Friday, December 24, 2010

the reason for the season

Our house is trimmed with a minimal amount of decorations...we have  small cypress garland on the mantle, three stockings hung, a Virginia pine decorated and lit.

we are missing one vital piece of holiday decor...

the nativity scene.

My plans were to buy one of those Willow Tree sets...I love them!

but I looked around online and found a few others I liked...

Ten Thousand Villages is a site that sells products made my artisans all over the world- at quite affordable prices...

carved from olive wood

Catholic Supply's website also has many great selections- even cute little nativity scenes for children!
here are a few of my favorites:
another made of olive wood

carved in Ireland

perfect for little hands!

Do you have a nativity scene in your house?

there's a porkchop in the dishwater

Yesterday, my goals were to ice the gingerbread men, make mini glazed gingerbread cakes and to begin making the cake I attempted to make last year...

the same cake that the dogs ate...seriously...there was bloodshed over it.
it must have been good...I'll take their word for it.

Yesterday I went to the grocery store...
fed the baby...
started laundry...
washed & put away a load of dishes...
fed the baby...
cleaned out the fridge...
finally had my morning coffee (4pm)...
put dinner out to thaw...
fed the baby...
sorted my recipes for Christmas and Christmas Eve dinners...
<we're making hamburgers...that's right, hamburgers>
I even found my Christmas china!

but as of 6pm, no cookies were iced and no cakes were made.  
not even dinner.
it was because of him:

he required cuddling! 
<...and feeding>

I did unpack a box of citrus fruits though...they're yummy!

Getting back to the cleaning of the fridge story:  this may be gross...ok it is gross.
brace yourself.
I clean out the fridge only about every 3-4 months...that's right...there are many tupperware containers that get early retirement...we can no longer buy nice food storage containers...

there was left over pork tenderloin, left over chicken and dumplings, left over taco salad, left over black beans and rice, left over lima beans... the rest, unidentifiable.

a porkchop ended up in the kidding.  It was ugly.

the good news:  there were no tupperware casualties...but some came close.
Don't worry, I spared you the pictures.

By the end of the night, however, the baby was bathed (by the hubby I am to report), supper made, a decision to wait on the two cakes until next week, a decision to ice the gingerbread men tomorrow and finally one more batch of cookie dough mixed, wrapped and stored in the fridge.
<its a new cookie recipe that had to be adapted due to lack of anise extract and almond extract...not staples in my kitchen...I'll let you know how it turns out>

and there was egg nog...egg nog with Crown...
eh, what can I say...I like Crown.  and the nog.

Our dinner included an impromptu appearance of fettucini alfredo (or linguine alfredo rather...fettucini also not a staple in this lovely abode.)  

It was my first time with Alfredo
He was alright- but not the type you'd take home to Mom.
I think next time I'll use real Parmesan instead of the green can variety...but as I mentioned before this was a spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment addition to our evening. life is exciting isn't it?

On that note, that's all and that's it!
Have a lovely Christmas Eve!
I'm off to feed the baby.

a bear...
<or three>

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

this betty crocker has given up on grammer

So I've been cooking...or more specifically, baking...

now keep in mind I have an eleven week old...child that is.

so this will not be extravagant...or exciting...

in fact, if you're into may want to stop reading now...

<but please don't!  I love when people read my posts!  especially when they comment on them! -yay LISA & JESSICA!!!> 

as you can see I've given up on grammar...and to think I scored a perfect 36 on the literature section of my ACT...oh know what they say..."if you don't use it you lose it"

I took my ACT before I moved to Mississippi... really is like home & you know...there is no place like home (I poke fun but I do love my dear old Mississippi!)

moving on...

After a relaxing dinner trying desperately to console the aforementioned wailing eleven week old  and scarfing down stuffed flounder and a Yuengling, the hubbs and I hurried (seriously hurried) home to put said baby down to sleep.  (And Thank You Jesus it worked!)  

Hubby went out for an hour or two leaving me alone at last!  (We do love each other we just work together..."ahhhh I see-" you say.)  So I took advantage of my alone time to do one of my favorite things- cook! (or as I mentioned before...bake.)

<you see the grammar...its all so unclear now!>

Last night was gingerbread men (and women, and candy canes and trees, and stockings and...)

and wine...there is always wine...

and then the previous recipe was very flour-y tasting (darn grammar again)... but these cookies- Oh Heavens!  they are divine...well pretty dang good anyway!  

Along the lines of grammar insecurity, I also have "unsure about copyright type things" insecurity.  However, I will tell you that I believe the key to my success here is with the 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp of fresh ground ginger.  Yep.  We love ginger.

by we I mean I.

The recipe is from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook.  And I will add that true to form, she is a real pain in the "donkey" with this recipe as well- hence the fresh ground ginger.  However, I have very much enjoyed this cookbook and have made several delicious recipes from it (all P.I.D.s- pain in the "donkey"s but WELL WORTH IT) 

<and by donkey I mean in donkey of course...>

Tonight was the Cinnamon Sugared Pecans for baby Caleb's nursery teachers' Christmas gift- recipe courtesy of my Momma 

I honestly have no idea WHERE this recipe came from (other than Momma) so what they heck here it is:

Cinnamon Sugared Pecans
 1 Cup sugar + 1 tsp salt + 2 tsp cinnamon combined... set aside

1 egg white, beaten until frothy + 1 Tbsp water ... mixed well

4 Cups pecan halves

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1-Add pecans to egg white & water mixture and stir until well coated.
2- Add sugar mixture and butter slowly to pecans.  Mix until well coated.
3- Spread on parchment covered cookie sheet separating nuts.
4- Bake at 300* for 25 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Remove from oven and allow to cool before breaking nuts apart.


Tomorrow...hopefully decorating gingerbread cookies, making mini glazed gingerbread cakes and finishing Caleb's Christmas stocking!

Wish me luck!

...ohh, and as an addendum to my previous Dear Santa post...
all I REALLY want..
my baby boy in my arms!!!

and another bear...
or two...
My Momma brought him back from Switzerland!

Sweet little honey bears!

Sweet dreams!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gift Guide: MY "Dear Santa"

Now that Christmas is only a few days away and there is no possible way I could expect to get any of these for Christmas (unless Santa listens to old folk)  I will post my gift guide!

So hubby dear,
this is not a plea for presents. 
It is more like window shopping...
I promise...

1) boots (Uggs- Classic Cardy) - because they look sooo cozy!

2)  built-ins for the living room - to have somewhere to store our books, "stuff" and of course the all-important TV!
from Better Homes & Gardens

3)  subscription for Garden & Gun magazine -yes there is such a thing!

4)  boots (Frye Shirley Riding boots) -because they are just sooo aristocratic- (I can just picture red wool coats, sweat slicked horses and hounds!)

5)  Kindle - because I'm beginning to get sick of the clutter but I just can't let go of my favorite books (even if they are just paperbacks)!

6)  cookbook- Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys by Lucinda Scala Quinn   - don't be fooled by the title, women will eat this food too, I promise, I've made four of her recipes already...DELICIOUS (and easy!)

7)  cookbook- Frank Stitt's Southern Table:  Recipes and Gracious Traditions from Highlands Bar and Grill  -because I loooove to cook good food and my mouth waters when I think about the time we dined at  another of his restaurants, Bottega in Birmingham.

8) did I mention boots???  (Hunter Wellies! in navy) Santa baby, hurry down the chimney (although we have a gas fireplace) tonight!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I'm goin' to Jackson and that's a fact...

I do sooo love Johnny Cash!  (And Joaquin Phoenix)

The hubby & I took off a day of work, slept in and then hit the road this past Friday to go visit some of my very best friends that I met in undergrad at Mississippi State.  The destination?  Jackson, Mississippi...well pretty darn close to it.

We took a quick break in Starkville (the home of Mississippi State University) to grab lunch at The Grill (yummy steak on a stick) with a friend then headed south.  We spent the weekend catching up, visiting and for three of the four of us girls, meeting each other's babies!  

That's right, four women, three babies and a two-year-old all in one house (at least one of the days)!  We ventured into Jackson for lunch at THE best place to get a gyro in town...Keifer's!!!  It took two trucks and a LOT of organization to get there and needless to say...we were a sight parading through the extremely crowded Saturday lunch crowd to our 8-top table!  
Caleb, Lily & Hadley waiting for the tables
After lunch, we took one more stop to a architectural salvage shop in downtown.  Although Caleb and I didn't find anything we couldn't live without we enjoyed practicing taking pictures with our new camera!
 Beautiful salvaged stained glass windows

Old doors from North Africa (left) and Cairo (right)

Sunday we slept in and met another friend for lunch at Beagle Bagel in Madison and then headed northbound on the Natchez Trace toward home.  It is an absolutely beautiful drive with many opportunities for sightseeing and tons of walking trails between Natchez, Mississippi & Nashville, Tennessee.  As we passed Kosciusko (yep thats where Oprah's from) I began looking for the little white house in which my grandfather was born and raised, in Ehtel.  You can actually see the old homestead from the Trace!  It has been vacant for about 30 years but up until the last year or so the property has remained in our family.  We stopped to look around and of course snap a few pictures!
My Daddy says that when he was a child, his parents would drive him and his sister all the way from Lepanto, Arkansas to Ehtel about once a year or so- most of the way on gravel roads!

I was told the story once about how during the depression my Granddaddy's parents were one of the few in the area that had a radio.  I'm told that people once came from all over the county to sit and listen to the world series on this very same front porch!

The chimney says 1901- the year this chimney was added onto the house.

One of the outbuildings- there were several, one for canned goods and a root cellar.  There also used to be an old barn on the property.

The old truck my Daddy's uncle drove.  This is where he parked it and after he died it was never driven again.  It is gone now but my Daddy took this picture a few years ago.

All in all it was a great weekend!  When we arrived at home Caleb opened an early Christmas present from his Grandmommy- as you can see he loves it!

And finally...another ornament:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

oh christmas tree! oh christmas tree! glorious teddy bear Christmas ornament collection continued!  One for each of the past two days:

so cute!

cocoa anybody?

What are your favorite Christmas family traditions?!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

dream a little dream...of me?

In this post we will go back to my pregnancy days since I didn't ever get around to posting about all the wondorous and strange topics that go along with this subject.  Some have morning nausea, some have evening nausea and some have all-the-time nausea.  I was lucky, I had very little of any of those (sorry to those of you who can't say the same)!  Some have cravings (mine were strawberry milkshakes and a few days of flaming hot cheetos).  Some have food aversions (the smell of coffee grounds and buffalo wings made me want to call Ralph).  But above all, I had wierd and crazy dreams.

I had many dreams, probably some I can't remember anymore.  I did however write some of them down in a journal.  I even gave them titles!  They are as follows:
1)  " Who's Your Daddy"
2)  "Little Lady Bud"
3)  "Oooooouch!"
4)  "Family Jewels"
5) "The Ugly Red Monster"
6)  "The Drunk Tank"
7)  "You'll Never Know.  (Hubby's baby nightmare)"
8)  "It's a... boy???"
9)  "Nope its a girl, wait no a boy, wait nope, its..."

My mind was apparantly very active.  Due to the length of this topic I'll have to make multiple posts to fit in all of my dreams!  Here's the first:

"Who's Your Daddy"  (Pregnancy dream #1)
My first wierd pregnancy dream actually came before I found out I was pregnant.  As a little bit of background- Two of my best friends from college were Stephanie and Amber- they both make an appearance here.  Steph already has a beautiful baby girl (with her husband Chris) and around the time I had this dream I had found out that Amber (and her husband Jess) were expecting soon!  (You may wonder why I make such a fuss here about the will soon find out why this is significant).  In this dream these dear husbands had no part whatsoever and seemed to not even exist! 

Stephanie, Amber & I were some sort of gypsy like wierdos who were all living on a RV (like a tour bus RV ) and were conicidentally all pregnant.  Stephanie went into labor first and being the trooper she is she didn't even require the bus to stop- she just popped that sucker right out!  Right there on the couch of the RV- no assistance needed.

Next it was Amber who also took the whole thing on like a seasoned pro right there on the same couch in the same RV.

At this point it's now my turn- and you better believe I was NOT about to give birth like those crazy freaks there in the RV.  First of all, wierd.  Second of all, what if the cord got wrapped around the baby's leg and cut it off on the way out?!  (I had been watching a lot of the TV series Private Practice & Gray's Anatomy.)  Absolutely NOT.  So I insisted that the big, fat Mexican man driving the RV throughout this whole freaky fiasco turn that ship toward the nearest hospital ASAP!

This is probably a good time to mention that old Jose was also the father of all three of us ladies' babies' daddy!!!  (And apparantly we were all okay with this???)  Anyway, we whoop up to the ER (because thats how we do it here in the south) and before you can say "Hot Tamale" I jump out of the tour bus/RV and go running inside.  They sit my in-labor-butt into a wheel chair and rush me back while I'm telling them some story about my husband being away in Afghanastan and I don't know anybody else at all so if two crazy ladies with babies and one fat Mexican man come looking for me, I don't know them and they are probably insane anyway.

That is about all I remember dreaming.  I assume I had the baby with no visitors and maybe Steph, Amber and Jose were commited.  I do, however, still wonder who and what picked little baby Jose Jr. and I up at the hospital afterward!

Perhaps we will hear about "Little Miss Bud" in our next post!