Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas IV

Merry Christmas!!

Luke 2:1-14

Caesar Augustus, the Roman Emperor, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the nation. Everyone was required to return to his ancestral home for this registration. And because Joseph was a member of the royal line, he had to go to Bethlehem, King David's ancient home--journeying there from the Galilean village of Nazareth. He took with him Mary, his fiancee, who was pregnant by this time. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born; and she gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn.

That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly an angel appeared among them, and the landscape shone bright with the glory of the Lord. They were badly frightened, but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you the most joyful news ever announced, and it is for everyone! The Saviour--a baby wrapped in a blanket, lying in a manger--has been born tonight in Bethlehem!"

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others--the armies of heaven--praising God: "Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth!"

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

I'm Still Working On That Will Power Thing

When I was growing up I remember loving the Frog and Toad books. The one where Toad had a dream that he was on stage doing all these amazing things and Frog was in the audience getting smaller and smaller...oooooh, that was a scary one. And the one where Toad baked the most awesome cookies ever and they had to learn about will power by not eating funny. Even nowadays when my sister and I are eating cookies we will often say in our most convincing Toad voice, "We. Must. Stop. Eating. These. Cookies!"

Last year when my mom was having a yard sale I was rifling through some items and there it was--Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel. What was left of it, anyway. The pages were yellow and it was missing its cover--front and back--as well as the first few pages. A beloved part of my childhood going for 10 cents! Thankfully, my mom let me have it for free:)

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cranberry Salad

This is my mom's cranberry salad that she makes every year for the holidays. I love it and she does, too. But that's about it. The rest of the family really isn't into cranberries--canned or otherwise. Last year she decided not to go to the trouble of fixing it for just 2 people so she picked up a pre-made cranberry salad at the grocery store. Big mistake. Nothing could top her version so this year it made it back on the table for Thanksgiving. And I can't wait for her to fix it again for Christmas.

Cranberry Salad

3 oz box raspberry jello
1 cup hot water
1/2 orange, ground (rind, too)
juice of 1 orange
1 cup sugar
1 pkg raw cranberries, ground
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 cup chopped nuts

Dissolve jello in hot water. Process 1/2 an orange and cranberries in a food processor. Add juice from 1 orange, sugar, pineapple, nuts and mix well. Add mixture to jello, stir, pour into serving bowl and chill.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Blondies. Fully Loaded.

Remember when Chili's used to serve their Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie in a sizzling skillet of melted butter? Mmm...those were the days. I miss that pool of cinnamon butter but yeah, I guess a scorching hunk of metal could pose some problems.

I've tried recreating my own using different copycat recipes but they were all too complicated. (Layers were involved. Sigh.) Then I found a basic blondie recipe while perusing Smitten Kitchen's vast and delicious archives. I added walnuts, chocolate chips and coconut and voila: Chili's Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie!

Blondies (recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

8 TBS salted butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, plus more for topping
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut
vanilla ice cream
chocolate syrup
caramel syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare an 8 x 8 baking dish.
Combine melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Mix in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour, then walnuts, chocolate chips and coconut.
Pour into baking dish and bake 20-25 minutes.
Cut into squares and top with ice cream,chocolate and caramel syrup and walnuts.

P.S. If you want to replicate Chili's CCPP, just add a TBS of cinnamon butter (1/2 cup butter, 3 TBS sugar, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon) to a small, hot cast iron skillet.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

We Have A Winner!

I've pulled myself away from the table long enough to announce the winner of Miss In The Kitchen's flour sack towels. Using the random number generator, the winner is...

...Laura (Small Town Girl)! Congratulations! Thank you Miss and everyone who entered!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ha! Awww! And Ewww!

These 2 little cuties showed up at my grandma's house several weeks ago and I fell in love. I wasn't the only one, either. My oldest son is a sucker for itty bitty puppies, too. I always wondered if he would turn out like my husband who likes dogs in a very logical, practical kind of way OR like me who likes to spoil dogs with birthday parties, homemade treats and heated dog beds.

I think I got my answer when he turned to me while petting one of the pups and said, "Mommy, I just want to crack her open and kiss her little heart."

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's Been Over A Year--Time For Another Giveaway!

Look what I got! My friend Missy over at Miss in the Kitchen sent me some flour sack towels and I love them! I've never used flour sack towels before even though I always drool over them whenever I'm at kitchen specialty shops. They're so pretty and soft.

Now that I have my own I realize just how versatile a flour sack towel can be. In addition to wiping down counters and drying dishes, I've also used them to cover dough while it rises and to keep rolls warm in a bread basket. Since they're so soft I have no worries about them scratching my ceramic stove top and they don't leave that 'paper towel lint' while cleaning mirrors and glass.

I want you to have a set of these flour sack towels. Missy wants you to have a set of these flour towels. Just tell me which set you want!

Visit Miss in the Kitchen Designs to see all the designs--the rooster/strawberry is my favorite. Sadly, there are none with alligators. Get to work on that Miss! I'll announce the winner on Thanksgiving!

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pardon The Cheese

Yes, it's the wedding ring/Bible/heart shadow photo. I couldn't help it, though. I think it's kind of a cute way to showcase my new wedding ring.

I wrote here about losing the diamond from my bridal set. I never found it. Since we don't have the money to put in a new diamond I went for something more affordable--a plain gold band. I know some people have an aversion to yellow gold but I like it. LOVE it, actually. It's a simple, elegant and classic look. And it was only $58. Win, win.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

A Fall Q And A

It's been awhile since I've done a meme. I came across one over at Sunday Stealing that had a fall theme going on--perfect. Enjoy!

1. Have you turned the heat on in your house yet this fall? Nope. We've had some really cold nights/mornings but it has been really warm in the afternoons. With an extra blanket on the beds it's been tolerable.

2. Do you think you’ve ever seen a ghost? No and I don't think I want to. We stayed at a haunted hotel back in June but thankfully the ghosts stayed out of our room. I hope!

3. What is the one color that represents this time of year? I'd say orange.

4. What is your favorite thing to do at the county fair? I must have a lemon shake-up to drink.

5. What do you like when you have a cold? Sweet, sweet sleep.

6. Are you willing to spend over $100 for a piece of winter clothing, like boots or a coat? I'm willing but just not able:)

7. What do you have too much of in your kitchen? Condiment packets from Sonic and Pizza Hut.

8. What gripes do you have about this time of year? I hate dealing with crowds while shopping.

9. Other than yourself, are you responsible for getting anyone ready in the morning? Yep, 2 boys. From 6:15 to 7:30 I am packing lunchboxes and backpacks, laying out school clothes and telling my 3rd grader that yes, he has to brush his teeth, AGAIN!

10. What shows did you most look forward to this Fall? My top 5--The Office, 30 Rock, Modern Family, Glee and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Cake

There's just too many great pumpkin desserts to pack into Thanksgiving day--pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin roll...

So I got an early start on enjoying the holiday treats and recently made this Pumpkin Pie Cake. It's a common recipe, sometimes called Pumpkin Dump Cake, that I clipped out of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette back in 2006. It's rich and delicious and like most 'dump' cakes you just can't beat how easy it is.

Pumpkin Pie Cake

1 (16 oz) can pumpkin
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 TBS pumpkin pie spice
1 box yellow cake mix
3/4 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup margarine, melted

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar and pumpkin pie spice until well blended. Pour mixture into a greased 9-by-13 inch baking pan. Crumble dry cake mix and pecans over pumpkin mixture. Drizzle with melted margarine. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Do You Take This Blogger To Be Your Wife? Yes!

Last year I read Min Jin Lee's Free Food for Millionaires. Although it was a really good book, I don't remember a lot of the details. There was one passage that stuck with me, though. A passage that holds true for those of us who know more about Monster Jam and Star Wars than Hannah Montana and Polly Pocket.

...Mary Ellen envied mothers with daughters. With girls, it seemed possible to remain involved in their lives. Even when her boys were little, she'd ask them how school was, and they'd reply, "Good," and in their simple expressions, she saw shut doors...


I know that when my boys grow up and marry that I'll be left out of the loop on lots of things. My daughters-in-law will naturally want to go to their moms' for holidays, they'll keep their moms up to date on what's going on with the grandkids and they'll always turn to their moms for help, advice, recommendations and suggestions.

I've accepted that.

I just hope they marry someone who blogs so I won't be too far out of the loop!

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Homemade Granola Bars

My youngest son loves going hiking. This summer we made several trips to a few different state parks so he could enjoy the trails. My oldest son wasn't too happy, though. Especially when we made him go with us to Mt. Magazine and when we finally got to the top he got stung by a wasp. "Why did you make me do this? This is the worst trip ever!" Yep. He's more of an indoor kid.

So I spent the whole summer looking for granola bar recipes. Granola is packed with protein and carbs which makes it a great snack for hiking. I came across a recipe in the Food Network magazine and after a few tweaks it's perfect--a little crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Granola Bars (adapted from Food Network Magazine)

2 1/2 cups rolled or quick-cooking oats
1 cup dry-roasted peanuts
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 325. Line a 9-by-13 baking pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.

Mix the oats, peanuts, cranberries, seeds, cinnamon, condensed milk and butter in a bowl. Spread evenly on the baking sheet and bake 40 minutes. Cool slightly, then lift off the baking sheet using the foil and invert onto a cutting board. Peel off the foil and cut into bars. Wrap individually in plastic wrap. Makes 12 bars.

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Two Haunted Skeletons...

...wish you a Happy Halloween!

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Talking About Saturdays On A Tuesday

For the past 5 Saturdays we've been pulling on jerseys, making sure the shin guards are in place, double-knotting shoelaces and heading to the soccer field. Now we are in the home stretch and the end of the season is just 2 games away. It's been a fun season even though Big Pup has found a way to get hurt in every game. I think these kids need more than shin guards, though, this is a rough sport! He's a defender and I think that's the perfect position for him--he's not aggressive or fast enough to be a midfielder/forward. Yet. He's learned a lot about the sport this season and he's getting better with each game.

And more than that, it does my heart good to see this small group of boys from different schools and ethnicities come together as a team, laughing and carrying on during practice and then working and celebrating together during games.

It makes schlepping around camp chairs and water bottles worth it.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Gina's Memphis Mud Pie

I've had a few Holy-Moly!-I've-got-to-try-that! moments while watching the Food Network.

One of them was when Sandra Lee tried to duplicate Butterbeer from the Harry Potter books. I can't tell you how much the idea of drinking sweetened condensed milk mixed with butter appealed to me. Seriously. So I made it and....blech. Aunt Sandy can keep this one. It's not for me.

And then one day I was watching Down Home with the Neely's and Gina Neely made this decadent, chocolatey mud pie and HOLY MOLY, I had to have it! So I made it and....yum! This one is a keeper.

One problem, though. I wasn't able to find premade deep dish chocolate crusts so I bought 2 regular size crusts. I wouldn't recommend that. Next time I'll just buy a deep dish tin and make my own crust because I think having all the filling in one pie crust is what gives it it's ooey-gooey chocolate muddiness.

Gina's Memphis Mud Pie (recipe from The Neelys)

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, plus shaved chocolate, for garnish
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans, plus finely chopped pecans, for garnish
1 deep-dish, store-bought, chocolate cookie wafer crust
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the chocolate and the butter in a double boiler. Stir continuously until combined and smooth.

Using a stand mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, corn syrup and salt on medium-high speed until it lightens and doubles in volume, about 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in the melted chocolate mixture and fold in the pecans. Pour into the chocolate wafer crust and bake until the filling is just set, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool. The pie will fall slightly. Once cool refrigerate until well chilled, roughly 1 1/2 hours.

In a medium bowl add the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract and beat until soft peaks form. Top the chilled pie with the whipped cream, makng a nice mound on top of the pie. Garnish the top with shaved chocolate and finely chopped pecans. Serve immediately

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza

This is by far my favorite homemade pizza. I always make sure I fix a plain ol' pepperoni for the boys but for me I have to have a chicken-bacon-ranch. I made this for my sister several weeks ago but I'm not sure if I gave her enough time to really enjoy it. I kept asking, "It's good right? The best pizza ever, right? Isn't this awesome?!" In between mouthfuls, she agreed with me.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza

12 inch pizza crust (I like this recipe from Cooking Light)
1/2 cup ranch dressing
2 cups (8 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 chicken breast, cooked and diced
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Top crust with ranch, cheese, chicken and bacon. Slide pizza onto a hot pizza stone in a preheated 500 degree oven for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and the crust is browned.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pure Silliness

Thirty years from now when VH-1 runs their I Love the Twenty-Tens show, my boys will be able to say "Oh, yeah, Silly Bandz. I remember those!" I guess after the fad passes I should package them up and store them in their dresser, just like my mom did with my plastic charm necklace. Remember those?

I vaguely remember the hoopla surrounding Silly Bandz a few months ago when schools were beginning to ban them. I didn't think too much about them then--I had boys and boys aren't into bracelets, right?


My sister came up for a visit a couple of weeks ago and brought a dinosaur one for my 6 year old and he was thrilled...until it broke one morning and the world ended. I sent him off to school with the promise that I would buy him another one. And, well, one is now 60. They have numbers, bicycles, baseball and animals. And I've even taken to wearing the one shaped like a salamander...but don't tell anyone!

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Where I'm From

That's my husband when he was a little boy. He left the cowboy boots behind but does carry a gun to work everyday. Maybe he's not exactly the Wild West sheriff he dreamed of being but a city cop is pretty darn close. He never dreamed of going back to college either but at age 33 that's exactly what he's doing. He's taking this semester slow--just one class, Composition I--to see how much he can handle with his work schedule. Eight weeks in and so far he's gotten perfect scores on all 9 assignments (a wife can brag a little, right?). So for today's Poetry Friday spotlight I'm posting a poem he wrote for a recent assignment, the Where I'm From writing exercise.

Where I'm From by my husband, WD

I’m from fishing on the river bank under a willow tree;
leaves blowing in the breeze.
I’m from dressing up like a Wild West sheriff
and mounting a large flower pot shaped like a mule
and chasing invisible rustlers into the sunset.

I’m from staying up late fighting heavy eyelids
and watching Star Trek episodes,
waiting for my father to return from working second shift.
I’m from making trips across the river
to a neighborhood fish market;
watching the owners pet chimps play for hours.

I’m from spending endless hours with my father
sitting on a levee watching rail cars move back and forth
in a rail yard,
asking time and time again where they came from
and where they’re going.
I’m from visiting my father at work and enjoying a Zero bar
and chocolate milk in the break room.

I’m from camping with my grandparents for weeks at a time in the summer,
waking before dawn to help my grandfather check trotlines,
and playing Skipbo with my grandmother all evening.
I’m from a time I dearly miss but can never return to.
A time traveler headed ever forward into an uncertain future,
missing lost loved ones that I’ll never see again.

I’m from taking my wife and sons’ hands
and traveling farther into the great unknown without regrets,
together growing old;
the best IS yet to be!

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Italian White Bean, Pancetta and Tortellini Soup

A couple of months ago I loaded up the kids and headed to Little Rock to spend a week with my sister. It was a wonderful, delicious, calorie laden vacation. We're talking giant loaded potatoes, pizza, monkey bread and Krispy Kreme. It was great but when I got back home my stomach demanded something healthy. Something like Giada De Laurentiis' Italian White Bean, Pancetta and Tortellini Soup. With its antioxidant-rich kale, protein-packed beans, carrots full of vitamin A and a soothing, comforting broth, this soup was exactly what I needed.

Italian White Bean, Pancetta and Tortellini Soup (from Everyday Pasta)

3 tbsp olive oil
4 oz pancetta, chopped
(I've used bacon and I've also left it out all together)
3 large shallots, chopped
(an onion will work, too)
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (15-oz.) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups chopped Swiss chard (1 bunch) (
any green will do--I like kale)
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (9-oz.) package cheese tortellini, fresh or frozen
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

In a large, heavy soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta, shallots, carrot, and garlic and cook until the pancetta is crisp, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the beans, swiss chard and broth.

Bring the soup to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the tortellini and cook 5 minutes for fresh, 8 minutes for frozen, or just until tender. Season with pepper and serve.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Poet. Didn't Know It.

This is my sister and her husband...

Angie and Billy were married last June and plan to start a family sometime next year.

This is my brother and his partner...

Steven and Dan have been going through the adoption process for several months now and just learned they are having a baby girl due in January.

And ALL of this makes me...

a very HAPPY aunt-to-be!

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hope Your Harvest Was Better Than Mine

This picture of my garden was taken in early May. The bed on the left held tomatoes and herbs and the the bed on the right was made up of bell peppers and squash.

Such promise.

And then along came June, July and August with it's lack of rain and scorching heat.


I think we only got three squash and a couple of peppers throughout the whole summer. The tomatoes fared better. We did have to douse them with some pesticide when the hornworms showed up but I was able to freeze a few batches of tomato sauce. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for better weather next summer!

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

"To Remember And Rebuild"

Nine years. I can't believe it's been that long. Unbelievable and unforgettable. I just thought I would pass along the complete poem that VP Joe Biden recited at this morning's memorial at Ground Zero.

The Builders by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

All are architects of Fate,
Working in these walls of Time;
Some with massive deeds and great,
Some with ornaments of rhyme.

Nothing useless is, or low;
Each thing in its place is best;
And what seems but idle show
Strengthens and supports the rest.

For the structure that we raise,
Time is with materials filled;
Our to-days and yesterdays
Are the blocks with which we build.

Truly shape and fashion these;
Leave no yawning gaps between;
Think not, because no man sees,
Such things will remain unseen.

In the elder days of Art,
Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part;
For the Gods see everywhere.

Let us do our work as well,
Both the unseen and the seen;
Make the house, where Gods may dwell,
Beautiful, entire, and clean.

Else our lives are incomplete,
Standing in these walls of Time,
Broken stairways, where the feet
Stumble as they seek to climb.

Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
With a firm and ample base;
And ascending and secure
Shall to-morrow find its place.

Thus alone can we attain
To those turrets, where the eye
Sees the world as one vast plain,
And one boundless reach of sky.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Curried Carrot Soup

I'm so glad it's September. I can start posting soup recipes again! Both my husband and I love soup and we gladly have it during the heat of summer. I know some folks can't take that sort of craziness so I've been patiently waiting to post this recipe from Rachael Ray. A lot of Rachael's recipes have me shaking my head sometimes (remember when she cut up hot dogs and mixed it with ground beef and made burgers? Ewwww.) but this one is a keeper. It's so creamy and curry-y and perfect for anytime of the year if you ask me.

Curried Carrot Soup (adapted from Rachael Ray)

1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
2 TBS butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 lbs packaged baby carrots
6 cups chicken stock, divided use
1 1/2 TBS curry powder
1 tsp salt
1 can coconut milk
sour cream, optional

Preheat medium pot over medium high heat. Add olive oil, butter, onions and carrots and saute 5 minutes. Add 4 cups chicken stock, curry and salt to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover and cook until carrots are very tender, about 15 minutes. Add coconut milk and process the soup in a blender or food processor. Return the soup to the pot and heat through. Add more stock if you want a thinner consistency. Ladle into individual bowls and top with sour cream.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Smoooooooch! Right On The Kisser!

I was reading one of the uber Daddy bloggers one day when he mentioned that when his daughter was born, he and his wife made the decision to never kiss her on her lips.

Huh? Wha?

I know that as parents we are faced with numerous issues--breastfeeding, co-sleeping, spanking, daycare--but I had no idea kissing your kids on the mouth was an issue. I'm not judging. I'm sure his daughter will grow up to be a well-adjusted adult while my boys are headed straight to therapy. After all, I sneak into their rooms at night and clip their toenails while they're sleeping. But I just can't imagine not kissing my 2 knuckleheads on the lips. It's not something I'm going to do forever, of course, and at 6- and 8-years old I realize my kissing days are numbered BUT until then I'm going to keep on kissin'.

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Monday, September 6, 2010

Welcome To The Family!

It's a beautiful, bouncing, baby SUV!

We bought (gulp) a 2010 Hyundai Tucson last week and I'm lovin' it. How did I ever live without cruise control, leather seats, keyless entry and XM radio?

I must admit it was hard saying goodbye to my old minivan. We've been through a lot together. It was made even more difficult when my 8 year old started crying at the dealership. We were removing the booster seats and making sure the van was empty when the tears started to roll. We got that van when he was 7 months old--they grew up together. He didn't want anything new. He didn't care that the power locks no longer worked or that the dome lights came on spontaneously or that it put up a fight whenever I asked it to go more than 60 mph. He just wanted his familiar, comfy minivan. That is...until he discovered the MLB network on XM radio. And now he likes it as much as I do:)

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

13 Years And 20 Lbs Ago...

I was recently watching a videotape of my wedding from 13 years ago. It's been awhile since I watched it and I had forgotten that the priest had referred to marriage as a stew.

Well, the first 5 years of my marriage was a very bad stew. An awful, yucky, send it back to the kitchen, check please! kind of stew.

But then around the 5th or 6th year things began to turn around. I had quit my job so I could focus on raising kids and that helped tremendously in reducing the stress and resentment that I had felt. Plus, my husband was slowly returning to his pre-military self. (I'm not knocking the military--it's been very good to us--but basic training can really do a number on someone's personality.)

So now we're living and enjoying life together the way we should've been 13 years ago. I think we finally have a marriage that's comparable to a warm, rich, flavorful, hearty, healthy and satisfying stew.

Happy Anniversary, WD!

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Kind Of Holiday

I'm on a mini vacation in Little Rock this week. My sister has lots of fun things planned for us: shopping, movies, climbing Pinnacle mountain (ummm, we'll see about that one), games and crafts with the boys, and giant potatoes (check that one off the list already--we had Jason's Deli last night and yum).

Right now I'm in the middle of enjoying a cup of coffee out on the balcony but I would be remiss if I didn't let everyone know that today is National Lazy Day. Finally, a valid excuse as to why I'm still in my pj's at 10:30 a.m.

So have a great day everyone. Don't work too hard. And don't forget to stock up on marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate to celebrate tomorrow's excuse to eat junk food holiday--National S'mores Day!

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Take 12!

The last time we made a trip to the barber shop, I was flipping through an old National Geographic while the boys got their hair cut. In the magazine there was a photographer who took an old picture of an Indian chief and recreated the photo with one of the chief's descendants.

I thought that maybe I could give that a try. I found a photo of my dad, taken in the 1940s, and loosely recreated it using my 8 year old son. It's not a perfect duplicate by any means. I didn't get the background right or the brand of overalls, the light was coming from the wrong direction and my son's flannel shirt should have been buttoned up all the way, but come on, look what I had to deal with!

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Monday, July 26, 2010


Last month we headed up to Eureka Springs, AR for my sister's wedding. It was her second so it didn't come with all the fanfare, hoopla and tradition that tends to overshadow weddings. It was small, informal and very Angie. Just what she wanted.

It took place at the famous Crescent Hotel--if you watch the Travel channel during October they seem to always feature the Crescent during their Haunted Hotels program. But I stayed at the historic Basin Park Hotel which has its own ghost stories. I kept an open mind--expected cold pockets of air to float over me, looked for ghostly apparitions in windows, waited for the radio to spontaneously start playing We've Only Just Begun but nope, no ghosts.

I loved the Basin. The rooms were cute. The food from the Balcony Bar and Restaurant was great. And being able to step out of the hotel and walk over to the Mud Street Cafe for a decadent cherry mocha was a definite plus. Maybe Angie and Billy will bring me along for their first anniversary if they decide to go back next year? I'm pretty sure I could scare the ghosts away...

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rice Pancakes

Now this takes me back. This is something my mom would make whenever she had leftover rice from dinner. It's sweet, simple and soothing. Comfort food at it's best.

But you know what the problem is trying to get a recipe from your mom for a dish she's been making for 40 years? There is no exact recipe! She's all "start with some leftover rice" and "just add a little flour" and "you'll need a lot of sugar" and I'm all "I need measurements!"

So after a few experiments I think I've figured it out.

Rice Pancakes

3 cups cooked rice
1 egg
2 TBS flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 TBS butter

Mix together rice, egg, flour and sugar. Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Spoon rice mixture into hot skillet and brown each side for 3-4 minutes.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What She's Here For

This is Indie's anniversary month. As of July 3, she's been with us for a year. I remember the day she showed up--it was a hot, Friday morning and she had taken up residence underneath my vehicle. I have to say, my initial reaction was fear when I first noticed her--we get so many wild critters around here I didn't know what she was. But she wasn't scared. She was very sweet and friendly and before long she was a loved member of our family.

I'm a big believer in the whole 'life shuts a door, God opens a window' thing so in the back of my mind I kept wondering why is she here? There are many houses on our dirt road, why is she here? Why did she pick this house?

And then Lexie the Husky got sick and spent a week at the vet clinic. Howard the Husky does not do well alone and so we put Indie in the backyard to keep him company. They got along perfectly and I thought, okay, this why she's here. Lexie's not going to survive this infection and Indie is here to soften the blow.

But then Lexie got better and everything was fine until a couple of months ago. On May 28 Howard got out of the backyard after the air conditioner repairman left the gate open. I've searched all through the woods, left flyers around town, contacted the local radio station (they have a lost pet report everyday), left our phone number with our neighbors and sent out a plea on Facebook. And I've cried. And cried and cried and cried.

Nothing has worked.

He's gone.

But now I know what she's here for.

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