Jan 30, 2015

Five on Friday- BIRTHDAYS!

1.  Miss Priss turned three on Tuesday.  Three! How is this possible?  She woke up just thrilled to pieces "I three now? YAY!!"  Then, "When I turn four?"

 Birthday cinnamon rolls and bacon for breakfast.  And a special straw.

 2.  "Graddy" came over for a fancy birthday dinner of poppyseed chicken, broccoli, rice and gingerbread cake with cinnamon cream cheese icing with sprinkles.  The birthday girl had a lot of input in the menu, especially the cake selection.  Last year was lemon and "boo-berries", this year gingerbread.  She marches to her own drummer, as they say. . .and those of you who know me well are laughing your heads off, since interesting and offbeat selections are rather familiar.

3.  She received this microphone from my dad.  I've been treated to "cool moves" ever since.

 I won't bore y'all with videos, but I'm pretty entertained.  For now.

4.  The main event occurs on Saturday.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Party.  Her first party, and ALL her friends needed to be invited.  And so they are.  Thank goodness for bounce houses and church gyms.  I haven't gotten crafty on this- the party is all about kid-fun and they care not a farthing for printables or pom-poms or other such nonsense.  Although, DH and I did make some favor bags.
 I was thrilled when she insisted on helping.  Then I could just cut and go, blaming any wonkiness on my three year old assistant.  Victory is mine!

5.  Not to be forgotten, Saturday is Deeds' birthday! His new thing is crawling over to me, standing in my lap, and putting his little arms around me.  I don't get emotional at all when that happens, sniffle, sniffle.

 Poor guy- has to celebrate his sister on his big day.
 Please note the amount of gear these two need for a simple stroll- blankets, tennis shoes, dinosaur, double fisting zippy cups, bottle and maraca.
Cheer up, little guy!  You'll have fun and eat lots of cake, I promise.  Also, enjoy that bottle, because come Sunday morning they are gone.  Along with the pump!  Hallelujah!

So big week around here.  Can't believe this time last year I was big as a house, hanging out with my just turned two year old for her last days as an only child. . .

As always, thanks to the Five on Friday ladies for hosting!

Jan 23, 2015

Five on Friday- Favorites

Okay, I'm typing up this post the night before, to be on top of my Five on Friday game.  Organized, right?  Yes, but. . .I've been at girl's night.  Wine has been consumed.  Blog will be rife with typos.  Disregard both typos, and wine-induced candor.

Anywhoo, here are some stuff that I have been enjoying of late-

1.  Party Pants:

I bought a couple pairs of these workout leggings at Target a few weeks ago, and get more compliments on them.  Ignore the terrible Target website picture, and run to your store.  They're in the Mossimo section, NOT the exercise clothing section.  But, they are exercise pant material.  Confusing.

Here's the link-

2.  Grainiac Bread
Bread is a bit of a battle ground at our house.  I buy Ezekial bread, and feel virtuous while chewing (and chewing, and chewing).  Morgan complains about the weird bread that stays in the freezer, and longs for "whole-wheat" fakery.  Enter Eureka bakery- I found this at the Kroger a couple months ago, and am hooked.  It has a similar nutritional profile to my hippie bread, yet is shelf stable, and has a more  traditional sliced bread consistency.  (Am I making sense?  It's getting late).
Dell Harper asked for "dat black bread" the other day when I tried to pawn off some leftover white bread from a recipe.  I knew I had indoctinrated her well then.

3 and 4.  New Rugs
Okay, excuse both the quality of these pictures and the general sloppiness of my rooms.  I'm dashing about in my pajamas snapping pictures before Morgan notices what in the hell I'm doing.

I got all hopped up on Ebay at the beginning of this month, and bid on a couple of Persian rugs.  Lo and behold, I won both of them!  They were excellent prices (cheaper than Pottery Barn or Overstock), beautiful quality- exceeded my expectations for sure.  Thank goodness- they were from the same seller, and I must admit being a touch nervous.

This looks really wonky from this angle.  The seagrass rug underneath has stretched and is slightly off.  My hurried photography makes it look more off.  Ignore.

5.  Paintings
Thank y'all so much for all the kind comments on yesterday's post.  I haven't painted this much in such a long time.  I've gotten into palette knife painting, and am having the most fun doing it.

I need to learn how to take pictures of my work- especially the abstracts.  The glare is not doing any favors to my attempts at art.

So, that's always an option when you are trying to build up an art collection.  Watch some tutorials online, buy some canvases and some acrylics, and get cracking!

Thanks for wading through my ramblings, and thanks as always to the Five on Friday ladies!

Jan 22, 2015

Thoughts on Thursday

  • I have been reading/audiobook listening a lot lately.  Finally got to "Where'd You Go, Bernadette?", which I loved, especially as I have a major soy spot for novels written in the epistolary style.  Also listened to a bunch of JoJo Mayes, which I had avoided based on the descriptions, yet also really enjoyed.  Currently listening to "All the Light We Cannot See", which inspires me to re-think how I use language.   It's simply beautiful.   However, I do have to take frequent breaks, as it's not the lightest of subject matter.  Also, I wish I was reading it as opposed to listening, as I find flashbacks/flash forwards difficult to follow while listening.

  • All this audiobook listening is because I have been quite the worker bee lately.  Productivity- cooking dinners, cleaning house, getting work done, painting furniture, and painting lots of canvases.

I decided to mix up my dining room a bit, and switched my botanicals for an abstract and folk-arty church.  They're not perfect, but fun and a great outlet/hobby.   I'm taking a painting class this spring, and am really excited to learn more.

This is because I have no television I currently enjoy.  Thank goodness Parks is back for its final season, along with my guilty pleasure, Hart of Dixie.

  • I'm chalking all this productivity up to being able to exercise again- Jazzercise is back and the boot is gone.  Begone, flab!  Seriously, my energy levels are waaaaaayyy up.  The sunshine of the last few days has helped as well.  Yesterday I think I wore my kids out! Jazz, nap/play, zoo, naps, church supper and my Bible study.  They turned down a pre-dinner visit to the library.  Sheer laziness, I suppose.
Anyway, we are thrilled to get outside!

That loamy smell of earth just gets my heart thumping!  I cannot wait to start planting and get my hands just filthy.  That feeling of physical ache and dirty limbs after a long afternoon of weeding, pruning, and planting? It's a deep satisfaction that connects my soul to the earth and to God.  And, oh, how I miss it during the dark days of winter.

So when I start rhapsodizing over the joys of gardening while getting a whiff of mulch walking through a parking lot, feel free to let your eyes glaze over and your mind wander. . .I will wrap it up eventually, I swear.

Thanks to East Coast Chic and Home of Malones for hosting the link-up, and getting my blogging brain working (somewhat).. . 

Jan 20, 2015


 This weekend we celebrated Deeds!  It was Baby-palooza- an (approximate) birthday celebration for Deeds and 7 of his best baby buds.

The pre-party sibling picture cracks me up- all the babies look mighty uncomfortable. "Help! A toddler/preschooler is holding me!"

Deeds does not like hats.  This is the bane of my existence while attempting to grocery shop during Polar Vortex.  Apparently, if you are a woman over the age of 70 you have specialized medical training.  Such training has been very adamant about the fact that lack of shoes or a hat will cause an immediate ear infection and/or bronchitis.  I have gotten informed this in the Kroger many times, along with effective dirty looks and loud mutterings about how I need to "put a hat on that baby!"  Hmmph.  My baby will bankrupt me in thrown/lost socks, shoes, and hats.  I can't control his hands at all times ladies!

I digress.

Anway, the party was laid-back and adorable.  The church gym was filled with a rollicking crew of two and under.

 "Baby Deeds!  Eat dat icing!  It's so tasty- you love it!"

 Step off my cupcake, MAMA!

 Deeds LOVES cake.  I am unsurprised.

Nor am I surprised he was the first one finished.  No morning nap, no problem.  Not when cupcakes are involved apparently.  Now he is super fired up for his actual birthday in two weeks.

Also of note- I made two batches of these little sausage muffins from Southern Living, and they were devoured.  Excellent and super easy!  Perfect for a party/brunch/shower.

Jan 7, 2015

Chicken Broccoli Pot Pie

 So, it's cold.  Really cold.

Sometimes a Polar Vortex requires food made with cream of blah, blah, blah soup. I know it's January and everyone is on their "clean eating" high horses.  However, I'm cold and hungry, so when I spied this recipe on Pinterest from Half Baked Harvest, I was intrigued. I'm terrible at dieting to be honest.

This is delicious. Morgan would probably eat this once a week- luckily for my waistline, I'm not that awful at watching my weight.  For a quick, easy, comfort food dinner, though?  This is perfect!

   1 can Low Sodium Cream of Chicken
   2 cans Low Sodium Cream Of Mushroom
   3 tablespoons softened cream cheese
   4 cups broccoli florets, fresh or frozen (I used steamed fresh)
   1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
   4 cups shredded chicken (I used a rotisserie)
   1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Cheddar Drop Biscuits:
   2 cups all-purpose flour
   1 tablespoon baking powder
   1/4 teaspoon baking soda
   1/2 teaspoon salt
   1/2 cup butter (1 stick), cold
   1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, and 1/4 cup more for topping
   1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, cold and shaken
   1 large egg, cold
   Freshly ground pepper for topping


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, add the cream of chicken, cream of mushroom and cream cheese. Mix until thoroughly combined. Mix in the broccoli, chicken, cheese, black pepper.  Spoon the mixture into a baking dish and set aside.
Add the first four dry ingredients to a medium bowl and combine. Using a box grater, grate the cold butter  on top of  the flour mixture. Put the bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes. 
Meanwhile, beat the buttermilk and egg until combined. Combine the butter with the flour, using your hands, until it resembles small peas. Add the cheese and mix until it’s evenly distributed throughout the flour mixture. Add the buttermilk mixture all at once and mix until barely combined; lightly knead the dough until it forms one solid mass.
Using two spoons, drop mounds of dough onto the surface of the casserole mixture. Top with a generous amount of cheddar cheese.
Top each biscuit with a few turns of freshly ground pepper.

Transfer the entire dish to the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the biscuits are lightly golden brown and the center is bubbling. 


Jan 6, 2015

Boxing Day Party

Now, if I were a decent blogger I would have a bunch of artfully arranged pictures of our food and guests, maybe a glamourous candid shot of myself, holding a glass of wine and laughing.

I have none of that.  I was too busy partying.  Also, my friends would probably think I was weird.

Instead I have a few completely random pictures hurriedly snapped as the last of our guests departed and I cleaned up.

There is something about a fire roaring during a winter party that's just so lovely.

We set up a bar on a large folding table in the den.

Look at my poor wilted hydrangea- the heat of the adjacent ovens was just too much.  

So the details- we had about fifty people.  After a mad dash through Trader Joe's and Kroger with Dell Harper in tow, I picked up a ton of cured meats, assorted cheese, olives and crackers.  The night before I made a batch of mini Natchitoches meat pies, and the base for a huge pot of jambalaya.  Thanks to Deeds' ear infection, fever, and resulting rare neediness/grumpiness, I was a bit in the weeds day of party.  Thank goodness for the Baby Bjorn- DH was packed off to my parents, and I rushed around flower arranging and vacuuming with a 22 pounder strapped onto my chest.  I managed to get the baby in bed, slap some makeup on my Christmas-weary face, and throw on some party pants right as my guests arrived.

Here's the recipe for the jambalaya- it was excellent.  I made the base the night before, then just added the rice and cooked it during the party.  We rented bowls and forks for easy clean up.  I've found that renting dishes is less expensive than buying disposable for a crowd, as well as less wasteful and more, um, genteel (apparently I have the vocabulary of a 90-year old woman).

I used this recipe for the meat pies, which disappeared quite quickly.  I used one pound sausage and one pound ground beef, and have enough filling for probably four packs of pie crust.   

The last of the guest and dirty dishes were gone by about one AM, so I was rather bleary the next morning.  It was well worth it though.  So fun to have some adult time, libations, and relaxation after the blur of wrapping paper, expectation, sugar and excitement of the previous weeks.

Next year, I will try to not enjoy myself so much and take some actual pictures before midnight.