Jul 30, 2014

The Real Nitty Gritty

The big day is tomorrow.

I'm to the point where I want to say to hell with organization, and throw the remaining random stuff into a box.

My current view.
My closet.

I can't bear to take down pictures yet.

Let's hope I survive the next 48 hours.  Make that 72, because I have a closing for work Friday morning.  I might be wearing a suit and flip flops, since I had already packed my shoes before it was scheduled.

Okay, pack to bouncing around my house and freaking out about another pile of random stuff that needs a place.

Jul 23, 2014


We move in a week.  I have now packed roughly 12 boxes.  I'm over it.  I picked up a bunch of boxes from a super organized friend who just moved.  She expressed surprise when I said I was really going to get cracking.  Apparently she packed for two months before her move, much to my consternation.

I had an amazing dinner with friends Friday night- a cozy French brasserie, ideal for a rainy night.  Escargot, pork belly, mussels, and foie gras- our appetizers alone were heavenly.  Tbalance it out, I had a salad for dinner, albeit one with fried oysters and lardons. I love to be with people who love food as much as I do.  I think constantly dieting dull one's personality after a while.  Or maybe I just tell myself that, ha!

Dell Harper had her first gymnastics lesson today.  It was adorable, and she did great! I think she has inherited her father's eye-hand coordination (thank the Lord!).  I can't even do a cartwheel.

Okay, back to work.  I'm hiding out at Panera while the kiddos play with their favorite sitter.  I keep telling myself that once I finish up my work projects, then I will get everything packed up. I have a feeling that my first all-nighter since one ill-fated attempt in law school might be happening soon.

And, as usual, in lieu of any content, here's a bunch of cute pictures.

They are awfully cute.  Too bad they can't pack boxes.

Jul 17, 2014

Come On In!*

Tomato Tart Time!

Ask and ye shall receive. Now, many of y'all know that I am a very vocal proponent of mayonnaise. I just love it.  Well, I love Duke's in particular, and Hellman's in a pinch.  Don't give me any of that Kraft nonsense.  If you've got homemade I will take that.  Gladly.

That being said, although I love tomato pie in all its permutations, sometimes I just want to taste tomato.  Especially right now.  I don't want it all mucked up.  Enter Anna's tomato tart.  I can't remember when my Mississippian friend made this for me?  College, perhaps?  Anyway, it's excellent, easy and perfect for entertaining.

Or eating by yourself in massive quantities, like I did for lunch the other day.

Here's the recipe, straight from the Jackson Junior League.  I doubled it for this batch, because Dell Harper got a little handsy at the Farmer's Market with the tomatoes, and I needed to use them immediately.  I used Pillsbury pie crust (shame, shame), and an excellent mozzarella, which I sliced.  I rolled my pie crust out, and baked it on a baking sheet- hence the pizza-like appearance.

It just tastes like summer, and there is no worry regarding tomato-induced sogginess, draining them, etc.    Delish!

Now, if you are eating your tart and begin to feel a little lacking in the mayonnaise department, I recommend you make these grilled chicken thighs with white bbq sauce.  They're damn fine.  These here were baked, since a torrential downpour began right when I requested Morgan to fire up the grill.  Also, the leftover "barbeque sauce" makes an excellent sandwich spread. **

**I don't know what kind of crazy pills you North Alabamaians are taking, because this in no way resembles barbeque sauce.  That being said, I like this a million times better than either vinegar, ketchup or even mustard-based barbecue sauces.  Keep on cooking up craziness.

Then, finally finish up your feast with this super simple peach cobbler (I consider this more of a dump cake, but semantics aside, it's yummy).
I upped the peaches by about a cup.  Also, I would cut the sugar by about a third, and use brown sugar for half of the sugar.  However, it's good just as written.

*This is the title of the Jackson Junior League cookbook, which I find just delightful.  Julia Reed references it here, but in Queen of the Turtle Derby she has an excellent essay on the superiority of Southern cooking based solely on Junior League cookbook titles.

Jul 15, 2014

Weekend This and That

Dell Harper is in camp this week, so I have been planning on starting the packing process. Camp is now halfway over and I have 1) picked up packing paper for wrapping dishes from my parents' house  2) raided their fridge, 3) gone to the consignment boutique, 4) taken a nap, 5) driven sleeping kiddos around in circles, 6) cleaned my house, 7) done laundry, 8) stared at a lease for work and 9) taken boxes from carport to dining room. No packing yet.  I've managed to hit Chick-Fil-A twice in two days (DH's obsession with applesauce and a 5:20 Deeds doctor appointment last night), yet have packed nary a thing.

Moving on-

We went to two fun parties last Friday night.

Prosecco and good sushi always makes for a great evening.  Especially when both of your children sleep through the night.  Hurrah for wonderful baby-sitters, especially ones who tell you whether your outfit looks good.

DH and I hit up Earthfare bright and early Saturday morning to take advantage of a free pound of peaches with $10 purchase offer.  Then we spied a good looking yard sale across the street.  I might be banned from Craigslist, but nothing was said about the dangers of yard sales.

 I found this Pottery Barn Kids chair for $10 and snagged it for a friend with a Miles.  DH found her new best friend- "his name is Rockabye, and he is two and half.  He my friend".

I also scored some Pottery Barn bedding for our new guest room.
After naps, DH and I hit the pool for her to play with some buddies.  

Morgan and I ate a late adult only dinner of grilled pork chops, tomato tart, cucumber salad and peach cobbler.

In other news, I just now learned that my carseat (which I have had for 2.5 years now), has this little visor thing on the shade.
I honestly don't know how my kids would make it if I didn't have all of my friends telling me how to take care of them.  

On that note, have y'all ever done baking soda baths for diaper rash?  My friend Libby gave me a heads up, and it definitely eases the discomfort.

Okay.  I have nothing else to ramble on about.  It's time to bite the bullet and begin to pack.  Or perhaps take care of some work stuff, then wash all the sheets and towels in the house, and empty the dishwasher. . .

Jul 14, 2014

Redfish Tacos

You know who are the best kind of friends?  Those with gardens.  And fishing skills.

I was the lucky recipient of a bunch of fresh redfish caught during a 4th of July trip to Louisiana (thanks, Mary!), a bunch of cucumbers (thanks, Holly!), and some green peppers I pilfered from my mama's garden when I noticed the organic ones at the Kroger were $4(!) each(!).  Having generous friends is one way to stick to my grocery budget.

I made a batch of these black beans and rice.  Please note that this makes sixteen servings.  I did not note this, and needed about 4 servings.  I am making enchiladas with the remnants.  It's a lot of black beans and rice- I would halve it for sure.

The redfish was cooked at 375 degrees for 20 minutes in a mixture of 1/4 cup of olive oil, a tablespoon of melted butter, a chopped onion, and the juice of one lime.

I topped the tacos with cucumber onion salad- I never make this the same way, but this batch was very tasty- 3 large cucumbers, 1 large Vidalia onion, 2/3 cups apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup of sugar, and a pinch of salt.  Slice the cukes and the onion as thin as possible.  I used my mandoline, which is both fast and helpful in not slicing one's finger.

I warmed corn tortillas in the skillet (about 5 minutes per side over a hot stove), then layered the rice and beans, fish, cucumber salad, and then topped with an avocado cream (aka sour cream mixed with avocado), and some salsa.

Morgan had a colleague in town for work, so I was glad that these were so tasty- we gobbled them up.  I love to eat in the summer.  Well, I love to eat all the time, but I just love fresh produce.  Especially when it's free.  Hint, hint.

Jul 10, 2014


So I had a couple of just fabulous posts planned out- one is some fish tacos that I concocted the other night, and the other an interesting exploration of the genesis of the "McMansion" and its architectural failings.

Instead, I got sucked into an episode of some Househunters-esque show wherein a couple from Memphis was buying a house on 30A, so instead y'all are getting a bunch of random half-thoughts and pictures of my kids.  You know the drill.

While watching said HGTV time-sucking drivel, I was cutting up old magazines for Miss Priss to do her "work"- otherwise known as, gluing pictures onto construction paper.  Thanks to Kate for this genius idea.

 My favorite snack of late- a coconut La Croix mixed with lemonade coconut water, and some nut thins and some cheese.
 "I a pwrin-cess, Mama!  Dance to Frozen!"
 Buddy says if he has to listen to the damn Frozen soundtrack one more time, he is going to bust through his invisible fence.  I know the feeling.

 This little fella.  Don't you just want to squeeze him?
 What else has been going on?  Dell Harper has made friends in the grocery store.
 She helped me string beans the other night- really got the hang of it, much to my delight.  I've been waiting for the day when I can put these kids to work.
 We went downtown for lunch on Sunday.  While waiting for a table, Morgan hung with Deeds, while I played and chased Dell Harper.  A woman came up to us, asking for money- a dollar bill in exchange for four quarters which morphed into her tale of woe and hunger and need for money for food.  I got super excited when I realized I had one of Dell Harper's breakfast bars in my purse.  I gave it to the woman (who looked rather disappointed, to be honest).  Confused, she reiterated her spiel about needing money, so I gave her what little cash I had and she scooted.  Probably worried I would start digging more food out of my purse.

All of the sudden DH started HOLLERING at me "BASKETBALL!!!  MY BASKETBALL, MOMMY!!"

It took a few seconds of her growing increasingly frustrated and pissed off before I realized she was saying "BREAKFAST BAR!! You gave my breakfast bar to that guy!  That MY breakfast bar!"

I did my best not to just fall out laughing, and tried to explain to her about charity and giving what we have to others.  Didn't go down too well with a two-year old, who was frankly disgusted at my naivete.  Finally, I just said "Good job sharing.  Let's go play on these rocks. Yay."

What else?  I have not started packing yet.  I have read lots of packing tips on the Internet though.  That counts for something, right?

I finally figured out why it is impossible to keep my house clean.  Compare my darling niece eating yogurt (outside- my SIL is smart) at nine months, with DH eating yogurt at 9 months.
Hmmm.  Maybe Deeds will be neat and tidy.
Somehow I doubt it.  Good thing he is so cute.

Okay, I am determined to get some good sleep tonight, even if I have to crush up some Ambien in my toddler's dinner.  Just kidding.  Don't call Child Services.

Jul 8, 2014

Judging a Craigslist Book by its Cover

So, after my amazing Baker dining table and chairs find, I might have gotten a little cocky with my Craigslist abilities.  I have been hunting for a decent china cabinet for super cheap that I can transform with some paint.  I missed out on a beautiful antique one that was stored in someone's barn, offered at $45.  I should have jumped on it.  Anyway, I found another one that was poor picture quality, but only $75.  I decided it was a hidden gem, and I needed to look at it.

Morgan was quite leery of the whole endeavor, but came along with me to check it out Sunday.  Therefore, we also had both kiddos with us as well.  We pull up to the address- a house which is hidden from the (not-so-great, but not awful) road.  Morgan states that, once again, he does not like the look of this.  A young man, who looks like an Appalachian version of someone on Breaking Bad opens a chain link gate for us to drive through, then locks it behind us.  Morgan freaks out, then calmly tells me to go on in, while he sits in the car with the kids.  I felt my bravado deserting me with each step forward.  There was probably eight cars sitting out front, and a woman who tells me that she just has to kennel the dogs, then I can come in.  I spy another person fooling with the dogs, and the Breaking Bad fellow helpfully adds "one of them dogs is real aggressive, but the rest is good."

This gives me my exit strategy.  Every fiber of my being is telling me that no hidden gem is worth going in this house.  While backing toward the car, I start blabbering about how I'm real scared of dogs, and was bit as a kid.  I can't be around them at all, I'm sorry, I have to go, etc.  I jump into the car, much to Morgan's bemusement.  The lady is hollering at me about how she's kenneling the dogs, so what's my problem.  I have to hop out, open and close the gate, all while a sweet pit bull is sniffing me.  I forgot to act scared of the dog, but I was so ready to get out of there without my tires being shot at that my general fear was probably apparent.

Now, the thing is, I totally judged a book by its cover. The woman's e-mails were coherent and not rife with misspellings.  However, sometimes you gotta go with your gut.  Morgan was rather triumphant at his better judgment.  We both agreed that I probably need to take a break from Craigslist for a bit.

Oh, but I haven't gotten to the best part.  About 20 minutes after a turned tail and ran, I get an email from the seller.

That was extremely rude. I've worked my schedule today around you looking at this hutch. Its people like you that give good dogs bad reputations. I could have easily kenneled them. Thank you for wasting my time.

In my defense, we agreed me coming out to see it about an hour or two beforehand, so there wasn't much advance planning involved.  However, there was nothing I could do but apologize in reply, and acknowledge that I should have mentioned my "dog-phobia".  Buddy was very disappointed in me when I got home.  His mama- the dog-reputation sullier.

So no more Craigslist bargain hunting for me for a while.  At least until I find some wicker furniture for the new porch. . .

Jul 7, 2014

Weekend Review

 I hope you are ready for a gazillion pictures of the best day of my oldest child's life to date.


 Decorated tricycle for neighborhood parade.

Post parade popsicle and bubbles with her buddies.

 After the parade we hit up the country club for a carnival and cookout.

 Face-painting, popcorn and a sno-cone for dinner, bounce houses and a carousel?  What more could a girl want?

Little Deeds was not as impressed.
He napped for approximately 8 seconds, then had to go home with Morgan for his normal bedtime of 6:30-ish, while I partied with Miss Priss until way past her bedtime.  I tried to be responsible and get her home at a somewhat reasonable hour.  I should have just stayed for the fireworks though- she was so amped up that I despaired of ever getting her to sleep once we got home.

Saturday night we went to a friend's house on the lake for a casual cookout.  Some friends were going by boat with kiddos in tow.  We decided to get a babysitter and go kid-free.  I didn't want to raise Dell Harper's expectations of life too high, after all.  Boat ride with her buddies after a day of two parties?  A girl's gotta learn that not every day is the Fourth of July, right?