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The First in the Deck Series

Our most recent DIY experience through the process.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Gotta love a new beginning, right?

Peppermint Shortage

Just a funny afternoon.

Coffeyville, KS

I loved this experience so much that I had to write about it. Then, through e-mails it spread to Coffeyville itself.

Photo Restoration

I had a lot of fun with this "old school" photo. It turned out too cool to not blog about it.

Kitchen Remodel (part one)

This is the first of a nine-part series documenting the remodel of our 50-year-old kitchen in our 100-year-old home!

Time For A Tasty Change

As a child, I remember disliking cooking shows on television. No doubt, the use of vegetables in every dish turned me off, however there was something deeper still that caused my aversion to them. It was the unknown foods that they cooked. As children, we are all greatly comforted by routine and repetition. We like what we know and are uneasy about the unknown, the undiscovered. This is why children will take pleasure in watching their favorite movie for the 100th time. It's also why they would be content eating just macaroni and cheese for dinner every day.

As mature adults, however, we become more adventurous. Cooking shows make us wish we were cooks and had all the ingredients seen on the program readily available to us in our own kitchens. We are more comfortable in the world in which we reside and take great pleasure in seeing new places, tasting new flavors, meeting new people, hearing new music, and experiencing the "new" to find the "great".

Unfortunately, one stroll around your local grocery store will show that the overwhelming majority they are marketing towards are children or those who eat like one. There are virtually endless varieties of the same boring foods. One can't blame the markets for they're simply selling what sells in the greatest volume. One can't blame the public for they're generally buying what gives them the most quantity for their money, and often looking for what takes the least amount of time to prepare. So, the fault really lies in our accepted culture that is seemingly always short on time while also being habitually convinced that more is better. Individuals, in turn, tend to eat more than they actually crave because they unwisely choose quantity over quality. They continue to eat beyond their hunger because their bland, giant portion doesn't satisfy them.

It's refreshing, then, finding a store that aims to redirect our culture's mistaken values, in regards to cuisine. Devo Olive Oil Company, located in the Battlefield Mall in Springfield, MO. and the Branson Landing in Branson, MO., is home to 50 varieties of extra virgin olive oils and many Balsamic vinegars imported from Italy. All of these are available for you to taste test.

My wife and I had gone into the store with a couple we are friends with and we all really enjoyed our time there. The flavors excite the mind. With every new taste, recipes were being born in my head. After leaving with several bottles, I noticed that we had been in the store for about an hour. I had no idea we'd been in there for so long. It was a great way to spend some time with friends, and we got some really great ingredients to many of our future dishes.

My wife said something a while back that has stuck with me ever since, though I ironically failed to remember her exact wording. She said, "I'm not going to waste stomach space on food that I don't absolutely love." So, I say to you, visit Devo. Get some flavor in your food. Eat something worthwhile that satisfies your hunger and is enjoyable to cook. Shop where you can taste it first. Grow out of your boring childish routines and discover something new. Your stomach will thank you.

The Game Of Their Lives

I just got done reading an awesome book. It's called "The Game Of Their Lives" and it's written by Geoffery Douglas. I highly recommend it.

The soccer match that the title refers to is arguably the biggest upset in World Cup history, the 1950 match that ended with the United States improbably defeating England. The only country in the world to refuse to take soccer seriously; the only country, to my knowledge to even call it something other than it's more appropriate name: Football. This team of regular guys (two mailmen, a sheet stacker, a hearse driver, two clerks, and a dishwasher to name a few) who mostly played for fun (only one was a professional) managed to beat the country that invented the World Cup, and one of the few highly favored teams in the world.

This book really hits home for me, because the book covers so many things that I take special interest in. I love history, particularly when it's local. I love soccer. I love the World Cup. And, I love a good story. Douglas blended all these obvious loves of his own along with a lot of research and interviews and heart to write this book.

The book covers a single soccer match, but that's hardly what the book is about. Granted, the book would have never been written had the game not been played. However, only someone who has never read the book could say that it is about a soccer match. Rather, the book is about extraordinary greatness being thrust upon a group of ordinary men and going virtually unnoticed. The book explores where these men came from, their culture, and their history.

Never before have I read a book and desired so strongly to see not just the place where the book takes place, but possibly experience just a small taste of the culture of the tight-knit community that produced these players. The author gave delightfully descriptive details of the neighborhood called "the Hill" and it's origin. It was not difficult to see with the mind's eye what it must have been like through the turn of the century there on the Hill in St. Louis. Even though today we have modern conveniences that must make that time seem like the stone age, comparatively speaking, I can't help but harbor an inner desire to abandon life as I know it and take up a life like they had. But, alas, it can't be done. That time is long gone. Some remnant of the culture, no doubt, still exists to some extent, but the complete experience cannot be obtained. It is irretrievably gone.

We can, on the other hand, read about it and enjoy what we read. I did just that with this book and maybe you will, too.

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