Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The carrot, the egg and the coffee

A dear friend of mine emailed this little story to me today and I thought I would share it...

The Carrot, the egg, and the coffee

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee...You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up, she was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose..

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ' Tell me what you see.'

'Carrots, eggs, and coffee,' she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take
an egg and break it.. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, 'What does it mean, mother?'

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same
adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

'Which are you?' she asked her daughter. 'When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?'

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat?
Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial
hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my
shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain.. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.
When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.

Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

This sounds like my mother. My Mother is the consummate coffee bean.

My Mom has always encouraged me to think positively. Most of my life I resisted positive thinking, always affecting the "woe is me" attitude. Very much a carrot.

Through bad relationships, bad break-ups, missteps at school and work, natural and not-so-natural disasters, flooded basements, financial difficulties, and on and on, my Mom has always been there like a strong cup of coffee encouraging me and kicking me in the carrot-orange pants to get me back on track.

My husband, also, is a coffee bean. That man has overcome so much adversity (including living through several fires, being abandoned by his father when he was six, losing his mother just prior to our marriage) in his life, you would think he would be a carrot or an egg, but, no, he always has a smile on his face, is never in a bad mood and always manages to put a positive spin on things. He, too, has done his fair share of pulling me out of the dumps.

I have probably been more of an egg of late. I no longer wither and go limp, I lost that attribute long ago. Now I get hard and angry.

It's the times when I listened to my Mom and husband and approached a problem in a positive manner without wallowing in self pity or anger that I've actually been able to turn the situation around.

From this day forward I will strive to be a coffee bean with every fiber of my being (I resisted the urge to write "fiber of my beaning").

This morning provided the perfect opportunity to stretch my new-found bean-ness, if on a smaller scale. I dropped my little Carly off at her preschool (aside: the other two are staying at my parents' for a few days), and when I went to leave, she accidentally slammed the door up against the side of my face--OUCH!

Shake it off, Little Latte...I went on my way.

A little while later I was stitching out an order and noticed that the little bag I was embroidering had slipped a bit so I reached in to adjust it and darned if I didn't stitch through my finger--YOW!!! I started thinking, "It's going to be one of those days when everything goes wrong."

Whoa. Back up. That's exactly how an egg would see things.

What would a coffee bean do? (I can see the bumper sticker now, "WWACBD?")
After the small adversities I faced this morning, I decided I would channel my inner bean and go purchase some scratch off lottery tickets. I won $27.

I think I'll go buy a cup of coffee.

Another Suzi Homemaker giveaway

Okay--this is getting ridiculous! I keep giving stuff away...what's wrong with me? I've had a number of requests for reviews/giveaways from mom bloggers lately and I can't seem to say, "No."

The latest request was from Amanda at A Window to My Crazy Life . She has reviewed a couple of products for me and is now hosting a $30 giveaway. Just visit her blog, then visit my retail site (take your time, look around, make note of all of the new stuff I've added recently, make out your Christmas lists, tell all of your friends about all of the cute stuff), then go back to her blog and write a comment about what you would use the money toward should you win. The contest ends at noon CDT on Sept. 4, so scoot on over there and submit your comment. Winner will be chosen by

It is getting close to the holiday season and I do need to start earning some money to pay for presents for the fam, so I may need to slow down on the reviews for a bit and start actually selling some merchandise. I try to keep my prices reasonable, so I hope that you will keep Suzi Homemaker in mind when it comes to gift-giving this year!

P.S. I do know that there will be two more contests in the very near future, so I will keep you apprised of those!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Suzi Homemaker goes to the Democratic National Convention

Kind of, sorta.

Actually, I am finishing stitching up a rush order for the Federal Aviation Administration Emergency Operations division. They wanted some shirts to take to the Democratic National Convention with their logo and "DNC '08" stitched on the right sleeve. I was more than happy to oblige.

Make sure you tell all your friends where you got your cool shirts, FAA dudes! But leave out the part that says Suzi Homemaker is a Republican!!! Kind of, sorta...

A Wrestling Addicted Mommy helped out Suzi Homemaker

I wanted to write a public acknowledgement and thank you to Gina (a.k.a. A Wrestling Addicted Mommy), who took pity on poor bloggily-challenged Suzi Homemaker and made her a fancy new banner (see above) and button (pictured at left).

Gina took time out from her own blogging duties to craft these little cuties (did you notice that rhyme?) for me so my site wouldn't look so lame. Let me know what you think!

Have a great weekend and thanks, again, Gina!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Back where you belong

I want my boobs back.

I have been either pregnant or nursing my entire marriage--a little more than seven years. My youngest is 28 months old and she's still going strong.

My friends always told me that most babies will quit nursing on their own--lose interest, usually between nine and 16 months. My kids apparently missed that section in their handbooks. I think my oldest would still be nursing if we hadn't had to put the kibosh on it when I was pregnant with my second child.

In fact, when I was in the hospital after my son was born, he was having trouble latching on and my then 27-month-old said, "No, it's easy, Max...let me show you..." and she started going for my nipple.

So why, you ask, don't I put an end to it? Well, part of it's nostalgia--I know this is my last child and the last time I will experience the closeness you get from holding a child to your breast. Part of it, I'm ashamed to admit, is vanity: I'm afraid what my boobs are going to look like once they lose the fullness from the milk. And they don't look that great now.

I never thought I would consider plastic surgery, but my chest is a mess. If I want to wear a knit top to bed, I need to wear a bra or I get disgusted every time I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror. My boobs don't just hang, they kind of migrate toward the middle of my back. Ick. I don't want anything added--no implants, or transferring of fat from my tummy to my bust--just move the things back up to where they once were.

A friend of mine whose husband is in the military told me that Tricare--the military health care system--will pay for one cosmetic surgery for either active duty or retired military or their spouses. I asked Steve about it (he's retired Air Force), told him I deserved that surgery if there was one to be haggled over. Afterall, I'm the one who put in the time nursing all three kids. He started talking about having some scar removed or having his gynecomastia (translation: man-boob--which he doesn't even have anymore since he's lost a little weight) removed.

I quickly put that argument to rest.

One morning I was getting out of the shower and toweling off while Steve was at our double vanity shaving.

He glanced at me briefly, then resumed shaving.

"Maybe we should look into that surgery."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Gearing up for Back-to-School

My embroidery machine is constantly humming here at Suzi Homemaker HQ as I'm gearing up for back-to-school. Not only am I working on uniforms for The Country Day School, but also I am getting together a bunch of great new products (from my favorite vendors as well as some new ones) to send your kids back-to-school in personalized style!

Parents--please don't send your child to school with a brown bag lunch--that is so 1982! Pack their lunch in an oh-so-stylish personalized snack square or lunch box from my friends at mint. sweet little things. Back-to-school? How about back-to-COOL with a matching backpack and pencil case? Did I mention most of these necessities are on sale, too?

New to Suzi Homemaker is an assortment of goodies from Room It Up, including monogrammed messenger and laptop bags, storage cubes and monogrammable notebooks--are you kidding me? These items are especially appealing to the hard-to-please tween. Later this week, I will be posting more items for the home, such as over-the-door organizers, hanging sweater organizers and handy hold alls for all of your bags.

Within the next couple of weeks I will be posting some sassy shirts and sweatshirts for Halloween and gift items for the upcoming holiday season. It's hard to believe summer is almost over!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Suzi Homemaker's Fresh Tomato and Cucumber Salad

We just finished a very light and refreshing meal here at Suzi Homemaker Central! This week's bag of produce from Redbud Farm included a huge allotment of tomatoes and a few cucumbers, as well as fresh basil (I cannot get enough of this stuff!) and three super star sweet onions.

This recipe is so simple, it's ridiculous, but it was so tasty, I had to share!

4 large tomatoes, diced
3 cucumbers, peeled and diced
3 super star sweet onions (or use 1 large Vidalia or other sweet variety), chopped
8 large basil leaves, chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, minced (or use garlic salt)
Sea Salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons ExtraVirgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

Mix everything together and serve as a side salad or as a topping on grilled chicken, fish or steak. We had ours as a side salad to roasted chicken breasts and put it on Wasa sesame seed flat bread. I had mine with a nice cold glass of Barrel Select Chardonnay from the Cellar Club at Breaux Vineyards.
What a great summer meal!! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Max-ism #412

My son, Max, has a way with words.

At four, he is wise beyond his years.

This afternoon, my husband, Steve, came home and immediately heard Max calling to him from the basement.

"Daddy! I need you to come wipe my butt!"

(His timing was impeccable. I narrowly escaped Butt Patrol--yeah!)

A few minutes later, Steve came upstairs and said, "That was the funniest thing I think I've ever heard."

When Steve walked into the bathroom, Max was holding up his right hand, fingers covered in poop.

"Oh, no!" he cried. "There's poop on my fingers! My fingers are RUINED! Mommy gave me these fingers!"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Another review and giveaway from Suzi H

I LOVE my blogger moms! They are so nice and when they email to ask to do a product review and giveaway, I'm more than happy to oblige!!!

The latest contest is from Kristle at Stir Crazy. Just visit her site and click on any of the links to my retail site, review the goodies and then write a comment on her blog about what product you would like to win. Kristle also is offering ways to get additional entries, so be sure to visit her blog.

Contest ends on Aug. 27, 2008. The winner will be drawn by

There are lots of back-to-school items on my site that are on sale, so $30 will go a long way in outfitting your little one(s) for the first day of class!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Does this phone make me sound fat?

In this age of blogging, email and cell phones, we're often left to speculate what the people we're communicating with on a regular basis look like. Blogger is nice, because you can post photos on your profile, but are those accurate representations? Take my photo, for example. I HATE having my picture taken, so when I come across one that is decent I tend to glom onto it and use it over and over. A photographer friend of mine took that photo of me--under protest--when my youngest daughter was just four months old. I was surprised how much I liked the picture. That was more than two years ago. I'm a little bit older, more tired looking and the skin on my arms, among other things, is starting to gravitate toward the floor. I will be using that photo until I'm 90.

I met someone I had been emailing at a trade show promoting Suzi Homemaker and they told me they thought my hair would be more red, like my business logo. It's a cartoon! As soon as they convert pantone colors into hair dye I will be all over the I Love Lucy red, but for now I prefer a more natural look.

When I talk with my digitizer on the phone or via email, he reminds me of my Uncle John, who died about 15 years ago. They have the same dry sense of humor so I always picture my uncle with his hip glasses and mod hair sitting, eternally young, on the other end of the line, chatting me up. I hope I never meet my digitizer in person.

My long distance BFF, Christi, and I have never met in person. She sounds like another friend of mine--also named Christy, so I always pictured Christy when I was talking to Christi or emailing her. I don't know who she pictured for me, or if she pictured anyone at all...I digress...I sent her a Christmas card in April with a picture of the whole family on it--another rare photo that I actually liked. I've seen a picture of her that was in a newspaper and it was of the left side of her face, so now I know what half of her face looks like. When we meet in person I'll have to be sure to sidle up to her on the left so as not to mistake her for someone else.

I hired a subcontractor through ifreelance last year. We had emailed back and forth a number of times and the tone of his emails was very smug, very New England. The first time we talked on the phone I was shocked to find out he sounded very brother-in-law, very Kentucky.

I used to work on a news desk with an openly-gay friend, Mark, and we were always confused on the phone. People would call the desk, I would answer and they'd say, "Mark?" and vice versa. So that would mean that I sounded like a homosexual male and he sounded like a heterosexual female? There are worse things, I guess.

Several years ago, I met my roommate's boyfriend after speaking to him numerous times over the phone. I remember him looking quite surprised when we shook hands and I asked him if there was something wrong. He brushed aside the confused look and said, "It's just that you're not what I was expecting. You sounded fat on the phone." How was I to respond to that? Well, you sounded like you had chest hair.

My Babycapes business partner, Elizabeth, has been on CNBC's "The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch," several times now promoting Babycapes and always remarks how she sounds like an 80-year-old grandmother on air. To ease her self-consciousness, I told her she sounded very slim.

When I was working for a municipal government, back in the day, I had been speaking with an advertising sales rep on the phone. When I hung up, I told my friend that the guy sounded exactly like George Clooney! He was coming by to pick up an ad contract, so I went into the bathroom and freshened up a bit. A while later, the receptionist buzzed me to tell my guest had arrived. I hurried out front. Let's just say not George Clooney.

One time my imagination was dead-on.

Before my husband and I met, we had emailed and spoken on the phone several times--the first time while he was in Ireland on a Presidential trip (he used to work at the White House--do you like how I slipped that in?). He had worked up enough nerve to call me after visiting an Irish pub and imbibing in a bit of the drink. He sounded like the funniest, most handsome man in the world, albeit a bit tipsy. When I met him in person a couple weeks later, wouldn't you know, I was right?