Dec 3, 2013

Toys! Toys! Toys! (No Batteries Needed)

Okay, so with an almost two year old, I am having a tough time not wanting to buy all the things for her for Christmas.  It's just so fun to have a kid who is old enough to love toys!

And toys!  I want to play with all of them.  However, I have tried to ban anything that makes noise or needs batteries for my own personal sanity.  An excellent resource for this type of toy is Montessori supply places.  I like "For Small Hands", which is where I found the majority of Miss Priss' gifts this year.

Roll and Play

"“Make a sleepy face.” “Rub your belly.” “MOO like a cow.” These are just a few of the fun activities you and your toddler can enjoy together when you play this easy game. 

Simply toss the plush color cube, pick a card matching the color shown, and perform the activity together. The game play emphasizes turn taking and gross motor skills, without the pressure of competition. "

This seems like an excellent rainy day activity, or at least an entertaining alternative to Daniel Tiger.

Reusable stickers?  Animals?  This will be a hit for sure.

Just like mine!

"This unique, versatile "step-stool" appeals to the young children’s innate desire to help and participate in appealing out-of-reach activities such as dishwashing and meal preparation. 

Designed by a Montessori teacher, with an easily adjustable deck and sturdy railings to provide stable support for climbing up and standing. Over time, children can use it as a desk or even a puppet theater. "
Morgan was unsure about this- another thing to take up kitchen space, expensive, and not exactly fun.  Then we started to read reviews on Amazon.  I have a feeling that this is going to make my life much easier- Dell Harper loves to watch me cook and play in the sink.  Now she will be at the right height, and not precariously balanced on a kitchen chair.

She will be able to help me cook with her own real cooking utensils that are just her size-

There are dozens more items that I would love to order, but parental restraint calls and I have refrained. Quality merchandise, plastic free, and excellent prices are hard to ignore!

I also ordered a few things from One Step Ahead-

And if Santa (or grandparents) think she is especially good this year?

A Dollhouse! (I am so excited about this and will probably play with it more than Miss Priss does)

All these things promise to be so much fun that Morgan did not even question/notice the lack of beeping bells and whistles. Buying the wooden toys I crave without being accused of having boring granola hippie tendencies by my husband?  Winning for sure.

Nov 25, 2013

Name Game

I loved hearing about crazy names in your families in response to my "What's in a Name" post from last week.  I thought I would address some of the suggestions here- y'all had some lovely ideas!

yamilovesemma  said "love the name Lily I did not give it to my daughter because of a friend of mine with that name instead I named her Emma which I love too.
You mentioned Ermina, pretty name as well...good luck! Oh I also love Eleanor"

I love the name Lily too, but I  know a ton of little Lily's running around, so that is out.  Eleanor is lovely as well, but I really want to use a family name.  Both Morgan and I are saddled with them, and honestly I can't handle the responsibility of picking a random name that I don't have a connection to otherwise.

Anonymous said "Whats the chance of a surname, like Stevens?"

This is random, but one of my friend's maiden name is Stevens, and she just named her little boy that (middle name).  I like surnames for first names, but I would like a more gender specific name if it's a girl.

melissa said "This is too funny! I always thought the hard part of family names was selecting which family member to honor - I may be wrong! I like Mae and Lily from your FIL's list. I'm sure you'll come up with something wonderful for a little girl! Or have a boy. :)"

Melissa, I am with you on the boy thing- it would take care of a lot of decision making! I like Lily and Mae as well, but one one the aforementioned little Lilly's running around just had a baby sister named Mae. Problem with living in a smallish town where everyone is always having babies!

Sara said "Awesome! I like Lily. And Rose is a great middle name (not with Lily, obviously). Also, Nellie is kind of adorable. If you did Margaret, could you nickname her Maggie or Mags or Margo?"

Kate said "I actually really love Nellie (the combo with Pearl is a bit much)... Or a variation? Nell? Nella? Do both of your Margaret friends go by their full name? Maggie and Margot are such great names... I also really like Mae and Olive. A friend recently named her little girl Olive and she's adorable."

I love Rose too- but have the same problem with a bunch of little Roses which are currently running amok.  We have talked about Maggie- I love it, and it is a consideration for sure!  

Nellie reminds me of Nellie Olsen from Little House on the Prairie.  I can't get past that.

Nealie said "love Francis- call her Cissa- Easy for DH to say! I am a Cornelia Emilen- but I only have boys but would have used Cornelia and done Lelia. I say use Samma too!"

I love Francis also, but once again there are several Francis/Frances cuties in my extended circle.  Maybe my friends should stop having babies with family names, so there would be some good ones left for the rest of us!

Finally, Lissa suggested Bromley Faye, which is darling, except for the fact that my last name is Bromley, so. . . 

Nov 20, 2013

Double Duty Dinners

Typically I am wildly underwhelmed by the options presented by "double duty cooking".  A roast one night, then sandwiches the next!  How innovative. . .to make sandwiches with leftover meat.  I want a transformation, not the same thing on a piece of bread.

I was vastly pleased when Morgan suggested using my leftover pot roast to make stroganoff the other night.  Absolutely genius, and a cinch to make.  Plus, I just adore beef stroganoff, and don't eat it often enough.

So, night one, have your four ingredient slow cooker pot roast.  

Here's the recipe straight from Southern Living:

Four-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Pot Roast

Southern Living NOVEMBER 2013
  • Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings
  • Hands-on:20 Minutes
  • Total:8 Hours, 20 Minutes


  • 1 (3- to 4-lb.) chuck roast, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 (12-oz.) can beer
  • 1 (0.7-oz.) envelope Italian dressing mix


Brown roast in hot oil in a skillet over medium-high heat 3 to 5 minutes on each side; transfer to a 6-qt. slow cooker. Whisk together beer and dressing mix; pour over roast. Cover; cook on LOW 8 to 10 hours or until tender. Remove roast from slow cooker. Skim fat from sauce; serve with roast.

Then, the next night make this delicious supper-

  • 4 cups cooked beef
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms 
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1.5 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sour cream

Trim all fat from the beef and shred.
Heat the oil and butter in a dutch oven, add the onions and mushrooms.  Sauté until soft on low heat.
Add the meat and continue to cook for about ten minutes, then add the stock and simmer for another 30 minutes.
Mix the flour and salt with the sour cream and add to the meat mixture.
Cook slowly over medium low heat until thick, but do not boil (this will cause the sour cream to curdle and break)
Serve with buttered egg noodles seasoned with parsley.

We had copious amounts of roasted Brussels Sprouts on the side, which was an excellent accompaniment.

Note- although delicious, Beef Stroganoff is very difficult to photograph in an appealing way.  Thank goodness my mama is a potter, and I have her beautiful bowls as a crutch.

Nov 19, 2013

What's In A Name

So I finally tried to sit Morgan down in order to discuss possible names for our future child, who is scheduled to arrive in just over two months.  Not a ton of time, and I have my hands full with doing up Dell Harper's big girl room and the holidays, so I'd like to get my ducks in a row.  We have a boy name all worked out (after Morgan, going by his middle name), but a girl name?  Totally unknown.

We did a little research into our family trees, as my top two choices (one a favorite great aunt, and the other my grandmother's middle name), were deemed "okay, but a little old ladyish".  Likely because they are the names of two old ladies.

Both sides abound with Margarets, which we both just love, but I also have not one, but two best friends named Margaret.  It might be a bit much.

Anyway, we have got some weird options ahead of us.  You know it's dire when a Samma Faye thinks some names are weird.

My maternal grandmother- Erma Faye. She would rise from her grave to haunt me if I ever named a child Erma, and rightfully so.  Her sister?  Ivy Mae- not bad when you consider the rest of the list.

Mama has also threatened dire harm if I name a child after her 1950's charmer of a name- Janet Sue.  I think we are safe!

Mama then suggested her favorite great-aunt, who was an amazing woman named. . .Nellie Pearl.

Sorry, Mama.

My other grandmother's sisters include my great aunts Madge, who went by Bucky, and Frances, who went by Pris.  Then we have plenty of Ruths, Marys, Frances's, and Sarahs, which are fine, but. . .I mean, my name is Samma Faye, and I am married to a Morgan Deeds.  We don't do plain or simple very well.  Plus, Mary and Ruth are so lovely as double names, but Dell Harper is enough for one family.

Then we get to Morgan's side-

Morgan and I discovered his great-grandmother on his mom's side had a doozy- Pantha Olive.  Whew.

Then I received this amazing e-mail from my father-in-law- I'm just going to paste it in its entirety.

Samma,  Morgan mentioned that you guys were looking over names for a girl.   Most names I can supply are not very appealing.
On the Bromley side:
 Opal Mae Deeds Bromley -  My mother
 Rose Brown Deeds - My grandmother
 Ermina - My grandmother Bromley
Amanda Melissa - My great grandmother Bromley
Edna Geraldine Seymore-  a great aunt
On the Broyhill side:
Dell Boulware Broyhill - Dell Morgan's Mother.
Ethel Broyhill  Stevens -  Dell Morgan's aunt.
Lily Broyhill Blackwelder - "   "     "     "    "    "
Again not very appealing.
Love, Coach    Be sure to give Dell Harper a squeeze.

So we are stuck- Erma Ermina?  Pantha Pearl?  Bucky Mae?  Too many delightful monikers to choose from.

Maybe I should just hope for a boy.

Nov 15, 2013

Five on Friday!!

1.  November's Southern Living-

Check out the "Beyond the Bird" recipe section- I made this tasty sausage-grits "quiche" (that's what they call it, it's totally not a quiche, but delicious all the same),  and a crock-pot four ingredient pot roast which was quite good as well.  Both were quick, easy weeknight suppers.  I ate the leftover sausage-grits pie for breakfast, and froze half the pot roast.

2.  Pat Conroy's new book, The Death of Santini

I am a huge fan of Mr. Conroy, and approached his newest book with some trepidation.  I was so sorely disappointed with his previous novel, South of Broad.  However, his latest, The Death of Santini is an excellent memoir that is just as fascinating (if not more) than his best fictional work.  I am enthralled, and highly recommend (so far- I have not put it down since Wednesday, but have about a third remaining).

3.  PIE!!!!
A pie shop just opened up in my neck of the woods.  They have pie and biscuits, and this pregnant lady is thrilled to pieces.  Y'all can have your cupcakes and your Starbucks.  Give me pie!!!  Morgan brought home a chocolate pie on his way back in town yesterday, and it was wonderful.  Poor Miss Priss' bedtime routine was rather rushed last night, as all I could think about was having a piece of chocolate pie once I got her down.

4.  Third Trimester- 
28 weeks today! This picture is actually from last week, but I look about the same.

If I squint.   Thanks chocolate pie.

Miss Priss is intrigued with the belly and likes to lay on top of it.  I have confused the hell out of her by telling her there is a baby in there.  She kept rapping my tummy with her tiny fist and peering at it, so I'm leaving that subject alone for now.  We've scheduled my c-section, and it seems frighteningly soon.  I have to get cracking on a big girl room for my current baby. These are the middle of the night thoughts.  During the day I am too busy to bother with such nonsense as baby #2 preparation. Oh, law.

Now that I just have 2.5 months to go, I find my perfect maternity line.  Perfect, although pricey.  It's a bit too late now to justify, but if I was just starting out on this rapidly expanding journey, I would splurge on a couple basic tops, and wear them every single day.

I mean, how could you not?

 Check out this dress- you can wear it with pleats in front or in back for a completely versatile look.

I am working hard to not buy stuff I do not need, but looking at these simple, wonderful clothes just gives me a case of the gimmes!  I mean, it's like they read my mind of exactly what I want.  Drapey, and sophisticated, yet perfect for toddler chasing.  Where's a fairy godmother when you need one, right?

As always, thank you to Natasha, Darci, Christina and April for hosting this link up, and have a wonderful weekend!

Nov 6, 2013

Rustic Chicken Hand Pies

Well, I got called out by a commenter the other day for my choices in meals to bring to families with new babies.  Although, I'm an "everything in moderation" kind of girl and don't find pasta or cheese inherently "bad",  I could see Amy's point.  I mean, it's hard to defend Poppyseed Chicken.  Although, it doesn't have mayonnaise in it!  That's a step on the road to health, right?

Anyway, after this recipe, I fear that commenter Amy will write me off completely. There's pie crust, and mayonnaise, and butter is brushed over top.  It's not an everyday food, people.  As I have learned on Sesame Street, this is a sometime food, balanced with some green veggies.  I ate mine with an abundance of green beans and speckled butter beans.  Oh, but how I love pie crust.  These are like chicken pot pie with no soggy bottom crust issue.  Everything is flaky and buttery and filled with creamy chicken.

I had to put the leftover pies in the freezer so I would not eat them as snacks.

Rustic Chicken Hand Pies

1 recipe pie crust*

4 cups cooked chicken, chopped finely
1 cup minced celery
1/2 medium onion, finely minced
3/4 cup mayonaise
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix all the filling ingredients together (you're basically making chicken salad, and a tasty one at that!)

Roll out your pie crusts, and cut into 5 inch squares.  Put filling on one half of the square (on the diagonal), and fold over to make a triangle.  Pinch the edges shut.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with melted butter.

Bake for about 30 minutes until the crust is lightly browned and flaky.

I already can't wait to pull the rest of the batch out of the freezer to enjoy with roasted veggies on a chilly night later this fall.

*My recipe for pie crust is an old family recipe, passed down from my mama- go buy a box of Pillsbury refrigerated crust.

Nov 4, 2013

Raggedy Pants

Last week I was all fired up to write a post on all my fall and winter wants/needs.  Stuff I was all excited to buy, like two-tone Hunter boots, and stuff for the perfect big girl room for Dell Harper, and a new diaper bag, blah, blah, blah.  Then at church Sunday before last the sermon was all about the evils of materialism.  And I deleted my online shopping bags, feeling mighty guilty about all my imaginary shopping.

It is so easy to get caught up in our disposable, new-new-new, buy-buy-buy culture.  I see my friends and acquaintances, (or random people on blogs or instagram) with beautiful new clothes, or a perfectly redecorated house, and I want that too.  I mean, who wouldn't want to wear a different new outfit every  day? Who wouldn't want new dishes or chairs or stationery?

But truth be told, I also get a bit disgusted with myself.  I don't need to spend money on things.  Dell Harper doesn't care if the chair in her room is old or new, or how much it cost.  She just cares about whether it is comfy for reading books and snuggling with her mama (it is, although becoming a bit of a tight squeeze these days). She truly does not give a shit whether her stroller came from craigslist or is brand spanking new with a thousand dollar price tag to prove it.  So why should I care?

So, I thought deep about all of the above, and resolved to do better.  My innate frugality battles with my love of beautiful things.  And pretty clothes (although none are to be had right now in my current situation).  I need to let go of my horror of rewearing the same clothes over and over.  No one cares except for me.

I felt purposeful and renewed to live and spend sensibly, and ignore the cheap thrill of a new bauble or cheaply made article of clothing from J. Crew or Anthroplogie.  Frugal Frannie, that's me.

Then, my mom came over to help with bath the other night.  Miss Priss had me at wit's end with her one of twice yearly meltdowns.  I needed reinforcement and a smiling face, so mama to the rescue.  While doing Dell Harper's bath, I bent over the tub, and Mama exclaimed, "Samma!  I can see your crack!".  I was MORTIFIED, (not because of my mom, but because I had been wearing these maternity leggings for the past three days (between washings)).  They had not only a run in the seat of the pants, but had grown thin with my repeated washings and wearings the past month.  You could see straight through them!  I had worn them to exercise class, with a tunic for a party, with a t-shirt to the grocery store- all over town!  And, with an extremely active toddler, I bend over a lot.

So, I decided that materialism aside, it was time for some new leggings.  Even the good Lord understands that no one needs to see my crack.  That just ain't right.

Nov 1, 2013

My Five Best Baby Dinners

I have delivered four dinners to new babies this past month alone (my group of friends is constantly having lots of babies).  I must say that I truly enjoy it- the making and delivering.   Over the past five years and countless dinners I have really gotten my technique down.  Ha, it also might help that I will be reaping the benefit of a meal train in about three months.

Some friends and I were discussing cooking at a dinner party last week.  About half were firmly in the "do it from necessity but dislike it strongly" camp.  Obviously, y'all know that I am strongly in the "love love love it" camp.  Miss Priss and I had a testy week, and after struggling through the grocery store Wednesday (thank you Kroger for the free balloon, and blind eye to apple munching!), I was thrilled to get her down for her nap, listen to the new John Grisham, and get busy in the kitchen.  It brings me such peace to put my energy and (cheese-alert) love into making a simple casserole, delicious dessert, and wholesome vegetable for friends, and packaging it all up. Maybe it is just because I love to eat so much, but good food is probably the greatest gift we can give each other in my eyes.

Or maybe I just need a snack.

So in honor of all these babies, I thought my Five on Friday would be to share my favorite recipes to bring families with new babies.  (Links to each recipe are in the title)

1.  Anytime Chicken and Dressing

Serve with a green vegetable- (I'm partial to green beans, myself), Sister Schubert's rolls, and cookies.

2.  Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Shells

Serve with a green salad- I like to include a jar of a quick homemade dressing, garlic bread (try this one!), and brownies.  I have made this probably 25 times over the last few years, and it is always such a hit.

3.  Chicken Tetrazinni
Perfect with roasted asparagus, french rolls, and something sweet!

4.  Elvis Enchiladas
Serve with Mexican rice, salsa, sour cream and tortilla chips.  Chocolate chips cookies are always welcome!

5.  Cheesy Poppyseed Chicken

This is the greatest iteration of poppyseed chicken I have ever encountered.

4 cups cooked chicken, shredded (you can use a rotisserie, or boil a whole chicken and have homemade stock for other purposes)
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 8 oz container sour cream
2 tablespoon poppyseeds
4 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup cheese, divided

Mix everything and 1/2 cup of cheese together, and top with the other half of the cheese. Bake for 350 degrees for about 45 minutes until bubbly.

I could eat that chicken all day long.  Comfort food at its best.  Poppyseed chicken is excellent with steamed broccoli, but you might want to check with the mama in question, since it can upset some baby's tummies (same with brussel sprouts, some spices and beans).   Miss Priss could not handle black beans or cabbage, herself.  An excellent subsstitute is roasted asparagus.Add some rolls and something sweet, and you are set!

Other tips?

Make sure everything is in disposable containers.  I had zero brain power/ability to leave the house/desire to return dishes to their proper owners in the weeks or even months following Dell Harper's birth.

If something calls for a 9x13 baking dish, make it in 2 8x8's instead.  Write freezing instructions on one.  It's nice to not have to eat the same leftovers for a week, and have something tucked away for when new mama goes back to work or when the meal train dries up.

I know that not everyone has the time or inclination to cook.  However, any effort is much appreciated, and a home-cooked meal, or dessert from a special bakery makes all the difference to an exhausted friend.

Thanks to the ladies for hosting, and have a wonderful weekend!!

Oct 23, 2013

A Minor (Maternity) Rant

Why oh why can I not find maternity clothes that suit my taste?  This is what I want.

Too bad they cost from $158 to $318.  That's not in the budget.

Why can I not find flowy clothes that skim over my tummy for a reasonable price?

Or else, I would like classic, modest yet flattering clothing?

Arrgh, I need to resume my search for a seamstress.

How cute would I be chasing after Miss Priss in one of these ensembles?

 Or these fall looks are just too perfect!

Colorful, simple clothing.  They have no words emblazoned across the stomach, nor do they show one's belly button.  From the abundance of skin tight styles on the market, I must be the only person whose waist is immediately replaced by love handles the minute I find out I am with child.  No amount of ruching can disguise that.  Why are the flowy tops which abound at Anthropologie or the drapey numbers I recently purchased at Gap not available for maternity?   I know I can buy larger sizes, but then the shoulders and sleeves swallow me, and the lengths rapidly become too short.

Whine. Whine. Whine.

If I could design and produce my own clothes, I would make a simple capsule wardrobe of leggings and skinny pants, with A-line sleeveless tunics that I could layer with long sleeved tees, and short A-line swingy dresses.   Some swingy soft long sleeved tunic tops.  Long cardigans in bright colors. All machine washable and appropriate for toddler chasing, yet presentable and chic.

Instead, I am presented with this as a cute and affordable option.

If the poor model looks lumpy, a mere mortal like myself has no chance.  And this offering is from Gap!  Don't even get me started on Motherhood Maternity's offerings.

I will quit complaining, and go back to my quest for loose swingy tops.  Have any of y'all worn those Piko tops while pregnant?  I've thought about trying that, but I am almost in the third trimester.  How long would they last me?

If I am ever pregnant again, I am creating my damn capsule collection well beforehand when I still have some energy.  Better start learning to sew now.

Oct 22, 2013

What's Shaking

So, I have fallen woefully behind with my blogging.  But, I have a new niece!  And she is precious!  And over a week old.  I'm behind.  My brother and sister-in-law are doing wonderfully, and adjusting to life without sleep.  Although, I have a feeling my brother is still getting some sleep.  Dell Harper has not met Charlotte yet, but once things settle down, she is going to be so thrilled to meet this baby we keep talking about!

We hit up the massive fall extravaganza at a local farm's pumpkin patch.  The hayride to actual pumpkin patch had an enormous line, so we perused more toddler friendly activities.  Like riding in a carts behind an ATV.
 Morgan and I were dying to go see the goats and bunnies (um, okay, I was dying), but Miss Priss refused to leave the sandpit.  Someone had trouble understanding the fall/farm theme of our activity apparently.

 Once she saw the goats?  She got it.
 Look at this goat in the air!  They had this entire elaborate climbing structure for the goats, which went out of their pen and above our heads.  I wanted to play on it so badly.

Then the little kid corn maze.  Talk about delight!  This girl took off!

 We had to go through a second time, with her leading me around.

She also got to sit in a giant metal tub of corn- this looked pretty fun.  Kind of like the corn version of the gold in Duck Tales.  The older kids got a little rough for Miss Priss's taste though.

And I finally got my photo opportunity. I mean, it's not like her outfit was purchased back in August for this single moment or anything.

So, it was a great Sunday.  Then Dell Harper started coughing like a seal barking around 11:45 that night, and I knew that sleep was not on my agenda for the night.  She had been a little raspy at church, but I chalked it up to playing so hard with her buddies, and her little allergies.  Instead, it was croup.  And a double ear infection.  She is feeling great, and never even ran a fever.  I am still exhausted from a night of 45 minutes of sleep while six months pregnant, but am planning on catching up right now!

On my blogging to-do list, I have an amazing dessert recipe to share with y'all, (shocking, since brownies from the box are my main specialty for a sweet treat).  I will make it again since I neglected to take pictures last time.  I've got my fourth baby meal for the month coming up, and will share the dessert along with my top new-mama meals.