Friday, August 29, 2008

The Little Things in Life

If you can't see, the thing my daughter is holding inches, no centimeters from her face is a cicada shell. She was so excited to find it on outside the other day, and brought it in to give it a home. Even though the cicada's not really there - it's just his old dead shell.

When I was little I lived out in the middle of nowhere. Anyone ever heard of Grimesland, NC?Yeah, didn't think so. Unless you're already from that area, you wouldn't even know you were driving through it. But we loved it. We lived on a little bit of land that backed up to the Tar River. My days when I was River's age were not spent inside looking at DVDs or computer screens. They were spent digging in the mud, romping with dogs, riding horses, chasing my cats, and loving every minute of the outdoors. So, it's neat to see that even though we live in the middle of the city, far away from those country roads, she's not too far from where I was then. Collecting cicadas and digging in the dirt.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Secrets of a Sassy Mama

Ok, girls, I know you've been waiting and wondering what this week's tip would be....on the edge of your office chair, I'm sure. ;)

I can't get enough of tunics. I know, I know, kind of trendy. Kind of frumpy sometimes...and didn't i just say last time to never wear frumpy clothes. but these.....oh these are not frumpy....they are sooo great!

You might be asking right about now, "What's a tunic?" And, this is by far no fashion designer's opinion or definition, but basically, it's a long top. It can be many different styles, lengths, and fabrics, but it's longer than your average stop-at-the-waist top. Usually, a tunic comes at least a few inches below your hip line, and they can be as long as a few inches above your knees.

Ok, let me tell you all the reasons why I love these long beauties.

1. You can wear them with anything - jeans, tights, leggins (some of you disapprove, i know - keep your comments to yourselves!) heehee.

2. You can wear any shoes with them - flip flops, heels, flats, wedges, pumps, etc. etc.

3. They are usually pretty A-line and/or empire waist - meaning.... they hang loose, but not too loose, so they flatter your figure - ok, so if you've had babies, you know that your middle just isn't the same. or at least mine isn't. so, the tunic is very kind to us!! it doesn't hug your middle, but it also doesn't look like a bag giving you lots of extra cloth and space where you don't need it. and not to mention that they are very flattering to your legs!

4. You can have one, and have several different looks with it. Example... you could wear it with jeans and flip flops and look cute and casual. Or, you could wear it with heels and leggins and look like you're ready for a fun time out on the town. Or you could wear it with jeans and wedges and look sophisticated and stylish. Or you could wear it with tights and rainboots and look superfun and adorable. Or you could wear it you really want me to go on? This might not be as fun for you as it is for me.

5. Most of them are pretty kid friendly. I realized a few years ago that being a mommy meant I needed clothes that were durable and EASY to care for. Most tunics are cotton (not all) and are easy to get clean. Also, they're not so nice that you feel scared to wear them around your kids. It doesn't matter if they get snot or marker on it, because it's not your silk shirt. But it's still a fun thing to wear around, and not feel like you're in the same outfit every day.

6. They're pretty cheap for all you get out of them. Places like Ross and Marshalls always have a lot of them, and so usually you can find them on the clearance racks. And they're not out of style.

7. They layer really well. Summer tunics will be on sale at most places, and even though they may be lighter material, or short sleeve, you can put a shirt under them, or a cute jacket over them, and still get the look - for less!

It's raining raining raining, and right about now, I'm wishing I had gotten those cute rainboots that were on SALE at Target last week!!! They sure would be cute with my tunic I'm gonna wear tomorrow! Oh, well, my flats will have to do.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rainy Day Food

It rained all day.   ALLL day!    So, we had lots of projects, and got out almost every toy, and watched a couple shows, and my personal favorite...made chocolate chip cookies!!!

I love making cookies on days like today.    It makes the stay inside days feel more cozy and warm.   So, since I spent time making cookies, I had to make my quick and easy Chicken and Stuffing recipe for dinner.   My sister told me about this recipe when I first had a new baby and didn't seem to have enough time in the day to get everything done.   It's always a winner on cold and rainy days, too.   (i know, it's not really cold, but it seems like it is, with all this rain)

Chicken and Stuffing

4-5 Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 pkg. Chicken (or Cornbread) stuffing
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/3 of the can of milk
salt and pepper
a little italian seasoning (just for kicks)

Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with no-stick spray.   S & P (and sprinkle italian herbs) the chicken on both sides.    Cook the stuffing according to package until you stir it in to the water, but don't let it sit.   As soon as all the water is soaked into the stuffing, spoon the stuffing onto the chicken.   Mix the soup and milk together, and pour over the chicken and stuffing.  Cover with foil, and bake at 375 for an hour.

*I make this dish a lot for new baby meals b/c it's really easy, and people always love it.    Also, it's a great one to double and make 1 and freeze 1 and save for.....well....a rainy day.   haha.

Cookies - N'estle Tolhoussse (do you remember this Friends episode, where they're trying to figure out Phobe's grandmother's famous recipe, for the best cookies ever!!)   yeah, that's my recipe.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Poor Store

Today River was playing a game with her piggy bank. This was her scenario...

"Mommy, I'm pretending I'm poor....Excuse me, is this the poor store?" (to me, because apparently I'm the woman who works at the "poor store")

I choke back a laugh at the "poor store" comment, and then answer...

"Umm, yes, may I help you?"

"Well, I need some money. I only have one money, so I need some more."

Of course, I played on, giving her milk carton lids to put in as "more money" into her bank. But, inside, I thought about how simple life really could be. To a child, the answer is simple. If you don't have enough money, you go somewhere, to some "store" where someone could give you what you need, to help you. Now, if our society would just cooperate with this child size version of how to care for one another, we'd be pretty well off.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Best Day Trip!

I know if you live around the Piedmont Area, you probably have heard of Homeland Creamery. They are family owned and operated dairy farm located in Julian, NC. We have been learning a lot about farm animals this month, and so I thought it would be a great field trip to take with them. It was sooo fun! And let me say, WHAT A DEAL!!! For $18 (under 2 are free - $6 a person) Randy, River, Asher, Madison, and I got to enjoy...

livestock menagerie of turkeys, sheep, chickens, cows, cats, and dogs.

getting to "milk" a simulated cow.

the joy of petting and feeding a week old calf.

a hay ride tour of the farm (sorry i don't have a picture of that - i had a baby on my lap)

the yummiest homemade vanilla ice cream i've ever had!

It was a really sweet time, and enabled the kids to see first hand what it's like on a farm! Plus, that ice cream really was excellent! If you're local, I'd definitely make this a family outing!

Got Milk?

Friday, August 22, 2008


A few weeks ago I had a porcelain doll left beside our door. I didn't know when it had been placed there, and I didn't know who delivered it. But she was beautiful; all 18 inches of her. With her long brown silky locks and bright eyes smiling. She was dressed in a full winter white fur coat, complete with muff and matching hat, and of course the white lace up boots. I knew she must be for my daughter, but I just wasn't sure from whom she came.

Later on, my neighbor asked if I had gotten the gift that his friend had left. I realized then, that it was from my friend, who has lived in the house beside me for the past 3 years. He went on to say that she had left, and had taken the 12 hour bus ride to Connecticut to spend "some time" with her boys. Now, if you're familiar at all with how transient inner city lifestyles can be, you would know, that basically it meant, "She's gone."

As he told me, all I thought was, "I didn't get to say goodbye."

She is a beautiful woman, described by most people with words like "addict", "dirty", "ignorant", "prostitute". My kids just see her as a warm welcoming lady who doesn't always look happy, and sometimes acts a little strange. I know she used to be a dancer. I know she's a mother and a grandmother. I know she lived in a house without lights for almost a year. I know she doesn't like who she sees when she looks in the mirror. I know that she aches for healing, but has no clue how to have it. I know that she's broken and wants to be whole.

One of the last times I saw her, she was hunched over clinging to her knees, sitting at the end of my walkway, where it meets the sidewalk. Crying in desperation. Her two grandsons were with her, even though the hour was late. I walked up and put my hand on her back and started to pray for her. I could feel her bones aching for relief. After we prayed for a few minutes, she sat up. And what she was clinging to was what looked like a church's pew copy of the Holy Bible. I just thought, "I have no idea how broken and desperate she is." And I have no idea how God can free her from this hell that she lives in. But I know that He hears her. I know that He aches for her to know deliverance and redemption.

This song asks, "Did he do it to himself? Or was it done to him?" And I wonder that about my friend. She definitely has made choices that have kept her where she is, I'm not excusing her for her own decisions. But when you're brought into the cycle at such a young age, and have no idea how you're going to survive, unless you sell yourself so that you can eat. Or have a roof over your head. Did she do it to herself, or was it done to her? It doesn't really matter either way. What matters is that she is loved by One who is greater than this world. Greater than any addiction. Greater than any situation. Now that she's gone, I just pray that somehow she would choose to cling to the Great One. And that she would somehow be made whole.

I hope I get to see her again one day. And I hope that she looks so different that I barely recognize her. Please join me in praying that this would be a new life for her. That she would be set free, and that her life would be redeemed from the depths of the mire. I hope that she comes to believe that He is able to do incomparably more than we ask or imagine, and that she sees how beautiful she truly is.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Secrets of a Sassy Mama: "Back to School" Shopping

I always get excited about clothes in the Fall. Growing up, my parents would let me go "back to school clothes shopping", and I couldn't wait to see how much I could get with my allowed budget. It was always so fun to see new styles, and to be able to pick out new items. Even then, I loved putting outfits together. It must have stuck, because at the end of every summer, I start wondering about all the new Fall styles. What will they be and will they be cute on me? So, for this week's tip, I figured I would give a few pieces of advice with your own "back to school" shopping.

1. Don't wear frumpy clothes to try to hide your "problem" areas. I don't care how big you are - baggy, frumpy clothes are not flattering. Never. They make you look bigger than you are, and don't highlight any of your features. They just hide you...and if I can be so bold....they make you want to hide. Remember that YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that you can be confident about who you are. You don't have to be a size 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 - whatever that "perfect" size for you would be - to be cute. You are! So don't HIDE! (Now, I'm the first to put on a sweatshirt at home and snuggle up, so don't take this out of context! I'm talking about when you're wanting to look cute!)

2. Don't get clothes that are too tight, just to fit into a size __ (you fill in the blank)! Just get what fits the best. Not clothes that squeeze you so much that your belly makes a "muffin top" (as my sis likes to say) or that your button down is almost popping the buttons off! Get things that will hold you in, but not that say, "I'm still trying to fit into those jeans I wore when I was 20." Just go get a pair that look great on you now! Our bodies change, and they're supposed to!

3. Keep your basics. You can have your regular jeans, if you don't like the skinny ones, you don't have to wear them! You can have your favorite sweaters and shirts that you look forward to wearing every Fall. It's ok to keep your style the same. But, what makes your wardrobe a little more fun are the little pops you put with it. Maybe it's a pair of cute flats from Target (which by the way are on sale right now). Or some big earrings to dangle. Or maybe some "I've got great boots" boots to wear with a skirt - just make sure you can walk in them. Try to challenge yourself with finding a little flare to add into your day. Just a little. It's really fun...just wait and see!

4. My stepmom always used to say to me, "If you haven't worn it in a year, get rid of it." Now I realize, sometimes with bodies changing, and going through fashion trends, you are going to keep things a little longer. Or just for sentimental reasons. But I do think she had a valid point. If there are things that you just pass by, season after season, and you really don't ever "choose" to put on your body, than just give them away. I love going through my closet every season and making a big pile of clothes to go to Goodwill. It feels so freeing to make space, and get rid of clutter! plus, you're making room for that new tunic you've had your eye on!

5. Go by the clearance rack at places like Kohls, Target, or Old Navy and I bet you you can find a cute something(s) to add into your mix. Clothes stores always get new seasons of clothes in before that season. So, you might find a couple new shirts that are Fall friendly, but not at the $$$ price of the brand new ones there. But that are still recent.

Ok, I'm not going to go on any longer. For one reason, I haven't done the dishes or the laundry. But for another, I want to see the last night of these cutie pies having fun.

Monday, August 18, 2008

More Than A Thousand

Today as I was reading a book to my daughter, I felt myself start to tear up.    Sometimes I can go for a long time without being sad about my Mom not being here.   It's been almost 9 years since she passed away, and most days I go through the day without shedding a tear at all about it.   But then there are other days, where the most random thing will make me have that scratchy place in my throat, then the misty eyes, and then, the totally choked up feeling where I know if I continue talking, I'm gonna cry.   Sometimes I continue; sometimes I don't.   This time, even though I was reading to River, I decided it was worth it to keep going, even if the tears came.

The book was about a girl who believed she was a ballerina.    She envisioned herself dancing up on stage, as a prima ballerina, even though she had never really taken lessons.    Her parents knew that she loved it, and so eventually they agreed to send her to lessons - and, no, this is not Angelina Ballerina.    It'd be pretty bad if some little mice made me cry.    The story goes on, and the little girl was going to be in a recital.   She wore her pretty costume, and had her fun make up on, and did great up on stage.   Of course, the story sounded familiar to one of my own, but that wasn't the part that made me sad.    The part that got me was this quote:

"After we were finished, Mom clapped and laughed and smiled her proud-of-you smile."

I think that's one of the things that I miss the most from my sweet Mama.   If I had to describe how she looked at me more times than not, it would be that look.   Where she clapped and laughed and smiled so proudly at me.   From the smallest of deeds to the greatest of accomplishments, she believed in me, and encouraged me in who I was completely.    From the time that I was little, and would mess up on a drawing, to when I was older and had real issues, I would go to her with my problem, and she would say to me, "You'll figure it out.   You'll find a way to make it work out."   She didn't tell me just what to do to smooth things over.  She didn't make me do the formulated "right" response.   She didn't do it for me.   She believed that I knew what to do, and allowed me to find out how to make it happen.   

There's a picture that one of my friends captured at my high school graduation of my mom looking at me with that expression.   I can't tell you how true it is, that a picture is worth much more than a thousand words.

As I continued after that statement in the book, even though I knew the tears were coming,  River looked up at me and said, "Are you crying?"

And I said, "Yeah.  I am."

"Why?" she asked.

"Because it makes me miss my Mama.   And how proud of me she always was.   With dancing, with everything.   But it's okay to be sad about it.   Sometimes it's good to be sad." I reassured.

"Let's not think about it anymore.   Let's read this book."  and she moved to the next book in the stack.

I laughed and said okay.   But someday, I'll have to teach her, that we can't always do that.   Believe me, I know.   That's what I've done my whole life.    But, not today.   And even though it only lasted about a minute, it was good to grieve for that minute.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Ballerina, A Princess, and A Cowboy

What a combo - a ballerina, a princess, and a cowboy. These three are so much fun to be with. I love how River and Asher feel like they've been blessed with a little sister when Maddie is around. They include her and love on her like she's just part of the family. River likes being able to "mommy" her, and Asher thinks he's so much bigger than her, even though she's actually a little bit bigger than him! Both River and Asher try to help me, and whenever I'm going to change Maddie's diaper, they run to her diaper bag, to try to be the first to bring me a diaper. And we usually say "bottom" in reference to your rear end, and so River doesn't really know the word "butt". So she thinks Butt Paste is called Buck Paste. She'll say, "Do you need any Buck Paste?" Then River usually sits down beside Maddie's head and whispers encouragment to her. I think my favorites have been, "What a sweet little bottom!" And, "Maddie, a lullaby is here," as she was trying to calm her down one day. And Asher will go up and give her kisses when he thinks she's being really cute or funny. I think for babie's it really takes daily interaction for them to build a "friendship" with another baby. And these two are like little twins. It's really cute.

The past few weeks, we've so many fun things, but here are just a few highlights.

Behind the curtain at the door is a favorite hiding spot for these two. They like to play peek-a-boo there with each other.

Maddie's alltime favorite spot in our house is at the kids chairs. She loves climbing up on them, and then sit there and just watch and laugh at my kids doing silly stuff. Like River striking a pose.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Red Roosters and Antique Stores...Just the Thing I Needed

As I come to know myself more, I learn that there are somethings that I just can't get away from. Take for instance my love affair with the color red. The other day, I was in my room (which for many months has been the catch all room for some reason) and I noticed that I had not one, not two, not three, BUT FOUR lamps with red lampshades. They weren't supposed to all be in there, and weren't even all plugged in. But just to give you the picture, of how much I love the color red. Which is pretty funny because for the longest time I didn't. But then, the week before I graduated college, my friend, Blair and I went dress shopping, and I couldn't take my eyes off the red dresses. But, I tried to ignore it, because, you know, I didn't like red...especially not ON me. After holding it up and being told how great it would look, I eventually got talked into trying the red dresses on, and one thing lead to another, and well, here we are. With four red lamps in my room. I took two out, mind you, and tidied up a bit. Much better with only two, and with my window mistreatments finished after two years of only having half of it done.

After Randy and I had a wonderful night at The Baird House, which is a beautifully restored 1790 Farm House, we ate a delicious country breakfast (she must have known French Toast was my favorite), roamed around by the Watauga River for a bit, and then had a blast going shopping together without our two kids. We always like going to the Mast General Store because it's just such a fun place with lots of different things from shoes, to candy by the barrel, to vintage toys, home decor, to regular food on the shelves. So, I immediately fell in love with this huge red rooster, and it's now making quite a scene in my kitchen. Thus, the other thing that I'm coming to realize more and more. I definitely have some of my country roots left in me. I've never described my style as country. I think my Mom's farm animal trinkets left a bad taste in my mouth. But as I grow more into what my style is, I definitely see how much I love the cottage feel. And I don't mind saying "French Cottage" one bit. But, come on, who are we kidding. French Cottage IS country. So even though I won't ever hang ceramic white and blue cows in my windows, I do have a big red rooster waking me up every morning. I'm just glad it's not this one.

We also went to a few antique stores and boutiques in the Boone / Blowing Rock area. I love going to antique stores - not the ones that are totally overpriced and leave you feeling deflated. But the ones that you can find things for a deal and enjoy giving this old item a new life in your home. I feel like they have a story of their own, and could tell me many secrets of old, if only they could speak. There's something so fun and nostalgic about finding history in pieces of furniture or accessories. Probably why I can't walk away from vintage hats and shoes when I find them at Salvation Army. So, anyway, I found some great deals on some vintage trays and fabric, which later inspired me to make these cute aprons...

I haven't taken the time to make things for a while, so being inspired by all the beauty of Valley Crucis and the creativity of Blowing Rock was a nice boost. I definitely couldn't afford all the fancies of the boutiques, but I did come home and make a few things to add to our shop. Any little girls in need of a tutu?

I think these are the cutest ever, and I've been wanting to make some for a while. All it takes is just a little time and inspiration...and staying up WAYYY past my bedtime. ;)

We ended our time eating a fabulous dinner at The Bistro in Boone and headed back home to our babies. We loved having time for just the two of us. It is so needed in the rush of life and two children, to just take time to dream a little and to truly celebrate this life that the Lord has given us to share. I can't imagine a more perfect get away....well...maybe for our 10th next year, I could. France or Italy, maybe? Yeah, baby!!!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

We've Come A Long Way, Baby

Today's our anniversary. NINE YEARS! I can't wait, because we're going away for a night together this weekend, but that's not till tomorrow. My man knows me well, and knows how I love to celebrate. So, it started at 12:01am this morning. He came over to me where I was on the couch and kissed me and said, "Happy Anniversary, Baby. It's 12:01." And then this morning when I first woke up and went into the bathroom, he said it again, and gave me a big hug. Then I walked into the kitchen and found these fun surprises.

He said, in his sweet sexy morning voice, "I wanted to make sure we celebrated a little on our actual day." And I'm left all weak in the knees with a big 'ol smile across my face.

Now, nine years ago, this would have been the scenario. I would have woke up wanting to hear those sweet words or see the flowers that he had secretly gotten and placed in a vase on the table, but would not have said anything about it. Then, I would have been kind of sad and disappointed that he hadn't done that. But, of course I wouldn't want to make him feel bad for NOT doing that, and so, again, would have not said anything. Then by the end of the day, if there were no plans to eat out or do anything special (mind you, we would have done that when we "celebrated over the weekend") I would have acted mad about something and gotten kind of quiet and irritated. And that would hopefully lead to him finally asking, "Baby, are you doing okay?" And then I would have burst into tears saying something like, "I know we're celebrating our anniversary this weekend, but it doesn't even feel like it's today!" I would look up and find a blank look of utter confusion.

We've come a long way in nine years. I can't believe it's been 9 years since I first knew how wonderful marriage to my husband would be. Nine years since I wore my long flowing white silk dress, nine years since I saw a tear in my dad's eye when he first laid eyes on me, nine years since I walked that long aisle, nine years from when I saw my sweet mama sitting on the front row like a little girl ready to open Christmas presents. Nine years since I said the words "I do." Nine years filled with tremendous joy and tremendous sorrow. Nine years filled with changes and challenges. Nine years of figuring out how to lay down our own pride and to love with Christ's love. Nine years of life....abundant life.

I remember one of our pastors said to Randy just before we got married, "If I had known how wonderful marriage would be, I wouldn't have been so scared!"

And it has been wonderful. But there have also been valleys that we have walked through, and valleys that I know the Lord carried us through to bring us this far. Without His grace and love, we would not be in the place where we are now. We both feel more in love now than ever. We both still can't wait to get to see each other at the end of the day. We love sitting and catching up after the kids go down. We love being able to care for our children together. We love living this life together. I'm so thankful to have been blessed with nine years. And even though I love seeing wedding gowns and cakes, and beautiful wedding pictures, and sometimes I even say, "I want to get married again!" But, really, I'm so glad to be where we are now.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Weekly Wednesday...

Ok, so a name...i have to have a name for these posts. Anyone who comes up with a fun "fashion" weekly tip name, will get a free sash. Which leads me to my weekly tip.

Tie on a Sash!!

Sashes are very fashionable and make excellent accessories. The best part? They're cheap! There is really no "wrong" way to wear them right now, which makes it fun to be creative. And you can pick them up anywhere, from department stores to Goodwill. Don't see one you like? Go by your local fabric store (or Walmart) and pick out a 1/4 a yard of some fabric you like. Once you tie it on, chances are you won't see the edges.

Just look at all the different ways you can use them -

-Make them into belts to add a fun accent to an outfit. Cute on dresses, long tops, pants, or jeans! Just tie into a simple knot on the side, or with dresses, make a wider sash and tie into a bow the back.
-Tie them around your neck to add a little business class to your style.
-With longer ones you can do the elegant ties that are now pretty trendy with blouses. (Look here for the look I'm talking about.)
-Tie it around your ponytail.
-Tie it around your purse.
- And my personal favorite is to put it in my hair. Turn your head upside down, pull it tightly onto your forehead, tie it at the nape of your neck (comfortably tight) and flip your head right side up. I love doing this when I'm tired of my regular hair look (plain old pony tail, or just having a not so good hair day.) It's fun with your hair down or back. It gives a little different look each way.

Ok, so what if you don't know how to tie a sash? You will after seeing this!

So go get all tied up! It definitely adds a fun little boost to your outfit, whichever way you tie it. ;)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Summertime Good Eats!

There are always recipes that I look forward to making every season.    If you couldn't tell by now, I really like categories, and food is definitely categorized (in my brain) by season.    And there are always those recipes that I forget about or don't remember to make until too late, and it's like I missed my chance.   Because, really, I mean who eats cucumber or tomato sandwiches in the winter?    Well, maybe my mom in law.  ;)  Maybe you do, too.   Or maybe you're thinking to yourself, "TOMATO SANDWICHES - that's just gross."   If you live above the Mason Dixon line, that might be your thought.   But take it from a southern girl, they are soooo good!   HOWEVER......

Today when I asked a college student if she was going on any more trips this summer, she said, "Well, I go back to school next week."    It gave me this race to the finish line feeling, that my window of opportunity to stuff all this yummy food into my mouth is almost gone!   So in response, today I made this:

7 Layer Salad  

(My mom used to make this and I always kind of forget about it.   But not this year!) 
layer in order in 8 x 8 (or however big you want to make it) and refrigerate.   serve chilled.

celery (chopped)
red onion
cucumber (or green pepper)
peas (frozen works best)
mayo (sprinkled with sugar)

Here are some of my other summertime favs in no particular order:

- Peach Pie (my grandmothers recipe is the best in this entire WORLD)
- Rosemary Dill Potato Salad
- Chicken Salad Supreme (with bacon & pecans others pale in comparison!)
- South Sea Island Chicken Salad (so different, tropical and yummy!)
- Homemade Salsa with fresh cilantro
- Peaches and Cream
- Cantaloupe and Blueberries
- Seven Layer Salad
- Fried Chicken
- Pimento Cheese
- Tuna Salad
- Blackberry Cobbler
- Strawberry Shortcake
- Deviled Eggs
- Tomato Basil Tart
- Egg Salad
- Asian Slaw
- Lemon Squares

Anybody else have summer favorites that I should add to my list?   I'm glad I made my list....I have some that I still haven't gotten to.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Finding Common Ground in Nashville

The last few days have been long ones as my sweet husband has been working long, long days. 12-15 hour days. Trying to get some projects finished up. Now I know for some of you, this might be your normal life. You might spend many evenings putting your little ones to bed on your own, and then sit down to watch some TV. But usually that's not how our nights go.
So tonight, I'm home alone again. And there's been this yummy homemade apple pie staring at me all day. I sliced a piece of apple pie, and then that one looked too small. So I sliced another one (it was small) and warmed them up to enjoy to the maximum potential - my sweetie disagrees with me on this - he thinks it's best to eat apple pie cold. COLD! My goal is always to enjoy it as if it just came out of the oven.

Then I sat down at our tv, which I really seldom do. And began flipping through the channels having no idea what would be on.

10 minutes later I find myself, tears rolling down my face, an empty plate on my lap, and feet reclined on the coffee table (aka toy chest). I almost roll my eyes at myself. I mean, how can you sit down and immediately feel such empathy and celebration for another person. Someone I've never even seen before. Or heard her name or anything.

Maybe it's because she was a mother of small children. And they were all being held with her husband while cheering her on. Maybe it was the way she belted out a song probably not in her best voice ever, because of holding back all the tears. Maybe it's because I know it took a lot of courage to step down a path that could totally lead to rejection and hurt. Knowing that it could all go wrong. But it didn't. And that's why I cried.

I'm such a softy. Don't tell anyone. ;)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

I Know You've Missed These...

I know that you've been dying to hear more yard sale tales. Since I've been traveling so much, I'm sure I've missed my fair share of goodies over these last few weeks. Hopefully, you've picked up where I left off, and found some goodies for yourself. Or maybe you've at least gotten some of these goodies on Saturday mornings.

I know you probably don't want to hear how I got oodles of lighted Christmas garland and self inflating mats for camping. And I won't bore you with telling you how I happened to find treasured books of old, new dress up clothes, and preschool games for my kids. Or that I found a little double breasted suit for Asher and cute winter hats for River. And how I got a bunch of fun comic books and 2 bird feeders that I've been wanting. And I definitely won't tell you that it only cost me about $35 for everything.

But I had to show you this...

Pretty sweet, huh? She can't wait to wear her "new" coat this winter.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Fashion Faux Pas...Or Not?

so i'm up late, am really hungry for some reason (even though i've already had dinner and 2 desserts), so I'm blogging instead of bee-lining it to that freezer for some Breyers coffee ice cream.      yummm....

ok, so not doing that.    right. 

the other day on our trip home from pennsylvania i saw something interesting (besides the rascal flatt semi) that had me thinking.    i was waiting in the car at starbucks before the baby woke up which FORCED me to go in and enjoy the atmosphere with my hubby and daughter.    and as i was people watching (one of my many favorite things to do) i noticed this mom and daughter get out of their car and go inside.

the girl was probably college age, getting ready to get settled into her dorm room or apartment at JMU, or maybe just a high schooler out with her mom.    she was in cute casual sweats, nothing fancy, but you know, youthful.    and her mom was in the everyday "mom" clothes - khaki pleated capris, floral button down, comfy sandals.     but i had the thought, and please don't hate me for thinking this...

"i hope i don't dress like that when i'm her age."   

isn't that awful!!??    but the thing that got me, was that, it wasn't this awful outfit - i mean, i have capris and button downs and...well...flip flops - not sandals...but my point was that she just needed a few things to help her out!    she needed her daughter to say,

"Here, Mom, wear this tank instead.   And put this bracelet on."    And she would have been as cute as pie!!

I went inside and made River (my 4 year old daughter) to promise me to not ever let me get in a rut of a clothes style where i limit it to the same thing every day.   and if i start looking drab, frumpy, and boring, to TAKE ME SHOPPING!     

one thing that has always encouraged me about being a mom, is that i can still be me - fun, youthful, sometimes trendy, but moreso, just cute (if i can be so bold) with my clothes and accessories, as to not grow into the typical "mom" look.   just because we're a little bit older doesn't mean we have to stop being cute!!    i've even had younger girls say to me that it encourages them that when they get older, they don't have to stop being cool and cute, just because they're a mom now.    now, let me tell you, i'm definitely no jessica simpson, haha, that makes me laugh just writing it.    there are many times that i'm in a t-shirt and jeans.   but usually i'll still have on my big sunglasses, hoop earrings, and flip flops.    i really like looking fun and stylish.    hate me?    maybe.    but wait....

i'm wondering if you all would be interested in tips.   i mean, maybe you've got it all down, and you love your style, and don't need any help at all.    but if you're like my sis, you might really like it.   i love taking my sister shopping, teaching her a little about what looks good on her, what is definitely a NO, and then going through her closet and saying things like, 

"Carrie, seriously?    Come on, this was out when we were in high school."  (actually if that were the case, it would probably be back in style now).    now, she can handle me saying things like that because i'm her sister and she has to love and accept me no matter what.    (haha.  don't you wish you were her?!)  but I would not typically say that to just anybody.    but I could definitely say it here!    when I don't have to see that i'm possibly offending you!    ;)  

now, i'm not saying you can't wear your classics, because i'm also all about looking classy.  and knowing your style.    but i'm just saying, sometimes we need a little lift to our look.   just like a room of our house.   sometimes it can get kind of stale and boring, and we just need to add some new pictures, or a new fun chair, or switch out some pillows, and pull in some fresh flowers!       same goes for our closets!

i love going to sale racks and picking out the cheap things that can really add something to an outfit, or getting a steal on clearance shoes at Target that you normally wouldn't get, or grabbing a $1 bracelet at Salvation Army to make an outfit a little more funky.   so what do you think - if there were a weekly tip on fashion and accessories, would it be helpful?   or offensive? or you don't know until you see it?   or, melissa, you're exhausted and not thinking clearly... but wait...look at all these cute things.  ;)