Saturday

You Win!!! AMERICAN GRACE GIVEAWAY winner!!

I am so sorry this took so long. You've al been AMAZING and SO supportive on Instagram and helped us WAY surpass our expectations. I didn't announce a winner til now because we've been traveling all summer long! So, the winner of the American Grace Giveaway is ...



Please email us at fivetdsisters@gmail.com with your dress size and we will send you a gorgeous gown! Thanks to everyone who participated and helped to make American Grace the top Billboard classical album!!

Thursday

Do you ever feel totally helpless? This is how I like to deal with it.

Human trafficking. Ebola. Sinjar Mountain. Isis. Syria. The White Army. The Taliban. Russia. Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines. Israel. Gaza.

Sometimes the list of things that are going wrong in the world makes me wonder if we're living the Book of Revelations. What do we do? How on earth can we help these impossible situations?


The world can be a scary place. Sketch by Liberty, 2014



There is always prayer, but there's also a pesky little scripture that says, "Faith without works is dead." In other words, you can pray all day long, but unless you're working to help the situation, nothing is going to happen.

I can't personally fly to Sinjar and deliver the food they need or broker a peace between warring factions or stop the sex trade or the slaughter of innocents. While we can support policies and companies that are ethical, we can't always change a situation. But we can change ourselves.


We can reflect whatever we chose to the world. Sketch by Liberty, 2013



We can smile. We can be kind. We can keep food in our car for people who are homeless. We can be more generous. We can befriend someone who is different from us, or reach out to someone who is struggling. We can volunteer and try to be less cynical. We can show gratitude and extend love. We can visit or write a letter to someone who is sick or call our mom, our grandma or someone who we suspect is feeling alone. We can go to an animal shelter and spend time with some lonely animals. We can help a food bank. We can vote. We can send letters to our representatives to let them know what is important to us. We can volunteer. We can commit not to buy clothes and products produced by slave labor. We can consume valuable entertainment. We can be good to the earth. We can do so many things to reach out and remind the "other" that they are our brother, our sister, our friend and our neighbor. Our value isn't dependent solely on how we treat those who are close to us. Our character is clarified by how we treat those we have never met, those who are struggling and those who have no where to go.

So when you feel overwhelmed by the woes of the world, do something. Hate shrivels when we care for each other but love needs to be nurtured to thrive.    

Monday

Have you ever wanted something really, really badly that was totally silly? I did and this is what happened...




I wanted to enter the county fair and win a blue ribbon ... bad.

A few months ago, I started concocting recipes and outsourcing them to my sisters. I enlisted help from my mom, uber domestic goddess Ginger and a few others so we could locally source ingredients. Mercina and Glorianna were going to be in town and I was working overtime to lure Kimber to Colorado for the fair. It was gonna be awesome and if it was the last thing I did this summer we were gonna win.

And then life happened.

My cousin got married just when we were all supposed to head out West. One of my best friends decided to get married a few days after the wedding (the nerve of them both, right!?). I had two performances the week before. Mercina and Glorianna decided to stay in Washington. Kimber needed to go to California. Yoni's business partners needed him in New York. Mom was out of town and the dogs needed some serious loving. It was just me an Liberty. The day before we needed to register for the fair, we had no jars, no produce and no real chance.

There was an epic rains storm. While I braved the elements to collect every ripe and some not so ripe thing in Mom's garden, there was no way I had time to visit Ginger's house to get the remainder of the ingredients. But when Liberty opened the door to her house somehow, I knew everything was going to be alright. Vast stores of copper pots and pans pans emerged. Soon, the hum of blenders and cadence of knives on cutting boards echoed through her house. Settling on two time-honored family recipes, we decided to focus on a salsa verde and a Hungarian sauce studded with tomatoes, peppers and onions. We roasted and chopped, boiling jars and doing things that are WAY out of our cooking league. The scent of paprika, caramelized onions, hot peppers and garlic filled the air. Finally, at about 2am, we called it quits, hoping our jars would vacuum seal.


The tomatillos look like they're covered in Chinese Lanterns.  I think they're so cute!

The next morning, Libby and I raced to the fair grounds. We sat in the car for a few minutes, trying to decide if it was worth taking in our entries. The tomatillos were not ripe and made the salsa a little bitter. The jars took longer than expected to sterilize and the Hungarian lesco had become too salty.

Finally, with no time to spare, Liberty marched in our entries. The person at the desk (amusingly named Harmony. She should have been one of our sisters, right?) explained that we would receive an email as soon as the winners were announced.

Then we waited ... and waited ... and waited ...

Silence.

Then, the tirades began. The judges must be related to the entrants. Their palates weren't refined enough. They figured out our canning method didn't meet protocol. The tomatillos destroyed everything. We reduced the Hungarian Lecso for too long. Really, the whole thing was just super annoying and we were never going to do it again.

After church, I was going home. With noon day sun streaming through my car window I had almost forgotten the entire county fair debacle, when I opened my email.

Liberty and I rushed to the fair and ... well ... we liked the county fair after all ...







Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by an outcome?? We'd love to hear about it!!

Friday

QQQQQuestion?

Are you able to tell when you have enough?

Kimber: Nope. If anyone has tips for developing this particular power of discernment, please do share.


Charity: Not to go all Confuciun on this answer, but the more I have, the more I think I need. The less I have, the more I realize I can live without.

Liberty: I'd like to say yes, but after a recent joyous conversation (partially motivated by 3 glasses of champagne), that concluded in a fit of public tears...the most accurate answer is probably closer to no.


Mercina: Probably not. This question makes me think of a diet Glorianna and I went on a few years ago. We attempted to eat only fruit. But after a few days we were feeling pretty woozy and indulged in some cookies. By indulged I mean we ate until we got sick. And we both felt awful for the rest of the day. Yeah, no.


Glorianna: Yes, but that doesn't necessarily mean I stop.

Thursday

I know I've been inattentive, but my reasons are pretty awesome...




Thank you for ALL of your support. If you've yet to order an album, visit the store at www.charitysunshine.com

ALSO ... 

As timing would have it, the American Grace Giveaway is going to happen this weekend. Enter before we hit 400 followers on Instagram for a chance to win a gorgeous dress just in time for the opera balls this fall, since of COURSE, we're all going to ALL of the opera balls. Why I found that so amusing, I really do not know but I did so I'm gonna stay with it. 

Even though we've all been remiss in writing, we love you. You're awesome. Thanks for visiting us when we're blogging bums. We will be better. Just like the campaign. xoxo 

Monday

Bookclub Bites

Before anything... Go and get American Grace at www.charitysunshine.com. It drops tomorrow and it's gonna be epic.

Now...

A recipe request from Paige:

Kimber's Stuffed Figs*

A dozen figs
aged English cheddar with truffles (not too spendy from Trader Joe's!)
honey from Dave's hive on the roof (I suppose honey from a jar would work in a *pinch*)
chèvre 
balsamic vinegar reduction
prosciutto 
flower pepper to garnish

1. Slice figs in half, longways. If you're feeling ambitious, grill them, seeded side down on a hot, lightly greased pan with a sprinkling of sugar for about 30 seconds.

2. Place about a teaspoon of cheese on each fig -- 12 with truffled cheddar and 12 chèvre. 

3. Drizzle balsamic reduction** on figs with chèvre and top with strips of prosciutto.

4. Garnish cheddar figs with local honey. 

5. Grind flower pepper over the whole yummy lot of them.

6. Eat one or two before your guests arrive, so they don't feel bad taking the first gorgeous morsel, which actually might taste even better than it looks.

7. Impress everyone.

*edited to include the REAL recipe -- nice try, Charity!
**reduction: a cup of balsamic vinegar with a half cup of sugar on medium heat until it reduces in volume by 50%
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