Cheap Chicken Wine: A Review

"At the turn of the 20th century, HRM (His Royal Majesty) Rex Goliath was the treasured attraction of a Texas circus. People came from far and wide to behold the 47 lb. bird, billed as the “World’s Largest Rooster.”" --from Rex Goliath website

Kurt and I have never been big drinkers. But recently (and by recent I mean with the addition of a fifth child) we have been a little more frequent in our partaking. This has been enhanced by having found Rex Goliath.

Now, a friend had mentioned Rex to me a year or so ago, right after I had run across him in a store and made a mental note to try him out one day. And of course, I was pregnant and so had to put it on a back burner until after Solomon came along. Fairly soon after his birth, I went through a few months of searching: searching for the best "cheap" bottle of wine. I figured if I could find the best bottle of wine for under $8, we could afford to have a glass or two here and there.

Bottle after bottle, Kurt and I sipped. Some were REALLY bad, meant only for those who shouldn't be drinking it anyway, others were really REALLY bad, some just semi-bad and still others, drinkable. And then I happened to pick up three bottles of Rex Goliath.

They happened to be on sale that day for $3.99 a piece. No, I am not kidding. (Usually they run $5.99 at our store.) So, we first tried the Cabernet, which is typically my favorite. It lacked body. Actually, it tasted sort of like wine-flavored water....or what I imagine a zero-calorie wine-water would taste like. (Can you imagine? Sobe Life Water, Red Wine Flavored.) Anyway, it wasn't terrific. (But we dutifully drank it anyway.) A few weeks later, I took the Shiraz over to a friend's house. Again, nothing to write home about (but it didn't go unfinished either.)

Finally, when hope in the sanctity of Rex Goliath chicken wine was all but gone, we tried their newest variety: Free Range Red (a red blend).

Kurt has not enjoyed another wine since....really and truly. I pulled out this fabulous Sebastiani Cabernet for a dinner party at our house and he wouldn't drink it. He took one sip and then opened up more Free Range Red. What can I say, he's hooked! And rightfully so. For a bottle of cheap wine, it is pretty terrific. I am not a connoisseur by any stretch. I can't tell you what the flavors "hint" of or why we like it. All I know is, we have bought more Rex Goliath Free Range Red over the last few months than all other alcohol combined in the previous 10 years of our marriage. Now, I can't promise you that this isn't saying as much about having five children as it is about the particular wine, but, we have really enjoyed it....so much so that I was hoping to do a free wine giveaway....but apparently it is not legal. Sorry!

Anyway, I figure, any wine with a 47lb rooster mascot is the perfect wine. Go give it a try and let me know what you think!


B.Y.O.B.: Safe Arrivals

Bring Your Own Blessing

After two days, and over 1600 miles in the car with all five kids and one grandmother, we finally arrived at my childhood home in Florida. Phew!

We joke that we are escaping the midwestern heat....but alas, it seems we must have missed that boat. On the bright side...the really hot, Florida sun bright side.....we have unlimited free "sauna time" here! (You know, assuming you like your saunas to include a gazillion mosquitoes! Hey, it's like relaxation and exercise all in one!) But the drive was beautiful; the kids, fantastic (if you look past the last longest-hour- and-a-half-ever anyway); and the pool was ready, warm and waiting....along with friends, family, seafood, a few baby peacocks and perhaps a roach or two....(ick).

What kind of blessings have made your life a little more beautiful this week???

p.s. This is not a rhetorical question.....I really want to know! 


Coming Up for Air

GASP! Sputter, sputter, cough.

Ok, so when I originally began this blog, my goal was to post every day, six days a week. I realized pretty quickly that that was not feasible, a foolish idea at best. So I set my posting goal at three to four posts a week; after all, a lot goes on in a family with lots of kids and let's face it, I have a lot to say. But, not too terribly long into that plan, I realized it wasn't going to happen and so I set my goal at two posts a week. I really strived to pay attention to all the details of our family life in order to come up with what I hoped were two good weekly posts. And I really kicked myself when I didn't meet my own expectations. This goal setting thing went on quite a while until I finally caved and set a mostly realistic goal of one post a week. Happy now Goal-Eating-Monster? (It just doesn't know when to stop!)

That was 300 posts ago. The Graceful Chicken blog has been in existence now a little over 3 years. So I figure, if you average it out I am actually doing pretty darn well keeping up with, even exceeding the one post a week goal. And then....and then these last few weeks hit......sheesh....you'd think I had walked out on the writing hobby altogether!

I can't seem to recall what I ate for breakfast any given day, much less what happened the rest of it. It is like we awake each morning with grand plans of summer fun, adventure and relaxation (with a little clean up along the way) and when we arrive at our destination (bed) each evening, we have a brief, peaceful moment in which to ask ourselves: what on God's great Earth just happened?

And you have to know things have gotten rough when we are looking forward to getting down to Florida at the end of the week so that we can get out of this heat! Talk about crazy! Thank goodness we had to replace our entire air conditioning and furnace combo last week as we actually had a cool house to hide in today. (I can also get excited about spending $36 on two bottles of wine just so that I can send in for a $5 rebate....I'm THAT good with home economics math! Matter of fact, just yesterday I convinced myself that buying all THREE of the bathing suits I couldn't decide between would actually be a good deal in the long run because I wouldn't wear them out as quickly....really, I'm good like that.)

Anyway, as the days turned into weeks turned into a month and not a decent blog post was written, or at least not finished, I started getting so anxious about it that I had to write something, anything, to post that wasn't just a B.Y.O.B. I have a handful of half-written posts: my sister's wedding in New York for example, just sitting there, waiting for me to return. But, no, I needed to start fresh, bore you with something mundane like Aidan explaining to Lily recently that there was no such thing as magic:

"Lily, there is no such thing as magic," he told her after she had mentioned that her friend could do magic. "The only person who can do magic is Santa......oh yeah, and the Easter Bunny, oh and the Tooth Fairy, and maybe the Leprechaun. And GOD. I mean, God can do magic." And he was so know-it-all sure of himself, I just smiled. But I couldn't help but spur him on a little.

"Aidan, God doesn't do magic," I said, just for clarification.

"Well, it's not magic but God could call what He does magic if He wanted to, I mean, He is God after all and He can do whatever He wants," Aidan told me. I'm pretty sure he wants to be God when he grows up, you know, if the opportunity should ever arise.

Anyway, I also learned that it is an inherently bad idea to take four kids to IKEA on a Saturday morning. I learned this last Saturday when a recently potty-trained Liam, having already been to the bathroom twice in the last ten minutes, sat himself down in the middle of the extremely busy walkway, took his shoes off, pulled off his pants, and started pulling down his underwear screaming "POTTY, POTTY" so that everyone would know that he needed to go to the bathroom and his terrible mother wasn't taking him, again. And of course, when I finally got him there, half undressed, still screaming bloody-potty, he calmed down, looked at me and smiled:  "Me want cookie," he said. And no, he didn't go.

He's lucky I didn't leave him there.

Cookie. Ffffffffffffffffffffff.

The thing is, in the last few weeks, so much has happened I can hardly process it all. There were funny things like Liam begging for a shot at the doctor's office because Lily got one at her last well-visit: "Me too? On my arm?" he asked so sincerely I almost believed it. And there were some not so wonderful moments, you know a gagging kid here or there, Liam puking at the pool after inhaling water (I was alone with all 5 kids as I dragged him out of the water just in time to miss the pool...not our best moment....), an ultrasound to check out a suspicious lump (thankfully benign),  and the list goes on and on. I am guessing the kids are just swimming in the delight of the chaos, wondering what will happen next, who's will will break, which parent will fly off the deep end and how will they land. And they are onto us I think. They keep asking me for things, as if all of a sudden my position on spontaneous purchases to spoil the kids has changed. Just the other day Madeline and Lily ganged up on me, asking if I would buy them Rollerblades. I told them they could put them on their Christmas list (my usual response) but that we simply didn't have the extra money to buy them right now.

A few hours later, Madeline asked Kurt and me if we could buy a lake house. Rollerblades? Nope, can't afford it, but sure we can buy another home! (She must get her money-math skills from me, poor thing.)

All this is to say, we are still here, just really busy. Next up, Florida. Perhaps in the cool climate down there I'll have the energy and time to write more. Or not. But please know, I think of you readers often and pray that your summer is nothing like ours. :)



Bring Your Own Blessings: Garden Style

After spending 12 or so hours in a car driving home from our wonderful, relaxing week in PA with Kurt's side of the family, we found that the weather had finally taken a turn toward summer here in MN. And with it, the garden morphed into a deer-rabbit-mouse paradise (sorry watermelon plants....the deer really like you apparently!) While I realize mustard greens are not supposed to be taller than my children, it was really fun to see the change that took place in only one week. (The Broccoli had sprouted some lovely bouquets as well.)

And so the blessing of the veggies has begun: we left without a single zucchini on our plants and when we returned, we found these....again, oversized but how cool is that! Just One week!

And what's even better, these came off the plant I started from seed that I was certain was going to die because the stem hollowed out below the leaves before it was fully established. I still have no idea how it made it. But, apparently it is doing just fine! Zucchini parmesan here we come! Mmmmmmm!

Are you still counting your blessings? What has surprised or uplifted your spirits this week?



Bring Your Own Blessing

Freedom: to relax.....to enjoy....to share.....

What blessings does 4th of July bring for your family?