Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Angel Food

First, I"m up way too late! I've got a second wind and am watching the City season premiere (please don't judge me :) )on DVR. I'm crazy!

Tonight, our Sunday School class had our monthly girls gathering and my sweet friend had the idea to make soups to freeze for our Angel Food freezer at church. Basically, church members donate meals to be on hand for anyone who might need a meal in the church.

We had a lot of fun making five soups. My friend is such a great cook and has such a servant heart! She organized the whole thing and picked the recipes. We made one soup tonight that I want to try at home ... it smelled so good. It's Smoky Sweet Potato Chicken Soup

Tomorrow is my Mama's birthday and I heard that God might be giving her the best birthday present - our first morning of cooler weather!  (I hope when you read this that you got a chance to sit outside and drink your coffee, Gig! :)  ).

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Weekend Update - high school reunion

We had a great weekend! The four of us hit the road and headed north to Big Daddy's high school reunion.

This was also homecoming weekend. So, there were lots of fun activities going on in town. So, here's the crazy part ... all of this was new for me, because, are you ready ... my high school didn't have a football team! So, this was a weekend of firsts for me ....

My first high school homecoming parade

My first high school homecoming football game

My first time to see a HUGE homecoming corsage in

My first time to see a high school homecoming court

It was so much fun! It made me think I might have missed out a bit in high school!

Sweet Bitty Baby took a great nap on the way up ... both girls were great car travellers

As soon as we hit town, we headed to the parade!

When is it going to start?

Here we go! Roll Tide!

Bitty Baby is not feeling the love for the band :)

Or, maybe, her sad face is because Little Mama just realized while uploading these pics that Sister had Bitty Baby's special Tiger! Busted!

More floats!

Hanging out with friends ...

Guess who rode in the parade? Big Daddy! Each reunion class had their own float and everyone looked like they had the best time.

After the parade, we went to the homecoming game where our team won the game! Each reunion class marched out on the field, which was really neat. The earliest class was 1939.

The 50 yard line was painted for homecoming

One of the best parts of the trip was getting a chance to visit with my in-laws. We enjoyed seeing them and hadn't been up since 4th of July. The last few months have flown by and we were glad to be home for a visit!

The weekend was so nice and full of fun events for the reunion. There were parties Friday and Saturday night and it was so much fun visiting with everyone. Big Daddy's friends from home are some of the nicest people I've ever met!

Holy Cow! We got a rare pic of the two of us ... usually one of us is behind the camera!

Big Daddy comes from a big football family, so of course, the games were on this weekend. One of our highlights was the LSU Tiger's win against Mississippi State. Whew! That was a nail biter! Geaux Tigers!

Even better than the win, is Bitty Baby's new trick that she picked up during the game ...


That's our girl!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fools Toffee

Fools Toffee

Fools Toffee is so good! This is one of my favorite recipes and one of my go to's when I need to take a dessert somewhere.  Plus, it's fast and easy. 

Guess what the secret ingredient is -- saltines!  Oh, and these have lots of BUTTER in them!  We Southern girls LOVE to cook with butter!

It does best if stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve, especially if it's warm and humid outside.  (Which is pretty much all the time in the Land of Little Mama!)

Fools Toffee
serves 8 - 12

36 to 40 saltine crackers ( 1 sleeve)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (no substitutes)
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 cups (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup to 1 cup chopped pecans

Line a 10 x 17-inch baking pan with foil and coat the foil with butter. 

Arrange the crackers in a single layer with sides touching in the prepared pan. 

Combine 1 cup butter and brown sugar in a saucepan. 

Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly.

 Pour the butter mixture over the crackers. 

Using a wooden spoon, spread the mixture evenly over the crackers.  Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with the chocolate chips and let stand for 2 minutes or until the chocolate chips soften. 

Spread the chocolate evenly over the prepared layers using a knife or metal cake spatula. 

Sprinkle with the pecans and press lightly. Chill for 30 minutes or until set.  Break into pieces and store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

While I was making these, I had a kitchen lurker.  Looks like she got what she was waiting for :)

So, this is what happens when we turn off the T.V.

I don't know about you, but lately, I've been wanting to cut down on our daytime T.V. watching.  Sometimes, I depend on it too much to get that load of laundry done or make that phone call, if you know what I mean :) . 

So, the other afternoon, we turned off the T.V. while I was getting supper ready.  And, here are some pics from our misadventures!  I love how much fun they had with the simple things when they were able to step away from the set!

Look how much fun a toy bucket can be!

Have you ever seen baby bedhead?

Helping a sister out!

Who knew a toy bucket would be a great place for a concert?

Sister giggles definitely beat the sound of T.V. anyday! :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rose of Montana

We have the most beautiful vine growing on the fence.  It's a Rose of Montana or Coral Vine.  The flowers remind me a lot of Lily of the Valley, one of my favorites.  I love the hot pink flowers with bright green leaves.  It's usually at its peak in late September, dies back during the Winter, and reappears in late Spring.  

The only thing about this vine is that the bees love it.  So, it's covered with these guys from morning until dusk.  Then they head home and come back again the next day.  This one is planted on the driveway, so it keeps things interesting when people come by to visit and get out of their cars!  Still, it's worth it, epsecially because it's truly no maintenance - my kind of plant!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Do you remember foam rollers?

We're turning back to the 1950's around here - we're washing and setting our hair on a Friday night!

Since Bitty Baby has God-given curls, Sister has been feeling a little left out these days. So, our sweet friend gave her the best gift - a pack of old-fashioned foam rollers. Oh, the memories these bring back! I think I slept on these things every Saturday night before church for the first ten years of my life!

Tonight, Sister and I had the so much fun playing beauty parlor and "setting" her hair! She's so excited to sleep in her big girl rollers. I wonder what her hair will look like in the morning? :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mediterranean Chicken Cous Cous Salad

This is one of our favorite recipes! It's a one-dish meal and healthy, so I really love it! I found it in
Southern Living and we have enjoyed it ever since. It's so easy and if you use a rotisserie chicken, it's ready in only about 15 or 20 minutes.

If you haven't tried couscous, it's definitely worth a try. Cous Cous is basically little pearls of pasta and it is so yummy!

My whole family eats this, even Big Daddy. That's pretty awesome considering he wanted us to register for divided plates when we were married. You know, so his food wouldn't touch :)

Mediterranean Chicken Cous Cous
Yield 8 servings (1 cup each)

1 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth

1 5.6 oz package plain couscous (I use Near East)

3 cups cooked chicken

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1 4oz package crumbled feta cheese

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tsp lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Heat broth to a boil on stovetop. Add couscous and remove from burner. Cover immediately and let stand 5 minutes.

Fluff couscous with fork and add chicken and next 6 ingredients. Serve warm or cold.

Looking forward to checking out the other recipes! It's always fun to get new ideas!

Spray paint lamp makeover

My sister has created a monster - a spray paint monster! Last week, she needed a new mail box. But, after pricing them, she decided to spray her old one with Rustoleum Hammered paint and voila - it looks amazing! (Sis - if you send me a pic, I'll post it here :) ).

So, I decided that I could spray paint, too! Last weekend, we started cleaning out the office - a.k.a. the ultimate junk room. Being a certifiable packrat, this could be a painful process. Ha!

While we were decluttering, I found this beauty. Oh, and there's another one to make a pair. :)

I bought these little lamps right after we were married and had plans to spray paint the bases, but never did. Living up to my pack ratness, I hated to get rid of these. Here they were - waiting these past 8 years for a little makeover!

Here's a closeup of the not so pretty finish on these lamps

And, here's my special helper

First, I sprayed a light coat on as a primer

Then, a second heavier coat

And, the final product!

And, they found a new home atop this dresser. The dresser top is still a work in progess, but I think the lamps are here to stay.

Here is one of my next victims

I also have my eye on a picture frame (J. - the one you gave me that's in the dining room now), a floor lamp, the mailbox, and my outside table and chairs. I'm hooked!

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11th - Eight years ago today

One of the most poignant sights to me is the American Flag flying at half-staff. In our town, there is an enormous flag that has been a landmark here for many years. As I was driving home today, there it was, in all of it's glory, sadly hanging at half-staff.

Immediately, I was brought back to eight years ago - 9/11. Like many people, I will never forget where I was and what I was doing when I first heard of the terrorist attacks on our nation. At that time, I was about to get married with our wedding in little over a month. I recently quit my job and was preparing to move to Washington D.C. where my fiance, now husband, had recently accepted a new job.

When the first plane hit the World Trade Center, I was completely unaware. Oddly enough, I was watching the movie High Society with Grace Kelly. The phone rings and my mom tells me of the attacks. Then, we realize that a plane hit the Pentagon, suddenly making everything so much closer to home.

My fiance was not just working in D.C. He was on Capitol Hill. Immediately, I called his office and was able to get in touch with him. He knew of the attack and planned to wait things out in his office. As we were on the phone and watching events unfold on television, a security guard came to his door and stated that all employees were to evacuate the building immediately. He and his colleagues left the building, with no where to go, and no plan. I can't remember if we knew it at the time, but a fourth plane was heading their direction.

At home, the phone began to ring off of the hook. At first, I assumed people were calling to check on my sweetheart. Then, I realized, they were checking on both of us since I was scheduled to be in D.C. and fly back that morning. But, my plans were derailed at the last minute and I ended up staying home.

A few days earlier, I had been in a car wreck. Not just any car wreck, but a hit and run. I was stopped preparing to turn left when I was rear-ended by a pick-up truck. He hit me pretty hard and so I was disoriented for a few minutes. The driver motioned for me to turn into a parking lot, but for some reason, I turned left onto a residential street, turned around and went back to the parking lot. In the meantime, the driver left the scene.

I was livid to say it politely. I waited just in case he happened to return and then did what any smart girl would do, I called my Mama! She came and we waited for the police to file a report. We had just had a wedding shower and my car trunk was full of china. My heart sunk when I looked at the smashed rear-end of my car and knew that all of our beautiful plates had been ruined. We opened the trunk and the first of several God moments occurred - every piece was perfectly intact!

With all of the wedding planning, a few aches and pains from the wreck, and facing putting my car in the shop - we decided that I wouldn't make the trip to D.C. Rather, my fiance would come home for a visit and that was that. I was so angry at the driver. Not only had he messed up my car, potentially destroyed all of my beautiful Wedgewood china, he now had screwed up my plans to visit D.C. After all, we had so much to do - find an apartment, look for a job for me, and finalize plans for the wedding. I thought - what a jerk!

My sweetheart came home and we had a great visit. He flew back on the red eye and got back safely in the wee hours of September 11th. As the events of that terrible day unfolded, I realized that God had been watching out for me and used the accident as a blessing. I wasn't scheduled to be on one of the tragic flights, but my flight would have put me taking off and in the air during the attacks. If you remember, air traffic was suspended for some days after 9/11, with flights being detoured all over the nation. Suddenly, a guy who inconvenienced me with a hit-and-run car accident had prevented me from flying home on the morning of September 11th. My jerk was now an angel.

A few months back I picked up Billy Graham's book, Angels: God's Secret Agents. It's a fascinating read and I couldn't help but think about my experience. Do I know if an angel intervened for me? I have no idea. What I do know is that I am loved by a God who has a perfect plan for me, for all of us, even when things seem like an incredible mess. And, goodness knows, this girl can use all the grace and mercy she can get :)

And we know that in all things, God works together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Too Cool For School

Today was a big day of firsts for us. Sister's first day of pre-K. Bitty Baby's first day of MDO. The start of me having a few hours a week of "mommy time!" Yay for for the first day of school!

We've been looking forward to this day for several weeks now. We had a great summer, but the natives have been getting restless!

It's hard to put into words, but I was happy and sad at the same time. Happy to get back into a routine. But, sad that our baby is starting "big girl preschool" & will be in kindergarten next year. Also, sad to leave my sweet Bitty Baby for the first time.

When I was trying to get a "First day of school" pic of the girls, I think they captured my feelings perfectly :)

Here's our big girl on her first day of pre-K.

I'm still getting used to the fact that Bitty Baby is into everything these days! While we were taking pictures, she decided to take my car keys, crawl out of the house, onto the driveway, and head towards the street. I saw Sister's reaction before I realized Bitty Baby had escaped!

The girls were a little unsure when I dropped them off, but all smiles when I picked them up. Both of them had an awesome time, which just made my day! As we were leaving, Sister was yelling "Bye" to all of her friends in the parking lot. (Of course, Bitty Baby had to join in, too!) I just hurried to the car with my head down. Ha!

Sleepy sleep on the way home

Too cool for school!

It's been a great day!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Beach Teaser

Yay! I finally have a chance to sit down and start working on a new post about our beach trip. We had a great time and I had so much fun taking pictures of my peeps!

In the meantime, here's a little teaser :)

The last picture really makes me want to go back. I have to go to Wal-Mart instead because we are low, low, low on groceries. If I take a wrong turn and somehow end up going towards the coast, I wonder how long before the family might miss me? :)