Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Every October, we have our own version of Oktoberfest.  Out holiday is centered around the making of sausage.  I own a Kitchen-Aid Mixer (best wedding gift ever) and have the grinder and sausage stuffer attachments.  We were listening to Frank Yankovic & Friends - Songs of the Polka King at full volume.  (This is a very funny CD and we highly recommend it.  Here is one of their songs so that you can get a sense of their sense of humor.)

We had ground four pounds of various meats and were mixing in all the herbs and spices when we got The Phone Call.  Our house is for sale and we had potential buyers that wanted to look at the house.  Now, this doesn't sound like much of a problem until you realize how messy of a cook I am.  Add a six year old daughter, a kitchen strewn with equipment, all three of our arms up to our elbows in raw meat and the problem becomes more apparent.  The semi-mixed meat got throw in the fridge, the grinder got quickly disassembled, things hurriedly cleaned and put away, and then we were running out of the house just before they arrived.  We stuffed the sausage later and then got to eat it.

It was our first attempt to make Bockwurst and it was great!

(Picture from the Food Network)

Dancing With the Stars - Latin Cardio - Verdict

Since I enjoy dancing, I thought I would try out one of the Dancing With the Stars workout DVDs.

The routines appear to be done on the same set as the show.  There are some background dancers that surround the instructors.  They proved to be helpful especially during Cheryl's sections.  While you can customize the dance workout, here is the Play All routine.

Cha Cha
Toning Work-Out

This really wasn't that fun of a workout.  Even the background dancers didn't appear to be having a good time.  Cheryl gave her instructions leadenly.  Maks was definitely the better of the two.  He gave frequent reminders (both verbal and nonverbal) about holding in your stomach and utilizing it in the steps.  Cheryl taught the Samba and I was totally confused on how to do the basic "bounce" step.  Oddly enough, I was watching Dr. Oz and Maks showed up to teach the audience how to do the samba (for exercise).  There, I learned that I had been doing the technique incorrectly.  I did the routine again after the Dr. Oz segment and still had trouble with Cheryl's instruction.  Luckily, there was a blond dancer with really good hip action that I could follow.

(This is the only clip that I could get on my blog.  It does have some scenes from the video.)

Maks also had the funniest quote on the DVD.  "I can't see you but I think that you're doing fine."  I broke out laughing.

I wouldn't recommend this DVD.  It just felt like so much was lost in translation and I just didn't really enjoy myself.

Hummingbird Farewell Fiesta

Since we live in the country, we have a large amount of hummingbirds that visit our feeder.  As winter approaches, they start to fatten up for their yearly migration to Mexico.  Before they leave, they look like ping pong balls with wings.

(This picture is from another website.  Our birds aren't quite this size but pretty close.)

Our home group leaves but then we have waves of traveling birds.  Suddenly, these really thin birds arrive.  They'll drain the feeders, fatten up and fly off, too.

To mark the beginning of the migration season, we have a Hummingbird Farewell Fiesta.  I have a really good picture of a hummingbird that we place a sombrero on and he becomes our guest of honor.  Meredith and I made a bunch of tissue paper flowers for the centerpiece.

I made a contemporary spin on traditional Mexican Fiesta food -- Bacon-Flavored Gorditas with Roasted Poblano Guacamole from Rick Bayless' book Mexico One Plate at a Time.  We listened to Cajunto during dinner and talked about the hummingbirds' upcoming adventures in Mexico.  We'll sure miss the noisy fellas.

Alternative Holidays

I don't know if I'm the only person but I feel overwhelmed by the holidays.  There are always such high expectations.  Between the extreme decorating, party hosting, extended family feeding, etc., I get to the point where I don't even enjoy the day.  Christmas is the worst!  Having to add thoughtful presents to the mix and a month's worth of activities wipes me out.  So, I rebelled.  Oh, we still celebrate the major holidays but I've given up competing with Martha Stewart.  I try do the minimum that keeps me in the "good parent club".

(We don't celebrate Festivus but this was too funny to pass up.  I was looking up pictures of alternate holidays and ran into this classic Seinfeld reference.  The picture's website lists their yearly grievances on comics and TV.)

Instead, we celebrate Alternate Holidays.  Nobody has expectations or a predetermined vision of these.  Since I'm a food person, most of them center around food.  My daughter and I normally make some type of decoration but not always.  We keep it "in the immediate family" and drop/add holidays at will.  It's great!