Saturday, December 31, 2011

The last birthday of the Year

Today is the picky one's birthday; Harry is 15.  He will be practicing his driving starting in a few days, so y'all better be on the lookout.  Just kidding, he's going to do great. 

I love that child.  He makes me laugh.  I'm going to send you over to my other blog to read about Harry and why he makes today is so special.

Happy New Year!  May the Lord bless you all in 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy Birthday to Honey Daddy

Today is big Hopson's birthday. He's 41, even though he claims he's not having any more birthdays. I asked my mother-in-law if she could believe the baby of the family was 41. She didn't want to talk about it, and then laughed. For his birthday he is heading into the woods.  He is taking 1/2 the clan with him, so hopefully if they see a big buck today, Elizabeth will let her daddy shoot it. 

He's been in the woods most of the week & looks like it.  He has that rugged look about him, and I have to admit that I like it.  He doesn't look like a CPA, he looks like a cowboy.  I hope he has a wonderful time on his birthday in the woods.  There will be no birthday cake, and there will be no presents.  The CPA wants less spending on his birthday, so that's what he gets, and since he's not getting any older he doesn't need a cake.  I think I'll make him some German Potato Salad instead.

Happy Birthday Honey Daddy!!! We love you!

Thank you Pinterest!!!

I made the best appetizer last night.  (and it was easy, which you know I am very pro.)  I pulled the recipe off of Pinterest.  I'm not addicted to Pinterest, but I do like it.  It has great recipes, cute outfits, funny sayings, life sayings, ways to make your own detergent, you name it, it's on there.  For those of you not on Pinterest, you make your own 'board' (it is kinda like a ebullitin board) and you pin thing onto your board.  You also name your board.  I'm a little kooky so I decided to have fun/weird names for my boards.  And yes, it does make me happy.

My food board is called 'Feed Us Please!'  I made the cheddar bacon ranch pull apart bread last night to go with my brother's homemade chili recipe, that the picky one LOVES, and well as they say, a picture's worth a thousand words.

The completed pull apart!

And the completed pull apart.
Of course I didn't follow the directions.  You know I have to add my own flair to it.  I've named mine the Sourdough Pull Apart.  The fam demolished it in about 10 minutes.  I have to say it was good & I'm planning on make some more for New Year's Eve & New Year's Day to have with our black eyed peas & turnip greens.  :)  I'm super excited.  It will be a super yummy day.  I pray y'all are having a wonderful Christmas break and that you have a very Happy New Year!

Y'all be blessed beyond measure,

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Y'all

I just wanted to wish y'all a very Merry Christmas!  Ours has been wonderful.  We went to Tampa the week before Christmas to spend time with my brother and his wife.  We will be adding a new baby to our family in January!!!  (Not by me, thank goodness.)  I can't wait.  It's been 9 1/2 years since we've had a baby in the fam & we for sure need a new one.

While in Tampa we did some wonderfully fun things.  We went to a fun place called AirHeads; a massively big place that's full of trampolines that are all connected.  It's too much fun.  Of course my children love it.  They were flipping & twisting all over the place.  I was mistaken for a 28 year old!!!  Can I tell you how good that made me feel since I'll be 40 tomorrow.  :)

the fam in our gorgeous wetsuits

We swam with manatees.  Too cool for words.  There was a male that followed us around wanting to be scratched.  He would swim around us giving everyone a chance to love on him.  They are so beautiful & getting to pet them in their environment was amazing.  The water was a little cold, 72 degrees to be exact, but besides that, A OK.

Thursday night we went to see the Huseman Family Light Spectacular.  When they say it's a light spectacular, they mean a light spectacular!  68,000 lights set to 23 different songs.  It's incredible!  I had a great time watching & videoing some of the songs.  The Huseman's personally welcome every person who stops to watch their lights, and they give them a candy cane.  They also delivered almost 1000 pounds of food to a local Tampa charity.  What a great ministry they have. 

one candle shared
one candle

Church was amazing...I cried as usual, but I did something I've always wanted to do...take pictures during the service.  I took a picture of our pastor after he lit his candle, and then after all the candles in the sanctuary were lit.  

The difference between the two is amazing.  The sharing the Love of Jesus takes on a whole new meaning when you see 2400 candles lit, just from the one.  How blessed I have been this year.  I pray you feel God's blessings everyday!!!

Merry Christmas & y'all be blessed beyond measure,

Monday, December 19, 2011

Breath...Just Breath PS

I have to add this commercial because it's just too funny!  Merry Christmas, Game On!

Breath...Just Breath...

Today is 6 days until Christmas...everyone take a big deep breath in.  Hold it.  Now release it slowly.  Repeat 2 more times to keep calm.  I'm know I am...  There is only one present that hasn't come in...I ordered it black Friday, have emailed the company twice, and am hoping it comes in within the next few days.  If it doesn't, I think it (and I) will be OK, because it's for Hoppy, and he's pretty easy going.  Knowing my luck it will be delivered to the house while Henry is at home.  Santa has decided to use UPS to deliver stuff that Harry and Hoppy have asked for.  Thanks Santa, you're killing me.  (Just kidding, it's all good, I'm just glad I'm not fighting Christmas crowds.) 

I can't believe the season is almost over; it feels like it just started.  I love everything about Christmas:  the decorations, lights, family & food.  They make me happy.  Because Elizabeth has so many late dance classes this year, I have been able to enjoy the Christmas lights more than ever this year.  Our little dance carpool loves to look at the lights too & those girls are funny! 

To those of you who are traveling for Christmas, please be safe.  We are looking forward to spending time with extended and immediate family and celebrating the 3 birthdays we have in the next 12 days.    (Harry will be getting his learner's permit in the first of January, and he's already a mack daddy driver in his own mind.  It will be interesting to see how he does on his permit test since he hasn't studied one iota.)  One more day of school until all the little chicks are done...the next 36 hours are going to be going on full throttle, but also full of Christmas Cheer!

I hope you all have a wonderfully Merry Christmas!
Be blessed beyond measure,

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12 Days and Counting

Well, in 12 days it will happen...I will turn 40.  I don't feel like I'm getting old, I just feel like my numberical age fits my psychological age.  I've been the matriarch of my family since I was 25, and at 25 you're still a little stupid.  Not quite as much as when you're a teenager, but pretty close.

I have one trepidation about this birthday.  It's the beginning of the decade that both my parents died.  I told someone my goal is to make it to 50, and that's not a lie.  I do hope to make it to be an old albiet very active grandmother.  Hopson's parents are in their 70's and their social schedule rivals that of any teenager's.  They are active and fun, and I have decided that I'm going to be the same way. 

In honor of my 40th year, starting on my birthday, I'm going to take 365 days of pictures.  A year in the life....  It's for postarity's sake for me.  I want to make the most of everyday, and hopefully by taking pictures that will help.  I hope you will join me on my crazy year of pictures!  Right now though, the laundry is calling my name, and one of the dogs threw-up in Elizabeth's room, so I better get busy doing what I do best.  :)

If you want to see the pictures you can click on the tab, starting December 26th, that will take you to my year in pictures.

Y'all be blessed beyond measure!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Should it be called Tebowing?

I'm so tired of the whole Tim Tebow controversy I could spit.  I'm sick and tired of commentators tearing him down for bowing in a prayer of thanks.  I hate the term 'Tebowing'.  I wonder if Tim does too?  There have been many players, in many different sports, before him who have given thanks for what God has allowed them to accomplish in sports; either by pointing or kneeling in humble adoration.  So why pick on Tebow?

Is it because no matter how hateful, I do mean hateful, the different people are to him, he continues to be humble, and quick to listen and slow to speak.  Is it because he makes them take a long look in the mirror and think they are not being the man God has called them to be?  Maybe it's because he's winning and giving glory to God; he's not taking all the the credit for winning a game; or they just plain don't like him.  I don't know, but I'm sick of it & I'm sick of him being ridiculed for his faith.

I know many have seen how Tim is acting and wondering if this guy is for real.  I think he is.  He's been in the spotlight since he was in high school, and he's now 23...that's 5 years to slip-up, but he hasn't.  Either he's a great actor or he is who he says he is, a true follower of Christ.

I am making a choice to be one voice who supports Tim Tebow and the Broncos.  I support him because his walk and his talk match.  I support him because he's someone I would want my boys to emulate, and my daughter to marry.  He puts Christ first and everything else is secondary.  God has given him talent (...even though the commentators hate his throwing motion etc, let's not forget he did win the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore no less.) and he uses that talent to the best of his ability.  He demands excellence from himself first and then asks others to follow him in excellence, and guess what, they usually buy-in to what he says, and they follow him. 

I'm proud of Tim Tebow.  I hope he continues to win, because he will point to the One who gave him the ability to do these things.  But, if they lose, I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Tim will continue to give glory where glory is our Lord Jesus Christ.  God be with you Tim!  Romans 5:1-5 

Thanks for letting me rant guys!
Y'all be blessed beyond measure,

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Comfort Food

I love Christmas comfort food.  There are so many things I cook this time of year that reminds me of my mom & MeMaw.  I wish they were alive so I could show them some of the things I've accomplished as a cook.  I feel close to them in the kitchen.

One of the things my MeMaw made that was mack daddy were her Cheese Straws.  I've tried the ones from the grocery store, and they're ok, but not like homemade.  (they're a little dry, have a kind of funky taste & they're not spicy enough for me...just in case you were wondering)  The good thing about cheese straws is that they are not hard to make.  It takes longer to cook them than anything else.  It's also fun to let your children get involved in the cooking.  Mine usually fight over my cookie press.

Tonight Hoppy was the only one at home for a little while & when I asked him if he wanted to press the cheese straws out, he jumped at the chance.  I love it...he's 17 and still wanting to help in the kitchen.  Makes my heart soar...and laugh...he was holding my cookie press like a gun at one point.  I couldn't snap a picture fast enough to catch him.  Crazy kiddo.

There is NOTHING healthy about cheese straws.  Hence, comfort food.  In the past  I've made them with a gluten free flour, and they're not that bad, a little gritty, but passable.  (add enough butter & cheese to anything and it will be palatable.)   I had fun watching Hop press these out.  We did a small batch so it didn't take too long.  There were perfect and so yummy.  I would love to know some of your favorite Christmas comfort foods.  Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas & be blessed beyond measure,

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Smelly Smelly Boys


I think something has died in my laundry room.  No, I'm being serious.  It has to be one of the nastiest smells ever.  You know what it is...teenage boy.  (who "kept forgetting" to bring home all his football workout clothes to get washed for about a month)  I should have been alerted to this when he asked to take a can of Lysol to school to fumigate his football locker.  I honestly don't know how the coaches deal with the smell.  All I know is that it's a good thing I'm not pregnant because I would have barfed all over the place.  Yuck!

I was wondering how I was going to get the stinch out of the clothes.  I knew this smell would not come out with regular clothes detergent even if I boosted it with OxyClean.  It was that bad...

...But then I remembered a beautiful little orange container I have in my laundry room.  It's called Dead Down Wind.  I bought it about 6 years ago for the boys to wash their clothes in before they go hunting, and it takes ALL the smell out.  I have used it before when Hop brought home stinky football clothes, and it worked great then, but this was a whole new level of stink, so I decided to put the DDW to the test.  You'll be happy to know it passed with flying colors!  All the nasty guy smell came out of the clothing...I can't say the same for the pads.  (I'm going to hit them with a different spray, and hopefully that will help.)  I really was shocked and very excited, and knew I needed to share this wonderful information with all moms with stinky boys in their house.  I have bought it at a local hunting/outdoor store, but you can also buy it online, or check their site for retailers near you.

The smell is now...dead down wind!  :)
Y'all be blessed beyond measure,

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bring ON the Food

I love my annual Supper Club Christmas Party.  I have a fun crazy group of friends.  There are always gag gifts somewhere in the mix:  Mystique, the blown glass statue, and the farting Santa are some that have made their way into the mix over the past few years.  Stories from years past and the funny memories that go with them...AU/Georgia Tech game to you Ashley M.! 

The past few years my friend Lisa G. (who is a phenom in the kitchen!) and I have catered our CP.  It's cheaper and it's a chance to bring out our creative side and see if we can make a gourmet meal as inexpensive as possible.  I have to say that we aren't too shabby.  I like it too because we can eat off of fine china.  We only use it a few times every year anyway, so it's a chance to use it again!  Yea!

You know my obsession with Paul Prudhomme's different Magic products.  This summer we used them A LOT.  They are just so yummy, and well, I decided I wanted to break it out for one of the dishes I made for the dinner.

I did the sides this year.  We had:  Beef Tenderloin, Fresh Green Beans with Vinaigrette Dressing, Feta Mashed Potatoes, Baked Apricots, rolls, Red Velvet Cake, and Chocolate Cake.  Below is the finished plate.  Lisa made beef tenderloin, and it was divine!  You almost didn't need a knife to cut it.  It was beautiful.  I was tempted to pick-up my plate and lick it once all the food was gone.  (you'll be glad to know I didn't, it was just a fleeting thought...)

This is the centerpiece on the table.

 I hope the above recipes give you another idea of dishes you can make this Christmas season.  Bring on the food!!!

Y'all be blessed beyond measure,

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Why I love Santa

December 1997
There is only one Santa.  I first met him 14 years ago this December.  Hop was 3 and Harry almost 1; my mom was in the end stages of metastatic melanoma; and I was totally stressed out.  Just thinking about those days will bring me to tears.  Staying up 24 hours a day for several days in a row will do that to you.  All I really wanted to focus on was having a Christmas with my sweet little boys, reading Christmas stories, telling them about why Christmas is so special for us, but I was focused on taking care of my mom, except for 1 morning.  For one morning, I was going to just be a mommy to my boys and have a Christmas memory with my little family.

I bought us tickets for a breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Clause.  Not only did we get to see Santa, but he and his wife led us in Christmas carols.  It was the highlight of the season for me.  I needed that time with Hopson, Hoppy & Harry.

Fast forward 14 years...
December 2011
Breakfast with Santa, THE singing Santa and Mrs. Clause.  This time though, Hop is 17, Harry almost 15, Elizabeth 11, and Henry 9.  (aren't they precious?)  A few more kiddos added to the mix, and the older 2 a few years older.  Where has the time gone?  How did my children get so big?  What a blessing they are!  I love the Christmas season.  I love what it means.  It's the moment in time that was perfect for The Word to become flesh.  When Jesus took off his princely robes of heaven and took on an earthly body.  Without Christmas, there is no Easter.

I talked to Santa this morning, I told him about that December day 14 years ago, and how it was the day that made my Christmas.  You know what he said?  "Give that girl your camera & have your picture made with us."  I love Santa. 

Mommy with Santa & Mrs. Clause
May your days be merry and bright & may you be blessed beyond measure,

Friday, December 2, 2011

One of These Things is NOT like the others...

One of these things just doesn't belong.  Can you tell me which thing is not like the other, all before I finish my song.  Love Sesame Street!  I grew up watching it, and when my children were old enough to watch it, I would watch it with them.  Happy memories!!!  Remember the Ladybug Picnic?  Classic!

The reason I thought about that song is because I have been craving Butternut Squash Bisque for YEARS!  Yes, I said years.  I had it at a local restaurant, and they haven't made it since the first time I had it, about 2 years ago, so I finally broke down & made it myself.  Can I tell you that I think if the boiler had been big enough I would have submerged myself in it.  Oh my it was good, and warm, and creamy, and even better as leftovers.  I had it for breakfast & lunch the next day. 

But I thought about the shape of a butternut squash and it reminded me of something else I used to watch with my children...VeggieTales!  Notice my little friend on the back right...I always thought he was a gourd, but he's a butternut squash!!!  Love me some VeggieTales.  :)  Now onto the soup...


It's not hard to make, just a little time consuming.  I've never peeled a butternut squash, but I learned a trick that made it so much easier because the skin is very tough.  After you cut off the top & bottom you microwave it for a few minutes to soften the skin & then it slides off like butter.  (It also smells yummy while it's cooking in your microwave!)  Next scoop the membrane out and cut it up into chunks.

As I was cutting the squash up I allowed the onions to cook.  I actually cut-up a fresh onion, and didn't use frozen ones.  Aren't you proud?  You should be, you know how lazy I can be.  If you don't like onions, don't use them.  The next batch of soup I make I think I'll try it without the onion to see what it tastes like.  I'll let you know...

Once the onion is done cooking add in your chicken broth and squash.  Cook until squash is tender.  Simmer it, don't boil it, the squash is fragile. 

Once the squash is done cooking, gently spoon it out and put it in a blender or food processor with a some broth.  Puree the mixture until it is creamy.  If your blender/processor is having a tough time pureeing the mixture, add a little bit more broth.  When it's finished processing, add it back to the liquid in the boiler and add heavy whipping cream and nutmeg. 

And here is the finished product! 
Isn't it beautiful?  And shiny?  And wonderfully delicious?

It's happiness in a bowl.  I think I'm going to have to make a grocery run today for another squash.  This soup makes me happy and warm.  I know my boiler is not pretty for this picture, but I didn't care, because I had a bowl right after I took the picture.  Let me know if you try to it & what you think.

Y'all be blessed beyond measure,

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this is us on our family vacation.

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