Ordinary? Nope, it’s Extraordinary – And, it’s National Popcorn Poppin’ Month!

God has given us some really cool things to enjoy. Even though I usually pass right by them because they appear ordinary, I’m trying to pay attention to how they are really quite extraordinary!

Today, it’s popcorn. Or, should I say, the kernel. Who thought to pull that tiny thing off the cob, let it dry, cook it and flavor it? It’s extraordinary.

When my youngest was an infant, she had this habit of waking up every night around 11pm screaming. She was about a year old and the pediatrician said it was normal, and that we should settle her down and let her fall back to sleep.

My baby went to sleep nightly at 7pm, but for a few months, it was literally every night she awoke at 11pm with a piercing cry that demanded our attention (lest we allow her to wake her twin toddler siblings in the next room).

Unable to calm her down by merely holding, rocking or walking, I did what all smart Moms do when they are so tired they can barely see straight: I turned on the television. Back in 1999, there was a popular unit called the VHS player and I inserted a Little People video that showed a farmer harvesting corn on the cob. But, the weather at the farm was so incredibly hot, the farmer watched in amusement as the corn fields began popping kernels by the thousands.My baby would suddenly catch her breath from the sobs, and stared at the popcorn video until it ended. She watched that same Little People popcorn video over and over and over for three months.

As the kids grew up, popcorn was a staple for my girls and me. My husband and son aren’t big fans, but us gals have multiple flavorings, tried a few air poppers over the years and also completely enjoy regular ‘ol butter and salt shaken in a bag – always cooked in a pot, not in a microwave.

Recently, I’ve been missing Saturday nights with my girls, the Hallmark channel and popcorn. Them being at college has ruined my interest in popping corn just for myself (sigh). But, recently I did pull out the kernels and oil to make a batch and stared at one little kernel for a long while. I mean, really, the popping process is extraordinary.I thought of all the popcorn we’ve stuffed ourselves with at the movies…I reminisced about the elementary years when popcorn was part of the Thanksgiving pilgrim skits, harvest season and Christmas decorations.

Ahhhh, but those days are long gone, as are the baby years (double-sigh).

October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month so here a few fun popcorn facts (courtesy of popcorn.org):

  • Americans consume some 13 billion quarts of popcorn annually!
  • There are 4 main types, but only one “pops”!
  • One kernel can pop up to 3 feet in the air! (That’s higher than our pet bunny leaps!)
  • There is no such thing as “hull-less” popcorn. All popcorn needs a hull in order to pop. (I was glad to learn this because I was considering purchasing the latest greatest “hull-less” popcorn options for sale out there.)
  • 2 Tablespoons of kernels = 1 quart popped.

Popcorn.org is a great site for additional information and neat things like free download popcorn coloring sheets!

Are You Tired of Wearing Boots Too?

With half the country experiencing the wintriest winter in years, I know I’m not alone when I say, “I’m tired of wearing boots!”

I admit that by early October, I look forward to putting on pretty scarves, cable-knit sweaters and cute boots. It’s fun! I can wear them… or not. This year, such apparel is a necessity. The three-inch “cute” high black boots have been shoved into the back of the closet because I need the Lands’ End thermal protection (not to mention, a bad ankle in high boots on snow and ice is bound to land me on America’s Funniest Videos when I hit the pavement).

The coat I usually wear twice a season for some outdoor winter event has become my every-day coat. When little kids are packed like sausages into their snow suits, they look adorable. When a grown woman with a little too much belly is zipped into a puffy coat, then locked into a seat belt…not so adorable!

Yesterday, my husband was traveling to Pennsylvania from our already-frigid home in New York, when he texted me this: Here in New York the sun actually came out for a short spell this week. While my car only registered a whopping 16 degrees F, I was driving on dry pavement for the first time in months! Sun and dry pavement? This was reason to celebrate! Just as I was taking in a deep breath of gratitude and feeling the warmth through the windshield, I was certain a meteor smashed into my vehicle. Yep, you guessed it – I hit a massive pot hole! Well, as the saying goes in the Northeast, we get two seasons: winter and road construction.

This is the kind of weather where:

  • Every morning your scratchy throat and stuffy nose makes you think you have a cold. You don’t. It’s just COLD.
  • You use a humidifier at night or age five years by morning.
  • You should be using all of those delicious body butters you received for Christmas, but stepping out of the shower, all you really want to do is tie up your wet hair and get into that thick bathrobe as fast as possible.
  • Your son’s hockey rink which is normally COLD is now 20 degrees COLDER.
  • Your husband not only loudly encourages everyone to “turn off the lights!” but now adds “lower the heat!!” while mumbling, “what will that gas bill look like next month?” 🙂
  • You feel like a caged animal having to be indoors all the time, but the thought of going outdoors makes you instead reach for a bag of chips and plop on the couch.
  • You feel less guilty watching hours of the Olympics on television.
  • Watching Home and Family (California) feels like viewing re-runs from July instead of a brand new show filmed just this morning!
  • You are certain you’re living inside the most beautiful glittery Christmas card you’ve ever seen when you look through the snow covered windows. White slivers gently falling to the already sparkling pristine ground are mesmerizing.
  • The beauty out your windows is breathtaking. Leaving the house without a scarf on will take your breath away.