Tuesday, December 16, 2008

'Tis the Season...

Maybe it's just me but every year at this time when I see a certain company come out with these cups I know that the holiday season is in full swing. Starbucks red cups are among some of my favorite holiday items and I can't wait to fill one of these guys with my favorite beverage, a white chocolate mocha. What is your favorite drink to put in the red cup?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Get to Know Me

Kristin tagged everyone who reads her blog to participate in this Christmas Get to Know Me. Join in and play along.

1.Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. I love to wrap and unwrap presents.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial with pre-lit white lights. I'd love to have a real one but I don't want to spend the Christmas season with a stuffy nose.

3. When do you put up the tree? As soon as I can get some time. Hopefully, we'll get it done this weekend.

4. When do you take the tree down? January 6.

5. Do you like eggnog? Not at all!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? There were so many! My parents went crazy at Christmas. I really had a lot of fun with my Little Tikes kitchen, though.

7. Hardest person to buy for? My mother. She has everything already.

8. Easiest person to buy for? Will. He loves anything I get him.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Sad to say we don't! I want one, though.

10. Worst Christmas gift you've ever received? I really can't think of one...

11. Favorite Christmas Movie? White Christmas or Meet Me In St. Louis. (Not really a Christmas movie but it works.)

12. When do you start shopping for Christmas? This year we started around Halloween. Usually it's right after Thanksgiving.

13 . Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Nope.

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? My mom's standing rib roast!

15. Lights on the tree? I can go either way. The tree at my parents house has colored lights and they look gorgeous with our brass ornaments that MawMaw and Poppie have given us every year of our life. But I love the classic look of white lights.

16. Favorite Christmas song? The Holly and the Ivy

17. Travel at Christmas or stay home? We go home to Charlotte to see my family. When I was a kid and living at home we never went anywhere.

18. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? No...

19. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning.

20. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?People who don't like Christmas.

21. Favorite ornament theme or color? My brass ones from MawMaw and Poppie.

22. What do you want for Christmas this year? I really don't know. A new lens for my camera maybe...

I tag YOU to play along...go ahead...get to it!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Words to live by...

Howdy to all my blogging friends. I missed you all so much. I'm sorry I haven't kept you all up to date lately. That was not very nice of me. But I'm back now and so ready to provide some updates for you. However, I just don't know where to start. Nothing feels quite right. The reason for that is because this past week was one of the hardest ones I've ever had to experience. It was bitter sweet and not bitter sweet in the cliche' way we think of but in a real, there is no better way to describe it sense.

My Poppie (my mom's dad) was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago and on Saturday, November 22 at 3am he went home to be with Jesus. We all knew it was coming and we were all ready for it. None more than my Poppie, though. He couldn't wait to go home and see his parents again.

Oh, how I miss him. I knew I would but I never imagined it would be as hard as it has been.

Will and I got the call from my mom on Saturday morning and left Florida Sunday morning heading straight to my grandparents house. We had the funeral this past Tuesday and the eulogy was given by Rev. Ross Blackburn who could not have said anything more perfect than what he said. Every word he spoke was right on. Every thing I was feeling, Ross gave words to it.

Out of all the things that Ross said, though, one thing keeps resonating in my head more than any other. He was repeating something that Poppie had once said to another church member who was really in a tough spot at that time. Poppie said to him "At the times when we feel like everything is going wrong for us, that is when we should commit more so than ever to pray for others." Those words have been stuck in my head more than anything. And that is what I encourage you all to do. I admit it's a hard thing to do but I can't even begin to imagine what will come of this.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thankful for my friends

A few weekends ago I had the privilege of celebrating the birthdays of two of my very dear friends, Rachel and Kristina. We all decided to go to the Melting Pot for cheese and chocolate. This place is quickly becoming a favorite. I am so thankful for these girls!

All of us at our table just after we finished.

Me and birthday girl #1, Rachel.

The gorgeous Melissa and me.

Last but most definitely not least, me with birthday girl # 2, Kristina.
I know I've told you this before but I really do love spending time with these gals. They are good people. All of them beautiful both inside and out. I laugh so hard. Especially when Rachel does something like this...

I would like for you all to pay special attention to the sign on the wall by the door. We were all heading to the bathroom before leaving for the evening. As we walked we chatted and joked around like normal and distracted Rachel. She headed right on into the men's bathroom and went all the way in before realizing where she was. The rest of us, being the kind friends that we are, just waited outside the door for her to come out so we could capture this photo. Luckily, no one was in there when she decided to stop in...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thankful for my husband.

Today Will and I took our lunch together so that we could accomplish some things both for work and for us. While we were driving to grab food we talked and reminisced about when we were dating and first getting to know each other. While having this conversation I started to think about the different feelings you get in the different stages of a relationship. And while I do love that feeling of first meeting someone that you are attracted to, there is just something about being with "the one". The feelings can't compare. I'm so thankful that God has given me "the one" that he has planned for me to spend the rest of my life with. He is a precious person to me. He is my best-friend. I love spending time with him and I love knowing that he is always there for me and he is my biggest fan! And he loves me back! Thank you, Lord, for my wonderful husband!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Great Time to Give Thanks

In honor of the month of November, which boasts a most wonderful holiday, I'd like to encourage all of you to join me for the 2nd Annual Giving Thanks Challenge! All you have to do is post one thing you're thankful for each day somewhere on your blog. It doesn't even have to be an actual thought-out post. Just start making a list on your sidebar - somewhere you can see it every day to encourage an attitude of thankfulness. If you would like to participate, just click on the button in the side bar.

I know it's not November yet but I thought I might just go ahead and say that I am Thankful for prayer. I know that it's something that I don't do nearly enough but I know that my parents and grandparents have been faithful to pray for me since before I was even born. And they continue to do it every day. (My grandmother says that it's the only reason she can name all 13 of her grandchildren by name, and she's right! I never remember her calling me by anyone else' name). I truly believe that because they have been so faithful our family has been blessed beyond anything we could ever imagine.

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I LOVE the blogging world.

A couple of months have gone by since I started blogging. As time has gone I've discovered other blogs through friends blogs and must say that there are some really great bloggers out there. Some people make me laugh. Some make me cry and others just tick me off. (Not many, though) I love finding a blog where someone is sharing their experience and as I read I realize that they are not that different from me. I love it when this happens because I can learn from others and also see how they've come through something that has strenghtened their faith. I am encouraged by these posts.

But today I want to share a post that I came across that was funny.

Today as I was taking my lunch at work I was cruising through some blogs of friend's friends and stumbled upon this little post that actually made me laugh out loud. Just thought I'd share.

Holiday Giveaway!!! Christmas might be coming early...

I found out about this giveaway going on over at The Palm Gifts from my friend, Kristin's blog.

They are giving away monogrammed Christmas aprons. And cute ones at that! They also have tons of other great gift ideas for the holidays. Even if you don't enter still go check out the website.

Go check out there website and email them your favorite item under the Christmas section.
To enter:
1. Email them at info@thepalmgifts.com and put APRON GIVEAWAY in the subject line
2. Tell them your favorite item from the Christmas section
3. Mention that you heard about the giveaway from my blog

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My New Favorite Toy

This past weekend Will and I had the privilege of watching this little one while his parents were out of town for a wedding. He really is the best baby I have encountered so far. (Sorry Bailey, Ashley and Steven) He only cries when he wants something and the rest of the time all he does is this...

We took him to the nursery at church on Sunday and Miss Laurie told us that he is spoiling Will and I to think that all babies are that good. He was a joy! I can't wait until we get to watch him again.

You can't help but fall in love with him.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This is a hard post but I feel like it's got to be done...

Let me give you all a brief back ground on my weight loss story. I'll first start by saying that this is one of those topics that is always on my mind but I really don't like to talk about it with anyone. The reason I am bringing it up now and for all of you to read is because I am looking for encouragement and accountability. I WANT to be successful. I WANT to be healthy. I WANT to be able to encourage someone who might be experiencing the same things that I am. I don't want to put any numbers out there because that's not what this is about for me. I do know that I need to lose some weight but that is not my main goal. My main goal is to be happy with who I am, as I am. To know that I am whole and complete just the way God made me. Not once I get down to a size whatever or I weigh however much.

I really can't remember a time in my life when I didn't feel like I needed to drop some weight. I remember being as young as 8 years old and looking down at my thighs as I sat in a chair and becoming embarrassed by how big my thighs looked. Now, was I a fat kid? Not at all! I wasn't a skinny kid either but it was not nearly as bad in reality as it was in my head. Nonetheless, it still stuck with me. I started playing sports at about the age of 5 or 6 so I was usually a pretty active kid all the way up past high school. I do know that the happiest times in my life were when I was playing sports. I loved that part of me. It was something that I was naturally good at. It also helped keep me active. During those times I still was conscious of my appearance but it was easier to do something about it. Shortly after moving to Florida I joined a co-ed softball team in an effort to continue some level of physical activity but it just didn't work out and after the season ended I didn't join another team.

At this point in my life I am the least active I have ever been. As a result of that, I have managed to add a *ahem* few extra pounds. So, since adding on some extra cushion and really just getting to the point where I hate to look at myself in the mirror or in pictures I decided that it was time to do something. I was ready to make a conscious effort to rectify the situation. I joined Weight Watchers. I joined along with my mother-in-law last September shortly after getting married. While attending meetings in the first few months I lost some weight but then I lost my motivation. The holiday's came around and I kept telling myself that after this or that I would get re-motivated. But it never happened. I ended up gaining back all the weight I'd lost and then some. And on top of that I felt worse than ever before. The one thing that I wouldn't do was quit. I was determined to stick with Weight Watchers until I became motivated. I continued going to my meetings even when my WW Buddy quit. Nothing was changing, though. It was all in my attitude and it was starting to show in other areas of my life. I was grumpy a lot of the time. I didn't like going to work. I didn't want to get dressed up to go out anywhere. Nothing looked right on my and the sour look on my face because I was not happy with myself really didn't help at all. I didn't want to be like that forever! That's not REALLY who I am.

So, about two months ago I started my journey all over again. I changed meeting locations and immediately fell in love with my new leader! A co-worker of mine has joined me which has really been helpful. And above all I have changed my attitude. I have already been successful in losing weight but have a ways to go. Running has been great for me! It has given me a chance to become active again and on top of that I have a running buddy to keep me moving but more importantly keep me company! I feel better because I've chosen to move. I've chosen to not sit around and feel sorry for myself. I've chosen to not give up if I feel a little discouraged. I also realized that I need to learn to love myself the way God loves me now, as I am, because it's not like a magic light switch is going to be flicked once I reach my goal and then I'll automatically love myself then. It just doesn't work that way.

The last and most important thing that I've learned in all of this is that it's not something I can do on my own. Some people have the will power but I am not one of them. This is my vice. Food and laziness are my foot-hold. I have to pray my way through this experience and ask for God's strength to keep moving forward. I know that with his help I can move past the negative outlook I have on myself.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I have come to a conclusion

I am a terrible blogger. I have left you all hanging for quite some time now. It's not that I don't care or I don't have anything to blog about. It's just that I'm a perfectionist. I have some updates for you along with pictures and I just haven't had a chance to edit them. As soon as I get the pictures to a place where I approve of them I will share them with you. Until then I will leave you with this...

I know that I've posted this one before but I'm hoping that you will ooh and ah over my dear Eeyore until I can get back to you with my real post.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Stop and smell the roses..... I mean hibiscus.

This past weekend before all the Daytona ladies hit Jacksonville, Will was out working on our yard. He pulled me away from running around the house like a maniac trying to get everything ready and pointed out these pretty flowers to me. I immediately ran in and grabbed my camera so I could show you the same thing that I saw.

Then I looked a little closer...

And I thought about how awesome God is. He created this for me to stop and enjoy on this busy day.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Luncheon with the Daytona Ladies

This past Saturday my grandmother, aunt, great-aunt and some of the other female family members from Daytona came to our house for a luncheon. They had asked me a month ago if they could come up to see the new house and I wanted to make it special. I wanted to show them that I not only had a cute new house but I could also host a nice luncheon. I made chicken salad croissants and fruit salad. Everyone was quite impressed that I made everything from scratch.

A couple weeks before the luncheon my grandmother had called me to finalize some of the plans and at the time I told her that I had a surprise planned for dessert. She couldn't figure out what I was going to serve but was anxiously awaiting the surprise I had planned.

A day or two before my conversation with her I was going through my favorite Internet sites and I came across this recipe for dessert from ThePioneerWoman.com. And by the way, if you haven't become fast friends with Ree over at The Pioneer Woman, you better scurry on over there because you just don't know what you are missing.

Now, back to the topic at hand. I made these cute little flower pot desserts and they were a huge hit!!! The ladies ate them up, literally and figuratively.

These little goodies would be great at a bridal or baby shower. I can't wait to make them again.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hittin' the Bottle Hard (and some other ramblings)

I took these picture of my niece, Bailey, at the Heart Walk a few weeks ago and thought they were too cute not to share with y'all. You might as well get used to it, too, because I love taking pictures! Especially of this little one. She is a very serious baby and to me, that makes her funny. Look at her little furrowed brow.

She gets this look on her face and I just have to chuckle for two reasons. One because she reminds me of her father when she makes this face. (By the way, he's never up to any good when he's got the same look.) And second, it's just funny. What could be so serious at three months old?

So, for the time being, until Will and I have kids of our own I'm going to have to ask you all to bare with me while I post pictures of my niece and my dogs. Thank you all for your patience.

Oh, and every now and then I'll give you a picture of this guy as well. (even when the pictures are unedited like this one here.) You can feel sorry for him because I am constantly in his face with a camera. It's not his favorite thing in the world but he lets me do it anyway.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Last night I had the chance to get together with these lovely ladies. They are wonderful. They are some of the best friends anyone could ever want. We had coffee at Starbucks and then just sat around and laughed. I can always count on these gals to give me a few good belly laughs. They are like therapy.

I haven't known these girls as long as they've all known each other. But I know that we will all be friends until we are little old ladies. They are all beautiful and have made living in Florida that much better. I love knowing them.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Okay, here goes. I know that as soon as I post this I am going to be held accountable for it. I'm just going to say it...I have started running...again...

A few months ago I was running and following the Cough to 5k training program and really enjoying it. Then after following the program fairly consistently for a couple of months I turned into a slacker and quit. I let our schedules get in the way and it dropped off my priority list. The really sad part of it all was that I was actually getting to where I liked running. It wasn't something to dread. But since I stopped I have to start all over again.

So, now I am back on track but still struggling through my runs. I just finished up week 3 and am going to try week 4 tonight.

My friend Rachel has been trying to get in shape as well and starting today we will be meeting a few times a week to do our running and walking. Thanks, Rachel! You help keep me on track.

My hope in writing about this is that I can use my blog as a way to seek encouragement from all of you. And along with that I would love some accountability. I hope to post weekly updates on my progress as well. So, stay tuned and wish me luck.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A New Form of Time Wasting

I stumbled upon this site the other day and successfully wasted an hour of my life but had a good laugh in the process.

Oh, should I consider it a bad thing that my hair in 1968 and my hair today look strangely alike?

Go make your own at Yearbook Yourself

I can't wait to see what you come up with.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Heart Walk

This past weekend I had the privilage of walking in the Heart Walk with my best-friend, Kristina, and some of my former Wachovia co-worker's. One of those co-worker's is also Karyne, my mother-in-law. We all met up at Metro Park and walked 3 miles all around Jaguar's stadium and through Sun's stadium where Will and I had our first date.

It was a great walk and I really enjoyed reconnecting with my friends, Melissa and Brandy.

The Wachovia team finished strong and had a blast doing it. Thanks for letting me crash your party girls!

A Little Quirky

I've been tagged by Kristin at Blue Skies From Now On to post 6 quirky things about myself.

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Mention the rules on your blog.
3. Tell about six unspectacular quirks of yours.
4. Tag six fellow bloggers by linking them.
5. Leave a comment on each of the six blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.

My personal Quirks:

1. I know a lot of people have this same quirk but I don't like for my food to touch on my plate and I can only eat one item at a time.

2. I can't sleep with my feet covered by blankets. I can have socks on but I have to have my feet sticking out the side of the covers.

3. I can't stand for dished to be left in the sink. Either wash them right away or put them in the dishwasher.

***Goodness, this is harder than I thought***

4. It bugs me when shampoo, conditioner, and/or body wash containers are left open in the shower. If they are open, I close them.

5. I can't go to sleep in an un-made bed. To clarify, when I go to get in the bed if it is unmade from the night before, I have to basically make it before I can get into it and be comfortable.

6. I have to have all the clothes in my closet organized by color and item. I have a pants section that is organized by color, a dress section that is organized by color and so on...

Since I don't think I even know 6 people that blog regularly I am going to break the last two rules and make it 3 people. However, if you read my blog and would like to tag yourself for me, please feel free.

I tag Debra, Rachel and Megan. Have fun!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It was bound to happen sooner or later...

I knew it was only a matter of time until my husband came to his senses. After several trips from Florida to North Carolina. After 2 and a half years of my influence. My husband has finally seen the light. Upon our last trip to Charlotte in the parking lot of the Chick-fil-a the skies opened up and Will converted...

He became a Panther's fan!!!

Okay, not really, he's still a Jaguar's fan, I'm sorry to say.

The truth of the matter is that we were in Charlotte and we were at Chick-fil-a. They were promoting their new chicken strips on Labor Day. So, any lucky patron that came into the store wearing their team gear received free chicken strips. My husband, who is a bigger Chick-fil-a fan than anything, clothed himself in a Panther's jersey just to get free strips. In exchange for me scrounging up a jersey for him I made him pose for a picture. So, for all my NC friends and Panther's fans. Enjoy. I know I did.

How I met my Husband

Well, as I said in my last post, I've been have a little bit of blogger's block. So, I thought I would kind of take Kristin's advice and blog about how I met Will.

When I moved to Jacksonville back in 2005 I didn't know anyone in the city except for my wonderful boss and her husband. They were kind enough to let me live with them until I found a place of my own and figured out a few things about this new city. After moving out of their house I had made a few friends but nothing like what I had back in Charlotte. And also, being the silly girl that I am, I had ended up dating a couple of the guy friends and when things didn't work out between us, well, that was the end of that friendship.

So, there I am was, a year into living in Jacksonville and really wanting to find my "place" in this city. I wanted to find my group to hang out with on the weekends. To meet up with for coffee or dinner during the week after work. And I just didn't know where to start. I was starting to get a bit discouraged and ended up talking to a co-worker about it one day.

My co-worker's name was Karyne and she had a step-son that was a couple of years younger than me who had grown up in Jacksonville. She told me to call him and see about hanging out so that he could introduce me to some people that he knew. I was all for it except for one thing. I don't call boys. (That's what my mother had always told me when I was growing up. As I got older that rule changed a little into I don't call guys I don't know.) She asked if I would give him my number and I was reluctant to do that as well. So, she gave him my email address. I didn't think much would come of it. If nothing else, we would email back and forth a couple of times and that would be it.

A couple of days later I was at work and I got an email from someone I didn't know. Turns out it was Will. Oh, how I wish I had saved that email. He confessed his love for walks on the beach by moonlight, puppies, rainbows and every other cheesy personal add type cliche'. It was silly and made me chuckle. He had a sense of humor and with that he had my attention.

We emailed back and forth a few times over the next two or three weeks before meeting or even talking on the phone. At that time Will invited me to go with he and some of his friends to a Sun's Baseball game. It was Thirsty Thursday so that meant the the stadium would be overflowing with 20-somethings. And as an added bonus love baseball and I like meeting new people so I thought this would be fun.

We made arrangements to meet up at the local community college where Will was taking an evening class. I didn't really know what to think of this outing as we weren't introduced in a romantic capacity and the initial intention of our introduction was just for me to meet people in my new city. The events of the evening didn't suggest that this was a date so I wasn't going to treat it like one. With that in mind I approached my closet. Now, you girls can probably relate to me with this one. I was going on a non-date to a baseball game with someone that I had never met before. I wanted to make a good first impression but I didn't want to over do it for a baseball game. I decided on a favorite pink polo, my jeans and flip flops. I felt confidant but not over dressed.

I left my apartment and headed to the school. Not knowing exactly where I was going I left plenty of time to get there not realizing the the school was literally a 2 mile drive from my apartment. I was 30 minutes early and I felt like a huge nerd! I tried to figure out what to do while I waited. Should I leave and come back? Should I just sit and wait. I think I ended up reading a magazine in my car while waiting.

Will got out of class and called me as he was walking out to his car. When I saw him for the first time he was talking to me on his phone and I remember thinking that he looked like a typical bachelor. His hair needed cut, his pants needed ironed and I think one of his shoes was untied. But he was cute. He was very polite and easy to talk to. And it wasn't until I saw him that I was actually nervous. But why? This wasn't a date. He was helping me meet friends. Why was I nervous over that? I tried to talk myself out of being nervous for about an hour. I felt silly and could figure out why.

Well, we arrived at the game and after some interesting encounters at the concession stand we got to our seats. I met a few people as we got situated and then we started to just watch the game. We would talk in between plays about little things. Getting-to-know-each other types of things. It was fun and I was starting to relax a little.

After the game had ended we went to grab some food with some friends and then started planning out the rest of the evening. I had to work the next day but it was still early and I was having a great time. It was decided that we would all go and sing karaoke. Yikes! I wasn't so at ease anymore. I didn't want to sing.

Now, let me just give you a little back ground but not get too far off track. I love to sing! In fact, I've been singing in some capacity for my entire life. I have been in a choir or ensemble ever since I can remember. But I have terrible stage freight. If I have to sing a solo I want to die! I would rather crawl into a hole and never come out. I did overcome it at one point in my life while I was singing in a band for church. It was the only time in my life I can remember not wanting to wet my pants when singing by myself.

So, there we were at the karaoke bar and I was terrified that I was going to have to get up and sing. I really didn't want to. I didn't say anything in hopes that Will wouldn't try to talk me into singing. I just went along with the crowd and started watching everyone else. Next thing I know the KJ (karaoke jockey) was calling Will. He got up there and sang I Like My Women Just a Little on the Trashy Side. I was in shock. He wasn't bad. He made me laugh. It was encouraging to see him get up there. When he came back and sat down he asked me if I was going to take a turn. I don't know what in the world came over me but I agreed to sing a song. I sang one of my favorite Alison Krauss. And I have to admit, although I was terrified I still had fun.

After we finished up with karaoke we spent about an hour talking. We had both had a great time and wanted to see each other again. I never imagined when I started emailing that anything would come of it. I was pleasantly surprised and we did end up declaring the evening our first date.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Nothing to blog about...

I read through my last blog post and decided that I didn't really like what I had written but I didn't want to delete it. So having said that, I would just like to apologize for my last boring blog post. Now that we have that out of the way.... I had made plans to come up with a new post that would make up for the last one but unfortunately, I have nothing interesting to blog about. I don't have any cute pictures to post. No meal to talk about. I have nothing to give you but more apologies.

I promise I will do my best to make it up to you. This week I will come up with wonderful and fabulous things to blog about. In the mean time, does anyone (All two of my readers) have any requests? Is there anything that you want to know? Anything you want to talk about? I'm up for just about anything...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Labor Day Weekend

Last weekend Will and I headed north to visit with my family in Charlotte. I always love going home to visit. Every meal is a huge event. We try to get the most out of every day that we are there. This trip was no exception. Friday was a bit on the low-key side, though. My mom had to work and Will had made plans to play golf with his friend Matt. So, I spent a greater part of the day catching up on relaxation and spending time with my beloved Molly.

She is by far the greatest dog ever! (Just please don't tell Eeyore and Rosie I said that.) We got Molly when I was a senior in high school. She was a little puppy and would ride with me everywhere I went. She also slept in my room with me. Now, when I go home I can sometimes get her to cuddle with me still.

Now, I would like to add that although Molly is wearing a lovely t-shirt in the photo above my family is not the sort that dress their animals. No, Molly had just had a few cysts removed from here chest the week prior to our visit and had been instructed to wear t-shirts to protect her sutures. But all the same, I think she's really cute.

While we were in Charlotte we also had the chance to go and visit with my grandparents. (My mom's parents.) They live in Pinehurst, NC or actually Southern Pines to be exact. They just moved into their brand new house. Will and I got to go and see it for the first time since they moved in and I must say that it is adorable!

See. Just look at the porch.

They are very patriotic with their flag waving proudly. And look, they are friendly folk! See, they're waving at you. Wave back, y'all. (Please excuse my husband as he rubs his eye.)

And here we all are. Just sitting on the porch watching the neighborhood walk by. It reminds me of something right out of Mayberry.

But they are just my grandparents. My lovely, wonderful grandparents. Aren't they cute? They still hold hands, see. They've been married to each other for over 50 years and I think they are both really neat. I think I'm lucky to know them let alone be called their grand-daughter. Some day I'll have to tell you all about how they met.

The next few days in Charlotte didn't hold any huge events. We just did what we love to do and that is spend time with family. Oh, and eat. We ate at a couple of my favorite places. We enjoyed fried pickles at The Penguin and then had dinner with my parents at Manzetti's. On top of that, my parents both happened to be wonderful cooks and I love to join them in the kitchen as the whip up their masterpiece for the evening.

Every time I go back to NC it gets harder and harder to leave. I love it there with my family.

After coming home from Charlotte we resumed our life as normal here in Florida. We were just thankful that we didn't have a hurricane waiting for us once we got home.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New House Lesson 1: How to Get a New Stove

Disclaimer: I do not recommend you try this at your own house. If you decide you need a new stove, a better approach would probably be to just ask for it.

Well, Will and I have been in our new house for 2 months now. We knew when we bought the house that we were going to need to purchase new kitchen appliances but for the time being the ones that were in there would work just fine. But that wasn't good enough for me, no sir. I wanted a new stove ASAP!!! So, what did I do? I tried setting the house on fire in protest unless I got a new stove. And it worked, I tell ya!

Well, not really. I mean, we are getting a new stove tonight but it didn't really happen like that. In fact, the only truth in that last paragraph is that I did nearly burn the house down and we are getting a new stove.

How did I nearly burn the house down? Well, I'm so glad you asked. Here is how it all went down.

On Monday evening I was at home by myself as Will was at church like he usually is on Monday nights. It was about time for me to be thinking about making dinner and since I was on my own I thought I'd do something on the easy side. I decided on frozen pizza and proceeded to pre-heat the oven. After the oven was turned on I started working around the house just tidying things up. As I was doing that, I kept smelling a faint burning plastic smell. I ignored it and decided that it was just something that had gotten on the oven rack or falling onto the drip pan. But as I continued to clean the smell was getting stronger and stronger. At this point I was starting to become a mixture of curious and worried so I opened the oven door (which doesn't have a window, I might add) and I saw the horrific site of melting Tupperware and skillet cookie. It took me a minute to figure out exactly what had happened. How did the skillet cookie get in there? (Turns out Will had put it in the oven the night before to protect it from the dogs.) And as I was looking at the melted plastic mess still processing what it was and how it got there, the whole thing started flaming. And the flames were getting bigger and bigger. And at that moment I realized we don't yet own a fire extinguisher. (I'm putting that on the shopping list.) I was panicked! How do I put the fire out?!?! How do I keep these flames from growing?!?! Oh no! I'm going to burn down our new house!!!

And then I told myself to calm down. I needed to stay level headed and think. I tried calling Will. No answer. I called my in-law's house. I told my step-mother-in law, Karyne, that the flames were getting bigger and bigger. Then suddenly, like a light bulb I remembered one of the most basic things about fire. It needs oxygen. "How about closing the oven door." I said to myself. I did just that and told Karyne that I had put the fire out but the house was filled with smoke! I couldn't see from one end to the next. She called my father-in-law, who was on his way home, and had him come to our house.

When my father-in-law, Jon, arrived at the house I had already opened up all the windows and doors and turned on the fans to clear the air. He told me that I was doing all the right things. (I doubt he would have said that had he seen me in the panic stage 5 minutes prior.) He also took the racks and the drip pan out of the oven and put them outside for me to help get rid of that horrible burning plastic smell. He then said some of the sweetest word I'll ever hear. "You are going to need a new oven." And then he left.

Will finally called me back and I informed him of the untimely demise of his skillet cookie as well as the oven's not-so-untimely demise. And then I was able to pass on the word that his father had left me with.

So, tonight we are going to get our new oven and I am so excited! I'm also a little worried because it's already got me looking at other new appliances for the kitchen and thinking about how I can "arrange" needing them. Do you think putting a cat into the dishwasher is too obvious?

***I'd also like to add that it really is a shame that a very good skillet cookie was harmed in the events that took place in our house this past Monday night. What is that? You've never heard of a skillet cookie before? Well, stay tuned and I'll tell you all about them later.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Favorite Recipe: Chicken Sparacino

This past weekend while I was in Daytona visiting with family my grandmother, also known as MamMam, decided she was going to make one of my favorite meals for us to have for dinner. Not only was I really excited to have the chance to eat it I was also really excited to have the opportunity to document the entire preparation process so that I could share it with you. However, before I begin I must warn you all that this meal is not for the faint of heart.

First this to do is go ahead and pre-heat your oven to 350. Okay, now that we have that out of the way we can get cooking!

Line up 3 pie pans, bowls or plates. (Whatever you have on hand. I prefer pie pans) Pour 2 cups of flour in the first dish, 2 or 3 eggs (beaten) in the second dish and Italian bread crumbs in the third dish. (Note* if you don't have Italian bread crumbs just us regular bread crumbs and add Italian seasoning to them) Now that your assembly line is set up, let the fun (messiness) begin!!!

Take some boneless, skinless chicken breasts and salt and pepper both sides. Normally the recipe calls for 4 but on this occasion we ended up doubling the recipe.

Begin dredging your chicken breasts. Start with the flour...

then the egg...

and then into the bread crumbs.

Place the chicken in a glass baking dish once it's been coated. Do this with the rest of the chicken and set the baking dish aside for a minute and we can move on to making the butter and spice mixture to pour over the chicken.

Take a stick of butter (1/2 cup)...

and melt it on the stove in a sauce pan.

While the butter is melting add 1 Tbsp. of parsley flakes, 1 Tbsp. of minced garlic, 1 tsp. of marjoram, and 1/2 tsp of thyme.

Stir all of that together...

and pour over top of the chicken.

Once you have the chicken covered with the butter mixture, place it in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
When your time is up for the first 15-20 minutes you are going to pour 1 cup of dry white wine over your chicken.

At this time you can also baste the chicken with the wine and butter mixture.

Place in the oven for another 15 minutes.

At the end of 15 minutes take the chicken out again, baste if you would like and then add a slice of mozzarella cheese to each piece of chicken.

Let the chicken bake for another 5 minutes or until your cheese is melted. Once your cheese is melted take the chicken out and serve it up to the hungry folks who are salivating all around you.

I usually serve this dish with a small pasta such as pastini or orzo. And if you are feeling really daring and adventurous, take some of the butter and wine sauce and drizzle it over your pasta. Mmmm. Enjoy!