Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In Memory

The father of one of hubby's good friends passed away this week. He was fighting a battle against cancer and sadly the cancer won out. Although they had known about his cancer for quite a while the downturn to the end was sudden and unexpected. My heart truly goes out to this family in their time of sorrow. There is no news yet on when the services will be.

Not knowing what else to do I've been baking up a storm around here. See, that's what we southerners do. When we hear of someone's loss we immediately head to the kitchen. I'm not sure why really. My theory is because we don't know that else to do for the family. There is nothing we can say or do to make things any better for them or take away any of their pain but at least by providing food we are able to give them one less thing to think about. I know when earlier this year we lost my grandmother to cancer immediately people started bringing food by the house. I told you, its just what we do. It was nice to have people think of us and nice to not have to worry about feeding everyone while we were trying to get our heads on straight. With the crowd of people stopping by and all the arrangements to be made not having to spend time in the kitchen is a big help.

I also think it helps us to take our own minds off of the sad event. Although I know I've found myself standing in the kitchen with tears streaming down my face as I go about my task. So maybe that doesn't always work. But still, we try.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Terrible Two's Already? Who Me?

I got 3-ish hours of sleep last night but here I am up after midnight playing on the computer. Why do I never learn? Especially since the hubby is on the road and my mom is leaving in the morning for a trip out of state. That is significant because it means tomorrow it will be just me here alone with the Sweet Pea ALL DAY. I know you’re thinking aren’t you a Stay at Home Mom? Which, I realize, by its very definition means I stay home with my child so what in the world am I complaining about. Well, I’ll tell you exactly what I’m complaining about, my darling little Sweet Pea has gone crazy. I’m using the term sweet very loosely here. I’m really not sure what happened but I can assure you that I am not excited about it. Nothing, and I mean nothing makes this child happy for more than 45 seconds lately. Don’t get me wrong those few moments are fun and adorable but the greatest portion of our day goes somewhat like this…

I wake to the sound of Mommy! Mooooommmmy! I lay in bed hoping maybe she’ll decide to go back to sleep. Mommy where ared you? (I cannot convince her there is no ‘d’ in the word are, besides its pretty cute) Mommy amir! Come here for those of you that don’t speak her language. She’s turned in to quite the bossy little thing too. At this point I realize we’re not sleeping in and I trudge into her room and am greeted with Mommy I scream. Yes baby I heard you, I sigh as we shuffle to the living room for cartoons. Mommy, I eat. Okay, what do you want for breakfast? Butter jelly. At which point I go to the kitchen to make said pb&j to which she responds Nooooooo Mommy, eggies. So I actually make scrambled eggs while eating the pb&j myself. Of course when the eggs are finished her response is Noooooo Mommy, green beans. So we have green beans and chocolate milk for breakfast. Fine.

The rest of our day doesn’t fair much better. She doesn’t like any of her toys, none of the food I offer or any of my ideas for activities (especially nap time). I offer to go outside and play which is normally her favorite thing in the entire world and receive a “no way” in response. So we manage to find enough indoor activities to occupy us until the absolute heat of the day when she decides we must go outside immediately. Ugh.

I’m not sure where my sweet little agreeable baby went to, but I’d like her back. I keep telling the hubby maybe she’s getting new teeth or maybe she is just tired but its dragging on long enough now that I fear it may be much worse. I think we are beginning to get a glimpse of those “terrible twos” all new parents are warned of. I’m afraid. Very afraid. Hubby reminds me, she is almost two now. Great. Leave it to my considerate little girl to want to ease us into her terrible twos by starting out early. How very sweet of her I think as I wonder what it would take for my mother to let her move in down there for a little while. Just as I’m considering getting her suitcase out of the closet, she runs up giving me an unprompted kiss followed by I wuv you mommy. Maybe we’ll make it after all.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Nana

Yesterday was my MIL's 59th birthday. I'm sure she loves that I put her age on here! We had lunch here at the house (the Papa bought KFC) and I made cupcakes and we all just spent the afternoon hanging out. It was nice.

Well the cupcakes weren't that great. Do they not look like they belong on a Valentine's day bake sale table? Ugh. I didn't think they tasted all the great either. Everyone raved over them but I was less than impressed. (Crazy since it was just a strawberry cake mix from a box with simple homemade buttercream frosting) Maybe my taste buds are just wonky. I didn't care for the apple pie I made the other day either. Very strange.

I also made this bag and embroidered beach towel (which I forgot to photograph!) for her gifts. She is an Elvis fanatic. If you ever need to know any trivia about Elvis, call my MIL. She'll know.

We picked the Blue Hawaii fabric since it felt beachy and also because my MIL has a deep affection for Hawaii. Partly because of time she and my FIL spent there many years ago and party because the hubby was stationed there for a while and that is where we were married. I used McCalls pattern for a guideline but changed things ever so slightly as I went along. I forgot to take a picture of the lining though, I'll have to borrow it back for a minute because that fabric is really cute. I picked it because it looked like water to me. The hem (is that what you call it when it's at the top of a bag?) is actually very straight but it looks crooked in the picture. I had already filled it with the towel and stuff when I took the picture. Okay I keep obsessing over the horrible picture of this bag. I'm going to go over to my MIL's house and steal the bag back long enough to take a better picture. Seriously, it really is nice and even and pretty in real life.

I also made this card for her. I didn't like any of the cards I looked at so I thought I'd do something with my huge stash (of never used) scrapbooking stuff. I think it turned out pretty cute and went with the theme. Geez, these pictures really are horrible. Can you tell I was taking them as everyone was walking into the house. I really need to remember to take the time to photograph these things a little better. Or at the very least invest in some photo editing software. *Hint, hint

Friday, July 24, 2009

Please Remember You Are Beautiful

Tonight the Sweet Pea and I were sitting on the couch before bedtime just enjoying a relaxing evening after bath time. While brushing a stray strand of hair from her face it struck me how much I love her and how beautiful I think she is.

I asked her if she knew she was beautiful and with the most precious grin she looks up and simply says “I know”; then she leans over and lays her head on my arm. The joy of pure innocence. Oh how I wish these days would never end. Many days I find myself thinking “I can’t wait until…” and have to stop myself. I’ve realized lately that there is nothing better than the moment we are in right now. Time goes by so quickly.
In the blink of an eye nearly two years has passed since my little angel was born and I can hardly stand it. It breaks my heart to think that she is growing up so fast. It still seems as though she should be this tiny little thing needing me to take care of her every need. Today I look up and she is running wild and with her fierce independent streak wanting to do everything for herself. It’s hard to get her to slow down long enough to cuddle now, especially when one of her favorite relatives is here and gives her an opportunity to go somewhere. That is when I get the simple “bye mommy” and a wave over her shoulder as she walks away. Even now as I’m writing that it makes me sad. That is why our time together just before bed is so important to me right now. She will finally slow down enough to snuggle on the couch and even let me hold her. I talk to her about her day and we are just together. There is nothing else in the world that needs our attention, nothing more important than each other. Sadly, I know even these days are numbered. I just hope that as she grows and the pressures of growing up start to mount she will realize how much she is loved, and know she is beautiful.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Check out this great giveaway!

I came across this great giveaway on Mom Knows It All. You can win the Your Baby Can Read Deluxe System if you head over there and check out the promotion. I wanted to pass this along because I know a lot of you have young kids and I've always thought this program sounded really interesting.

We do a lot of reading here at our house and the Sweet Pea already has a shelf full of books. We've been reading to her since before she was born and she loves books as much as I do. It's so important to start reading early in life.

Best of luck with the contest! I'm headed over to enter right now.

Ice Cold...Onions?

We are overrun with onions at our house. It happens easily since none of us eat raw onions. Needless to say I have to find a way to preserve these things. Even though we don’t eat them raw I do enjoy cooking with them, so I don’t want them to go to waste. I’ve decided that the best way to store this batch of onions is going to be freezing them. Freezing is a great way to make sure I’ll have onions up until time to get fresh ones from my garden again. After freezing I have heard they aren’t good to eat raw due to the change in texture but I’ve never tried them myself so I’m just passing on what I’ve heard. But they are great to cook with so here we go, freezing away.

First thing you do is wash and peel the onions. Then just chop them into the size you use most often when cooking. Typically I will dice mine pretty small because I don’t care to bite into a huge chunk of onion when I’m eating. Obviously this is purely a personal choice.

Next, cover a baking sheet with waxed paper and spread your onions out into a single layer. You can also use aluminum foil if you prefer. Then just pop them in the freezer for several hours. Freezing them flat like this first will keep you from winding up with a huge glob when you want to cook with them. Also since I will be freezing mine using my Foodsaver they need to be frozen before I vacuum pack them to keep the water from being drawn out of the onions and into my vacuum sealer compartment.

Once they are completely frozen, I just measure out the amount I want and put them in my Foodsaver bags. I measured out ½ cup for each of my bags since that seems to be the amount my recipes call for most often. Doesn’t that look nice and handy? Now whenever I’m making spaghetti or tacos I can just grab a pre-measured bag out of the freezer and I’m ready to go.

We’re also starting to have an abundance of jalapeƱo peppers, so now all I need is for my tomatoes to take off and to find a great salsa recipe. Any suggestions? If you have a tried and true salsa recipe I'd love to hear it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hot Cobbler and Cold Ice Cream

We picked blackberries again yesterday morning and wound up with about 4 cups. What to do with four cups of berries when your freezer is completely full? Make a cobbler of course. I owed my dad a cobbler from Father's Day so I decided to make one last night.

How completely yummy does that look? It came together in no time at all and was super easy to make. My grandmother gave me this blackberry cobbler recipe. Seriously, its the easiest dessert ever.

In a large bowl mix 2-3 tsp of cornstarch with 1 cup of sugar

Stir in 4 cups of berries

Let sit until berries start to absorb sugar

Pour into casserole dish and dot with butter or margarine

Then cover with pie crust and sprinkle sugar over the top

Bake at 350 degrees until crust is light golden brown

Top with vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

You can use a storebought crust but I almost always make mine from scratch. I have a hard time paying two dollars for pie crust when I can make one in no time for a fraction of the cost. Plus homemade crust is just so much better. Also, you don't have to use cornstarch. It just depends on how juicy you want your cobbler to be. I don't always use it because I like to just pour the juice over the icecream. Mmmmm...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Happy Gardener

No I'm not talking about myself today, although I'll be quite happy if I can finish pulling the weeds out of my garden this evening. I'm talking about this tiny little gardening apron I made last week for a sweet little girl's birthday.

We paired it with some pink gardening tools, pink gloves and some flower seeds and it was ready to go. The Sweet Pea really loved it so now I need to make one for her too.

Just a short post today, we've mostly spent the day being lazy and trying to recover from our weekend. Maybe now that it's cooling off this evening we'll get something accomplished.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What Did You Learn This Weekend?

They say you learn something new everyday. This weekend I’d say we all learned quite a lot around here. First off I learned how to use a melon baller. Okay, don’t laugh at me. I just assumed you used it like an ice cream scoop and it turns out that is not the way to do it. But once I figured it out everything was golden. See I found this out because of something else I learned; you can freeze cantaloupe. We have found ourselves drowning in cantaloupe and I hated to think of them going to waste. I thought I’d freeze these horribly misshapen little balls to have handy for yummy snacks later in the year. I have no idea how those fruit bouquet people make them so pretty, obviously I won't be making any of those. I also made some smaller balls for the Sweet Pea to try. Turns out she prefers her cantaloupe in slices, who knew.


The hubby learned that I am a domestic goddess. Seriously, it’s not that funny. My friend Cat was here and spent Friday evening going through all of my old blog posts amazed at the fact that I actually do all of the things that I do, especially the things like canning and actually going out in the woods to pick berries. Did I mention she’s from town? We then called to ask the hubby if he knew he wife was a domestic goddess and you can be sure he wouldn’t have been any more confused if we had called to tell him I had sprouted wings and flown away. Here’s how that went:

Me: Honey, did you know I was a domestic goddess
Silence on the other end…
Me: honey?
Him: Uh, have you been drinking?
Me: Ugh. No, I just wanted to see if you knew that I was a domestic goddess? You know because of all the cooking, cleaning, crafting type stuff I do. Because you know, not everyone’s wife does all of that.
Him: Really? (See this is where I was about ready to smack him upside the head). Well I didn’t know there was a term for it but yes, yes I did. Do you get to wear a sash or something?
Me: Oooh great idea. I think I’ll get a tiara too.
Him: Okay honey, have fun.

See I hadn’t ever thought of myself as one either, but since I’m not one to argue (no snide remarks thank you) I think I’ll run with it. Needless to say I have now added sash and tiara to my crafting list so don’t be surprised when you come to the house and see me wearing them while weeding the garden.


Cat learned that she definitely over packed for her trip up here to rural Oklahoma. She packed things like leopard print boots, flip flops with huge diamonds on them and a purse bigger than the suitcase I usually pack in. It was quite the culture shock for her but it made for some very interesting conversation between her and the hubby about urban development. Or rather the lack of urban development she felt has occurred here. We took her out on the four-wheeler, to a really backwoods BBQ birthday party and a good old country bar. I think it’s safe to say that she is glad to be back home in the “big city”.

I hope everyone else had a wonderful, insightful weekend.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Funny Frienships

An old friend will help you move. A good friend will help you move a dead body.-- Jim Hayes
I have this friend; in fact she’s one of my very best friends. She’s the friend that I know would drop anything in an instant if I needed her; but she’s also the friend that I’m afraid to let be alone with the hubby because I know she would tell him stories of our antics during my single days. Anyone else have a friend like that? The one that couldn’t come bail you out of jail because she’d be right there in the cell with you? Yeah, that’s my friend Cat.

She’s the one I can call any time of day for absolutely any reason. Bad day at work, fight with my family, car trouble, hilarious joke, great new song or needing to eat a food (sorry inside joke). She’s the first call I make. I called her when I was working at Dillards and an entire wall of handbags crashed down on me and I’m literally buried alive by purses. She laughed so hard she was nearly crying and didn’t even ask how it happened because she knows those things just happen to me. She knows this because those sorts of things happen to her as well.
I think everyone needs a friend like that. The reason I'm telling you this story is because she's coming to visit for the weekend! She's on her way up from Texas right now and I'm super excited. I haven't seen her since I moved from Texas so its been a while. She's never even seen the Sweet Pea in person. So you'll have to excuse me if I'm absent this weekend. I'll be sure to post on Monday, if I survive!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Whew...I'm Back With Pickle & Jelly Update

I've had quite a bit of catching up to do since returning from our trip to my grandparents. It was such a wonderful trip and although I'm glad to be home I really hated to leave. It was wonderful to spend such quality time with them, and for Kinsley to be able too as well was priceless. It made me remember summer days when I was a kid and would spend a great deal of my time there just having a blast. We would always do special little activities that made the trips so memorable. They were special to me anyway, looking back I know see that most of them were just regular activities that needed to be taken care of. We spent a lot of time at the farm picking the garden and that was something I was able to witness my daughter doing this time as well. It brought tears to my eyes watching my daughter make memories that I still hold dear to my heart. I saw the same excitement and wonder in her eyes as she walked the rows and found the peas among the leaves, placing them in the little bucket she would drag behind her. It was no different when we returned to the house and began shelling those very peas. I remember sitting in the floor with my grandma and a pile of peas just having the time of my life. To this day I still enjoy sitting in the floor and shelling peas. It always makes me smile to think of doing that very task with my grandma and now I will think of my daughter doing it as well (though she insists it's her Memaw). There is something very special about that.

We had our work cut out for us this trip. I arrived with an ice chest full of cucumbers and we were going to make pickles. I have been wanting to try for several years now and I finally gathered up enough cucumbers and free time to make it happen. We had to make a couple trips to the store to get supplies. I swear those cucumbers were never ending. We made a batch of dill (some slices and some spears) and put hot peppers in a few of them just for some variety. We also made Sweet Lime pickles which I had never even heard of, but the Pepaw (my grandpa) swore they were the best ones. I know they made the biggest bunch of pickles I've ever seen. They better be good because we have a lot of them! But they look good getting started don't they?
We also made two batches of Bread & Butter pickles. We tried out a new recipe with the second batch. Although I have a definite soft spot for the taste of a good dill pickle I have to say that making the Bread & Butter was the most fun. I just love the way they smell while they are cooking. Don't they just look yummy too?

They're also my favorite to look at in the jar. I just love the little mustard seeds floating around. It just makes me happy. It makes me especially happy to open my cabinet door and see this staring back at me.

Believe it or not we also managed to find the time to make some jelly. I'll have to tell you about that one later. But I will say that I've already dipped into it and it's drool worthy!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Off for the week

I'm off to my grandmother's for the week and I'm not taking my computer so I won't but putting up any new posts until next weekend. We're going to be too busy making pickles and super great stuff like that. I'm so excited! Aren't you jealous? I'll be sure to update you on all our fun once I return. Have a great week!

Happy Fourth

Thank heavens we all survived last night. Hope you all fared just as well. It was a long, late night but it was a lot of fun. We all slept until nearly 11 this afternoon to recover and still had nap time a little after noon. Like I said, long night. Everyone didn't leave here until after midnight and even after we went inside we could still hear the faint pop of fireworks being shot somewhere nearby.

I have to say that yesterday was a wonderful success. Everyone had a great time and the weather really cooperated with us. We did discover, however, that next year we don't need to buy so much small stuff. The kids were bored before we ran out of fireworks and even the Sweet Pea went in the house with my mom at one point to watch a movie.

After the fruit tart fiasco I am pleased to announce that the other desserts all went according to plan and turned out to be absolutely delicious and were mostly devoured before dark. I did manage to have enough apple pie left for breakfast this morning. The breakfast of champions right?

And I'm thinking of having one of these red velvet cupcakes for lunch. Maybe I'll grill some chicken first. Maybe.

My biggest accomplishment has to be this outfit that I made for the Sweet Pea to wear. I am not a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination although I think I'd like to be, and sometimes I convice myself that I am and try projects like this. Any sane person would pick an easy pattern for their first ever outfit. I, however, decide to make this outfit without any pattern and no guidance from any of the sewing ladies in my family. Great plan. I had seen several pictures of skirts like these on Craftster and knew I wanted to do something similar. The skirt was not too hard once I figured out what I was actually doing and each row turned out a little more like I wanted than the last. If I ever make another one I think I might know how to go about it. I basically used the same technique you do when making an around the world quilt. It worked out pretty well that way and I didn't have to cut out each little square individually. The shirt is an old long sleeved onesie that I reconstructed. I cut off the sleeves, tea stained it and then attached that little start to match the skirt. I intended to do this pretty ruffled sleeve that I saw here but it wasn't working and it was late on Friday night. All in all I'm pretty happy with the way that it turned out.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Firework Frenzy

On this most patriotic of days we shall all come together as one to celebrate our nation’s freedom by blowing stuff up. Seriously?

See before I married my husband I did what I thought was the typical Fourth of July thing. We’d camp out at the lake which just happened to be where my grandmother’s family would have their annual reunion. Then after lunch we’d head into town to watch the big fireworks show and shoot off some of the fireworks we’d bought at a local stand. This is where I think the biggest difference between then and now comes in to play. Ever since I was a little girl we’d buy a few fireworks and shoot them off either in town at my grandparents (shh don’t tell) or we’d go out to the farm and do them there. We’d buy a little sack full and think we must have enough fireworks to last forever. We’d buy sparklers, roman candles, fountains and of course some Black Cats; your typical spread. While we were at the fireworks stand I’d see those huge boxes that promised to be as good as any professional show and think to myself who in the world actually spends that much money on fireworks and buys these things. Then I married my husband.

You see it wasn’t until after I got married that I was fully submerged into the redneck culture. Yes, I did just use the words culture and redneck in the same sentence. Go with me on this. Rednecks love the Fourth of July; it’s like Christmas for them. We’ve all heard the jokes about rednecks loving bass boats and fishing lures because they’re shiny. While that may be true, it’s not just shiny that gets them. It’s fire. Nothing gets a group of rednecks worked up like fire and explosions so a holiday that has become largely devoted to just that…Redneck heaven.
Okay before the hate mail starts coming in let me finish. And please point your roman candles the other direction. Thanks.

I don’t have anything against fireworks. In fact I like them as much as the next person. Well that may not be exactly true. I don’t think I hold a candle to anyone in this area. Around here, these people take their fireworks very seriously. I’m not kidding. Out here in our little rural community tonight you will see a fireworks show to rival any nearby big city. I happen to know that some of the residents here have personally spent more on their own fireworks than any of the neighboring towns did. Who needs to pay their bills anyway?

You can imagine the distress when we awoke this morning to pouring rain. I had to laugh a little bit but you can be sure I did it in secret. I'm sure no one else thought it was even slightly amusing. I walked into the livingroom this morning to see the Hubby and Sweet Pea both staring out the window at the rain looking pitiful. It was quite a sight. She loves the fireworks just as much as her daddy does. Thankfully the rain has moved on and everything is a go for this evening. Now I'm off for a nap. I have a feeling I’m going to need it.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ever have one of these days?

We may be having store bought dessert for tomorrow. Ugh. My fruit tart somehow escaped over the sides of my pan dripping all over my oven filling the house with smoke and of course ruining that dessert. After cleaning that mess I moved on to cupcakes. Simple right? Apparently not today. They seem to have taken on a life of their own as well and are not staying nice and neatly in their paper liners like they should be. Hopefully they will at least taste okay. *Fingers crossed.

I was going to make an apple pie but with this luck I really don't even want to think about how that might turn out. Oh well, cookies it is.

Running off to get frozen cookie dough out of freezer. *sigh

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I have internet!

Woo Hoo! *Dancing around the living room singing

My modem finally arrived today and now I have internet at the house! No more going to my SIL's just to get on the net! Woo Hoo!

*More Dancing

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Just a Little Dirt

Nothing wrong with a little dirt between friends. Well technically these two filthy little girls are somehow related. (third cousins maybe?) Who knows. But it certainly doesn't matter to them. The heat didn't seem to deter them either. They had the best time playing trucks in the dirt. I swear this is the dirtiest the Sweet Pea has ever been in her whole life. I know it's nothing compared to days to come but still. We had to wash her off before she could even get in the truck!

Doesn't it just make you smile? There is nothing better than watching these two little ones having the time of their lives. Kids certainly have a way of finding joy in the simplest things.