat, Soups, Vegetables, Pies Cakes and Cookies, and more. I'm usually trying to wrap my brain around a particular meal, so I think this would be helpful. There are various appendices that get into more technical stuff such as canning and pickling, freezing and thawing and so forth.

Just a quick flip into the book has my taste buds dancing over a yummy-sounding breakfast frittata, which even has suggested variations of broccoli, spinach and herb, and goat cheese. Many recipes begin with a tiny paragraph (or less) describing the dish and sometimes it's origin, which tickles the storyteller in me as well.

I have one copy of The Good Home Cookbook to give away to a lucky reader!

1. Hot weather and a picky preschooler both challenge me in the kitchen these days. To enter, leave a comment and tell me your family's favorite home cooked dish.
2. For an additional entry, subscribe to this blog via email or reader and leave a comment telling me that you have done so.
3. For an additional entry, follow me on Twitter at @Smittens05.
4. Tweet about this contest for an additional entry. Be sure to include @Smittens05 so that I can see your tweet!

Contest ends on August 15th. Winner to be announced on Monday, August 17th.