Charity’s Blog

“No” is not a bad word

I am a terrible juggler. Like in literally juggling. I cannot keep all 3 balls in the air at one time. I am not sure if it is hand eye coordination or lack of focus, but it is not my thing. Good thing too, since there hasn’t been much work around for clowns lately!

Now when you talk about metaphorical juggling (home, work, volunteering, side work, helping friends, running kids, and on and on), I’ve got that down. I became a professional metaphorical juggler years ago. I was really proud of that for a while. Then, you know what I figured out? I was tired. Too many balls in the air and it is exhausting keeping them all going. When the kids were little, I was the room mom, on the PTO, sold cooking items for a direct selling company, ran fundraisers, and worked full time. I am not complaining because I loved it all, but I hadn’t mastered the word ‘no’ yet.

Life isn’t a race to see who is the busiest. No one wins in that race. By filling every minute of our days with ‘stuff’ we miss the important things. I love sitting and listening to my boys tell me about their days. My oldest, who is 16, will sit and talk to me for hours. My youngest, 14 years old, talks about his future and college. If I never say ‘no’ to more duties and more commitments, I’d loose that time with them. A balanced life requires prioritizing. That is the reason I’m writing this blog at 5am on a Monday morning instead of Sunday like I usually do. I said ‘no’ to the blog yesterday, and ‘yes’ to the family.

Don’t get me wrong. We still need to help our fellow man, be kind to one another, and step up when we can. We also, for our own sanity and well being, need to know when we just can’t. Know when too much is just too much. I always feel like I’m most productive when I am busy, BUT when things get too much then everything I’m working on suffers. You’ve heard “Jack of all trades, master of none”? Yeah, that is a hard lesson to learn.

So don’t be afraid to say ‘no’. Keep that priority list in your head and know your limits. I don’t want to win the ‘Busiest woman in Shelby county’ award. Someone else can have it. I’d rather win the ‘Happiest woman in Shelby county’ award. I hear there are multiple spots for first place in that category.

In the spirit of PTO and Room Moms, here is my favorite party punch recipe.

Keep it Peachy, Friends!

-Charity

Party Punch

  • 1 carton Orange Sherbet (or another solid color. DO NOT use rainbow, it is ugly)
  • 1 Pineapple juice (tall can)
  • 2 – 2 Liters of Sprite, 7UP, or Ginger ale

Put sherbet in punch bowl, Pour 1/2 pineapple juice in and 1-2 liter. Let sherbet melt some. Taste. Add more pineapple juice and Sprite as needed.

Behold, the beauty of the mountain

Writing a blog is not as easy as some might think. I spend the week trying to figure out what might possibly be interesting enough to write about that people would want to read. Some of you know me well. Some of you are new friends brought on from the cafe. Some of you might have just stumbled on this blog looking for a good recipe. No matter your reason for being here, thank you for reading.

As the weather warms up, my attention starts to drift to the woods a lot. I’m a hiker. Love everything about it. I love the challenge of the climb, the quietness of the surroundings, the hiker chit-chat, the weight of all my belongings on my back, and I even love the mud. I have a very particular place that I enjoy the most though: The Appalachian Trail. I discovered the beauty of the trail 5 years ago and I have been hooked ever since. I try to make it to a section of the trail once or twice a year. “A section?”, you might ask. The whole trail runs from Georgia to Maine, it crosses 14 states, and is 2190 miles total. Some people hike the whole thing in one swoop, which takes about 6 months. Others split it up into sections and complete it over multiple years. I am a section hiker. 6 months away from my family is a little much for me. I think the most amazing thing for me is the scenery from the top. Knowing that the same God who could make such beauty, chose to make me as well, is very humbling. It is a good reminder that we all have a purpose here or we wouldn’t be here.

I learn something new with each hike. Not necessarily about hiking but about myself. What I can do, where my limits are, and who I can be when things get challenging. Our last hike was 3 straight days and 2 nights in complete rain. I mean all rain, all the time. I learned that (1) I don’t like hiking in the rain and (2) everyone gets to the top in their own time. I realized I have to set my own pace, that I cannot achieve my goals on someone else’s timeline. Sometimes the things I learn are things I already know, they just hit you in the face when you are out in the middle of nowhere.

Since hiking season is just starting, I’m sure I’ll bore you with more hiking/backpacking stories as the year goes on. My first trip out was a doozy and will make a great story some day! Until then, happy trails to you (whether you are on foot, wheels, or hooves)

Stay Just Peachy, Friends!

-Charity

Campfire Bananas

  • Bananas
  • Mini Marshmellows
  • Chocolate chips
  • Any other toppings you might like (strawberries, peanut butter chips, carmel)
  • Foil

Cut banana peel long ways down the middle to make a banana pocket. Fill with toppings of your choice. Double wrap it in foil.

*If you are camping, put the foil wrapped bananas in the hot coals until the chocolate is melted.

*If you are at home, put the foil wrapped bananas on a baking sheet and heat at 350° for about 10 minutes or until chocolate is melted. If putting in the over, a single layer of foil will be enough.

Eat right out of the foil and banana peel!

The AT is marked with these white blazes to keep you on the trail.
The Great Smokey Mountains sunset view

Positive Thoughts, Positive Outcomes

I found myself at Hobby Lobby this week. It is one of my favorite stores. If I want to make something, I find the components there. If I don’t have time to make it, I can usually find a finished product there. Best store ever, in my opinion. So here I was, walking through the aisles that were all decked out for spring and I couldn’t stop smiling under my mask. All the spring things, the bright colors, and the upbeat music was really helping my mood. I’m not saying I was in a bad mood exactly, just the winter blues mood. Know what I’m talking about? So much snow, so cold, so much negativity on the internet – it all just weighs on a person.

Then today, the weather got up to a balmy 45° and sunny! Oh. My. Goodness. It was amazing. This sunshine girl was LOVING it! Not only that, someone started a ‘Say something positive about a local business’ thread on the big ol’ FB and it was flooded with positive vibes!

Here is the thing. The snow is going to come. The cold is going to come. The gloomy days are going to come. Good news though, it doesn’t last forever. So be kind to your fellow man. Be the sunshine in their day if they can’t find it somewhere else. Say hello, hold a door, put someone’s cart up for them. It is the little things that can make someone else smile under their mask. We all need a little mask smiling during our day.

I don’t have any mask smiling related recipes but I do have one from a lady who knew how to smile through it all. My great grandma Rose. I hope you enjoy her Dumpling recipe.

Stay Peachy, friends! -Charity

Great Grandma Rose’s Dumplings

  • 3 c flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • Chicken broth to mix

Put a pot of broth on the stove top over med/med-high heat to prepare to cook the dumplings. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add enough chicken broth to make a sticky dough. Mix well. Then add extra flour to be able to roll out dumplings. Cut into dumplings and drop into hot broth. Cook till tender.

**My Great Aunt Do (Dorothy Henderson), put this recipe in a family cookbook one year. It was a collection of recipes from different family members across the generations. She said that Great Grandma Rose (her mom) never measured anything. One day Grandma was going to teach her to make the dumplings. Every time Grandma Rose would put an ingredient in the bowl, Aunt Do would have to take it out and measure it. And that is how we were able to get a recipe from someone who never measured anything!

Great Grandma Rose & Great Grandpa Cooper

Robert Frost (and Mr. Swift) said it best….

These woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.” – Robert Frost

I read the passage above and envision a white canvas of snow that coats the trees. The carpet of white untouched and silence that comes with that blanket will still the world.

This terrain, in my mind, is best conquered with a sturdy pair of boots vs 4 wheels. When the temperature is just right and the sun is warming you as you hike, the silence is calming and gloreous.

Hiking not your thing. Bundle up and head out to your driveway before the rest of the world awakens. Just stand there for a moment. Take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and just BE for a minute.

Now get your behind INSIDE! It is January in INDIANA! Are you crazy?!?!

Now down to the nitty gritty – SNOW ICE CREAM

Stay Just Peachy, Friends!

-Charity

SNOW ICE CREAM

Find a patch of clean snow (unless you thought to set your bowl out before the snow hit). Get about a gallon of clean snow, 1 cup or so of sugar, then add milk till it becomes melty and ice cream consistency. Then add a splash of vanilla, stir, & serve!

Big Blue River at peace

No Bake Cookies

Do you ever look up a recipe on the internet and the author wants to tell you about what made her love this recipe? She wants to tell you what the weather was like and how she felt when she first stumbled upon the delicious concoction she is about to grace your computer screen with? Well, yeah, I’m going to do that too. Feel free to scroll to the bottom for the recipe.

When in college, I was able to intern with a company that owned a lot of Arby’s restaurants in my junior and senior year. There were 10 of us total interning at the restaurants in Lafayette and West Lafayette. I learned a lot from the people there. My GM, Mike Garrity, was the best. He knew how to lead and how to have fun at the same time. He seemed to be able to balance the craziness of food service with his family life. He had the respect of his team which made people want to have his respect in return. He was engaging with the customers and ran a tight ship. I was incredibly lucky to have had him as one of my first important managers and leaders of my career. Those managers can shape a person’s career in either a positive or negative way. Even if I wouldn’t have continued into food service, I know the lessons I learned from him would stick with me and mold me into the person I am today. I am eternally grateful to him and my time spent at the West Lafayette Arby’s .

So what does this have anything to do with No Bake Cookies?? While there, another manager, Mary, gave me my first No Bake Cookie recipe. I have been following this recipe since 1999. I hope you enjoy!

Thanks, Arby’s team of 1998-1999 for the lessons and the love!

Stay Peachy, friends.

-Charity

NO BAKE COOKIES

Ingredients: 2 cups sugar, 1 stick butter, 1/2c peanut butter, 3 Tablespoon cocoa, 1/2c milk, 3c oats, splash of vanilla

Instructions: Combine sugar, cocoa, butter, & milk in sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a hard boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add PB. Stir till mixed well. Add vanilla and oats. Stir until thick and completely blended. Drop by the spoonful onto parchment paper and let cool. Enjoy!

Mike, General Manager, mentor, role model – 1999

I’m still here?

If you would have asked 18 year old me where I’d be in my 40’s, my answer would not have been still here!

I went to a small country school in Shelby County, A Spartan I was and a Spartan I still am. I didn’t really enjoy high school much. Even then, I didn’t like to sit still. I wanted to learn quickly and move on to the next adventure. Sitting in that building for 4 years was an eternity! I could not wait to get out of there and see what was next.

What was next was more school. A Boilermaker I was and a Boilermaker I still am. Those 4 years were not quite as agonizing. They were filled with excitement of internships, school trips, friends from across the world, and the endless possibilities of what was to come. I had grand ideas of moving to Chicago or New York. I wanted to oversee beautiful restaurants or magnificent hotels. I wanted to do anything but come back to this town.

I think a lot of young people feel like that. They don’t quite understand the importance of hometowns. I know I did not. I finally understood when I met my husband. He taught me patience and how to plan for what I want. I knew how to go after what I wanted but the patience to achieve it, well, patience was never my strong suit. So after 20 years of working for others, dreaming of how to become what that 18 year old me thought I’d be, I sit in my beautiful café and I am humbled. I am humbled that a God who can lead me anywhere, led me here. I am in awe of the community support and love. I am so grateful for my family & friends that jump in and do what needs to be done whenever it needs to be done And I am proud. Proud of what we have achieved in such a short time. Hometown Love. Hometown Pride.

Life is short in the grand scheme of things. Live it. See the world. Meet new people. But always remember where you come from. Your hometown might not be for you but we’ll always be here. I am so thankful my path brought me home. So, yeah, I’m still here and I’m loving it!

Stay Just Peachy, friends.

-Charity

Purdue Graduation Day 1999
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