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Monday, May 31, 2010

I. Can't. Function.

    We made it safely to the beach yesterday. For the most part, our 14+ hour road trip was uneventful...except for projectile throw-up, twice. We got all the way to the East Coast and my sunglasses broke. No biggee...I'm up for a new pair! Then the worst thing imaginable happened.  My IPhone decided it's tired and it rolled over and died.
    I'm so lost. I'm so sick to my stomach. I haven't been able to stalk FB. Play Words or google everything under the sun! I can't even call my dad!!!!!! Do you remember when you knew everyone's telephone numbers? I do. I don't remember the numbers, but I remember the time before the age of the cell phone. And now, now I can't imagine life without my little white pocket computer. I can't even call my dad...I have no idea what his phone number is!!! I feel like I can't function without it.  I know, it's a shame. Pitiful actually.
    Worst part...the part when the little ITunes notification came up saying it was hardware malfunction and it needed to be restored. Then upon clicking the Restore icon, it prompts me that ALL my data would be lost if I restored my IPhone!!!!!!!!!!! It makes me sick to my stomach to think about losing all the pictures I have on that phone and hadn't backed up yet. Really!!!! As all kinds of worldly that it sounds, I am praying that my phone would be resurrected. If not, that at least all my pictures would be recovered. This surely isn't helping all that icky sand seem any more appealing.

Friday, May 28, 2010

OBX or Bust

     Bright and early in the morning we'll load our entire gang up and head for the OBX. That's the Outer Banks of North Carolina! It'll take us 14 hours to get there. We plan to make the trip in 2 days, stopping at our beloved Hampton Inn and enjoying their free continental breakfast on Sunday morning. All the oatmeal Taylor can eat! He won't know what to do with himself!!!
     To be very honest with you, I personally could care less about the beach. Jim told me not to tell anyone that. But, I'd rather ride around the country in the car for a week than have to deal with all the sand, heat, loading and unloading. Plus- my kids are great riders. That's the one time Jim and I get to have long conversations in day light. Every Sunday night we load all 3 kiddos into the car for a 10 minute ride to Little Caesars. We can so easily tune out our kids when they are strapped in and aren't sticking their fingers in sockets or eating toothpaste. So while Jim has vacation-itis and can't wait to play in the sand everyday....I'm looking forward to the 14 hours of "seemingly" peace!!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My Daddy

     Just got off the phone with my daddy. He turned 79 this past December. We talked for 40 minutes about the garden, vacant land, leaky gutters and tomaters. It's raining in Meridian today and he told me he was lonesome. He got up early this morning and went down to his garden and found two of his butter bean plants weren't doing well. He then told me he dug through the deep freeze and found some old packets of canteloupe seeds, so he planted them. Maybe we'll have some later this summer.
      My dad is a diabetic and legally blind due to macular degeneration. Daddy said his arms were all bruised up because he had been working on the belt of the tiller and he couldn't see to do anything. He reminded me of the tiller. I remember it. I remember exactly where it always sat in the dirt floor of the barn beside the house. It' red and white and I always thought it would be cool to be able to use it. Man, that thing has got to be as old as me! It wouldn't pass all the safety requirements they have these days for sure.
      He wants a new four wheeler and he was insisting I bring his old one up here for my boys! Don't even get me started on all the reasons that is a very bad idea!  He's had a rough couple of years, but I've been working on patching things up for him since last May.
     I've always been daddy's little girl and I guess I still am. He calls everyday to see how Carrie Ann is doing. I'm proud of him. He has finally started to call her by her actual name and not what he thinks it is or should be. He doesn't like her name. Daddy thinks I should have named her Patricia, because it's a pretty name. He says he can't see her, but that she looks just like me when I was that age. I'll take it!
     I could hear the swing squeaking. He was sitting on the front porch, listening to the water dripping out of the gutter. Said he was probably going to walk up to the neighbor's house and ask him to come take a look at it, because he can't see anything.
     Then he said, you know what I really want? What daddy, what do you really want? All he wants is some fresh rootabeggas, collard greens, butter beans and a pan of cornbread. Some good cornbread, he said. He said momma used to make them all the time for him and she just loved it that he ate them so much. He reminded me of all the fresh vegetables and tomaters that we'd spend all summer picking and storing in the deep freeze. I remember all the picking, shelling, blanching, canning, and pickeling. I even remember the sound of the pressure cooker, very vividly actually. Those were the good ole days to him. He said he couldn't see to cook any of it anymore and that the people who live with him won't cook it right.
     Yes, I am trying my darndest not to cry right now. It breaks my heart that he is not being taken care of in the ways that he needs. I go down to Meridian about every other week, just to take him to the barber shop and to the dry cleaner's to pick up his clothes. He has taken his clothes to the cleaner's ever since momma died. Said nobody can get them as stiff! Seriously, his blue-jeans pant legs can stand straight up! He's probably the only person in the world who takes holey, worn-out jeans to the dry cleaner's!
     We had to end our conversation when my two boys started jumping all over me and demanding attention. He said, okay, he just wanted to call and check on his little girl. He meant Carrie Ann. Told me to take care of her. I will daddy, I will.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Worst Dessert Ever!

     I don't let Jim in my kitchen very often, and when I do, it's only as my sidekick. When he married me 5 years ago it was okay to have a dessert every night. I hadn't yet birthed three kids and had a job that kept me on my feet 8 hours a day.
     Now, well you know the story, my sweet husband requires a dessert every night. If I don't have something made he will scrounge through the pantry and fridge to see if we have the ingredients for whatever he is in the mood for.
     I got smart a long time ago and started making him desserts that I didn't like just so it wouldn't be so hard to say no. But, there are only so many desserts that I am not going to like!!! Then I thought I was being clever when I just stopped making them, but that just opened the door for him to get into my kitchen and drive me batty. Yep, if I don't have a dessert, the crazy man gets in there and starts messing up my kitchen! It's not that he's not a good cook or anything, because he is,  it's just that I'm afraid he might use the wrong side of the knife and put it back in the wrong place. And he really doesn't know the difference between Self-Rising and All-Purpose and I'd rather not explain the two! Just kidding. I'm just a control freak.
     Then one night, I had the best-most-worst dessert ever at a friend's house. She put a scoop of cookie dough in the bottom of an oven-safe bowl, baked it, and then served the cookie, in the bowl with a scoop of ice cream and chocolate syrup on top!!!!!
     You guessed it! I came home, made it for Jim and HE LOVED IT.  Big surprise, I loved it too!
It's sooo awful, but so easy. And the best part requires no messing up of my kitchen! I love it even more!
This has become my "go-to" dessert when I am not in the mood to make something or feel like thinking much that week. I make sure I always have the two key ingredients on hand: Ice Cream & Ready Bake cookies, like these:
{If you are like me and don't want to be tempted with this dessert, you can do what I do and buy a type of cookie dough that you don't like!}
The Tupelo Middle School Cheerleaders just came around selling those big tubs of cookie dough that you can keep in your fridge...Those are perfect for this dessert!
Next, you will want a bowl like this. These are our everyday bowls that we use for everything.
But make sure it says this on the bottom::::::
Oven Safe 
 Then you put a scoop, or 1-3 of those pre-cut cookies in the middle of the bowl. {I use 1, Jim uses 3!}
These cookie scoops in this pic are actually scoops of homemade cookie dough. I was making a batch and had enough left for 2 bowls of dessert.  
Bake on 350 or whatever your cookie package recommends, for about 14 minutes. Top with a scoop, or two of your favorite ice cream and chocolate or caramel syrup and nuts...oh and the list just goes on! And that's it!!! You serve it in the bowls you make it in! See why I don't mind if Jim makes this one himself!

I suggest letting it cool for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven just so you can hold your bowl and ooh and ahhhh and let out a few mmmmmmmmmm's as you try to practice some self control and not lick the entire thing clean!!!!
I was out of chocolate syrup when I took these pics. Thank goodness!!!
You can thank me later for this one!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Pound of Cake

     We leave for the beach in the Outer Banks in T-Minus 17 days and I still have 11 pounds of baby weight hanging out with me. I'm just like the next girl and I stress about my weight and jean size just like the next girl. I don't know what I was thinking when I agreed to the beach vacation being planned so close to having a baby! {I really did miscalculate the timing...I even bought CA the cutest yellow-polka dotted bathing suit that is going to be way too big for her}
     So, ever since I got the go ahead from my doc, I've been attempting to exercise. haha! Mostly I've been walking at least 2+ miles most everyday, sometimes pushing 70 pounds of pure preciousness. I think I've done about a gazillion lunges. I gained about 22 pounds while I was pregnant, you can do the math...
     So with D-day quickly approaching. (That's the day I have to actually get the bathing suit out and try it on, just to make sure I can squeeze it all in, I wonder if they make any suits out of Spanx?). I've incorporated the help of my sweet neighbor, Virginia, and my very ripped and focused husband to help me.
     However, neither of these people are being very much help! I'll elaborate...
     Virginia's great, she and I have been walking together all week, but she enjoys my love for Creative Cake Cupcakes just like me!!! Enough said!
     And Jim....OH MY WORD!!!!  He tried to teach me how to do a pull-up. But I think that bar in the closet is much better used as an extension to my clothes rack! I can't even do half a pull-up! I do good just to hold on! He told me if I would do those I would get ripped! RIGHT!!!! I'm sure he is right, but seriously. Tonight I asked him if he would help me work on my abs. He mentioned the number 500....500 what hun? Okay, we'll just do half.
     Then the nerve, oh the nerve....we got up off the floor and my sweet husband asks...Hey, we got the stuff to make that pound cake? Jim burns like 8,000 calories a day with all his running and all the other stuff he does. Eating a piece or two of pound cake right before he goes to bed can only help him! Me on the other hand, not only have no self control, I have no full factor since I've been nursing CA...I am always hungry! And the SUPERWIFE that I am, of course, I'm going to make him whatever he wants....because if I don't, he'll get my cookbook out and attempt to make it himself.
     He was hilarious! He smelled it when it was done baking. You should have seen his face when he saw it sitting on the counter. He made a beeline straight for it. That smile left real quick when I told him he had to wait 10 minutes. You would've thought he had gotten a bad time in a race. He was like a little kid. He walked around and around the kitchen island waiting for the thing to cool! He got the strawberries out and cut them up. Started to defrost the cool whip. He swung his arms back and forth. Like a kid at Christmas waiting for the grown-ups to stop talking and get on with the ripping open of gifts!
     The Pound Cake was surprisingly easy to make. All you have to have is:
1 1/2 cup     All-Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp         Baking Powder
1/8 tsp         Baking Soda
1/2 cup       Sour Cream
1/2 cup        butter
1 cup           sugar
1/2 tsp         vanilla
3                 eggs
Allow the butter, eggs and sour cream to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.  In a mixing bowl, mix flour, baking powder and baking soda, until well blended. In a separate bowl, blend the butter at medium-high speed for 30 seconds.  Slowly add the sugar. Continue blending until light and fluffy {about 10 minutes}.
Blend in vanilla.
Blend in eggs, 1 at a time, blending mixture for 1 minute after each. Scrape sides of bowl frequently.
Alternately add the flour mixture and sour cream, mixing at medium-low speed, just until combined. 
Pour into a floured loaf pan.
Bake for 60-75 minutes at 325 degrees or until the toothpick comes out clean. 
Let cool for ten minutes, remove from pan, cool.
Yes, I used a paper plate....this was a super simple dessert that needed a super simple plate...and was 10:00 p.m. by the time Jim got to eat it!!!
 I love you hun!!!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mommy, he's pooping!

    We've reached one of the many hard parts of parenting a pre-schooler. Where certain moments warrant some very careful parenting. I think it's one of those instincts that are natural in little kids, like blinking and sucking---TATTLING.
     Nobody likes a tattle-tale. I think it is sooooo annoying. Constantly it's, mommy, Andrew took my car. Mommy, he stole my cookie. It doesn't matter who it is or what it is. Mommy, daddy won't let me wear my football helmet to Church. Mommy, so and so pushed me. Mommy, mommy, mommy... It's hard to know whether or not the situation should be a teachable moment, especially if you did not witness the accused perpetrator of the wrongful act.
     Sometimes you see the actual shove. Do I say, Andrew, we don't push, that's not nice. Or do I say, Taylor, we don't tattle. Where do you find the balance? They are only 3 and 1 so I can't expect them to work all their problems out on their own, but a little lesson in conflict resolution can go a long way.
     Then, there are those situations where you wish your 3 year old would tattle. Like when the 1 year old is pouring out ANOTHER box of Panko bread crumbs on that blasted dry-clean only rug. Or when he's getting into the pantry for the fifth time, headed right for my flour. You really wish you heard that little whiny--mommy then!
     For tonight...Mommy, Andrew's pooping! Andrew's pooping! Andrew's pooping! I was in the kitchen, bathing Carrie Ann. It was hardly audible from there. Couldn't make it out very clearly, until the third time he screamed it. Jim was giving the boys a bath in our big bathtub. I think he was right there, but was taking care of some other business. I definitely couldn't leave what I was doing. I heard Jim taking control right away, telling them to stand here, stand there, do this...Obviously Taylor was telling the truth.
     That was one of those moments where being the tattle-tale was a good thing. We praised Taylor for telling us. Not that Jim wouldn't have noticed in the next few seconds anyway. But, we were proud of him.
    This parenting stuff can catch you off guard sometimes. So tell me, how do you teach your child the difference between good and bad tattling?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Singin' in the Rain!

     Back, oh so long ago, before our little people got here and sleeping-in meant sleeping past 9 a.m., Jim and I ran out the front door of our house into the pouring rain. We laughed and frolicked {wierd word}, like little kids. I remember like it was yesterday. There's a certain smile you get when you do something that makes you forget every stress, tug and duty you have on your mind, even if it only lasts a few minutes.
     Sundays are rough. If you have little kids on eating and napping schedules, you know exactly what I am talking about. It all gets messed up. We always seem a little more stressed on Sundays than any other day. Just something about getting all, ahem, 5 of us now, out the door on time in pressed clothes and shoes, oh, don't forget shoes, hun.
     So last Sunday, when the monsoons came thru the South, I had a huge grin on my face when I told Jim I had a GREAT idea!  "After lunch, let's put on our swimsuits and go play in the rain!!! The boys will love it!" That smile I mentioned earlier, came across his face! Yippee!
It took Andrew a few minutes. His look is priceless.
Daddy helped him out a little!
Taylor decided to go feet first.
He doesn't really know what to think!
Here comes the frolicking!
And splashing...
Yes, I see it too!
And running...
Here's that look I'm talking about...
The poor turtle had a full load that day! He kept losing his shell.
We created fun, simple, free memories! And no one has come down with pneumonia...yet!

Fly home little Birdie

Remember the birdhouse that Grandpa Adrian helped Taylor make...A House for the Birds....well, we finally hung them out for the birds!!!!
Jim scoped out a branch.
The boys helped too!
Jim filled the birdhouse with birdseed.    
{He looks cute using a screwdriver!}
Look!!! Tweet, tweet...come on birdies....perfect little house just waiting for you!!!
We got a hummingbird feeder as well! Jim doesn't have much faith in it attracting any hummingbirds, so watch for those pics so I can make a believer out of him! ha!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Our inner Rachel Ray!

     You never know what to expect when you head off to cooking club! Get 13 ladies together and over appetizers and around the table you'll hear topics such as- freon gas {yep, apparently it makes the air conditioners work}, the relationship between heroine and pacifiers, facebook, bullying and washing lettuce and cabbage. It's a blast and I look forward to it every month! We get to talking and going on and on about stuff and forget the clock! It's so much fun-we get to let our inner Rachel Ray's come out to play! Tonight, however, I was interrupted by texts from Jim that my little milkaholic needed her mama. So I had to head out, but not before indulging in a very very delicious dinner. {For the compiled list of dishes, click here}
Julie served the White Bean & Bacon Dip, pg 70, along with the Rosemary Pita Chips, pg 77.
Jennifer made the best beverage: Tao's Punch, pg 100. I couldn't get enough of this stuff!
Debbie brought Baked Potato Soup, pg 547. she didn't like it, but I thought it was GREAT!
{pic borrowed from}
Tiffany paired her Simple Slaw, pg 463 really well with the main dish! It was great and I will definitely be repeating this one!
Wendy hit a homerun with the Crisp-Crusted Catfish, pg 283!!!!
Everyone raved over Lori's Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter, pg 580.
Melanie, wow girl...I love me some mac & cheese and this one was a winner! Creamy Four-Cheese Macaroni, pg 331.
Sallie Belle's Parmesan and Cracked Pepper Grissini, pg 139, could be paired with just about any meal!
Lisa, oh Lisa...that Strawberry Shortcake, pg 168 was sosme kind of good!!!!

{And don't you just love Wendy's dishes...what a sweet Mother's Day gift!!!}
And we already saw my dessert{here}...the Molasses Cookies, pg 194 that were so yummy and yet so healthy!
I'll be soaking up the sun during next month's club meeting, but Wendy is filling in for me..thanks girl! Have fun at Julie's house!!! 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Good ole Molasses Cookies

     It's Cooking Club time tonight!!! I love the first Friday of every month! As I mentioned before we are going through Cooking Light, The Complete Cookbook: A Fresh New Way to Cook. This month I have to bring a dessert. This cookbook is full of fun dessert recipes, but I'm going to go simple tonight. I am headed to the kitchen right now to start on Molasses Cookies.
     One of the purposes of our Club is to try new things, and to see what something looks and tastes like and what worked and didn't work for certain recipes. I re-make at least one or two things from each month's club. It's sooo much fun!!! This month's choice for cookies is to remind myself to go back to something basic and simple!
    Here we go and I am sooooo glad that I didn't eat these things before I got to Wendy's house... they are just that good! AND....they are actually low fat!!! Yah, check out the recipe to see how these delish cookies can actually be considered a healthy choice!
   First though, I want to show you what you do when your oven is on 375, your hands soaked in cooking oil and all three of your kids wake up from their naps:
Yah, I know...she looks real excited to be there doesn't she!!
Anyway, back to the cookies... {I usually preheat my oven before I do anything, but wait...don't heat it up until you put the dough in the freezer. There will be plenty of time to heat it up then.}
You will need:
1/2 cup       applesauce
1 1/4 cups   sugar, divided
6 Tbs          butter, softened
1/4 cup       dark molasses
1 large        egg
1 cup          all-purpose flour
1 cup          whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsps          baking soda
1 tsp           ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp        salt
1/2 tsp        ground ginger
1/2 tsp        ground gloves
Cooking spray
From the picture that looks like a lot, but really these were super, super easy.
1. Spoon applesauce onto several layers of heavy-duty paper towels, let stand 5 minutes. {I used 3 regular absorbant paper towels on top and bottom} Scrape into a bowl using a rubber spatula.
2.  Combine the applesauce, 1 cup of the sugar and butter; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended {about 3 minutes}
Add molasses and egg; beat well.
3. Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups, level with a knife. Combine flours and baking soda, ground cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves, stirring well with a whisk.  {I used whole wheat flour, instead of ww pastry flour. If you do so, you can sub with 1 cup whole wheat flour minus 2 Tbs whole wheat flour for the 1 cup wheat pastry flour.} Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating until blended.
Cover and freeze 30 minutes or until firm.
4. Preheat oven to 375.
5.  With moist hands, shape dough into 32 (1 -inch) {My batch made 48} Roll balls into 1/4 cup of sugar.
Place 3 inches apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. {I heart my silpat pad!} That's a silicone baking pad that nothing sticks to!!! It realllly is the best thing since sliced bread!!! I use it for everything. If you don't have one, seriously, get off this computer and go get you one!!!
Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes. {8 minutes makes them good and chewy!}
Cool on pans 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
Now all you need is a very cold cup of milk and a comfy chair!!!!!