Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sunday Supper - Pecan Crusted Flounder

Sunday Supper #2:  Pecan Crusted Flounder with Roast Asparagus and Hush Puppies
As I mentioned the other day, my sweet hubby has given me yet another yummy cookbook filled with recipes I can't wait to try.  So I have to cook my way through my current favorite kitchen companion by fellow Georgian, Rebecca Lang.
Here is my version of her Pecan Crusted Flounder.  It is delicious but I will admit that I halved the amount of pecans it calls for in the crust.  I personally don't like the taste of pecans to overpower the fish and a little pecan goes a long way.  But that all depends on personal taste.  My rule of thumb is to always follow the recipe the first time and then tweak to taste until you get it just right for your taste buds.
I then roasted some asparagus - preheat the oven to 375 degrees; sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast for 20 minutes or until done.
Lastly, I fried up some hush puppies.  The hubs didn't think that was enough food so he whipped up some Pasta Roni noodles from the pantry and dinner was done!
TSS's Hush Puppies
2 cups white cornmeal
3 tablespoons flour (all purpose)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 egg white
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon bacon drippings (or vegetable oil if you are serving vegetarians)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced onion
Vegetable oil for frying
Combine first 5 ingredients and mix well.  Beat egg and egg white, then stir in buttermilk and bacon drippings.  Add to cornmeal mixture; add onion, and stir until blended.  Heat oil to 375 degrees.  Drop the batter by the spoonful into the oil for 2 minutes on one side and flip for another minute on the other side (or until golden brown).  Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.
Happy Sunday Supper!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Church Supper

Wednesday is one of my favorite days of the week.  During the school year, we attend Church on Wednesday night.  Dinner is served in the fellowship hall at 5pm and then Bible study starts at 6pm.  The children's activities start at 6 pm too and for the last two years, Harrison has been part of the Mission and Friends group.  From 6-6:30pm they meet in a small group to sing hymns.  Then from 6:30 - 7:00pm they go into another room where they learn about missions and do a related arts and crafts project.  Harrison loves it and is always sad to miss a week (which makes this Mama very proud.)  During this time, I usually sit in the adult Bible study; but this year I have been asked to help with the pre-school Mission and Friends.  I am so excited!!!

Well, now that school is back in session, it is time to gear up for a new year of Missions and Friends.  Our Minister of Children's Education is fabulous and he throws an amazing kick-off party every year that the kids go crazy for.  So the other day we scooted down the street for our pizza party kick-off complete with water slides.

What goes up...
...must come down.
The wee one couldn't figure out the concept of slip and slide.
But he had no problem figuring out how to finish off the pizza.
Happy Labor Day Weekend, y'all!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

My How Times Have Changed.............

9 years ago today I was sunning myself as a newlywed in St. Thomas, USVI.  Today, I find myself sitting in a courtroom as Juror number 8 in a case that is slated to last a week and a half.  All of this on the week that my eldest son starts half-day school, my husband is out of town and my mother-in-law is also out of town.  Thank goodness for wonderful neighbors who have saved my hide this week by caring for H during the afternoon.  To say that I have been a stress case would be like saying the Titanic had a small leak.

While all of this is stressful and inconvenient, it pales in comparison to what the poor man in my trial has had to go through.  And it has also helped reinforce in my mind an internal conflict I've been having regarding, "time well spent."  SO I am trying to keep an open mind and a servant's heart in my service.  I'm failing; but I am trying. 

There is a silver lining on the horizon; which is my weekend.  My sweet husband comes home tomorrow, we'll celebrate our anniversary and spend some quality time with the family we've created.  Before he left to go out of town, he woke me up to do what he does every day - make me feel special and lucky to be his wife.  But I'm not going to lie - the breakfast was a nice treat!!!

Who doesn't love waking up to breakfast in bed???
Another yummy southern cookbook to test. I think he likes my hobby.
Our wedding day
Take time to tell people you love them.  In the words of Ferris Bueller, "Life is fast, if you don't stop to look around once in awhile, you could miss it." 
Live, laugh, love.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

1st Day of TK

Well the long anticipated first day of Transitional Kindergarten arrived and my little pupil LOVES his new school.  He adores his teacher, is happy to make new friends and is VERY excited about his new class pet, Swimmie - the turtle.

A fun filled first day for him but Mommy has been sat for jury duty - so all my excitement for this week has gone out the window.

All smiles for the first day of school
Posing with little brother
Ready to go in!
First homework assignment
Happy First Day of School, Y'all!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Breakfast of Champions

Friday was H's last day at his Montessori school.  I had a ball pulling out all the stops to make him feel like the super star that he is.


The day started with a "Breakfast for Champions."  I laminated a cute piece scrapbooking paper with a school theme to use as a placemat.  I then made H a "Wall of Fame"  list of accomplishments for us to review during breakfast.  I purchased him his very own, Oh! The Places You Will Go book and documented the accomplishments listed on his "wall of fame."  I plan to update it ever year so that as he grows, he can look back at what he did each year.  Of course, the printables were lifted from Dixie Delights (I'm so glad she has super cute ideas that she is willing to share!!!)

I think this smile says I accomplished my goal of making him feel like a champ. 

Not wanting to leave little brother out, I made sure to fuss over him too.  He still attends the year-round Montessori School and he moved up to the Older Toddler class a month ago - but we gave him a good fussing over too.  He was more interested in the French Toast and a little less interested in Mommy shoving the camera in his face.

Finally, I couldn't let H leave our sweet Montessori school without the teacher's knowing how much we appreciate them.  I carved a watermelon to look like a monster that served as  a fruit bowl.  It had a sign that read, "Thank You For Taking Care Of My Monster."  I also gave them a copy of the "Hall of Fame" accomplishments that I made for H.
Now, let the fun of dropping off kids at two different schools begin!


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Not Your Mama's Tuna Cassie

Sunday supper is something my husband looks forward to all week.  After all, the way to a man's heart really is through the stomach!  The inquisitions about what will be served for Sunday supper usually start while getting ready for work on Monday morning.  They persist during the week until I make the big reveal on Saturday morning.  I like to keep him in suspense.

And just in case I haven't raved enough about this cookbook, there really is no place further one needs to look than Rebecca Lang's Around the Southern Table cookbook to get ideas for what to cook for your Sunday supper.

Unfortunately, we won't be cooking out of it this weekend because the hubs is traveling this week.  I like to cook up a big casserole for Sunday suppers when I know he will be away during the week.  That way I can enjoy it with him on Sunday and come back for more while he is away.  Since the 2 and 5 year old are still pretty particular about what they will eat - this is a perfect way for me to have a few nights off from cooking.

This week's Sunday Supper is the classic Tuna Casserole.  However, this version packs waaaay more flavor than what I remember from childhood (no offense, Mama).  And the kids even like it!  Serve it with a garden salad and some garlic bread and you are ready for the table.

Not Your Mama's Tuna Cassie
(1) 8 ounce can of tuna, drained
8 ounces of elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter (I use unsalted)
half a small yellow onion - finely chopped
1 green pepper - finely chopped
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup milk
1/2 cup frozen peas - thawed
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
buttered soft bread crumbs
Cook macaroni according to package directions - drain and rinse
Melt butter in a large saucepan; add onions and bell pepper and sauté over low heat for 3-4 minutes, until tender.  Add flour, salt & pepper; cook, stirring, until smooth and bubbly.  Add milk and mushroom soup and stir over low heat until smooth and thickened.  Add macaroni,  tuna, peas and half of the cheddar cheese - stir to mix.  Pour the mixture into a 2 quart buttered casserole dish; top with remaining cheese then buttered bread crumbs (I use about a cup).  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minute, or until nicely browned.
Serves 4-6
Recipe courtesy of Diana Rattray post on

Gather 'round the table, y'all!  


Friday, August 23, 2013

In Love With TK!

Ever since I posted that we have enrolled H in TK, many of my non-Hickory friends have been asking me, "what is TK?"  First of - SQUEAL!!! - I'm happy to find out some friends are following :)

Secondly, according to Wikipedia, Transitional kindergarten, " is a school grade that serves as a bridge between preschool and kindergarten, functioning to provide students with time to develop fundamental skills needed for success in school in an age- and developmentally-appropriate setting."
Basically - it was designed for children with late spring and summer birthdays to give them an opportunity to mature socially before moving on to Kindergarten.

Well, we had our open house yesterday and I know we made the right decision.  The school is precious but the teacher is fabulous.  She created the program herself and this will be her 17th year teaching TK.  I love her.  Seriously.  I want to go to TK!!!  I am so excited for my little man. 

And we totally knocked her socks off with this super cute teacher's gift that I lifted from my blogging inspiration, Dixie Delights.  She has some adorable free printables for back to school so go check her out before Monday. 

Happy last weekend of summer, y'all!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

My House Is Shrinking!

When the hubby and I bought our adorable Cape Cod style cottage that was built in 1949 we thought we had purchased the Biltmore.  Having lived in DC for 7 years we were thrilled with a front yard featuring a circular drive that has a pine island hidden behind a rhododendron bush, a front porch perfect for rocking chairs and a porch swing, the adorable bricked in courtyard covered in ivy, a downstairs master bedroom, and a fairly decent sized guestroom upstairs.  The upstairs also has a charming seating area and small office.  Xanadu!  But that was in 2007 when the family consisted of me, the hubs, and Winston - our beloved Scottish Terrier.

This is the picture I took after we first toured the house.

Fast forward to present day 2013.  Sadly the dog has died but two little people have arrived.  Suddenly, the Biltmore turned into Papa Smurf's house.  When you walk in our home, there is one big room that is our living and dining room (and now the kids playroom).  The kitchen is in the back with a hideous laundry room attached.  To the right of the front door is the stairs going up and then the door to our bedroom.  Our master bath connects to the kitchen and is also our guest bathroom during parties. 

Once upstairs, you have a sitting area in front of you, the guest room was to the left and the hubs office was to the right.  With the birth of Thing 1, the hubs office turned into a nursery.  With the birth of Thing 2, the nursery turned into a "Big Boy" room and half of the guest room turned into a nursery.  Now that Thing 2 is in a toddler bed we have transformed our guest room into the children's room and the hubs has regained his office.  (Poor thing works from home and his desk has been smushed into the corner of our bedroom.)  So this means that when we have guests, they are left to sleep on a blow up bed in the office.  Nothing says, "we're so glad you are here" like making guests sleep on the floor.  This was okay in our twenties but not now that we are flirting with 40.

And don't even get me started on the upstairs bathroom.  It was without a doubt the inspiration for the term, "water closet."  You can sit on the toilet and brush your teeth at the same time without stretching to rinse in the sink.  Then you practically have to walk sideways to get into the shower.

The obvious solution to this problem is to call a Realtor and put the house on the market. Well, that would be easy if the market wasn't in the tank.  I want to build my dream home but we are a few years away from making a decision.  SO - I am going to use this time to go through and do some much needed sprucing up in an effort to get the house market ready. 

My first project is finalizing the boy's room.  I can't wait to show it off to you!!!  It is practically done but I have a few more tweaks and then it will be ready for the big reveal.

In the meantime, I really do love my house.  It so sweet and charming and will be hard to leave behind.  I am going to enjoy sprucing it up for a new family.  Here is my sweet family in front of the house posing for our 2012 Christmas card.

Let the remodeling begin!!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


I realized last night after a month of blogging that I had not shared with you the inspiration for my blog.  One of my first blogs was about how I came up with the name for my blog, (you can read it here:, but I had not shared with you the actual item. 

I went to work in Washington, DC after college and my mother went nuts decorating my apartment.  She purchased me this mini sideboard that lasted me 13 years.  I still love it and have since moved it into my kitchen.

You can't see my plaque very well but I display my love for the South in my kitchen as well.
The South
The place where:  tea is sweet and accents are sweeter, summer starts in April, Macaroni & Cheese is a vegetable, Front porches are wide and words are long, Pecan pie is a staple, Y'all is the only proper noun, Chicken is fried and biscuits come with gravy, Everything is darlin' and someone's heart is always being blessed.
My parents bought the hubby and I this new sideboard as a gift when we purchased our house as a "welcome back south" gift.  However, Mom "borrowed" it for 6 years.  I was pleased to finally get it last October when we cleaned out my childhood home - though I'd give just about anything for it to still be back in Georgia.
I can't leave y'all for the day without showing off what was served from the sideboard last night.  Pesto salmon with parmesan cheese served on parmesan stone ground grits with steamed veggies.  The kiddos ate earlier at their table and enjoyed fish sticks with lima beans. 

Check back Sunday as I share my weekly menu planning ideas, shopping lists and pantry needs.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Harrison's Corner

I really need to remember that I created this blog for entertaining and recipe ideas because, alas, another night of a yummy dinner has passed without a photo!  A quick recap is that the sideboard featured a quick & easy chicken and biscuit recipe with a fresh garden salad.  It isn't my yummy in the tummy, go-to weekend recipe; but it works wonders on a Monday night after a long day at work.  While the hubby was happy, Thing 1 and Thing 2 hated it - no gravy for them.  Evidently, I am raising someone else's children because not eating gravy in the South is akin to communism.  But I digress..........

What clearly has me preoccupied is my big boys transition to TK next Monday.  My obsession has grown to whatever level is after ridiculous.  You would think I was packing him for college!  However, what I am starting to realize is that my boys are growing way to fast and I have lost some precious time with them.  They have both been in full day (8-5 - Monday through Friday) daycare since they were 2 months old since I work.  Hubby and I are discussing cutting my hours to half day so I can be home with the boys when they are home from school.  He is totally in my corner and I could stay home full time now if I wanted.  So I am having this internal push/pull conflict of the realization that my priorities are WAY out of whack.  And for those that know me personally (um - perhaps the 2 people reading this blog - haha) you know that has not been a pleasant realization.

Since I am a strong believer in not making life altering decisions when you are twitterpated and unclear of the path that lies ahead of you, I continue to pray and ask for guidance from the only One who can give it to me - and press on.  H will now get out of school at 12:45pm.  Monday is hubby's admin day (he works out of the house) so H will go home on Monday's.  However, Tuesday - Thursday he will come to the office with me.  I don't work on Friday so that will continue to be our Mommy and Me day when I pick him up. 

I have created a fun work station for him (Harrison's Corner - seen above) and divided out activities for the time that he will be with me.  I'm not going to lie - I am totally jealous and want HIS work station!!!  Check it out....

Harrison's Work Station
Letter tracing, National Geographic for Kids, Reading folder, Math Folder, Coloring Folder, Bob starter reading books and his Leap Frog
Puzzles, Find the Letter game and his "I Can Tell Time" learning clock
It is a good thing that the majority of my meetings are in the morning...........

Monday, August 19, 2013

Last Days of Summer

Today marks H's last week of Montessori School.  I have been trying to make this transition fun and exciting for him.  So on Friday, I dropped him off at school, ran home to quickly clean the house and do the laundry and then was back to pick him up for a fun Mommy & Me day.

Our first stop was to the movie theatre for H's very first movie experience.  He had a ball eating his popcorn and watching the movie on, well - in his words, "the biggest screen E-Vah".  My little man is a Rhett Butler in training with his southern accent.

We then scooted over to Target so he could pick out his own lunch box for school and some other fun school supplies.  Our loot consisted of an Angry Birds lunchbox, a Ninja Turtles water bottle, some fun folders, crayons and a sandwich caddy in his favorite color - red.
He ended the day by having dinner with his brother in the game room at Lake Hickory Country Club.  Twice a month, LHCC offers a  2 for $55 night in which they offer a pre-set menu with three selections.  For $55 you can get a glass of wine, an appetizer, dinner and dessert for two people PLUS free childcare.  You can't beat it!  Plus, you get a free bottle of wine during your birthday or anniversary month.  So since hubby and I celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary next week, we had a fun date night while the boys got to play in the game room and nosh on chicken tenders, french fries and fruit.
I was hoping to get some pool time in on Saturday but it was not only overcast, it was barely 70 degrees.  My sweet MIL came over and took the boys to the park to run around and then out to lunch.  So hubby and I checked out a new spot for lunch ourselves.  Two dates in less than 24 hours - I didn't know what to do with myself!!!!
The rest of the weekend was lazy by the house.  I ended it by making the hubby a yummy New York Strip steak with blue cheese butter, green beans with almonds and duchess potatoes.  And would you believe it - I didn't take a picture!!! Trust me when I say it was yummy in the tummy.
Harrison is having fun with this "School Starts In".........countdown - we are 8 days out!

Have a happy and blessed week, y'all!




Friday, August 16, 2013

Camp Harrison

In late June we celebrated my sweet Harrison's 5th birthday.  5 already - how in the world did that happen???  Well, there is nothing like a birthday party to through Mommy into full party-planning mode.  And boy oh boy did I have fun with this one!

First off - I have to give all credit to Pinterest.  I had in my mind what I wanted but had no idea how to pull it off.  I am not a crafty mama - more the, "this is what I want, where can I buy it" this DIY world is proving challenging.  After a few hours spent on Pinterest, the party was planned thanks to so many other creative Mommy's who had "been there, done that".  Here are the results:

A super cute invite....

adorable printables.......

(How in the world did I forget to take a picture of the sideboard with all the food???)
Rookie Mistake
Another - "this looked cuter on pinterest" attempt at baking.  Here are the fishing cupcakes.
which melted in the heat.......

We assembled an obstacle course
and a fishing hole............

but in the end, the kiddos just ran around the yard while the adults chatted on the porch.
And since no campout is complete without 'Smores, each camper got to take one home

And after our family birthday dinner, we enjoyed a campfire cake
a Hungry-Hungry-Hippo challenge (the birthday boy won)
and what southern, summer night would be complete without a fire fly hunt????
Happy Birthday, sweet boy!  You are my sunshine!!!