Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bon Appetit

A couple months ago John & I settled into the couch to watch a movie. He had rented the movie, Julie & Julia, knowing that I had been wanting to see it since it first came out in the theaters.

During the movie John looks at me and says, "I didn't know who Julia Child was".
(Me) *takes in a breath* huh? Seriously?
(John) Well I have heard of her by name but didn't know she was a famous cookbook writer, Chef and TV personality.
(Me) WOW! Don't you remember me watching her when we lived in Louisiana.....she came on right after Justin Wilson----the guy who always wiped his snotty nose while cooking and said....How y'all are? and I guar-ron-tee!! That was the only hour I sat in front of the TV all day. To watch Julia & Justin teach me how to cook.
(John) I remember Justin.

So yeah- that was a bit of a shocking conversation for me. I couldn't believe he didn't know who she was!

We both love to cook & both love trying new foods no matter how scary they look or how intimidating the recipe is. There isn't a vegetable that we don't eat. If the food is seasoned just right--it's going to be delicious!

So after watching this movie and seeing them make the Boeuf Bourguignon we knew we HAD to try it!

So I bought all the ingredients, read the recipe thoroughly, and chose a Sunday to make it so I could put all my focus on the meal.

(photo isn't the was an after thought)

Along with the Boeuf Bourguignon I also made (from the cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking) Sauteed Mushrooms & Brown-Braised Onions. I made mashed fingerling potatoes & crescent rolls to go along with it. I would have opened a can of Le Sueur peas but I didn't have one.

This was the BEST beef stew I have ever made!! Actually John said it was the best beef stew he has EVER put in his mouth. He is a v e r y slow eater as it is---but this day he ate even slooooower. I asked him why--he said he wanted to savor every bite! All three dishes were AMAZING!!!! The gravy most outstanding!!!

I can't wait to try out one of her desserts.

Oh and if you haven't seen the movie yet....RENT IT!!! It was wonderful. Not only did it tell the story of both Julie & Julia and their love of cooking, it was a beautiful love story between Julia & her husband Paul....about their life long commitment to each other - about their love for each other..... I actually cried a few times! (I'm a big emotional sap anyway)


Friday, January 29, 2010

ATC Quilt

I am almost done making the blocks for Johns ATC quilt top. I have changed my mind numerous times on the design of this quilt. Remember the star block I blogged about? I decided I didn't like it, on this quilt anyway, so I won't be using it. Maybe I'll make a pillow out of it.

I am excited to be nearing completion.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pinnacle Mountain

January 18th (MLK Day) John & I took Reeses and hiked Pinnacle Mountain.
I think everyone else had the same idea. It was very busy. The weather was also unusually warm for was close to 70 degrees.

It was a struggle to climb up with all the people hiking. Also we had to slow down or stop all together several times because 2 women broke their leg coming down the mountain and the park rangers & EMT's were treating them.

Here is a view from on top of Pinnacle. I'm going to try to stand in this same spot every month and take a picture. It'll be neat to watch everything bloom & change.

"everything the light touches is your kingdom"

Reeses was so tired and hiking back down the mountain can be tricky--so we put Reeses in the backpack. We thought he was going to freak out but he actually loved it!

He ended up falling asleep on the way down.

It was an awesome workout. I can't wait to go again next month.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Buddha Hand Citron

Have you seen one of these before? I never had until I walked into Whole Foods back in November. I picked it up, smelled it, and thought what in the world do you do with this thing. About 1 week later, as I was surfing the web, I came across a site that told you what to do with this fruit! Yes, it's a fruit. I studied all about this wonderfully crazy, amazing, fragrant, kinda scary looking fruit....I am in love with the 'Buddha Hand Citron' now!
It is centuries old- it traces back to Northeastern India & China. It is very fragrant, very citrus, with a hint of floral. Some people in China use them to fragrant their rooms. The entire fruit is edible. It contains no juice at all. The inside, called pith, is solid white and is not bitter, unlike other citrus, and can even be eaten raw. Sadly it's not truly delicious...until you make Succade!
Candy, that is!!

Cut the Buddha hand in half and then slice it into strips....chop the strips into chunks.

Put them into a saucepan and add 3 cups water & 3 cups sugar. On medium heat bring it to a boil. Once it boils turn it down to a simmer.

The syrup will start to thicken and the fruit will become translucent. You want to continue to cook until the syrup reaches the thread stage (230* F) Once it reaches the thread stage take it off the heat and let it rest in the pot for at least 30 minutes.

Strain the fruit trying to get as much of the syrup off as possible. (Save the syrup) Spread the candy on parchment paper to dry. It will take about a day. A fine crystallized coating will form on the outside. The candy may now be stored in an airtight container and used however you see fit!

Here is the Succade after it has been dried. It's quite yummy. I have been eating it out of the container...I think I might make Morning Glory Muffins and add some of these instead of pineapple. Oh and the is yummy in a cup of black tea, it makes it taste just like a cup of Earl Grey.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Wait till Helen Comes

A couple of my students (girls) read this book and loved it. My mother then read it and she loved it. So I decided to read it. I would say it's a must read if you are a preteen (if not scared of suspense)--heck, even an adult! :)

It's about Molly & her younger brother, Michael & their bratty step-sister, Heather. Their parents marry & move them out in the country where they live in an old church. There is an old graveyard on the property....they explore the graveyard and something happens to Heather. She starts talking weird----saying things like, Wait till Helen Comes, you'll be sorry!

Go to your local library and check it out.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pajama Party

January's Bunko was held at Shawna's house & the theme was Pajamas! It's so much fun to dress up and hang with the girls, act silly, laugh and play Bunko!
We ate Italian food & drank yummy Pomegranate Martinis.

Becky, Renee, Beth & Teri at the head table.

Michelle, Diana & I.

Sunny & Becky looking cute in their rollers.

Shawna & I being silly.....and Jennifer in the background laughing at us. (too many martinis...tehehe)

Michelle was the Bunko winner and walked away with the $70 prize....Sunny got the most Wins & walked away with $30 & Beth had the most Losses so she got $20.

The Girls

Can't wait for next months....the theme....Valentines of course!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Doggy Quilt

I was at Hobby Lobby the other day picking out a gift for my friend Shawna's new home. Of course when one is at Hobby Lobby you can't just go in & stay in 1 section of the store. I had to meander around and look at all the new merchandise.

I found my way to the back where all the material & sewing supplies are.....imagine that! I was quite pleased when I came across a sign that read, "fat quarter bundles $9.99" I have an obsession with fat quarters (John calls them Fat Backs....cracks me up) so I had to stop and check them out. I was pleasantly surprised to find a bundle just perfect for the quilt I want to make Reeses!
I showed Reeses the material and he gave me his approval....he licked it!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Delurker Day-Mornings

Yesterday was Delurker day....a day where the Lurkers come out of the closet and comment on our post...introduce ourselves....don't be shy! I am so guilty myself.....lurking around and never commenting. But last night I did comment on every. single. blog. I. read!! By time I got done I was tired! I forgot to write my own post. So here is to Delurker Day a day late....better late than never, right?!

Since school started back on January 5th the morning temperatures have been in the 20's or below. It was windy, cold, icy, one day the low was 11 degrees! Let me just tell you it sucks to be freezing, to the point of uncontrollable shivers, and have to....Check the fluid levels, pre-trip IN & OUTside of bus....making sure all lights are working and that the tires are in good shape etc....etc....
After I am done with all that (it takes about 10 minutes) I sit in my car to warm up; Thank goodness I park right behind my bus! Just as the shivers subside it is time to get out of the warm car and back into the cold air.....and into the COLD bus! It takes a good 45 minutes for my bus to warm up completely.

I am SO ready for SPRING!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Family Dinner Date

On Tuesday we had our first dinner date of 2010!

We met downtown Little Rock in the River Market area (where both girls work) Meg had to work that night so we chose a restaurant close by. We decided on "Flying Fish" which is one of our favorites!

We all ordered the Tilapia Fish Tacos....they are AMAZINGLY delicious!!!

Along with the great food we had wonderful conversations. These nights, although short sometimes, are memories I will forever cherish.

Our hour and a half was up....Meg had to get to work; we all walked her the two blocks to the Saucer. John & I then walked Tori a few blocks to her car. As we walked back to our vehicle hand in hand we talked about how lucky we were to have these two as our daughters.

I *heart* Family Night!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


We are 10 days into the new year! So far it has been amazing!!

John started a new schedule this year. We are still trying to get adjusted to it, it's been really weird-but in a good way. He now works a day shift on Fridays-he has Friday nights OFF! This is the first time in over 22 years he doesn't have a night shift on a Friday. We celebrated his first Friday night going out with a couple friend of ours. We ate great Mexican, had great Margaritas & laughed till our stomachs hurt.

We also get to workout together Sunday-Tuesday at the gym. I have really missed working out with him. This summer he whipped my bootie in shape----I need that again because I was a naughty girl over the holidays, ate everything in sight and gained 5 1/2 pounds.

On Wednesday & Thursday nights I do an hour on the elliptical with my 2 girlfriends, Shawna & Sunny. John says we burn just as many calories running our mouths as we do on the machine...haha! I'm also going on Saturday mornings with Shawna and we are doing a 65 minute elliptical workout. At this rate those pounds should be off by the end of the month.

My girlfriends and I started a Bunko group. I'll be blogging about those crazy nights on here I'm sure. We are doing a dress & dinner theme each month. It's gonna be FUN! There will be a group picture every month. The first one is this Saturday.


I had a lady ask me on Facebook if I make/sell quilts for other people. (she is actually my sisters childhood bff) She loved the ones I made the girls. I was very flattered. I told her I thought about it but really not sure just yet. I am still making blocks for Johns....which by the way I think are coming out cute. I'll have to take some pictures and post what I've done so far.


I was lying in bed last night I was thinking about what I want to accomplish this year. So I decided to write it down in my journal.

My Goals for 2010:

* more quality time with John
* visit my girls more often at their home
* more family dinner dates
* more dinner & movie days with my mom & sisters
* more couple dates with great friends!
* Stay committed to my workouts.
* to not worry so much about the house being "perfectly clean"
*Sew a quilt for Reeses (yes, I said Reeses!)
* make the memory quilt out of my Dads old clothes
* sew a few summer tops & skirts
* go on more walks
*hike Pinnacle mtn. at least once a month
* visit more yard sales
*plant my vegetable garden (in the ground this year)
*crochet more
*make other Jams as well as my usual Strawberry
*read more books

I'm sure many more will come to mind.
I only have 8 months until Meg moves to Spain so those dinner dates and just time spent together will be at the top of my goals!!!

Have you wrote any goals for 2010?

Goals are dreams with deadlines. ~Diana Scharf Hunt

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Tori's Art Professor recommended her for a "Performance Scholarship" last month for her good performances in her Art & Photography classes. She received an e-mail yesterday & she GOT IT!!! Woo-hoo!!

I knew she would....that $700 a semester will pay for her books and some supplies (art & photography supplies are Expensive!!!)

So I thought I'd share some of her photography with you all.

The two above were taken at our favorite place in Georgia!

Her baby kitty, Lili.

Her best friend, Natalie on her wedding day.

These photos were the last two she developed in the darkroom last semester. She took them of her Dad & I for a class assignment....she framed them and gave them to us as a Christmas gift.

She has been hired to take photos of engaged couples. I absolutely love this one. She went to high school with this cute couple.

She took this photo of my sister & her family back in August at the Old Mill.

God definitely gifted the child with some talent!
I am proud of her!
Congratulations, Tori.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Snow Day!

It started snowing yesterday around 2 pm.

I woke up at 4 am, turned TV on and school had not been closed for the day. UGH....snow and 23 degrees out...brrrr....went and got in the shower, did hair, make-up, made lunch...etc..etc...getting ready to walk out the door at 5:35am and my brother called. The district had finally called it...we have a Snow Day!!

Well I had already been awake for almost 2 hours so going back to bed ain't gonna happen. I should do something productive since I am up....nah- I think I'll sit on the couch and chill with my dog.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I don't wanna!

Today is the last day of my winter break.
**sniff sniff**

This has been an amazing break! My girls came home for the 1st part and we had a wonderful time with them!!! John was off all last week and we had the BEST time abs still hurt from laughing so much.

Do I have to go back to work? I don't wanna! I really like being home! I get to cook, bake, clean & sew! The latter being my favorite, it has been so relaxing for me lately. I have had a strong desire everyday to sew since we moved the love seat into the room downstairs and made the spare room my sewing room. It's just so cozy.

I get to watch/listen to the TV as I sew...I have a portable heater in there so it's nice & toasty (this room is above the garage & it stays cold!) It has all the old country decor we've had since 1988. :)

I found this cubby/shelf thingy at Lowes and John put it together for me. All my fabric was shoved in that basket that's under the ironing now I'm all neat & organized. Being organized has made my creative wheels start turning. I have SO many projects in mind....and NOT enough time!

I put cork boards up on the wall...that way when I get an idea I can sketch it out and pin it to the board. After this picture was taken I had an idea for a sweater for Reeses....I measured him (which he didn't like) and then sat down and sewed it.
Here he is wearing it....calling them HOGS in the Liberty Bowl....Woooo Pig Soooie! It must have helped because they WON!!!

So I am going to enjoy this last day of of my winter break. John is back to work....the house is clean....I've baked banana I guess I'll go SEW some blocks for John's quilt!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Goodbye 2009....

Hard to believe that we are already in the year 2010.

John & I spent the last day of 2009 at our favorite Tattoo Shop.

We had plans to get these tattoos back in of 2008 when Tori graduated from High school & moved off to college.
Our plans stalled when John developed a small bump on his finger that grew & grew and ended up being a horrible staph infection that landed him in the hospital on the operating table. He spent nearly a week in there drugged up on morphine.

So needless to say the tattoos had to wait until the infection was totally out of his body. At least a year! So we were safe and waited 1 1/2.

So with that being said....

We decided that John surely was in the clear and we could go get the tattoos.

He was ready for the Dove tattoo to complete his arm.

The doves for both the girls symbolize the girls growing up and leaving home or "The Nest". They are both flying away from the nest looking back at it as a reminder of where they came from and of the love that will always be there for them.

John got his dove by Tori's name and decided to color it blue.

The dove for Meg (he got in 2006) he had blue color added to it.

The heart with my name in it was his first tattoo he got back in 1988. He had the tribal around it done a few years back. This arm represents the 3 most important women in his life!

I was SO excited to finally get mine as well. I had been wanting a tattoo on my wrist since John got his.
(he has one on each wrist)
I got a Poppy flower on my left wrist. I decided to get a traditional, old school tattoo.
My tattoo has so much value & meaning to me.

Poppies represent remembrance, sleep & in memory of my dad, who passed away in 2006 and who the grandchildren called, "Poppy", I got this tattoo.

But it also represents the loyalty & faith between lovers!! So this Poppy flower is in honor of my lover, John, my best friend, my soul-mate.