Friday, July 21, 2017

five on friday

Happy Friday! It's going to be 95* here today & tomorrow, so I'm hoping the called for isolated thunderstorms hit us. I don't want to wish summer away, but I'm ready for cooler temperatures. I'm linking up with Five on Friday for the first time in a while. Here's what we've been up to.

I've been having some throat and swallowing issues. Tuesday I had an upper endoscopy and had my throat stretched. After living on soft foods for over a month, I'm looking forward to trying to eat Mexican tonight. For a girl who LOVES her food, living on applesauce and oatmeal, etc. has not been easy. 

We went on the Sunday School picnic with my father-in-law on Sunday. Landon had a great day playing on the playground and sliding down the high slide. And boy, was that slide HOT! It didn't phase him one bit though. How cute does he look modeling my latest shirt design?
I've been dreaming of this pear-color KitchenAid mixer. My current one is cobalt blue and works just fine, so I really don't need a new one. But it's still fun to think about. It would match my new kitchen linens so well. 

I'm slowly buying artwork for our living room walls. It's been a work in progress because it's so hard for me to find prints I like. One of my favorite things I've bought is this print by Billy Jacobs - Spring Cleaning on the Farm. Sign up for emails and you'll usually get a code to save at least 40%.

5. And in book news... If your looking for funny, light-hearted mystery, you should definitely pick up the latest in the Jaine Austen Mystery Series, Death of a Bachelorette.  I truly laugh out loud when reading this series. It's just a fun escape. Give this a try and if you like it, you can start from the beginning with This Pen for Hire.

Monday, June 26, 2017

potato salad (just like mama used to make)

My grandma made the best potato salad and I'm always happy to make it for our family holidays or any time really. It's the perfect side dish and everyone always smiles when I put the bowl on the table. It's like my grandma is right there with us in spirit.

I love how easy this is to throw together and especially like that you don't have to peel the potatoes first.  I mix everything up in a huge roasting pan and then transfer it to a serving bowl before adding the sliced eggs and a dash of paprika on top. Be sure to stir really well and you'll get that perfect blend of diced and mashed potatoes that gives that wonderful creamy texture. Try this out for your 4th of July festivities. It's sure to become a fast family favorite.

Potato Salad (Just Like Mama's)
5 lbs Idaho Potatoes
Half Medium White Onion, finely chopped
Sweet Baby Wholes, small/medium chop
6 Hard-Boiled Eggs
Hellman's Mayonnaise
Yellow Mustard
Celery Salt
One teaspoon sugar

Boil potatoes with skin on in salted water, cook just until soft. Allow to cool. Peel and dice potatoes. Add a few tablespoons of pickle juice to potatoes. Peel and mash 3 or 4 eggs (leave rest for top).   Stir in mayonnaise, about a tablespoon of mustard, eggs, onion and pickles. Add celery salt and sugar to taste.  Taste and adjust accordingly.  Just before serving, slice remaining eggs and place on top, followed by a light sprinkle of paprika. (I was out of paprika when I made this for Father's Day as the photo shows). 


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Thursday, June 15, 2017

father's day gifts

Cracker Barrel sent me some products to try to help us celebrate Father's Day.  Landon was excited to help me wrap up some presents for daddy. On Sunday morning, Mike will have a new favorite album, shirt and cap. I was really tempted to keep the cap for myself because it's so soft and feels just worn in enough to be super comfortable. 

Mike has always been a Lynyrd Skynyrd fan, so I know the album will be a winner. I love the bit of nostalgia that comes from playing albums and that raw sound you can't get from music downloads. Records and hot summer days just seem to go together.

If you still need some Father's Day gifts, stop by Cracker Barrel to see what they have for the dads on your list. There's plenty to choose from or you can grab a gift card and let dad pick his own gifts. You can also shop online here. There's even a dad-approved gift guide to help you choose. 

Happy Father's Day! 

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

summer so far

Our summer is off to a great start. We've been spending time at the pool, enjoying evenings on the front porch and watching marathons of Naked and Afraid. Here's a few things that's keeping us busy...

I ordered this Octopus sprinkler from Pottery Barn Kids back in 2012. I had big plans for it and then it seemed to disappear. Mike and I both thought it had got thrown away with some other boxes and I was so disappointed. Imagine my surprise when we found it with some old Christmas decorations back during the holidays. We are loving it!!

Landon LOVES building forts and usually has one one built on our couch or chair at all times.  It's usually covered with all my throw pillows and blankets. He loves it, but it can get to be a bit of a mess. Well, last week my mom scored a Crazy Forts building set at a yard sale for $5. What a fabulous find!! He loves it and I'm so glad.  Just build the frame, toss some pillows inside and a sheet or blanket over the top and you're all set. She's keeping the yard sale find at her house and ordered this one for him to use at home. I'm so excited to have our living room back...and still let him have his fort.

We're doing a summer reading program that starts on June 25th. It runs for 6 Sundays. I'm excited that I'll have a few free hours for Target while he's busy learning. In the meantime, I found some fun worksheets here.

We're heading to Tennessee later this month to see the Titanic exhibit. I'll share more on that soon.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

tiramisu macarons

I had a little bit of time on Sunday to whip up some  Macarons. I decided to go with a Tiramisu version just because it sounded good. And, oh my goodness, were they good.  The shell has a little bit of espresso powder mixed in and the filling is marscapone and heavy cream. It's hard to go wrong with that combination.

So many people want to try macarons, but are too scared of failure. I say go for it.  I'm certainly no expert, but I've made them four times now and they've turned out each time.  My batter has looked different enough each time that I'm sure it's my fail batch, but I'm still four for four.  And a friend paid me the best compliment I could have asked for and said these tasted just as good as the macrons she ate in Paris. Just WOW to hearing that.

For these tiramisu macarons, I used this recipe.  If you decide to try macarons for the first time, here's my advice.

// Read several macaron recipes to find the one that makes the most sense to you. Even though the ingredients are basically the same, the writing style of the directions can make a difference in how competent you feel trying these out.  

// Use a food scale.

I hope you'll give macarons a try. They are so worth it!

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Friday, April 21, 2017

five on friday

Hooray for Friday! It's my birthday weekend (Sunday) and we're leaving for vacation later next week.  I'm excited to get this weekend started. I'm linking up with Five on Friday again this week. Let's jump right in.

We're grilling out at my sister's house tomorrow evening. We're going to have hot dogs, a few yummy sides and my birthday dessert. My mom is fixing my favorite strawberry pretzel jello dessert. I LOVE the combination of salty and sweet. I don't know exactly which recipe she uses, but if you Google the name, lots of recipes/versions will come up.  Back to the hot dogs for a moment - we like ours with chili, slaw and onion. That's a true WV Dog. What's your favorite hot dog fixins'?

This little guy lost his fourth tooth yesterday. His teeth have been slow to fall out and he was so excited to finally loose a front tooth. How funny is that face?! Oh, he melts this momma's heart.

I treated myself to a little early birthday gift today. My go-to bag is my Vera Bradley Betsy in Very Berry Paisley. I wanted a small wallet to take on vacation instead of my larger one, so I found this cute little matching tri-fold on eBay. Brand new with tags and under $20.  I love a good deal!

I was in Target earlier this week picking up a few things we need for our upcoming beach trip. Besides our usual sunblock, I also picked up a bottle of Sun Bum.  It smells so good! I'll let you know how it works.

And now in book news... 
I like to use vacations as a time to read some old favorites and catch up on my magazines. Vacation is all about relaxing after all. That means my stack of beach books may look something like the picture above.   Book news will be back on May 12th with my top summer picks. 
Have a great weekend!!
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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

blueberry bread pudding

I need a t-shirt that says "I Heart Bread Pudding". Seriously, I would wear it. I really do love bread pudding and this blueberry version does not disappoint. It's amazingly good. If you're looking for something for your Easter breakfast buffet or need the perfect dish to take along to your Sunrise Service Breakfast, this is it. You can make it the night before so there's no early morning fuss. I like it with a bit of whipped cream, but I bet a bit of warm maple syrup would be good too.

Blueberry Bread Pudding
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup cream
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 pound Italian or sturdy white bread, 1" cubes
2 cups fresh blueberries

Butter a 3-quart baking dish and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs slightly with whisk. Add milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon & nutmeg. Fold in bread and berries. Pour into baking dish - cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Heat oven to 350. Bake pudding uncovered until golden and puffy (start checking after one hour). Don't overbake - center will be custardy. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

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