Monday, February 28, 2011

The Pickaxe and the Perennials

This morning, while I was gardening, I broke my hand shovel. The metal actually bent! (Maybe I'm taking out some frustrations on the Craftsman hand shovel!?)

So, like any sane southern woman, I got out my pickaxe.

I felt silly, but it worked really well. It actually worked better than the shovel! Anyway, enough about my pickaxe adventure. I planted three perennials this morning, and I am so excited for them to bloom when the weather gets warmer.

First, I planted a Salvia 'Rhapsody in Blue."

Salvia attracks butterflies and hummingbirds, and it's so pretty and colorful. It will be blooming in early summer, so I can't wait to enjoy it soon.

Next, I planted Echinacea 'Red Knee High.'


Pink is my favorite color, so I am especially excited about these! Echinacea attracks hummingbirds, and blooms in midsummer.

Finally, I planted Kniphofia 'Fire Dance.'


So cool, right!? They're like the psychadelic version of Indian Paintbrush! These flowers attrack butterflies and hummingbirds, and bloom in the summer.

I can't wait to enjoy my perennials! With my usual zennias, I'm hoping my garden will be extra beautiful this summer.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Crepe Murder


This morning, while I did not actually commit crepe murder (or, the less-tasteful but equally hilarious, crepe rape), I still broke my Southern heart (and I'm sure my Momma's southern heart) by pruning my crepe myrtle. It was getting enormous. It was going to eat my roof and walkway alive come June. But I swear, right here, in the witness of all my blog readers, that I am only going to commit this heinous act once every two years.

If nothing else, it was hysterical. I'm not very tall. I have horrible balance. We only have a set of small garden shears. Our crepe myrtle was enormous. Needless to say, I look like I cut my arm to shreds (singular "arm" due to the odd fact that only my right arm is covered in little, bloody, swollen scratches--please note all the horrific adjectives). I was climbing all in that tree. We're talking George-of-the-Jungle-Tarzan-and-Jane-Is-that-a-woman-up-in-that-tree-or-a-monkey? all in that tree. I had the shells of last year's crepe myrtle buds embedded in my hair and, on a couple of occasions, in my mouth.

I refused to make it any shorter. (Can I lie and say that, since the truth is that I was simply too terrified to go up that high on the ladder?) It will be slender and tall this summer, like Gisele Bundchen, but as a crepe myrtle.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Video: Eating the Playroom

I walked into the playroom this morning, and I caught my son doing this. :)

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

We Made It!

These past few Sundays in our household have been a bit tense. We've been on edge, because our son has yet to make it through a single Sunday without us getting called out of church at least once (the max number was three times) to come collect our screaming child.

I was praying frantically the whole way to church that I would be like a certain friend of mine who has the best "mom attitude" of anyone I know. I asked God to help me channel my inner mom idol. :)

Surprisingly, it worked. By the time we were getting out of the car, I felt like, Okay, if we get called out of church it will be totally fine. I will smile and collect my bundle of joy, and remind myself that I won't remember this when he is a college grad getting married someday. Whew.

I dropped him off to his class, and as usual scurried to find my husband, who had gotten the seats closest to an exit. We made it through two songs. We smiled at each other. We made it through the welcome. We actually high-fived in the middle of church. Then, about three-quarters of the way through the sermon, there they were: the dreaded red numbers.

Gasp! They weren't ours! They were someone elses! We smiled--definitely too happy--at each other.

When we went to pick up our little angel, he was all smiles and his teacher was gushing about how good he was. Maybe we've made a breakthrough! I sure hope so! It was nice to actually get to worship and pay attention to the message for the first time in a long time.

On our way out of the children's center, a woman actually stopped us and said, "Is that _________?" We both smiled, "Yes." "Oh, he was so good today!"

Of course this translated our already amazingly perfect church experience to the mindset that we are the greatest parents in the world, and that our son is the best-behaved boy in his entire Sunday school class. :)

I'm sure that next Sunday I'll be consoling myself with thoughts of how trivial this all is, when we get called out of church for the bajillionth time. But I'm determined--no more tears. At least coming from Momma. ;)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Video: I Just Want the Camera

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Video: New Playroom

My son finally has a playroom! I am so excited, and he absolutely loves it. Yay! :) I am going to go out soon to find cute posters with Bible verses and the ABC's for the walls. (Video disclaimer: Yes, we like to listen to Beethoven while we play.)

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Video: Go Get It

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day

I love Valentine's Day! I am not one of those people who say, "I don't celebrate Valentine's Day. It's a commercialized holiday. Why don't you make every day special?" Ba-humbug! That's what I say to you! Valentine's Day is fun and romantic. I love getting all dressed up and going out with my sexy man. :)

This was our fifth Valentine's Day together, and that makes me feel old! It's crazy to think that the hubbs and I started dating when we were teenagers, and now we're married and have a beautiful son.

Yesterday started off with my husband and son bringing me a yummy breakfast in bed. What a perfect way to start the day! Then later on, my son and I played outside in the gorgeous weather.


Then, we got all dressed up....



And headed out to dinner!



We had such a great time laughing and talking about our love and our future. And, since my husband loves to spoil me, I got this little surprise....




I am truly blessed by God with a wonderful husband, who is attentive to my needs, is a wonderful father, and is the spiritual leader of our home. I can't wait to celebrate every Valentine's Day with him for the rest of our lives! :)


Monday, February 14, 2011

I Carry Your Heart with Me

My all-time favorite love poem, in honor of Valentine's Day: "I Carry Your Heart with Me" by E. E. Cummings.

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
                                  i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Super Mommy and the "Road Trip"


Today, my son was in the car for the longest that he's ever been. With just me. Yes, I was nervous to say the least.

We drove to a friend's wedding shower about 1 hr. and 45 min. away, and all these random thoughts kept rushing through my mind. What if we blow a tire? What if we're stranded on the side of the road and my big, strong husband isn't here to know what to do? Eeek! I would actually be the only adult around!

Well, we made it to the shower safely, and my son whined and fussed the entire time, which is really not like him.

And, I broke my ultimate radio rule. I never (as in never) let my son listen to the radio. We listen to Christian kids c.d.'s or educational c.d.'s. But I thought, What the heck? He's asleep, and there is no way we are driving for over three hours today with me listening to "A, you're adorable! A, you're so admirable! A, you're the apple of my eye!" (Yes, I can sing along with all of my son's songs.) So, I broke my rule and listened to the radio the entire way there and back.

The big deal was that we survived, and I'm not gunna' lie...I kind of felt like Super Mommy when we got back home! :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Beef Stew

I have never cooked beef stew before in a crock pot--only on the stove. It was delish! I threw in the pork, 2 cans of Campbell's beef broth, 1 tbsp. of cornstarch, 1 tsp. of sugar, peas and carrots, mesquite seasoning, seasoned salt, and a squirt of ketchup. I let it cook from 10:00 am until 5:30 this evening. Yum. Yum. Yum. I served it with cornbread, and it was just the perfect meal for a cold winter evening!

My sister came over to play with my son, so we enjoyed having her company!



Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fun in the Snow

While my son was taking a nap this afternoon, my husband and I snuck out to the front yard and had a seriously fun snowball fight! :)

The pristine front yard....before the snowball fight!




Sugar in the snow...my favorite! :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Crawling


I am officially chasing a little one all over the house now. I finally get what my friends were saying when they said: "It's so nice when they can just stay in one place. Appreciate it!" Oh my goodness, how right they were! And what does he want to crawl toward? Oh, the oven, electrical cords, and our handheld vacuum cleaner, just to name a few. This momma has her work cut out for her! But--what can I say--I'm loving every second of it! 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How to Make a Superbowl Cake

First, bake a chocolate cake (9X13) and a vanilla (or I used Funfetti) cake (9X13). Before pouring the batter for the white cake into the pan, mix in green food coloring.


Next, mix green food coloring with white icing.



After you've mixed your icing, spread the icing on the white cake. This is your field.



Now that you've got your green field, it's time to put the lines on the field. I lacked the skill, energy, and time to make mine exact. :)



Now that you've got your field done, you need to get the chocolate cake, and cut out a football shape. Being very careful, you place the chocolate football on top of the field.



For the final step, you are going to put chocolate icing on the football.


And there you go! So easy! You have an awesome football cake for your Superbowl party, and it didn't cost you too much time, money, or effort! :)

So-Gal's Recipe: Junior Mint Chocolate Cake


You will need:
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa
  • 1 tsp. of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of butter, salted
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp. of baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 12 oz. of junior mints
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Combine butter and water in a saucepan; cook until butter melts. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Add to flour mixture, stirring well.
4. Add egg, buttermilk, and vanilla to flour mixture. Pour batter into greased 9X13. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.
5. Sprinkle junior mints over cake. Bake at 350 for 3 minutes. Let cool completely. Spread *Chocolate Frosting* (see below) over top of cake.

Chocolate Frosting:

You will need:
  • 1/2 cup of butter, salted
  • 1/2 cup of milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 (16 oz) package of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
1. Combine butter and milk in saucepan; cook until butter melts. Remove from heat.
2. Combine powdered sugar and cocoa in a large bowl; and butter mixture and stir until smooth.
3. Stir in vanilla extract.



Saturday, February 5, 2011

So-Gal's Recipe: Roasted Potato and Bacon Salad


You will need:
  • 2 lb. of new potatoes, quartered
  • 2 tsp. of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. of chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 1 tsp. of pepper
  • 9 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. of sugar
  • 1 tsp. of minced garlic
  • 6 oz. of fresh spinach
  • 5 oz. of mixed salad greens
1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Combine potatoes, rosemary, oil, and 1/2 tsp. of salt and pepper. Toss gently.
3. Spread mixture in a greased jelly-roll pan, and bake at 400 for 45 minutes.
4. Sprinkle potatoes with 1/2 tsp. of salt and pepper.
5. Cook bacon in a skillet, and reserve drippings. Crumble bacon and set aside.
6. Add vinegar and the next 3 ingredients to skillet. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, for 3 minutes. Keep dressing warm.
7. Place spinach and mixed greens in a large bowl. Add potatoes and bacon. Drizzle with warm dressing.

So-Gal's Recipe: Creamy Chicken Artichoke Pasta


You will need:
  • 3 chicken breasts, cubed (do not cook)
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. of pepper
  • 5 tbsp. and 1/4 cup of butter, salted
  • 1 sweet onion, processed
  • 1 tsp. of minced garlic
  • 6 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • sliced mushrooms (I only put a few in!)
  • 1 (12 oz) jar of marinated artichoke heart quarters, drained
  • 2 tbsp. of chopped rosemary
  • 1/3 cup of dry white wine
  • 3 cups of whipping cream
  • 1 package (I used 16 oz.) of fettuccine
1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
2. Melt 5 tbsp. of butter in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken. Remove chicken, once the chicken is cooked.
3. Add onion and next 5 ingredients to Dutch oven. Remove once vegetables are tender (about 8-10 minutes).
4. Add 1/4 cup of butter, wine, whipping cream, and fettuccine to Dutch oven. Cook over medium-low heat until pasta is tender. Add chicken and vegetables.


So-Gal's Recipe: Back-Home Baton Rouge Gooey Pecan Bars


What you will need:
  • 2 (6 oz) bags of pecans (process these)
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup of powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup of butter, salted
  • 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 2/3 cup of butter, salted
  • 3 Tbsp. of whipping cream
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Bake processed pecans in a shallow pan for 4 minutes.
3. Put flour, powdered sugar, and 3/4 cup of butter in a food processor until the mixture is very course.
4. Press mixture onto the bottom of a greased 9X13.
5. Bake at 350 for 23 minutes.
6. Bring brown sugar and next three ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in toasted pecans, and spoon hot mixture over crust.
7. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Cool completely, and then cut into bars.