Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Quick Update

I'm typing this from my iPhone as we drive to Florida so bear (correct use) with me. Here's what I have been up to since the last time I blogged. Details to come

Ornament swap
Kinsley's 2nd birthday party
Ben got the stomach bug
I got the stomach bug
Piper trip to the beach

I definitely will not be blogging during my relaxing time on Florida. Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas an has a safe and new year!

See y'all in 2011!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bunco Buns aka Ornament Buns!

Here's what I'm taking to the Ornament Swap tonight, along with babybites.  They are super easy and they are great to make ahead and then bake right before the party.  My aunt always made these when I was growing up for Christmas and I always wondered how she got the ham and cheese inside the rolls.  Who knew it was so easy!

Ornament Buns
2 pkgs. dinner rolls (I like to use Hawaiian rolls)
4 Tbsp. yellow mustard
4 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
4 Tbsp. poppy seeds
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 pkg. honey ham (I like the Hillshire Farms ((GO MEAT!!)) hearty slices. You can half each slice & have plenty)
1 pkg. swiss cheese (Each slice will be enough for 4 sandwiches)

Cut all of your rolls in half.  In a bowl, combine mustard, worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds, and butter.  Spread mustard mixture on both sides of the roll (I found that using those cooking paint brush utensils work the best).  Place a piece of cheese and ham on each roll and top.  Place rolls on baking sheet and spread a little more butter across the top.  Cover with foil.  Bake @ 350 for 15-20 minutes until browned and cheese has melted. YUMMY!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I am so excited that the Christmas season is in full swing and that was apparent here in Birmingham last weekend.  As I have said in earlier posts, Ben was starring in Scrooge the musical as young Ebenezer.  The show opened last Thursday.  But of course, young Ebenezer had to catch all the crud that's been going around the week of the show.  After 3 days of taking Sudafed and Lord knows what else, he decided to go see a doctor Thursday morning, yes opening day.  The doctor thought it was walking pneumonia but thankfully it was only sinusitis.  He got a shot of antibiotics and steroids along with 4 prescriptions and the show went on!

Opening night was completely sold out and we later learned why.  A local Christian non-profit, AMBUCS, had purchased all the tickets.  AMBUCS is a group that helps families with children who are paralyzed from the waist down buy these motorized tricycle gadgets that help them move around.  The tickets were given to the parents of these amazing kids so they could enjoy a night out while a local church babysat the children.  The non-profit also invited some of its donors to share the experience.  From this one night, AMBUCS was able to raise enough money to purchase 70 of these little tricycles! Amazing stories like this one help me remember that the world is still full of generous, kind-hearted people.

They weren't the only ones to enjoy the show.  Ben's dad, oldest sister Natalie, aunt and uncle, Bob and Arenda, along with my parents, sister, Kinsley, and Nana all made the trip from Georgia, South Carolina, and Mississippi to see Ben perform.  Ben's dad got here earlier than everyone else so we took him to one of our favorite sandwich places, Diplomat DeliTheir sandwiches are phenomenol and the best part is it is in the middle of a wine & high gravity beer store.  After lunch, we took him by our apartment to see our massive tree.  He couldn't believe that the 2 of us were able to cart it up 2 flights of stairs by ourselves, much less get it in the tree stand.  Even with its' massiveness, he loved it and took several pictures to share with others.  We then ran over to the Embassy Suites to greet Natalie.  The greeting didn't last too long because shortly after Natalie's arrival my sister was calling to let me know they were already at our apartment.  We rushed home to let them in.  Ben took a nap and Nana and I entertained Kinsley while Heather got all gussied up and mom and dad went to check into their hotel room.  My family are big Italian food lovers, and whats not to love? So I took them to a local place, Lovoy's in Homewood.  After dinner, we went back home so Kinsley could get settled in with her babysitters for the night, our dear friends Patrick and Megan.  They were so nice for keeping her so that we could enjoy the musical without a toddler.  Megan is a 1st grade teacher and babysits quite often so I knew Kinsley would be in great hands.  It didn't take long after their arrival to see that Kinsley had developed little gah-gah eyes for Patrick.  We left with little fuss from Kinsley and made our way to the show.  I was very excited since I had never seen Ben act.  Although I knew he was very talented, I was still so shocked and impressed by how well he did.  I am a little biased being the Mrs. but he did perfect at everything: the singing, danching, and acting, even with a stinkin' sinus infection!  He has a beautiful voice and it was wonderful hearing it amplified since I usually hear it when he's singing beside me at church.  I must say one of the best parts of the show was watching my Nana watch the show.  She got tickled at the littliest things, so much so at times that she would even snort a little.  Watching her and the rest of my family enjoy it so much made it that much more enjoyable for me.  After the show, I drove them through one of the beautiful old neighborhoods here.  Every house has a real tree that is full of lights in their front yard, along with all the other pizzazz of lights garrland, and wreaths. None of the cheesy stuff.  Sunday morning we took them to a late breakfast at a yummy little diner before they had to head back to Mississippi. 

Tonight we are having a mini Christmas party at Patrick and Megan's.  We are going to watch the best Christmas movie EVER and eat party foods. Can you believe there are some people who have never seen Christmas Vacation in its entirety?  I sure couldn't!  Their lives will be forever changed tonight.  We plan on having a few more mini-Christmas parties to enjoy our other favorite Christmas flicks before we all part ways for the holidays.  This weekend, I am heading home (Ben has his 2nd round of performances) to celebrate Miss Kinsley's 2nd birthday!  Can't believe that girl has been here for almost 2 years.  What a blessing she has been to our family! Friday night, I am getting together with my closest group of friends so we can do our annual ornament exchange.  We draw names in November to know whom we are buying for and then we each bring a yummy dish or 2.  There is also usually a bottle of wine or 2 invovled.  This year makes it really excited since Anna is expecting Lucy Kate in just 2 months!  She is the first one in our little group to procreate so it is extra exciting this year!  I should have some funny stories & pictures to share next week!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ornament Faves

So I've seen a few blogs that have posted pictures of their favorite ornaments so I decided it was a great idea and thought I would share my favorite Christmas tree ornaments with y'all.

The first is one of 4 feathered star ornaments.  All of Ben's family gets together every year on Florida's Gulf Coast to spend New Year's.  We got engaged in early December and we purchased these little beauties at a gift shop in Apalachacola.  These were the first ornaments we purchased as an engaged couple.  When I saw them I had to have them since they are covered in feathers and well I'm sort of obsessed with feathery things.  Not to mention they were 75% off in an after Christmas sale.

After our first Christmas together with our lime, copper, and brown themed tree, I decided we needed to spice up the tree.  I am also a sucker for leopard print but one would never guess that being in our house (hah).  Well after browsing through shops and internet searching, I could never find leopard print balls.  Well, then I found out that Anna had made some for her tree so I had the "aha" moment and had to make them.  I enlisted the help of my crafty mom.  We dunked the pad of our finger in brown paint and then "stamped" a gold ball in random places like a leopard.  We hung them on the tree to dry and then outlined the "spots" with a black sharpie.  They look great on the tree and give it that "pop."   I have a feeling I might be seeing more leopard balls appear on Christmas trees soon!
 Even though we live in a small apartment, we still had to put up our Ole Miss tree, it wouldn't feel like home or Christmas without it.  When I lived in Hattiesburg all by myself this was the only little tree I had.  We started collecting ornaments for it in 2006 when we were dating.  We usually add an ornament or 2 to it every year.  Now that we live in Alabama the only college ornaments out there are orange & blue or "crimson" and white BARF to both.  Lucky for us, I have a wonderful sister who knows how much we adore our Ole Miss tree.  She saw a pair of these Ole Miss helmets and picked them up for us and gave them to us for a Thanksgiving happy. How thoughtful?  I love them because they have a vintage look to them.

It's not Ole Miss without Colonel Reb.  My best friend, Ashley gave me this gorgeous hand-painted Colonel Reb ornament for my birthday last year.  I just adore its uniqueness.  Maybe next year we will have a Rebel black bear hanging in our tree :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

"It's not going in our yard, Russ, It's going in our living room."

Hope everyone had a great weekend.  We had a really busy but also a lazy and relaxing weekend.  While Ben was away at practice Friday night, I had sushi with a few friends and we went and saw Love and Other Drugs.    The sushi was delicious and the movie was alright.  It had some funny moments but it was overall predictable and there were way too many raunchy scenes.  Saturday, I got some errands run, including picking myself up a couple of items from Ann Taylor Loft with some birthday money that has been patiently waiting to be passed along to some fine retailer. They were having a 30% off sale SCORE! We settled in to watch the SEC championship. BORING.  I usually love watching football, even if its not SEC but Saturday's game was for the birds.  I didn't care the outcome either way but I do think Auburn is going to pull it out in the NC game and the SEC will have another national championship. I mean whoever believes the SEC isn't the best conference needs to have their head examined and then pick a team so they can start cheering for the best conference. We had some friends from Ole Miss passing through the 'ham so we offered for them to stay with us.  We invited Patrick and Megan over and we cooked a meal that is meant for sharing and watched Ole Miss basketball take on Southern Miss. The Rebs got the W and we had fun just hanging out.

Sunday Funday turned into Sunday worday...wah wah.  We set out early Sunday afternoon to get our Christmas tree.  After some internet research we found a tree farm 15 miles from our doorstep so we decided to head out to the country and find our perfect tree.  You see, that is what we have done the 2 previous Christmases.  However, we were also living in South MS and had the best little tree farm right up the road, Smith's Christmas Tree Farm.   This great little tree farm is also owned by some friends of ours family.  So you see, they would take us out to the best parts of the farm that had the best batch of trees EVER and let us pick from them.  Not to mention, the friendliess of South MS folks and warmer temperatures.  We didn't quite have the same experience yesterday.  Bummer #1  It was maybe 40 degrees, if we were lucky.  Bummer #2 They did not have our favorite, Carolina Sapphires "this year" Bummer #3 The prices were not tree farm prices, I guess they thought they were the Saks of tree farms  Bummer #4 No live wreaths...ok there are plenty more bummers but I do not want to sound whiney & ungrateful.  So after about an hour of walking around and finding nothing but massive 9 ft. and plus trees and Frayser Firs that had been shipped in that were ridiculously over-priced, we debated on leaving and just heading to Lowe's to pick up one of their shipped in, more reasonbly priced trees.  However, we decided to walk over to a little area of the farm we had not visited.  Well it was in this area that we found our tree.  A beautifully-shaped Leeland Cypress that had the perfect price.  We couldn't believe it.  We got it strapped on to the top of the Yukon and headed back to the city.  Before we left we had cleared out what we thought was the perfect space for our new tree.  After yours truely and Ben carted the tree up two flights of winding stairs, we realized either our living room had shrunk or this tree was much much larger than it appeared out in the wilderness next to all the ridiculously large trees.  It was definitely the latter.  This has not been a problem in the past because we had the people who knew our house and knew the space and could help us choose the perfect tree.  Did I mention we live in an apartment? On the 3rd floor with a dog that escaped the looney bin?  After numerous 4-letter words and furniture rearranging, we got the tree settled in the tree stand.  As Ben started cutting the netting off the tree, I felt like Ellen in Christmas Vacation as Clark was cutting the rope away from their tree.  And thats pretty much what happened, minus windows breaking and such.  I had to go fetch the hedge clippers that we had thankfully kept when we moved.  We had so many clippings from our Griswald tree that I made a swag for the front door and plenty leftover to dump off the balcony.  It was finally time to start decorating.  We got all lights put up that we have used on our previous trees to realize we were only about halfway up.  So I send Ben to Home Depot to pick up more while I start on a soup and chocolate chip pound cake for dinner.  By 7, the tree was FINISHED.  As we laid in bed that night, much like Clark & Ellen Griswald, I turned to Ben and said, "I have a confession, I hate our tree."  to which he replied, "you know, I don't really like it either."  This of course started the debate of what we should do...go get a new one more appropriate for our living quarters or just suck it up for a couple of weeks, even if our guests do have to turn sideways to shimmy into the guest bedroom.  Well, the conclusion was made that we are extrememly fortunate to be able to afford something as silly as a tree that we will throw out in a few short weeks and that it will be a GIANT reminder of why we celebrate Christmas, because of Christ's generous gift of his only son. 

When we ran out of lights
Happy Monday Y'all!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sauerkraut and Tortellini

That's what we've been eating this week.  I went to the grocery store early this week and spent a small fortune, but my goal was not to return there until hopefully after the holidays.  Well obviously, I'll need to go for fresh produce but no big shopping.  I've only cooked twice this week with Ben being gone every night practicing for the musical and we had turkey day leftovers to munch on for a couple of days.  Anywho, I thought I would share the 2 recipes we have enjoyed this week. 

The first one is a tomato artichoke pasta.  We have a tried and true tomato artichoke pasta but when I saw this recipe on Our Best Bites, I couldn't resist giving it a try.  The best part of the recipe calls for fresh pasta, and we made it better buy using cheese tortellini from Buitoni.  You can get a $1 off any Buitoni item by clicking here.

Tomato Artichoke Pasta
recipe by Our Best Bites

Extra virgin olive oil

5-6 cloves garlic, pressed

1 can diced tomatoes

3 oz. tomato paste

3 oz. white cooking wine or chicken broth

1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 C chopped green onions

6-7 oz. marinated artichoke hearts, chopped

1 package fresh pasta (or 1 lb. dried)

In a large saucepan, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to boiling. When oil is hot, add garlic, green onions, and artichoke hearts. Saute until garlic is fragrant. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, wine or chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Heat through and toss with cooked pasta.

I recommend using 2 cans of diced tomatoes.  We used the Hunt's kind with italian seasoning and that helped give it extra flavor.  And of course, I'm always in favor of using white wine instead of chicken stock.  It really gives depth to the flavor.  We also used a 6 oz. can of tomato paste, this helped thicken up the sauce since we used 2 cans of the diced tomatoes. 

The next recipe sounds a little odd.  I was unsure about it since I am not a huge fan of saurkraut but I thought we give it a try.  I found this recipe in the Spring when I was still working for the nursing school at USM and one of the professors was throwing away a bunch of magazines.  During a slow day (which was pretty much everyday)  I flipped through them and came across this one.  This recipe makes a TON.  It is definitely one to make when you want leftovers for a couple of days, and it reheats very well. 

Turkey Gyro Pitas
1 lb. ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can Sauerkraut, drained & rinsed
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
salt & pepper to taste

2/3 sour cream
3 Tbsp. Mayo
2 Tbsp. Ranch
1 half tomato, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
Pita bread

In a large skillet, cook the turkey, onion, sauerkraut, and brown sugar until meat is no longer pink.  Drain.  While meat is cooking combine sour cream, mayo, and ranch.  Add tomatoes and cucumber to the sauce.  Preheat oven to 350.  Place pita bread on a baking sheet and place in oven for 7-8 minutes until warm.  Stuff pitas with meat, sauce, & lettuce. 

I thought this recipe sounded very interesting and I was totally unsure about it when I first read it but we really like it and it's a hearty meal.  Now, if your someone who doesn't really like the taste of ground turkey and usually only eats it when its in Chili or something that really masks the taste, I wouldn't recommend it.  Our tastebuds have become adapted to its unique flavor so we don't mind it.
One last thing, here's the link to the photos of Kinsley from her photo shoot at Ramblin' Rose Photography in Memphis a few weeks ago.  We had a blast doing them and the pictures are gorgeous.  Click on proofing at the bottom and the password is Kinsley.  I'm  having so much trouble deciding which ones to purchase.  Please help!

Happy Weekend!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

November Wrap-Up

Hello December, how did you get here so fast??  I hope everyone had a filling and blessed Thanksgiving.  We sure did.  Thanksgiving is always an event and this year was no different.  After stuffing ourselves to the point of almost sickness, we all gathered around the table for a fun game of Funglish.  If you haven't played this game yet, you should. Anyways, in the middle of our game a nice little lady knocked on Nana's door to let us know that the street was flooding (it was quite the wet day in North MS) and that a truck parked in front of the house was soon to be underwater.  Of course, we all jump up to look outside and it had to be my Dad's truck that was about to drown.  After moving the truck to a less flooded location on the street, my dad and Ben went to investigate the "massive" flood.  They came to find that the sewer drain thing was built up with pine straw and leaves.  They fetched a shovel and rake from Nana's shed and got to work.  They were out there in rolled up pants and barefoot working in freezing cold water with temperatures in the upper 40's for about half an hour trying to relieve some of the fall foliage buildup.  Thankfully, after their hard work the water subsided and no one's truck had to drown.

Black Friday went fairly smoothly.  This is only the 2nd year my sister and I have gotten up early and took part in the madness.  We don't go stand in lines at 10 pm and wait around for the hot items.  We are there just to get toys for the kids at ridiculously low prices.   My sister racked up on items for Kinsley.  Apparently, that kid has been very good this year.  I didn't purchase any gifts, just a few items for myself that were a steal.  It was my birthday eve!  We did run into a few of my favorite people on Friday, Hillary and Anna & Corrie so that made getting up early a little more exciting.  Not to mention Chicfila for breakfast. Hello Heaven to my mouth.  I just want to add how I think Black Friday makes people go crazy.  I have never witnessed people go so crazy over materialistic things, seriously some people act like they saw Jesus walking out of the tomb.  Frankly, I feel that if you can't afford buy these unnecessary items any day other than Black Friday, you should probably stay nestled in your nice warm bed.
And then came my BIRTHDAY!!!  OHHH HAPPY DAY!!! And, boy was it a happy day!  I woke up super super early (7:30!!!). The excitement surrounding such a day just keeps me restless.  I was the first to awake in my parents' house so I brewed a big ole pot of coffee and had a few moments to myself.  My mom made birthday French toast for breakfast and for dessert I was surprised with the birthday staple in our house...ICE CREAM CAKE!! Then I got to open my gifts! My parents gave me a football charm for my Pandora bracelet, no other charm could be more appropriate for me. They also gave me some work appropriate clothes (I was super grateful for these) and some money so I could go buy that "hobo bag I have been eyeing." Ben gave me a beautiful pearl & diamond David Yurman ring. That boy sure knows the way to my heart :)  My birthday was the same day as the Egg Bowl so we had planned to leave late morning to get to Oxford so we would have a long day in the Grove.  As I was getting out of the shower, My dad yelled that a red car had pulled up.  It was Anna & Nathan!  She knew she wouldn't have a chance to see me all day since we would be in Oxford so it was an awesome surprise having them stop by on their busy day of errands.  It was another successful day in the Grove.  Our tables were overflowing and our cups were continuously emptied.  Our little group has been fabulous all year, taking orders from me and always bringing their A-game.  They were so sweet to remember my birthday (Thanks honey for letting them know how big of a deal my birthday is) and they had a super sweet champagne toast and Ashley, one of the sweet wives made special birthday cupcake for me complete with the entire group singing Happy Birthday!  I got to spend my day surrounded by so many friends in the place I love.  We didn't get the win, but I'm not sad. It just means we get to put this disappointing season behind us.  In my opinion, we can't feel too terrible about the outcome of our season. We knew this was going to be a difficult year and we happened to be in the toughest division in the toughest conference in the county.  Hotty Toddy Y'all!!  Now we can give all our cheers to the Rebel basketball squad. I think this might be our year to make it to the big dance :)  On Sunday, 3 of my best girlfriends, Ashley, Jene, and Hannah took me to brunch.  It was super yummy and it was so nice to spend a couple of hours with them just talking.  It was quite the holiday weekend!  I'm sharing some pictures below from the weekend.  I don't have a picture of Ben & I yet, so hopefully I'll get that one posted soon :)

Enjoying Happy Birthday to Me in the Grove after the game

Beautiful bday present from Ben

Birthday cupcakes Ashley made!

Did y'all know Layla was a model & making us boocoodles of $$??

Birthday breakfast Ice Cream Cake!!

Another Grove birthday cake for all the November babies!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Traditions

My Thanksgiving plans for this year include:
What an exciting week we have planned!  We are heading up to North MS on Wednesday afternoon once Ben gets off work (I have the day off, whoopee!!).  We will spend Thanksgiving at my Nana's house eating way way too much and watching football.  We're heading to Oxford on Friday to watch Ole Miss take on Penn State in basketball.  Saturday is my BIRTHDAY!!!  We will be in our favorite place cheering on the Rebels as they pick up their final win of the season! HOTTY TODDY!

My favorite Thanksgiving was:
All of the Thanksgivings when I was growing up and when all the grandchildren were still kids.  We usually have Thanksgiving at my Mom's brother's huge farmhouse that sits on a ton of land.  After we finished eating, the men would go across the field to shoot skeet.  The kids would jump on the 4-wheelers or my favorite, the "mule" and ride until the wheels would just about fall off.  Or we would ride one of their horses.  Or play a good game of football.  Just like on corny family commercials.

My signature Thanksgiving dish is:
I have to be honest.  Last year was the first year I contributed to Thanksgiving dinner.  I made oreo balls.  Totally not a Thanksgiving dessert, but I do not like pecan or pumpkin pie so I wanted to make something that my tastebuds would desire.  Of course they were a hit, that is the ones that actually made it over to my aunt & uncle's house.  This year I am making a more traditional Thanksgiving Dish.  Mac & Cheese, not any mac & cheese, but Ben's grandmother, Mama Jean's mac & cheese.  It's going to change lives Thursday.

My favorite Thanksgiving food is:
Stuffing.  My aunt makes the best stuffing there ever was.  I'm salivating thinking about it.

Thanksgiving is:
my absolute favorite holiday, of course you knew that because you read this earlier post. It's a day for delicious food and time spent with family enjoying good conversation.  It's the one day of the year I do not feel guilty about consuming a week's worth of calories in one day.  It's football watching all day, better yet, all weekend. 

I am thankful for:
the Lord from whom all blessings come.  I am thankful to have such a wonderful husband and the best family and friends ever.  This year I am especially thankful for my Mama, after her health scare in October it really made me realize how much I take for granted.  I am thankful that God has blessed me with a great internship that is preparing me to be a better audiologist.  I'm thankful that I have a roof over my head and food in my pantry.  I am thankful for Layla.  I am thankful for my health.

Thanksgiving 2009
Share your Thanksgiving traditions!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lasagna Soup

I made this for dinner last night and I could barely finish my meal from all the "mmmming" I was doing.  Ben has rehearsals every night of the week, except those reserved for the Lord, for Scrooge the Musical that he is performing in December meaning I have been eating some lonely meals so I thought I'd make something super yummy and comforting.  No worries, there were plenty left over for Ben to enjoy today at lunch.  I wish I had packed myself a bigger bowl, I'm such a fattie.

My classmate Katie shared this recipe with me in the Spring and I made it once before it got to warm outside for me to actually enjoy eating soup.  I definitely don't remember it being this tasty.  Thanks again Katie for sharing this hearty dish.

Tastes Like Lasagna Soup

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. Italian sausage (we like Jimmy Dean, it's in the gold packaging with regular sausage)
1 red & green bell pepper, diced (you can certainly just use one pepper if you like)
1 med. onion, diced
3 gloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes (I like Hunt's with the Italian seasonings added for extra POP!)
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce (they might sell a big can but I just stick with what I know)
1 32 oz carton of chicken stock
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (if these are too scary, leave them out)
2-3 tsp. Italian seasoning
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1/4 c. grated parmesean cheese
6-8 oz. lasagna noodles, broken up (I used about 8 or so noodles)

In a large pot (or dutch oven if you're fortunate enough to own one), heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add sausage, peppers, onions, and garlic.  Stir occasionally until sausage is no longer pink.  Drain.  Return to pot and add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken stock, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and salt & pepper. Stirring occasionally, bring to a boil and then reduce heat.  Let simmer for about 20 minutes.  Next, add the broken lasagna noodles and parmasean cheese.  Cook for about 12-15 to cook the lasagna noodles, stirring occasionally.  Top each serving with mozzarella cheese. 

Super delicious without all the work of layering!  Next time I might even add mushrooms. Yum!  Hope y'all enjoy!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


It is my favorite month.  Everyone has a favorite month, or they should and I am currently enjoying mine.  There's a gazillion reasons to love the month of November.  For starters, it is the month I celebrate my birth.  Now that you know, you can start celebrating too!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE celebrating my birthday.  I always wondered if my love for my birthday would start to diminish the older I got, but oh boy it hasn't!  I have always felt that my birthday celebration should last for about a week (Lord, bless my dear parents and now my poor husband).  However, I feel that they should consider themselves lucky since I have a dear friend who thinks that February should be called "Annauary."  Back to November, if you think about it, I bet you have a lot of friends that celebrate birthdays in November.  I sure do.  Ben's parents both have birthdays in November, me and his mom share our birthday!  My Nana has her birthday this wonderful month and I can think of about a dozen other folks I know with November birthdays.  Now, think back 9 months, February, Valentine's day and BOOM there's your explanation for the abundance of November birthdays.  Back to why I love November.  Well my favorite holiday falls in November. Yes, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday & it should be yours too.  What other day of the year can you eat until the buttons snap off of your pants and not feel guilty about it?  We're giving thanks, right?  In November, we here in the South finally start getting a taste of fall.  It is the start of the holiday season.  We get to enjoy college football AND college basketball all at the same time. I have a million tiny little reasons why November is a great month and they include wearing scarves, black Friday, hot apple cider, beautiful trees, seeing your breath when you are outside, Chili (yum yum), autumn scented candles, wearing boots, Christmas shopping...I could go on and on and on.  Reading this post, one might come to think that I love cold weather, I actually despise it.  But in November, it's just chilly enough to bust out all the sweaters that have been stowed away and  the cute coats but not feel like your nose might fall off when you walk outside to check your mail.  Come mid-December, I'm ready for the sweat beads on the back of my neck and the humidity that takes my breath away to be back.  Hope everyone enjoys this glorious month.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Happy 2 Years!!

I'll start by apologizing for the lack of posts lately.  I am also going to apologize for the length of this post.  Ben & I celebrated 2 wonderful years of marriage yesterday.  It's amazing how much my love for Ben continues to grow after all these years..haha.  As I told you in an earlier post that we had originally planned to take a long weekend and go to DisneyWorld but thanks to a SURPRISE! car repair, we could no longer afford it.  God does work in mysterious ways.  Let me explain in a short, conscise manner.  2 weeks ago today, my mom was admitted to the hospital because there was fluid surrounding her heart and lungs.  After running multiple tests, they couldn't determine where the fluid was coming from but they did discover that my mom has a weak heart.  They did a cathader and to my mom's surprise they found no blockages. She was sure being a Southern-bred woman who doesn't enjoy healthy foods, they would find some blockages. However, her heart is just a weak pumper.  Praise the Lord this can be treated with meds.  After a week in the hospital and 62lbs lighter (all fluid baby) she finally got to go home.   So instead of go to see Mickey, we went home to see my already healthier mama and spend much needed time with family and friends.  

Saturday, we took Kinsley to Cedar Hill Farm to partake in fun fall activities.  When we first pulled up I thought this is going to be super lame, but I had a change of heart after I saw Kinsley having an absolute ball.  She got to ride a pony for the first time, ride on a tractor-train mobile, pet farm animals, enjoy a hayride & pick out a pumpkin!  Enjoy the pictures.

 Thanks to our day off from work, we got to spend our entire anniversary together.  It was such a relaxing day.  We slept in and enjoyed coffee in bed.  We went to Saw's BBQ for lunch which is definitely the best BBQ in Birmingham.  We strolled through shops and drove different parts of the city admiring all the beautiful neighborhoods.  We finished the day by cooking dinner together.  It was the most simple, delicious meal and it was perfect dish to celebrate our marriage.  We had leftover taco meat from a few nights before so we threw together Nacho Bread Pizzas, which is by far the best thing you could do with leftover taco meat and French bread.  The recipe follows below. 

End of the day, Don't Hate.

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad

Nacho Bread Pizza
1 loaf French Bread, cut in half and then cut in half lengthwise
1/2 lb. taco meat
1 can black beans, drained
1 can Rotel tomatores or 1 fresh tomato diced
Jalepeno slices
1 c. shredded Mexican blend cheese
Shredded lettuce, sour cream, & black olives for topping

Preheat oven to 350.  In a medium saucepan, heat the black beans and meat together until thoroughly heated.  Hollow out the center of the bread  (feed to whatever 4-legged creature is hanging around) so the 2 halves look like miniature boats.  Sprinkle a thin layer of cheese and pop into oven for about 6 minutes.  Remove from oven and spread meat mixture over melted cheese.  Next, add the Rotel tomatoes and jalepeno slices.  Add any other "Mexican" toppings that you would like.  Top with the rest of the cheese.  Bake in the oven for an additional 7-8 minutes to melt the top layer of cheese.  Top with sour cream, lettuce, black olives, and fresh tomatoes.  Enjoy!

I'll end this post by sharing some of my favorite pictures from our wedding.  Looking at these never gets old and they are a great reminder of the day Ben & I started our lives together. 

731 days &counting!

Friday, October 8, 2010

We're Nomads....& A Recipe!

I have been a major slacker when it comes to blogging lately.  For the most part, our lives have been pretty routine.  We have just been doing the usual, working for the weekends and watching the weekends slip by way too quickly.  We have spent the last 5 weekends traveling to watch the Rebels play and its been a roller coaster so far.  This week has been the first one where I have felt exhausted throughout the entire week, I guess it's finally all catching up with me.  No worries though, I can rest when Spring rolls around.  Last weekend, we had an early game so my mom graciously drove to Oxford to pick Ben & I up (we carpool with our friends from Birmingham) so we could spend the evening with them and I could visit my little obsession, Kinsley.  It was a quick trip but hearing "Hey lulu" and "ubs you" (love you) from that sweet, enthusiastic little voice never gets old.  This weekend we are heading to Georgia to see Ben's parents and grandmother.  We are also going to the UGA/UT game on Saturday...GO DAWGS! SIC EM!  We haven't had a trip to Ben's parents in almost a year so we are really looking forward to it.  Patrick & Megan are going with us and we are very excited about getting to share the weekend with them and be a part of their first trip to Athens. 

We've got a few adventures coming up in the upcoming month.  My best friend Anna and her husband, Nathan are coming to visit us next weekend!  She is expecting and I haven't seen her since Lucy Kate was a little peanut and now Anna's halfway through prenancy!  I can't wait to rub that little baby bump and see them.  Anna & I are going to go to the Junior League of Birmingham's The Market while the boys spend the day watching football.  I am very excited to show them our new city, a place we truly love.  The following weekend Ben & I will celebrate our 2nd anniversary.  I  can't believe how fast its gone by, but it has been the best 2 years.  We had planned a trip to Disney World but God had other plans in store for us (we had to use our savings for Disney on an unexpected car repair) so we are going to keep the days we had taken off and just spend time together.  Disney will always be there and I'm sure Layla won't mind a weekend away from camp and home with us.  Also, in early November I have to take comps so I can get a license to practice Audiology when I graduate in May.  Totally not looking forward to this, I have been out of the study mode for quite some time.  Prayers are greatly appreciated :)

Here is one of the yummy goodies I took to the Grove last weekend.  They were a hit and were gone before the 11:21 kickoff.  The recipe says it makes 24+ pinwheels, but thats a lie.  I'd double the recipe if you want at least that many. 

Creamy Spinach Pinwheels

1 package of Crescent Rolls

1 8 oz. package of cream cheese (softened)
1 package of frozen spinach (defrosted and drained)
1 tbsp. minced garlic
¼ cup parmesan Cheese (Shaky Version)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl mix together the softened cream cheese, drained spinach, garlic, cheese, salt and pepper.  Pop open can of Crescent Rolls. It will be divided into 2 sections. Carefully unroll 1 section and pinch together the seams so it is one piece of dough.  Spread ½ of the spinach mixture over the dough leaving ¼ inch around the edge.  Roll the dough long ways, and slice into pieces 1 inch thick.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Kinsley on the ride back to Oxford

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Holy Masoli!

My husband informed me Sunday as we were returning to Birmingham that college football season was a quarter of the ways through.  It is pretty crazy that we've already experienced 3 weekends of college football.  These weekends weren't what we were expecting as far as football goes but they have been just as fun nonetheless!  It has been a blast being back in the Grove and seeing so many old friends.  The weather has been delightful and the food super delicious.  We traveled to the Big Easy for the 2nd weekend to see the Rebels take on Tulane.  We had a grand time down there and the French Quarter transformed into Oxford for the weekend.  We stayed with one of our new friends, who grew up just outside NOLA and still lives there.  She really did a fine job of showing us a good time.  I have a few pictures to share of the first few weekends.  Most are from cameras not belonging to me which is why there is only one of me and the Mr.  I promise that will change as the season progresses and I remember to start bringing it with me :)

Chowing down on beignets at Cafe Du Monde

The ladies on Bourbon
Our Season Ticket group, minus a few!
Jeremiah Masoli, Our pretty darn good Samoan QB!

Those are just a few of the snapshots of our amazingly fun weekends in Oxford or wherever the Rebels lead us!  We saw Jeremiah Masoli on the Square Saturday night following the loss to Vanderbilt.  I gave him a fist pump & then asked for a picture, knowing he wouldn't tell a Southern girl no.  I wish I would have asked who his dental hygienist was since they have clearly done a fine job on his pearly whites.  Anyways, I still have some hope left in our team.  They are a hard-working bunch and I will continue to support them through good times and the bad times (me and the Rebels have our own little vows).  This lady will always have a good time on Saturdays in the fall whether its a "W" or "L" in the results column!  Y'all can find me under the red tent with a red solo cup in hand. 

Hotty Toddy, Y'all.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Beauty Bag

One of my favorite bloggers does a weekly post every Wednesday sharing what she's loving.  She always finds the most rad items.  She has some amazing internet searching skills and I am jealous that I can never find that cool of stuff on my own, I always need some guidance.  Well I thought I'd do a little spin-off of "What I'm Loving Wednesdays" and do my own what I'm loving.  Only I'm gonna share my favorite getting pretty products.  Now I am a no frills type of girl, or so I think.  I usually stick to the basics.  I don't use 829 products when getting ready in the morning.  My make-up for a night on the town is the same as the make-up I apply to come to work testing little kiddo's hearing.  Sometimes, I might add eyeliner to my lower lashes and maybe even extend it all the way to the inner corners...exciting, I know. I am just pretty darn simple.  HOWEVER, there are a handful of items that I cannot live without.  I for one think that every woman should use every single one of the following products I am about to list, with the exception of maybe one.

I must admit I was slightly skeptical when I first tried it. I really thought it was a gimmick to spend more money in the Bare Minerals store, but after one pump, I was in love.  One little pump is all it takes to make your skin feel like a blank canvas ready to be beautified.  It feels oh so wonderful and really does give your makeup something to grab hold.  BM even makes a version for you ladies that have oiler skin types. 

Next up is CoverGirl VolumeBlast Mascara

Don't mascara commercials make you want to jump in your car to run to Walgreens to purchase the product that makes you look like you have stilettos growing out of your eyelids?  Well the VolumeBlast commercial sure had me running to the car.  I haven't tried another mascara since I started using VolumeBlast, not even the free samples BM gives me when I spend way more than I should while in that store.  Seriously, this stuff is awesome.  No clumps or flaking and I think it makes my eyelashes look volumelicious!

I know, another BM product but there makeup is great.  Besides being super awesome because its 100% natural, its NOT sticky!  Thats right ladies, not sticky.  It doesn't feel like I just applied a glue stick to my pouter.  This might just be my crazy self, but I swear it even has an "iced coffee" taste too it.  This little baby is always in my bag.  She is the perfect topping to BM lipstick in "bread pudding."  Makes you hungry doesn't it?

Now for the night time, Target's Up & Up Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover

Note:  Not my hand.

I heard about this stuff from someone who said they loved this stuff, best eye makeup remover they had ever used.  Now, this was someone I would normally not take advice from but against my better judgement I decided to try.  I was pretty amazed that this person was on target (no pun intended, ha.)  I dont lose half of my volumelicious eyelashes attempting to take my makeup off.  Although it's oil-free, it still feels oily but doesn't break the area around my eyes out like other products had.  It is a little tricky to travel with, as it tends to leak so I have to put it in a ziploc but still love it.

This is the one product those of you who were blessed with gorgeous, thick hair would not need.  An awesome hairstylist and owner of Bloom Salon & Spa recommended this to me when she did a (fantastic) job on my hair in July.  You use it at night and it works over time creating a build-up that does something magical that makes your hair look fuller.  It is super concentrated, your only supposed to use one pump but my hair is as fine as it comes so I double it up with 2 pumps.  I can really tell a difference after a week or so of consistent applications.  The best part is the scent.  It's a cross between spearmint and something else.  It makes me want to sleep with my hair cascading across my face so I can have sweet dreams.

Well, those are the few products I obsess over.  Nothing too outrageous but still girly enough.  

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Our Little Houdini

As you all know from reading previous posts, that we spent this past weekend away in Oxford for Grovin' & football.  Unfortunately, for Layla, this means she has to go to the kennel, or as we lovingly refer to it as "camp."  Well this particular weekend at camp was quite adventurous for our child. 

Saturday, as the football team is running out of juice and the fans are running out of excitement, I get a call from the vet.  Of course, the whole stadium is yelling and the old men behind us are yapping about what play they would have run, so all I can make out is that "This is Dr. So&So at Standifer and Layla has had an accident," to which I explain to him that we are at a football game and I am passing the phone along to my husband who can hear better.  Better hearing or not, Ben cannot make out what Dr. So&So is saying so he tells him to call our number back and leave us a voicemail letting us know what is going on.  However, unknowing to either one of us, I did not have my voicemail set up on my rad new Iphone.  Immediately, following the game, we give the vet a call back only to learn that we were being answered by a calling service because the vet's office had already closed for the day.  While we were worried, we knew it couldn't be too terrible or the calls from the vet's office would have been persistent.  Finally, on Sunday afternoon we get the "accident" from the doctor.  While our little angel was out during her run on Saturday, apparently with little or no supervision, she was able to get the "difficult to manuever" latch open and escape into a large area that is on the property of the vet's clinic.  In the process, she managed to rip, according to Ben, " a large, jagged L-shaped tear" in one of her ears that required stitches.  Of course, while Ben is on the phone with the doctor I am sitting beside him in the car getting little bits of information from Ben's responses and drawing my own conclusions (Thank goodness mine were way worse than the actual event).  Ben gets off the phone and explains the situation (no, not the Jersey Shore situation (WT))  My doggie motherly instincts kicked in and my first thoughts were what if she had been hit with by a car or someone dognapped her??  Our seconds thoughts were, I sure hope they don't expect us to pay for the medical services she needed. We had to wait until Tuesday to pick her up thanks (graciously) to Labor Day.  Ben decides he will do it since he is the man and all...As soon as the receptionist heard his name she paged the Dr. Standifer, not Dr. So&So but the Dr. Standifer.  He gives Ben a tour of where it the accident happened and explained that they don't master lock the latches in case there is a fire or accident.  He was extremely apologetic and said that Layla had been staying inside the receptionists office that day.  He showed Ben the tear and gave him antibiotics to give Layla twice a day.  He also offered for us to bring Layla in everyday this week so she can have supervision while we are away at work.  And no, he didn't mention a cent to us, this doctor knows how to run a business.  And while I hate my Layla had to endure this pain, she is a super smart girl and knew this was the weekend to try it since it would be the most expensive weekend of boarding we will have during football season due to the holiday.  While we were gung-ho about never taking her there again when we were told the story over the phone, we have since had a change of heart after seeing how it happened and all well they treated Layla and us during the whole ordeal.  Everyone deserves a 2nd chance right?

The meds were kicking in..

Ben says she looks like a Nun
Our Little Houdini