Wednesday, October 30, 2013


There is so much Halloween fun going on in our house that the wee ones are going to be flat pooped out for tomorrow night!  Hopefully, this will help ease the disappointment of the annual visit from the Halloween Grinch (otherwise known as "Mean Mommy" who rations the candy and then donates the remainder to our Sunday School class).  Here's a quick re-cap of all our fun:

1.  We took the kids for Krispy Screams on Saturday.  They had a ball watching the  donuts come off the line.

2.  Thing 1 and Thing 2 enjoyed our Church's Fall Festival.  This idea replaced our normal Trunk or Treat and while they were sad not to wear costumes, they got over it pretty quick when they saw the fun 40 foot choo-choo.  Unfortunately, the didn't get to ride the choo-choo.  After being the first in line and waiting for 15 minutes, they were not allowed on because they didn't have a ticket.  My sweet hubby didn't know they were supposed to go by a booth (neither did I) to get tickets (free - mind you) because they came straight to my booth where I was volunteering. They were so upset but the adorable sweethearts made their own train the next day at home.  I promise I am not going to get upset about that episode.  I am not going to get upset. I am not going to get upset that my children got kicked off  a train at a free church event. I really am not.........if I say it enough times hopefully, it will become true. 

Yes, I tried to crop the photo. To do so would result in chopping off one head or the other......and it is SUCH a cute photo of the wee ones.  Go ahead, giggle.  Uber Photo Bomb!
Need a (FREE) ticket to ride train
They made their own train - my heart melted when I saw this. 
Notice how Mr. Bear and Mickey got to ride too.

3. Said Church outing left my littlest wee one with the croup.  Thankfully, he is on the mend.  So sad to see him sick but I do love the extra cuddles. 

4. H had his final tennis lesson on Monday.  They were allowed to wear their Halloween costumes but, since he is Darth Vader this year, I was afraid he wouldn't see out of his mask.  So we opted for this funny face that he brought home from his teacher - perfect timing Mrs. O!!

5.  We had a ball last night at the annual Halloween Spooktacular Festival.  I was sad Daddy and S couldn't come but H had a ball with all his classmates and friends.

Who knew Darth Vader was a cutie????
I do have a few last minute ideas to share.......that are totally stolen.  If you happen to find yourself entertaining adults tomorrow night, Ron at the Uptown Acorn has collected some adorable cocktails. Check them out here.

And, you need to hop over to Dixie Delights to see this fun idea of "Booing" your kids and/or neighbors.  How fun!!!

Here's hoping you have a Happy Halloween!


Monday, October 28, 2013

Advent Calendar Upgrade

Since I jumped ahead to Christmas in September with this post, I figure I could justify another Christmas post.  After all, Christmas decorations are starting to pop up (ridiculous).  But I know I am not the only Mama thinking about Christmas and I just had to share this sweet idea with y'all!

I pinned this on my Pinterest Christmas board a few weeks ago and am totally in love with the idea.  And since it will take some time to acquire the ornaments and accompanying scripture versus, I wanted to go ahead and get started.  As you see in the picture, you get 25 bags and fill them with a scripture verse and ornament about the birth of Jesus.  What a wonderfully, sweet idea to keep the wee ones focused on the true meaning of Christmas.  I can't wait to share this with Thing 1 and Thing 2.  I hope you will enjoy this tradition with your family too!


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Supper - Pumpkin Stew

Recipe photo

We have our Church's Fall Festival this afternoon so we enjoyed our Sunday Supper on Saturday this week.  I don't know about you but I LOVE making a big pot of homemade soup or stew when the temperature falls. It offers a hearty meal and then provides leftovers for me to nibble off for lunch throughout the week.  And since we woke up to a 27 degree morning yesterday, this stew was the perfect choice.

One of my college besties posted a picture of her pumpkin stew on Facebook a few weeks ago and I have been dying to try this idea out ever since.  This is the recipe I used and while it took four hours to cook, it was certainly worth the wait.  The only comment I would say is that we did find it a bit salty.  Since it calls for two beef bouillon cubes, I will probably just season the meat prior to browning and leave the two teaspoons of salt out next time.  But to each their own.  As a rule, I always follow the recipes to the letter the first time and then alter to taste until I have it just how I want it.

I will also say that if you don't like pumpkin (which come to find out, the hubby doesn't - whoops) don't let this recipe deter you.  It really just tastes like a beef stew.  You can scoop out some pumpkin, if you wish, as you serve the stew; but you certainly don't have to.  Another thing that shouldn't deter you is the time it took to make.  After you chop all the veggies, all you have to do is brown the meat, pour the veggies in and simmer for 2 hours.  Then you transfer the stew into the pumpkin and bake for another 2 hours.  Super simple and the house smelled amazing.

Simmering the stew

The final product

And even though I have an adorable pumpkin soup tureen, I just love the idea of serving the stew in a REAL, cooked pumpkin!  This will definitely be recycled for a Thanksgiving Eve meal.



Friday, October 25, 2013

Spooktacular Surprise #4

My goodness!  How has a month of "Spooktacular Surprises" passed us by? I've already decided how I will transition into Thanksgiving because I have really had a ball this month.  I was never big into Halloween so this is new for me.  I guess I just love making a big fuss over my boys.  That said, I'm trying to do it in a fun way and not a, "you are going to be so, so, so spoiled by the time I'm done with you" sortof way.  Hopefully, I am succeeding.  At any rate, I'm really excited about today's treat. It isn't all that exciting but, if I may toot my own horn, just looks so darn cute!!! 

Bugs and Kisses
Thanks to Pinterest, I got this adorable idea and free printable here
I picked up these adorable Halloween cups at the grocery store for $1 - how fun!
Ghost Milk- couldn't resist the ghost peeps in chocolate milk.
Fun Halloween balloon that H has gone nuts over all month at the grocery store. 
Even the hubby gets a fun treat when he gets in from fly fishing.
I also wanted to share this fun snack idea. It looks adorable on the sideboard.....
.....and taste better than it looks.
Well, the house is a wreck so I am off to do laundry and clean.  Please try your hardest not to be jealous.  Spooktacular Surprises may be over but I have Halloween's Spooktacular Supper to pull off and then this Halloween will be in the books.  *Sigh* life is going by too fast!
Have a frightenly, fantastic Friday!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Blast From The Past - The Worst Witch

We've been having fun getting ready for Halloween. I can't believe it is a week away! I picked up "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" and "Bernstein Bears Halloween" DVDs at Target a few weeks ago. The boys have also been enjoying Toy Story of Terror, Mickey Mouse Treats, Mickey Mouse Wizard of Dizz, Jake and the Neverland Pirates Golden Pumpkin and Tricks or Treasure and Bedknobs and Broomsticks - all DVR'd over the past few weeks.  And while I promise my children haven't been parked in front of the TV, it is fun to have a Halloween special on as we wind down for the day.

All these fun Halloween specials reminded me of one of my favorite movies as a little girl.  The Worst Witch - I thought it was such an adorable movie and pretended I was enrolled at the witch's academy.  Silliness - I know - but I loved it.  I looked the movie up on Google yesterday and was thrilled to see you could download it for free from Youtube.  Well, I was working on a mindless mailer at work, which totally justified my watching it.  HA!  I love my boys but sometimes I wonder if I could just rent a daughter for the day to enjoy some fun, frilly movies and outings.  Anyhoo - it was a fun stroll down memory lane.  What are some of your favorite Halloween movies?

Have a great day!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Treasurers from Home

This past weekend I visited my mother in Georgia and I was dreading the trip.  You see, my father died unexpectedly in March of 2011 and it still kicks me in the gut.  I hated going home for visits after his death because the house just wasn't our home without him. 

Last October, Mother moved into an apartment.  In between all the emotions of the past few years, my Mother has lost her vision and is legally blind. The house was becoming too much of a stress to keep up with as she has fallen twice.  And so it was time to bid farewell to what I lovingly refer to as "3058"......otherwise known simply as, home. 

We found her an apartment in Sandy Springs and she has plenty of folks who check in on her.  As a result, I basically spent the latter part of last summer and fall making weekend trips to Atlanta to help clean out the house.  I brought back several treasurers but had a few surprises waiting for me upon my arrival this time.

My Grandmother's Cookbook
This cookbook is where my father learned to appreciate the art of cooking.  And as you'll read here, where I ultimately got my passion for cooking as well.  I will treasure this gift always.
Notice how the spine is taped together (as was her Bible, which sadly, I did not inherit).
The yellowing pages contains notes on the tricks of soufflĂ©s.  THAT will definitely come in handy!!!
Mother's chafing dish.  It is in need of some polishing TLC but will be in working order just in time for Thanksgiving.
Part of my Barbie collection.  A perfect example of why I have the sweetest brother on the planet.  I loved Barbies.  LOVED Barbies.  As I grew older, I collected them.  While I got rid of most of them during the estate sale (I have no daughters to pass them on to and my brother didn't want them for his daughter - so really, why keep them)?  Out the door they went.  Except for these two.  I adore Audrey Hepburn and "My Fair Lady" is one of my favorite films.  I acquired these two Barbies at FAO Schwartz in New York City.  While I swore I did not want them, my brother knew better and saved them for me after I left. Thank you, thank you, sweet brother.  I love you!!!
Eliza Doolittle ready for Ascot
Eliza Dootlittle ready for the ball.
and finally, a fun find I found shopping with Mom.  Pretty spot on, huh?
I am falling in love with my hometown again.  It no longer feels like home but it is where I am rooted.  Mother, brother and I are moving on - and Daddy lives on in my heart, my memories and the treasures left behind.  I'm thrilled to have these small reminders of my childhood.
I'll leave you with a pic of "3058" decked out for Christmas.  It reminds me of the reason I picked Ray Charles, "Georgia" as my father/daughter dance............."other arms reach out to me, other eyes smile tenderly, still in peaceful dreams I see, the road leads back to you.........Georgia, Georgia, the whole day through, just an old sweet song, keeps Georgia on my mind".
Love you, Daddy.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Woo wee - life is hectic these days.  Too many thoughts to process and the hubby is out of town on business, so I am all over the place. So here are a few thoughts for Tuesday:

1.  I am baffled that Vandy beat UGA last weekend.  My beloved Georgia Bulldogs have lost two weekends in a row.  I can accept the loss to Missouri - but not Vandy.  Injuries or no injuries - baffling.  I love Vandy and have tons of friends who went there - but you just don't lose to them.

2.  Am completely jealous of all my friends in Atlanta that posted pictures of Ina Garten's (Barefoot Contessa) recent trip to town.  A few bloggers I follow posted about it too so I know it was a great event, which reminds me that I still have some recipes of hers to test.  Has anyone tested her lamb shanks with orzo - looks devine!

3.  Am overwhelmed at how much my hometown (Marietta, GA) has grown!  I was in town over the weekend visiting my mother and couldn't get over the traffic.  We moved her out of my childhood home a year ago into an apartment in Sandy Springs.  The house was too much upkeep after Daddy died and she didn't need all the space.  Of course, you know I did drive a drive by the old house and I couldn't get over how much the area has changed. I am sure it has been like this and I just didn't notice before but WOW!

4.  Said drive by through Marietta had me realize how much I am living without!!!  I love my sleepy southern town nestled in the foothills of the Western NC mountains but...........Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Williams Sonoma - ahhhh.....oh! how I have missed you!  I stocked up good!

5.  I can't believe H's soccer season is over.  His last tennis lesson is next Monday.  Seriously - where did fall go?

6.  I almost became a stalker Saturday.  Mother and I were meeting a friend for lunch at the country club where I got married and I drove by the house of my favorite blogger (on accident).  To see the house in person was even more amazing than the pictures.  I slammed the brakes so hard I almost sent my mother flying through the windshield.  I fought the urge to run to the front door and beg her to be my BFF - no need to turn into Single White Female (you remember the creepy movie from the late 80s/early 90s). But really - so.stinkin'.cute.  I really should pay this girl a royalty for all her ideas I copy. I don't think she follows my blog so hopefully, I didn't just freak her out.  If so, I promise I am sane.

7.  Did I mention that I can't believe Vandy beat UGA?  Really people...........

Well, I have a Fall Festival, Bible Study, Halloween Spooktacular and Sunday Supper to plan - oh, and my pesky job to get back to.  Have a great day!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Spooktacular Surprise #3

Frankenstein Fro-Yo
Today's "Spooktacular Surprise" is our Frankenstein Fro Yo - and while it really is just vanilla pudding, I couldn't come up with a cute name to match pudding.  So here ya go.  I saw this idea on Pinterest last year and thought this would make a great treat for the wee ones.  It is plain vanilla pudding with green food coloring and a crumbled Oreo's topping.  Of course I was thrilled to find the adorable drink glasses at our grocery store on the $1 counter.
You can read up on the other Spooktacular surprises here and here.
The weekend is finally here so, as always, have a frightfully, fantastic Friday!!!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Manners - Southern Style

While I am not as twitterpated as I was yesterday, I'm still in a bit of a funk.  I have a work event tonight that got thrown in my lap last minute (which I should have expected) and a weekend trip to Atlanta that has me down in the dumps.  I expect to be back to my perky self come Sunday afternoon.  Until then - blah, blah, blah............

I am very happy to report that H did not bring up the incident that happened on the way to his school yesterday.  So I didn't say a peep and went about my business.  But it still is with me and reminded me of three hilarious southern books on how we "do manners".

Year's ago, my father called me at work and I could not stop laughing.  I had just read a book review for The Official Southern Ladies Guide To Planning The Perfect Funeral:  Being Dead Is No Excuse.  Y'all, I was snorting with laughter.  I read some experts to Daddy and then we went about our conversation.  A few days later, I came home to a package.  Yep - Daddy sent me the book.  I had tears in my eyes as I read it.  It also had some pretty darn good recipes in it to.  It became a joke between the two of us and we would always read excerpts from the book when he'd come to visit. 

Fast forward a few years later and my parents were visiting after the birth of H.  We had gone up to Blowing Rock for the day and mother and I had stopped into an adorable silver shop.  All of a sudden, I hear my father laughing so hard, the silver was rattling off the shelves.  The shop lady was with him and they were both doubled over with laughter.  They were holding a book in their hands so Mother and I went over to inspect this curious scene.  Wouldn't you know it, they were holding the sequel to the funeral planning book.  It was called The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Planning The Perfect Wedding:  Somebody's Gonna Die If Lilly Beth Doesn't Catch That Bouquet.  Daddy bought it lickity split and we almost drove off the mountain laughing as we read it on the drive home.

During my first trip to Atlanta after S was born, I was having lunch with Mother at the Swan Coach House.  After lunch, we strolled through the gift shop and BOOM - there was a third book.  The Official Southern Ladies Guide To Being The Perfect Mother:  Some Day You'll Thank Me For This.
Well, you know I bought it.

I'm rambling but really - you need to get the books and read them. It doesn't matter what part of the country you come from - they are a good, fun read; and a sweet reminder of how we should act. I love the hilarity of southern manners - that we can poke fun of ourselves but know when it is time to straighten up.  We will bless you heart to the moon and back, give you an insult so sticky sweet you thought it was a compliment and be the first to your door with a casserole during any crisis.  So to the man in the car yesterday - well, bless your heart...........


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What Happened To Civility?

I hope everyone is having a good week.  I am having a no good, pouty, pity party, miserable, the-weekend-can't-get-here-fast-enough kind of week.  It is not like me to have a "whatever" attitude but I have just had a horrible case of feeling like no matter what I do or how hard I try NOTHING matters.  AUGH!  It is a horrible feeling made worse by the fact that I know I need to go to Church tonight to help teach my adorable pre-school missions friends class.  HELLO, FAKE!!!  What I really want to do is tell everyone to kiss my grits and sit in a dark room until this cloud passes by (oh, please pass by).

Have you ever felt like this?  If so, you know it's the pits.  And it seems that every little thing people do makes me more irritated.  So, I had planned to take time off from blogging.  I have nothing to say so why post just for the sake of posting?  BUT THEN THIS HAPPENED!!!!  Y'all aren't going to believe my morning.

So I dropped S off at his school and was making my way to H's school.  All of a sudden, I see an ambulance coming towards us (granted it was a four lane road - two lanes in each direction) but I still pulled over to the side (plenty of room for other cars to pass me should they wish).  Well, Mr. "My Time Is More Valuable Than Everyone Else" behind me didn't like that I had pulled over.  He slammed on his horn, rolled down his window, passed me, flipped me the bird and yelled out, "YOU B****!"..........Stunned, I pull my car back out to the road and make my way to H's school.  Innocently, from the back seat, I hear, "Mommy, what's a B****?"  REALLY?  Did that really just happen?  I'm fuming!  How do I answer?  All I could say was, "honey, it is a really bad word and that man made a really bad choice - I am sorry you had to see that happen but we don't act like that or use that language".  It was the best my baffled brain could come up with at the moment.

As I settled into my office, I quickly glanced through my Blog log to read up on some of my favorite blog posts.  And what do you know- I saw this gem from Rebecca Lang.  Y'all remember her as the cookbook author I've been raving about for months.  I was stunned that her post mirrored my morning. She nailed my thoughts right on the head. But it got me to thinking?  What HAS happened to civility?  Why are we always in such a hurry?  Why did that man NOT want to pull over behind me in respect for the oncoming ambulance?  Why then did he feel the need to react the way he did?  Did he see my child?  Is he feeling like a horses patooty?  Why are his actions making me want to scream an hour later?  Why, why, why?

So here is my wish for today.  I wish everyone (including me) will just chill out.  Take a deep breath, go for a walk at some point today and just be happy to be alive.  I pray that whoever the ambulance was going to get is okay.  I pray that man in the car feels remorse for his actions and does a random good deed for someone today to make up for it and; I pray that I forgive him.  I pray that my son learns something positive from the incident.  I just pray..........

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sunday Supper

As a result of the apple orchard field trip I took Friday with the wee one, apples were the star of the show for last night's Sunday Supper.  We started off with apple fritters and then had apple pork chops with cornbread stuffing and asparagus.  I was more excited about the cornbread stuffing as I was trying out a new recipe for Thanksgiving.  Ding, ding, ding........we have a winner!!!  It was SO yummy. 

While the hubby loved the pork, I have to admit, I was not a fan.  The maple syrup made it a bit too sweet for my liking.  I think if I halved the syrup it would have been okay.......or maybe if I hadn't eaten so many of those darn fritters before dinner.  hmm....oh, well, 20 extra minutes on the elliptical machine this morning justified every bite. 

The pork chops came from The Pioneer Woman and I am dying to try the grits that she pairs with her pork chops. How divine do those look? In fairness to my thoughts on the dish, I didn't have apple cider vinegar and forgot to add the wine, which would have undoubtedly cut the sweetness from the syrup.  Again, I'll blame my lack of attention on those darn fritters.....

We ended the weekend by finally watching "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown".  The kids loved it but I have to ask, was it always this weird and depressing???  I also found myself telling the kids, "okay, this isn't how we treat our friends" and, "No, Harrison, you may not call your brother a blockhead".......funny how I filter things differently now that I am a Mommy.

Have a great week!

Below are my recipes for the apple fritters and the cornbread stuffing.  Try them both today!!!

Apple Fritters
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 large egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 apples, peeled and diced
vegetable oil
powdered sugar

Pulse first 5 ingredients in a food processor 5 times or until crumbly.  Spoon mixture into a large bowl.  Stir in diced apple.  Shape mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls.

Pour oil to a depth of 3 inches into a Dutch overn; heat to 350 degrees.  Fry fritters, in batches, 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.  Sprinkle fritters evenly with powdered sugar.  Yield:  22 fritters

Cornbread Stuffing
To start off, I should admit that I cheated and used the Jiffy cornbread mix.  I have yet to find a "to die for" cornbread recipe so until I do, Jiffy works just fine for me. 

2 packages of Jiffy cooked according to directions
1/4 cup butter
2 cups celery, finely chopped
3/4 cup bell pepper, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon sage (optional)
1 1/2 cups onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
5 cups crumbled cornbread
6 slices of whole wheat bread, crumbled
4 eggs slightly beaten
2 cups chicken broth

Melt butter in the pan and sauté celery, onion and bell pepper until tender.
Add parsley and seasonings.
Mix in crumbled cornbread and wheat bread (be sure to take the crusts off the wheat bread).
Add eggs and chicken broth; mix.  *Add more broth if consistency seems dry.
Place mixture in a 2 quart rectangular casserole dish and make at 350 for 45 minutes.
*You can also shape into individual dressing balls, which I plan to try next time around.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Apple Picking Field Trip

On Friday I had the pleasure of going with the wee one's class to a local apple orchard.  I was thrilled because it seems like our activities lately have been centered around his older brother.  Between starting TK, soccer and tennis, all focus has been on Harrison.  As such, I was excited to have a "Mommy and Me" day with my little man.  My goodness, he is growing up fast.

Such excitement on the tractor ride through the orchard

Sweet classmates

The best part, besides the apple cider slushie, was that we got a bag of apples to bring home.  Three guesses on what the main ingredient of tonight's Sunday Supper will be???

We ended the day with a movie night.  We had planned to watch "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" but opted for the classic "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" instead.  I love that the wee ones love movies I adored as a child.  Sigh..........they just don't make movies like the used to.