Saturday, March 24, 2012

I love my life, I hate my life!

To say that life around our house has been a bit chaotic and crazy these last few weeks would be an understatement!  Having survived the last couple of weeks and sitting now in front of the computer much less stressed than I have been, I can say that I am glad that Spring Break is here.  And while we are not traveling to some great tropical or amusement park location like many others, I am grateful that we'll have the week to be at home and just be.  We need that after the last few weeks.

The auction at the girls' school was a big success, but that project took much more time than I envisioned.  There were lots of little details at the end that seemed to consume my afternoons and evenings when I wasn't taking the girls to their various activities.  We came home with 2 of my favorite auction baskets - the Craft Basket and the Backyard Garden basket - so my girls were happy too.  We've already used many of the craft items and spent our gift card at Michael's yesterday picking up a few more new fun things to do over Spring Break.  It's been so beautiful here in Columbus this week that I'm thrilled to go cash in our gift card to Darby Creek Nursery.  The birds are chirping loudly in our front tree just begging for more food to be placed in the new bird feeder.  The littlest one won a giant doll house in the raffle which pleased and delighted her to no end. She had a hard time waiting for her name to be drawn out of the raffle basket, and I'm not sure what might have happened had her name NOT been called. She was adamant that the doll house was hers.  All in all, it was  a great night of fun , and we helped raise some money for the teachers and the students, so that made it all worth while!

Last Saturday, I worked a full day at a gym meet being sponsored by our gym (where the 8 year old does gymnastics).  We, too, had a successful event which means that our Booster Club will be able to sponsor some great activities for the kids and give a portion of our meet fees back to the parents which is great too.  My legs were aching, however, at the end of the day!

John has been traveling for work, so much of the last few weeks has been done as a solo parent.  That has made it all a bit crazier than usual.  We miss him in many ways when he is gone, but hopefully we are able to all show our appreciation for him more when he returns.

In the midst of all these crazy days, we have been eating healthy homecooked meals.  But because my photography skills are not my strength, I haven't had the patience to try to photograph the dishes and the process it takes to create them.  I have such admiration for other bloggers who seem to be able to do this task so easily.  How do they manage to photograph the food and get it on the table for the hungry eaters and still keep up with laundry and house cleaning and running errands and going to kids' activities?!  I'm still working on that one!

Ree Drummond over at The Pioneer Woman is one of those bloggers.  I just love her photography and her writing style.  I have become a regular viewer of her show, too, and love her personality and am fascinated by her ranch life.  She appears so genuine and kind, and I love her dry sense of humor.  Her hair is fantastic, too.  I love long red hair, but even though my hair is red, it does not look good long.  So, I have always worn it short or moderately short.   And her food. . . well. . . it's just comfort and bliss.  And comfort food is what I like best.  Several of her recipes have been tried out by our eaters and given rave reviews.

Wednesday, as I was coming down from my couple weeks of craziness, I popped open my e-mail to read a few blog updates while waiting for a load of wash to finish spinning out.  Waiting in my inbox was my daily dose of The Pioneer Woman's wisdom on Confessions of a Pioneer Woman.  I couldn't believe when I read in her post that she was on her way to Columbus, OH, for a book signing.  I quickly switched windows and opened up Barnes and Noble's website and saw that she was indeed coming to Columbus for a 6:00 pm book signing.

This was the moment that I realized, "I love my life; I hate my life!"  It was one of those 10 year old temper tantrum/extreme feeling kind of moments.  That morning I was so grateful that I had survived the last couple of crazy weeks and so grateful for my 3 beautiful, healthy, active children, and my loving husband who provides so much for us.  I was so grateful that my girls can experience so many extras like gymnastics, and singing group and scouts and go to a great school and have friends.  And I have a house that I love making our home.  But because of all those wonderful things, I could not do the one thing on a spur of a moment that I would really love to do - meet Ree Drummond in person.   Wednesdays is our craziest schedule day and our laundry is still piled up from the last several days because our washer was having some technical difficulties.  How can I take some time to go off and meet some famous person?

So, I headed over to Barnes and Noble around 5 figuring I would have plenty of time to get in line, get her book signed, and then still make it to our Brownie meeting a bit late.

Well, guess what happens when you are as kind and genuine and personable in real life as you are on tv or on your blog or in your books?

You take time with each person that has come in to meet you.  And a lot of people want to meet you because you are such a really great person.  Like 250 people who thought to come and get a ticket before 5:00!  And at least 250 more people who came in after 5:00!

I left Barnes and Noble at 10:00 pm.  But it was worth it!  It was really a life experience to stand around and talk with so many others who share my passion of food and fascination of her ranch life.  It was remarkable to see how her story has reached people (mostly women) of all ages and backgrounds and how far some had driven to come and meet her.

I had never been to a book signing, so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect.  I was texting my husband to clarify a few things about our schedule, so I was standing near the front door of the store to get a strong cell signal, sort of behind the display for the Nooks.  I was trying to just stay out of everybody's way because I don't really like crowds. 

It turned out to be the perfect place to stand, however, as I was about 8 feet from her signing table when she arrived at the store and gave a 30 minute slide show presentation about her life (just in case there were people there who didn't know who she was!).   I watched her interact with about the first 50-75 people in line, and I was so amazed at how much time she would take with each person as she signed their books and took pictures with each and every one!  She never stopped smiling and seemed so humble.  Later her Marlboro Man came in and he caused quite a commotion.  He, too, is just a very humble, personable man and much thinner than he looks on tv, despite eating all her yummy butter laden foods.  He was wearing his Wranglers and his hat, but I won't talk too much about that as my husband is a follower of the blog!

"To Jill, The Queen of the Easy Meal
Love, Ree D"

Ree is just as sweet as she can be!  And our hair is exactly the same color!  She's also a lot thinner in real life than she appears on tv.  How can that be with all her delicious food?  Maybe I need to eat a little less of it?!  Or maybe I need to go out and chase after some wild mustangs or walk the hills of the prairie rather than just the aisles of Target and Kroger?!

Ree's new book, The Pioneer Woman Cooks Food From My Frontier, is well worth the money!  It has many of the recipes that have been included on her show plus lots of other delicious looking ones I can't wait to try out.  I think the two that we'll try this week are the lemon blueberry pancakes and the apple dumplings.  Her photography skills have continued to improve and she's added a lot of new twists to some old comfort food favorites. 

So, at the end of the day. . . I love my life, I love my life!

Thank you, John, for saying I should go!  It was worth it!

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